Splashed all over the headlines on Labor Day were the fda recalls of a large number of the antibacterial soaps. Go figure! I may be prejudice to our own soap products, but from my 20 plus years working in health care i can tell you that my hands felt like dried pieces of leather after using the required antibacterial soaps that were at every sink. Over the weekend the FDA called a halt to this practice, especially in home use, citing that there is no clinical proof that using antibacterial soaps will reduce or prevent infections. But the news grew a bit scarier:
- the key ingredients in antibacterial soap are now traceable and showing up in our water supply across the United States, most of Europe and Asia. You may think that is a good thing, but the truth is this is a training ground for the bacteria to become resistant. Medicine has known for some time that over prescription of antibiotics to their patients has created a super strong class of bacteria that resists the effects of some of our strongest known drugs, Now thinking that antibacterial soap is the road to protection we have increased our vulnerability to even stronger bacteria… and reduced our capacity to fight them.
- The FDA requested all companies producing antibacterial soap show their clinical proof that their formulas work. There is no clinical proof to present, no formal studies that justified the use of these chemicals, especially in our homes.
That said, what are you using to wash with? and how is the soap you are using impacting your long term health, or the health of the public? I can tell you that good old cold processed soap has never made headlines like these. Instead cold processed soap quietly continues to offer a services of cleaning.
From graduate school and my epidemiology classes i can tell you that hand washing is the cardinal rule of public health. Dating back over a hundred years ago is documentation that when soap began to be used in hospital settings that transferred infection rates dropped significantly. But before handwashing was standard protocol we did not realize that infection traveled through contact of patients. We discovered a detergent is effective to wash the dirt and bacterial from theskin. Soap was the great answer. Soap – plain soap, nothing special, nothing chemical – just oils and lye with a fragrance hint. Soap acted as a detergent.
And cold processed soap acts as both a detergent to scrub the dirt from the skin, but in our case it is also a moisturizer because as you wash you encounter our superfatted soap. Superfatting refers to a process that adds an additional 5% of oil to the soap recipe. When you wash your skin’s natural oils are stripped away by the detergent action. But our soap will leave a 5% oil on your skin. And that 5% doesnt feel noticable as oily, but your skin absorbs the oil as its own.
One additional thought is that our skin does absorb what we put on it. Good things or bad, what we put on our skin will
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