Anti-bacterial soap and hand sanitizers may not be the best choice for keeping your family healthy during the holidays and beyond.

In this season of running noses and sore throats it is tempting to wipe our kids down with hand sanitizer and antibacterial soap after every sneeze and sniffle. But studies and research show that we are also wiping away the good bacteria that naturally help to defend our kids from sickness and super bugs.

In fact, in September the FDA gave manufactures 12 months to remove all antibacterial soap ingredients from the market. The Food and Drug Administration says they do little or nothing to make soap work any better and said the industry has failed to prove they’re safe.  Included in the ingredient list to be removed from products are triclosan and triclocarban.

Understanding Triclosan

Triclosan is an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent commonly used in pesticides and antibacterial soaps. Triclosan is known to create antibiotic resistant bacteria.  When Triclosan is absorbed into the skin it enters the blood stream. Triclosan is known to cause various side effects like cancer, allergies, hormonal and neurological ill effects, muscle weakness and infertility.

Risks of Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer

Using antibacterial hand sanitizer can have the side effect of increasing the body’s susceptibility to infection instead of protecting against infection. There is both a possible increase of antibiotic resistance and decreased ability to fight infection with continued use of hand sanitizers, according to Drug Watch. Using antibacterial hand sanitizers may actually be less effective than traditional soap and water according to Dr. Sarah Janssen of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The Superiority of Soap and Water

It turns out the best thing we can do for ourselves and our kids is to use old fashioned soap and water. If you do use hand sanitizer for convenience, make sure to limit use to times when soap and water are not available. While we should wash hands regularly, a little dirt may help to keep the immune system healthy.