Antibacterial Soaps

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will take a closer look at whether “antibacterial” soaps and washes are safe and more effective than plain soap and water.

The experts at Prescriber’s Letter write, “Up to 75% of household hand soaps sold today contain triclosan or a similar broad-spectrum antimicrobial. But these probably have no extra benefit … and might be risky.” They go on to say:

“The big concern is that triclosan might increase bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Animal studies also raise questions about whether triclosan affects thyroid or sex hormones.

“These concerns do NOT apply to alcohol-based hand sanitizers (Purell, etc). Alcohol ruptures cell walls, so resistance isn’t likely.”

So, Prescriber’s Letter recommends that we doctors “Tell patients to stick with plain soap and water when possible … or use an alcohol-based sanitizer when it isn’t.”


This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician.  If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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