Antibacterial soaps are marketed as being better than regular body washes for their ability to kill all bacteria, reduce infection risks, and offer pleasant scents. However, as researchers explored the ingredients in antibacterial body washes, their findings showed antibacterial body washes contain ​​hazardous chemicals, such as triclosan (TCS), that break down into cancer-causing agents, contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and result in health issues. 

As of 6 September 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned body washes containing 24 common ingredients in antibacterial washes, including triclosan. Despite the health risks associated with antibacterial washes, many brands of antibacterial body wash are available for sale today. Have some in your shower? Here's why you should toss it out today.

Antibacterial Soaps vs Plain Soaps

The difference between antibacterial and regular soap is the antibacterial ingredients not found in plain soaps. Antibacterial soaps have antibacterial ingredients, including triclosan and triclocarban, that kill off bacteria to prevent or reduce bacterial infections.

Research and risk-to-benefit assessments by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indicate that antibacterial soaps are as good as marketed. Plain soaps can eliminate and stop the spread of germs without the added chemicals. Further, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) explains manufacturers failed to show that antibacterial ingredients are safe for daily long-term use and more effective than regular soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of specific infections.

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Antibiotic Resistance 

Antibacterial body wash can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria because the antibacterial agents, including triclocarban and triclosan, are not fully neutralizing. Thus, prolonged use of antibacterial washes may promote the growth of bacterial strains resistant to antibiotic treatment. That happens because antibacterial washes aim to eliminate all bacteria, strong or weak. Eliminating all bacteria can cause bacteria to resist the antibacterial chemicals in the antibacterial wash and increase the likelihood of bacterial infections and a weakened immune system.

Antibacterial Soap Can Contain Dangerous Chemicals That Degrade Into Carcinogens

There is cause for concern about the safety and effectiveness of the chemicals in antibacterial soaps. Some studies support that triclocarban and triclosan can contribute to certain cancers and cause health issues with prolonged use. Research shows that antibacterial chemicals can degrade into carcinogens, which is the cause of cancer. Other studies on animals show that even at a low dosage, triclosan may impair muscle function. 

Research studies have not showcased the health issues of human subjects using antibacterial washes. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has concerns that long-term use of antibacterial soaps and body washes may lead to health issues over time. There has been no scientific proof regarding the benefits of antibacterial washes, and the risks outweigh any known benefits significantly.

Kushae Tips

There is no need for antibacterial body washes or hand soap, and you are better off using good old, plain soap and water. If you have antibiotic soap, wash, detergent, or other household products, throw them in the trash today! 

May 22, 2024

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.