Hand Soaps You Should Definitely Avoid

For many of us, the outbreak of a worldwide pandemic made washing our hands go from an afterthought to a mandatory action we do multiple times a day. "People are certainly washing their hands more frequently during the outbreak, and that's important — people shouldn't stop washing their hands," Dr. Esther Freeman, director of Global Health Dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital, told Global News.

Many of us are aware of how to use hand soap effectively. Taking your time to cover your skin with soap and rinsing with warm water is a bacteria-killing must. Unfortunately, all soap can't be seen as equal. In fact, some of them can end up doing more harm than good. For many, sudsing up with the wrong soap is leaving the skin on their hands cracked. It also results in a slew of side effects that are harmful to your health.

We're not asking you to avoid using soap or wash your hands less — not during this fear of harmful bacteria moment. We're here to share a few ingredients and shady marketing words to look out for before you commit to using one type of hand soap.

Take your time examining the ingredient list

Just because a product is labeled as "organic" or "natural" doesn't mean it will be safe on your skin. "Just because fields of dandelions are a natural thing, we aren't meant to be rolling in them," Freeman told Global News. "Just because something is natural doesn't mean it's meant to be on our skin." A 2019 study published in JAMA Dermatology found that there is a slew of supposed "natural" products on the market that contain high concentrations of botanical extracts. These extracts are a leading cause of the itchy skin condition, contact dermatitis.

Ideally, you should try to avoid buying soaps with the ingredients triclosan and triclocarban. Alot claims that both ingredients have been associated with the skin condition, as well as hormone imbalances and an increased risk of a food allergy. Any soap with the word "fragrance" in the ingredient list could be a blanket word for a barrage of chemicals that irritate your skin.

Cracked hands, allergic reactions, and hormone imbalances are not side effects we welcome when washing our hands. Luckily, this can be avoided by choosing a hand soap that is free of chemicals, fragrances, and high concentrations of natural extracts. It's your overall health at stake, so take the time you need to check the back of a hand soap's ingredient list.