Photo by Ben Draper

Antibacterial hand soap has only been around since the ’80s, but in recent years it’s started to stir up some serious controversy. So what’s the fuss? Some studies suggest the main ingredient in about three quarters of antibacterial soaps, triclosan, can build up in our bodies and interfere with hormone function. Plus, the repeated use of the same antibacterial agent could cause bacteria to morph and become resistant, making killing them even tougher (dun dun dunnn).

But even with these possible downsides, no research conclusively shows a solely negative impact. To be on the safe side, there is evidence that regular soap can be just as effective as antibacterial soap— so there’s no real need to scrub up with crazy chemicals.

The Takeaway: Antibacterial soap isn’t by any means necessary, but it isn’t definitively shown to have negative effects either. It’s probably better than not washing at all (yuck!), but consider switching to standard soap at the bathroom sink.

Hand Washing 101

All this soap talk got you wondering about other handy hand-washing tips? We’ve got it all right here.

Fun Fact:

Food safety recommendations direct restaurant employees to wash their hand the equivalent of 29 times per hour. Talk about dry skin!