Back in ye olden days, using bar soap was pretty much the golden standard of washing (and typically the only option), but with the rise in popularity of liquid soaps and body washes, more and more people are turning their back on bar soap seemingly for good. While there are many valid reasons using liquid soap can be great, there are quite a few arguments put forth against using bar soaps. Many of these sound good on the surface, but don't the science doesn't actually stand behind the conclusions.
Accumulation of Bacteria (Doesn't Transfer)
One of the main arguments against bar soap is that it accumulates bacteria over time, and obviously, that’s not what you want from any soap. And if you’re sharing the bar of soap with someone else, that possibility seems even worse.
But is this true? Yes, microbes will stay on solid soap, but microbes are on everything you touch and that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll transfer to you once you use the soap. In fact, studies have shown that even soaps used to wash E.coli bacteria did not transmit that bacteria to the next user.
So all in all, you’re pretty safe
Excessive Drying Effect (Not if you choose the right, high quality soaps)
Another big argument against bar soaps is that they are excessively drying and are stripping your hands of their natural (healthy) oils, which in turn leaves you exposed to skin irritation and other issues.
Could this be true? Depends. Many soap bars indeed do have a higher pH which disrupts your skin’s natural pH and damages the essential skin oils. However, not all bar soaps are created equal. You can just as easily find a harsh liquid soap that has the same effect, just as you can find a bar of soap with a milder pH!
Right, so what are the benefits of bar soap?
Let’s take a closer look at this old school favorite! As we’ve seen, the arguments against soap bars don’t really hold up, and those nifty little soap bars also carry some great benefits:
Studies have shown that liquid soaps have a higher carbon footprint (by a whopping 25%) thanks to a more laborious manufacturing process, packaging and shipping. It takes a lot more space and fuel to transport heavier liquid soap than bar soap (shipping all the extra water in liquid soaps that aren't present in bar soaps).
On average, we use less water to rid our hands of bar soap than we do liquid. As we know, liquid soap has that sticky feeling that requires more water to get rid of.
The Matter of Fragrance
Many soap bars out there are free of fragrance, which is great for people with sensitive or acne-prone skin (since artificial fragrance is an irritant in these cases). On the other hand, liquid washes that are fragrance-free are exceedingly-rare. Often, even those that say they don’t use any fragrance do, so if you have sensitive skin, you’re better off with a soap bar!
So what’s the bottom line?
Which is better? It’s difficult to decide and ultimately up to your own personal preference. When it comes to the cleansing process itself (super-important in the post-COVID world in which we live) they’re both equally good at cleaning, since both bars and liquid washes contain surfactants, the elements which cause lathering and which allow the soap to spread, and thus do a more thorough job.
In the end, it’s all a matter of personal preference and what you like.
But to answer the question once and for all — no, soap bars aren’t bad for you! We carry all sorts of high quality soaps at Strivezy that you can check out here.