Soap isn't all about nourishing the skin, but also about cleansing, removing dirt and killing bacteria. We're all exposed to germs and bacteria each day, which can impact our skins' ability to heal and put us at risk of getting sick.
Many think that harsh antibacterial soaps are required to kill germs and bacteria - but this isn't the case.
For years before commercial cosmetic and skincare companies started adding-in synthetic chemicals, soap for cleansing was made with natural oils and ingredients.
The CDC states that antibacterial soaps with added chemicals are no more effective than natural soaps for killing disease-causing germs. We also have healthy bacteria and oils on our skin. Using antibacterial soaps can kill these healthy bacteria and remove the natural oils, which causes damage and pre-mature aging through dryness.
However, antibacterial agents do have their place. In hospitals, vet clinics, homes with pets, and when allergies come into play, they can do a great job of neutralizing germs in a short period of time. But repeated skin exposure to these harsh chemicals puts your skin at risk of damage.
So without added chemicals, how does natural soap clean the skin?
The oils we use are naturally antibacterial. Olive oil and shea butter are known to be naturally anti-aging, helping reduce the appearance of wrinkles and dark spots. Rich in vitamins A and E, these moisturizers protect the skin against environmental damage and help guard against UV radiation.
Coconut oil, meanwhile, is antimicrobial, antifungal and antibacterial, helping repel germs and bacteria responsible for breakouts and skin complaints like acne. It’s also deeply nourishing, helping soothe the symptoms of dry skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis.
The Bottom Line
For everyday use, look for soaps that are made without any artificial fillers, chemicals, or artificial antibacterial agents like triclosan. These agents are very tough on the skin, tough on the drain, and studies suggest their effectiveness at killing bacteria over natural oils is inconclusive.
For instances on the go (ex: hand sanitizer for children, hospitals, clinics), antibacterial soaps and sanitizers can certainly serve their purpose!