In general, soap seems like a good thing, after all cleanliness is next to Godliness. But in our germ-afraid society, have we gone too far?
Unfortunately, many of the things we use as “soap” are actually harsh detergents.
Rather than the gentle action of true soaps that pull dirt and grime off the skin, most commercial versions are more detergent than soap and strip the skin of vital oils. This is also true of many body wash products that don’t contain any soap whatsoever, just a chemical cocktail.
Your Antibacterial Soaps
Antibacterial soaps and sanitisers have taken centre stage lately with all the scares about various types of flu viruses. Certainly, I can see the appeal of a sanitiser that claims to “kill 99.9% of germs” when you have small children at home and illness for one usually means illness for all. The antibacterial label is popping up on all kinds of soaps, especially kids soaps, cleansing wipes, and even adult bath soaps. While I can understand the appeal, we shouldn’t use these kind of soaps for the following reasons:
- Antibacterial soaps kill bacteria but not viruses. The antibacterial agents are actually a form of antibiotic, so while they wipe out most bacteria, good and bad, they don’t do a thing for the viruses many people use them to prevent.
- Because they only kill 99.9% of germs. Seems like a lot! However .1% have the ability to resist that antibacterial agent and become the most potentially harmful anyway. This small percentage that survives then breeds and passes on its antibiotic resistance to its offspring, creating lines of “super bugs” that resist antibiotic use. Some even speculate that overuse of antibiotics and antibacterial agents has led to the dramatic increase in resistant bacteria.
- Triclosan, the chemical in most antibacterial soaps has been shown to be a hormone disrupter, especially in children.
- Bacteria isn’t all bad! Evidence shows that kids who grow up in an overly sterile environment actually have higher rates of allergies and asthma than kids who don’t use antibacterial products as much. The reasoning is that exposure to different types of bacteria, especially early in life, actually helps kids immune systems to develop more strongly.
Check your Scented Soaps
Most commercially available soap bars and body washes are artificially made from mineral oils. Shocked? I hope not! There is no natural essential oil of Ocean Spray or Rainforest. These scents come from chemicals, and most of these products are laden with detergents, preservatives and questionable ingredients. Ever wonder why there is a growing need for moisturising body washes, lotions, and other forms of skin nourishment? Aside from the fact that many people are deficient in saturated fats and have dry skin from the inside out, most bar soaps and body washes are also stripped of the glycerin made in the soap making process. This leads to an unbalanced soap that pulls moisture out of the skin.
The best types of soaps are made from vegetable (not mineral) oil blends and have the glycerin put back in so they clean without drying skin.
What can you do?
- Don’t be afraid of a little bacteria! In fact, make sure to get some good bacteria in your foods and drinks!
- Opt for higher quality soaps in place of harsh antibacterial and artificially scented options.
- Try avoid using antibacterial soaps, sprays and sanitisers, at least most of the time. It will give your immune system a boost and reduce your exposure to chemicals.
Check out more great advice like this one at WellnessMama.com