Often we hear that bacteria on the skin must be gotten rid of: in commercials, they are even painted as little evil monsters that are washed off with antibacterial soap. But this soap is far from the most positive hero of skincare.
Let’s see what doubts scientists and cosmetologists have about its use.
The difference between antibacterial soap is that it kills not only harmful bacteria but also beneficial ones. But the skin has its own “microbial background”– a microbiome, a protective layer, where microorganisms useful for the body live. These beneficial microbes have their own functions, such as maintaining the acidic pH of the skin. If they are constantly removed, then the skin can become defenseless to external aggressors, and the risk of developing fungus and inflammation increases.
Antibacterial soap contains triclosan, an ingredient that has been used in hygiene products for a very long time. But today, doctors and scientists have doubts about its benefits. First, there is a theory that bacteria can develop immunity to triclosan. Secondly, there are concerns that it may cause endocrine disruption.
For antibacterial soap to work, it must be on the hands for at least 30 seconds. Ideally, you should wash your hands for about two minutes. During this time, the soap will have time to dry out the skin. Antibacterial manufacturers themselves admit that their products do draw out moisture, and advise using moisturizers afterward.
Of course, these reasons shouldn’t force you to ditch antibacterial soap altogether. It can be useful during an epidemic, for use in public places (schools, clinics), for washing scratches and wounds. But if you use it every day, hoping to get rid of germs and achieve perfect cleanliness, then you make your skin worse.