Bacteria on human skin are usually harmless but when you have a broken skin these bacteria are capable of causing infections or due to blocked sweat or sebaceous gland. This might cause irritation and eventually cause boils, pustules and even abscesses. And to protect our skin from acquiring such infections, there is need to keep away the bacteria on our skin.
One way of keeping bacteria off our skin is by using water, antibacterial body wash and advanced antibacterial soaps. Most of the regular liquid hand and body washes and soaps we use are manufactured with chemicals like alcohol and chlorine.
These types of chemicals can kill germs to a certain percentage. There certain soaps known as antibacterial which have extra bacteria-killing agents or chemicals like triclosan or triclocarban. Soap and water generally doesn’t kill germs but the mechanical rubbing of soap and rinsing off the dirt on our hands eliminates or removes of germs that are the hands. Water on its own plays an important role in removing germs but to bring much effectiveness, soap or body wash should be also be used.
However, researches have shown that even the use of antibacterial soaps with triclosan or triclocarban are not capable of fully killing germs on our skin. What matters most is the technique used to wash our hands and the entire body. According to Dr. Peter N. Wenger, washing our hands vigorously and especially between our fingers is the only effective way of clearing germs and debris.
Further research indicates that not all bacteria on our skin are harmful. Our body requires certain bacteria to fight harmful bacteria for a healthier and balanced environment. When our bodies are continually being exposed to antibacterial products, the amount of healthy bacteria is reduced. At the end our bodies will develop resistance to most of common antibiotics to fight superbugs which are new strains of bacteria.
Body wash is actually meant to minimize water’s surface tension as well as clear dirt and the oils the body excrete or that which we use to apply on our skin. This at the end makes it easier for it to be rinsed off. Although they lack antibacterial chemicals like the antibacterial soaps, they can effectively kill germs if the right process of washing is followed. The advantage of using body wash over antibacterial soap is that it doesn’t kill healthy bacteria on the skin surface.
Tips for achieving better results when using body wash
Better results of killing harmful bacteria on our skin surface are by using soap and water. By applying the right procedure you can remove germs, stop and prevent the spread of germs to people around us for a better living. The process below is recommended by CDC (Center for Disease Control) for effective hand and body wash to kill germs:
- Use warm running water preferably on tap or shower to wet your hands or body.
- Rub your hands together to foam soapy lather. Wash the front part of your hands and then the back side. Rub between your fingers and under the nails keenly for about 20 seconds. Rub also your entire body
- Rinse your hands and body with warm running water
- Dry your hands and body with a clean dry towel or air dryer
- Use a clean paper towel to turn off water and then dispose it properly.
When you follow the above procedure, even an ordinary body wash without extra antibacterial chemicals will help you get rid of harmful bacteria. The principle of washing is that you don’t need to spend an extra coin for you to get rid of harmful bacteria. It has not yet been proven how much effective is for an antibacterial soap to clear bacteria better than ordinary soap or body wash. Hand sanitizers can be an alternative option in case you are unable to fully access warm water and soap.
Tips for using hand sanitizer
CDC recommends that we use water and soap in washing our hands as much as we can as washing our hands thoroughly has been proven to reduce all possible germs and chemicals that our hands are exposed to than any other means. However, there are certain situations when we are unable to access water and soap and therefore we seek on other alternatives.
Effective as water and soap,
A hand sanitizer is helpful in situations where we don’t have water and soap. Although it is not as effective as water and soap, it has a 60% alcohol component that plays an important role in avoiding acquiring germs that might make you get sick or transmit germs to others. Sanitizers that have up to 60% of alcohol are capable of reducing a given percentage of microbes on our hands although they can’t fully eliminate them. When using sanitizer to clean your hands,
CDC recommends the following tips both for children and adults:
- Apply recommended amount of hand sanitizer to the palm of your hand.
- Rub both hands together.
- Rub evenly over all surfaces of your hands and between your fingers until your hands are dry.
Sanitizers are more effective in settings like hospitals where our hands come in contact with germs but are not heavily soaked with grease or soil. This means that hand sanitizers might be effective in situations where hands are slightly or greatly soaked with soil or grease. Water and soap can help us clean our hands that have food on them more effectively than sanitizer because sanitizers can’t remove proteins and fats that are in the food.
Most effective way to clear germs
Body wash combined with water is the most effective way to clear germs in circumstances where sanitizers and other forms of killing germs are unable. Germs like Cryptosporidium, norovirus and Clostridium difficile can be cleared well when we use soap and water. At least 90% of active bacteria are cleared when we wash our hands with water and soap by simply singing the ‘Happy birthday to you’ chorus once and if repeated the second time the 99.9% bacteria clearance is achieved. This is an equivalent to what the antibacterial soap has been allegedly said to do.