Are Antibacterial Bar Soaps Really Better Than Regular Bar Soaps?


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Everyone has preferences, and this includes which soap you reach for: be it a pump or bar. Even further, many believe that antibacterial soaps are the better pick than a traditional bar soap. But who can blame them? As the name antibacterial suggests, it would seem that these deliver a deeper cleanse. 

But, according to experts this isn’t true. Below, Dr. Corey L. Hartman, Founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology breaks down everything you need to know about bar soaps, and which ones are best to use. 

Is one really better than the other?

“A common misconception is that antibacterial bar soap is better than bar soap without ingredients that will kill bacteria,” Hartman tells ESSENCE. “Most modern bar soaps are full of ingredients that not only cleanse, but will add hydration to the skin,” such as shea butter, coconut oil and many more.”

What are the benefits of both?

There are benefits of both antibacterial and non-antibacterial soaps. “Antibacterial soaps are great for the body in areas that tend to collect bacteria, which when mixed with sweat can lead to body odor, think the armpits, the groin area and any under skin folds,” Hartman said. “Non antibacterial soaps are good options for anywhere else on the body and can deliver moisturizing and cleansing properties to the skin.”

Should I use both on my face?

Hartman points out that while it is possible to use bar soap for both the face and body, there are two different types of bar soap, especially to prevent bacteria from transferring. “The skin on the face is also more sensitive than the skin on body, so most people will do better with a gentler bar soap on the face.”

Which ones should I choose?

While shopping for bar soaps, Hartman recommends looking for moisturizing ingredients like shea butter, aloe, glycerin or ceramides, antioxidants like oat and Vitamin E to help fortify the skin barrier. Try to avoid bar soaps with harsh ingredients like sulfates that remove essential oils for your skin.

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