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Are Bars Of Soap Sprouting Germs? The Soap Check

HEALTHY THROUGH THE CORONA CRISIS Is bar soap a virus thrower? Does Liquid Soap Make Hands Cleaner? Which soap protects you better

There are many good reasons to buy soap in bulk: it is cheaper, causes less packaging waste, and is also more economical to use. In short: a bar of soap is good for the wallet and better for the environment. But is bar soap also good for your health?

Especially in Corona, we have inevitably become handwashing professionals and are increasingly concerned with hand hygiene. So if a bar of soap goes through many dirty hands in the bathroom every day and is also always in the damp soap dish, can this soap be hygienic – or are bars of soap bacilli-throwing?

Does Liquid Soap Work Differently From Solid Soap?

The short answer to that is no. No matter which format you choose, your hands will be clean. From a chemical point of view, both types work on the same principle and are in no way inferior to each other in terms of cleaning power.

But Is Solid Soap Hygienic?

Many think that bars of soap are unsanitary. When it comes to nucleation, however, they are nowhere near as bad as assumed. As early as 1988, as part of a study, scientists added bacteria to bars of soap to see whether the transmission was possible in this way. With the result: no. Virtually no germs could be detected on the hands of the persons examined. Other new studies also show that the bacterial population on solid soap is comparatively low when considering skin flora.

Dr. Yael Adler, a dermatologist from Berlin and author of the bestseller Close up: Everything about our largest organ and “You don’t talk about it! Get rid of the body taboos!” Knows the study situation on this topic and confirms that the transmission and infection risks are very low or nonexistent. “Soap is not a place where pathogens feel good,” explains the expert.

By the way: microorganisms can also frolic on a soap dispenser. The pump lever is finally touched again and again. “But that is not a cause for concern,” says Andrea Sättler, Director for Body, Skin, and Oral Care R&D at Henkel. “The bacteria are rinsed off again with the foam.” The expert nevertheless recommends cleaning the pump dispenser regularly.

So What Is Better: Soap In One Piece Or Relatively Liquid?

You probably know that: When you pump the liquid soap, it more often comes out than is necessary for a hand wash – and the hands dry out unnecessarily. If you ask, dermatologists like Dr. Adler are therefore tending towards solid soap formats. “A washing bar is more kind to the skin because fewer washing substances attack the protective barrier of the skin.” 

Intermediate conclusion: bar soap is even preferable to conventional liquid soap. Because the skin barrier remains intact, but you can wash your hands even more gently. Instead of traditional soap, Dr. Adler recommends “synthetic detergents ( tensides )” – syndets for short.

Why Does Soap Stress The Skin?

Incidentally, skin experts generally warn against excessive use of soap, regardless of whether it is in liquid or solid form. This is because they can gradually irritate the natural protective layer of the skin, leading to irritation, eczema, and even contact allergies. This is due to the alkaline nature of soaps.

Depending on the type of soap, the pH value can vary between 9 and 11. For comparison: the skin has a pH value of around 5. “When washing with normal soap, the pH value of the skin rises more and then it takes a few hours to return to its natural value – regardless of whether it is industrial – or eco-soap, “explains dermatologist Adler. “This weakens the living space on the skin of the” dear “bouncer bacteria that protect us and that drive away unwanted pathogens. It is therefore better to use a soap-free washing bar, as it is economical to use and at the same time has an acidic pH value.” It is best to use products with sugar and coconut surfactants, which degrade the least.

Why Are Syndets Better Than Soap?

Sanders is available in liquid and solid versions. Both versions are gentler on the skin than soap, which is due to their comparatively lower pH value – perfect for sensitive skin.

We can particularly recommend the gentle wash pieces from Eubos and Sebamed 

By the way: many of the supposed soaps in retail are syndets. When buying, pay attention to terms such as “soap-free,” “pH-neutral,” or a pH value of 5.5. So you go safe.

No matter which variant you choose: Your hands will be equally good and clean. However, bars of soap dry out your skin less than classic liquid soap. Syndets – i.e., soap-free washing bars or liquid washing emulsions – are even gentler. This means that your skin stays healthy despite frequent washing in corona times.


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