Should I use antibacterial foaming hand soap?

hand soap
These days, it seems like you can’t even wash your hands without coming across antibacterial foaming hand soap. And while most of us can probably agree that regular hand washing is a crucial component to good health, there seems to be a divide when it comes to antibacterial.

It’s just soap…what’s the big deal?

There are several issues of concern when it comes to antibacterial soap – and most of them are related to its main active ingredient triclosan. Triclosan, which is found in nearly 75% of antibacterial hand soaps, has been widely scrutinized in the last decade.

Why researchers and consumers are concerned about triclosan:

  • Triclosan needs to be left on the surface of the skin for at least two minutes to be effective. Most people aren’t that patient.
  • Some researchers believe that bacteria could eventually develop a resistance to bactericidal agents like triclosan over time.
  • Being exposed to some bacteria is actually beneficial to your health. The normal population of bacteria living in our body helps fend off dangerous bacteria.
  • Many diseases are viral in nature, which means they can’t be prevented using antibacterial soap anyway

So when should you be using antibacterial foaming hand soap?

A clean environment and a clean body are important, but not every inch of every surface needs to be sterile in order to be safe. On a daily basis, antibacterial soap may a little much for the average person.

However, there are definitely instances where antibacterial foaming hand soap is appropriate, such as:

  • In health-care settings where there’s a risk of transferring bacteria from patient to patient.
  • In restaurant settings where someone is handling raw meat or fish.

The takeaway

Unless you work in a healthcare or restaurant setting, you may want to stick to regular soap and water. However, if antibacterial foaming hand soap is your only option, it’s certainly safe to use – but probably a little overkill on a daily basis.