Time Magazine on “Should I Use Antibacterial Soap”

I admit I was skeptical when I saw this headline from TIME magazine: You Asked: Should I Use Antibacterial Soap? 

Research shows they offer zero health benefits. But by changing the makeup of your skin and body bacteria, antibacterials may be fostering new health concerns–especially for kids.

But the article by Markham Heid is quite good. It has some good quotes from Martin Blaser, Elaine Larsen, and Allison Aiello on why using antibacterial soaps might not be a good thing.

  • From Aiello regarding triclosan in soaps: “The potential risks definitely outweigh the benefits, which are none,”
  • From Elaine Larsen: “In terms of infection rates and sickness, we found absolutely no difference between antibacterial soap and regular soap,
  • From Blaser: “This mythology has developed that we can sterilize the world, and that that’s a good thing. But the question should be, what’s the benefit? With many antibacterials, there isn’t one.”


Leave a Reply

Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. My lab is in the UC Davis Genome Center and I hold appointments in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Medicine and the Department of Evolution and Ecology in the College of Biological Sciences. My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis (see my lab site here which has more information on lab activities).  In addition to research, I am heavily involved in the Open Access publishing and Open Science movements.