Safe, Natural Alternatives to Anti-bacterial Soaps
By Caryn Gehlmann, Clinical Aromatherapist
We do it many times a day… wash our hands. We know it’s important and we might even remind ourselves to be thorough and wash for at least 20 seconds. But does it matter which hand soap we use? I wanted to address the topic of safe, natural alternatives to anti-bacterial soaps in this month’s Q&A with Caryn in response to a great question from Michelle:
“I’m sensitive to chemicals. I’ve heard that some anti-bacterial soaps are harmful, is that true? What kind of soap will protect me from viruses and bacteria while not harming my skin or my immune system?”
Sadly, while soap is designed to protect us, many do contain harmful ingredients. In this article Antibacterial Soap? You Can Skip It, Use Plain Soap and Water, according to the FDA, there isn’t enough science to show that over-the-counter antibacterial soaps are better at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water. The article goes on to say, “The wide use of these products over a long time has raised the question of potential negative effects on your health.”
Why we need safe, natural alternatives to anti-bacterial soaps
What are some of the health concerns you should be aware of when you go to choose a hand soap?
Here are three…
#1 – Antibiotic-resistant bacteria. You’ve probably heard about this issue. The heavy use of antibiotics can cause bacterial resistance. What happens is a small subset of bacteria with a random mutation survives exposure to the chemical. If that chemical is used frequently enough, it allows this resistant subset to proliferate. Over time this can render the anti-bacterial chemical useless against the strain of bacteria.
#2 – Unwanted chemical exposure. Triclosan is one chemical that was removed a few years ago from products such as hand soap because of serious health concerns by the FDA. This article in the New York Times lists other chemicals to avoid, Many Personal Care Products Contain Harmful Chemicals. Here’s What to Do About It.
Unfortunately, there are more lurking in hand soaps that aren’t listed on the label under the guise of “fragrance.” Many don’t realize that the FDA doesn’t require a list of a fragrance’s ingredients to consumers because the chemicals are considered “trade secrets.” Unfortunately, even products that are labeled “unscented” can be listed under the fragrance umbrella to mask undesirable smells in a product. For some. the ingredients in fragrances can trigger skin allergies, eczema, nasal irritation, and asthma.
#3 – Damage to your skin barrier. The outermost layer of your skin serves as a protective shield. It’s the topmost layer of skin and it’s like a wall serving you in three important ways: 1) slowing down evaporation of water from your skin and thereby preventing dehydration, 2) protecting you from harmful contaminants such as harmful microorganisms, chemicals, or irritants, and 3) it sustains your skin’s immune system. Sadly, you can damage this barrier when you use harsh or irritating products. If you have to wash your hands regularly throughout the day, overly harsh hand soap can lead to dry, cracked, irritated, and inflamed skin.
So we’ve seen how some soaps introduce unwanted chemicals and can damage the skin barrier. That’s not a good way to protect your immune system. Instead, look for a soap that is gentle enough not to compromise your natural skin barrier, but still does the job of thoroughly cleaning.
At e3 we want to give our customers access to products that promote health and wellness. From our research, we saw that liquid soap is usually better than bar soap since it tends to have a pH (acidity) level that’s closer to your skin’s and they include moisturizers or emollients. Emollients retain water on the surface of your skin making it easier for the cells to hold more water. So a few years ago we launched e3’s Natural Antibacterial Liquid Soap which can be used as hand soap or body wash.
e3’s organic soap helps protect your skin since it is made from:
- Pure essential oils that have natural cleansing antibacterial and anti-microbial properties.
- Natural moisturizers such as coconut oil, sunflower oil, and castor oil.
- No chemicals or fillers, you can understand our label!
As an added benefit, you can enjoy the stress-releasing benefits of aroma “therapy” every time you wash with these 3 aroma profiles straight from nature with pure essential oils:
Cedarwood ~ Cypress — Grounding & calming
Eucalyptus ~ Peppermint — Clean & fresh (Our original soap, aka Resilience blend)
Grapefruit ~ Tangerine — Bright & uplifting
The best natural alternatives to anti-bacterial soaps are easy to use and smell great Let us know which scent is your favorite! .And if you want to stay up-to-date on skincare and aromatherapy tips, sign up for our newsletter. You’ll get a 20% off coupon to use on your next order.