Are liquid soaps any better than bar soaps?
Put simply - no. There’s no scientific evidence to suggest that antibacterial hand wash or sanitiser gets rid of germs any more efficiently than a good scrub with soap and warm water. In fact, according to a study on the effectiveness of soap and water vs alcohol-based hand sanitisers, people who lathered up with soap and water had fewer bacteria on their mits than those who used hand sanitiser.
Which should I use?
Lush CEO, Mark Constantine, has this advice: 'The reason Lush is recommending washing hands with soap and water is because soap has two functions, it dislodges and washes away dirt, bacteria, yeasts, fungi and viruses. It kills bacteria but not viruses and creates temporarily a hostile alkaline environment that neither bacteria or virus find a viable medium. The bodies natural acidity then returns as do the millions of non pathogenic organisms that thrive on the skin. Our skin is naturally what other less friendly bacteria find a very arid and unfriendly surface that constantly sheds.
We don't make liquid soap because it's not a soap but a liquid detergent so it is not alkaline, it also has to be preserved or it grows bugs. Soap doesn't because of the alkalinity (however the dirty water around the bar will if it isn't properly drained). Liquid soap comes in a plastic bottle and its cap can't be recycled. We don't make wipes either, not environmentally sound, less effective than soap and water, while looking like a more effective alternative.'
The skin’s native bacteria dominates space and nutrients, producing compounds that ward off intruders...cue Lush Cosmetic Scientist and product inventor Daniel Campbell to explain more: “Preservatives in liquid hand soaps destroy the microorganisms that live on your skin whether friendly or unfriendly. When you don’t have friendly bacteria protecting your skin it becomes more vulnerable to foreign invaders, leaving you open to dry, damaged or broken skin.”
Lush soaps go one step further. Rather than eradicating all bacteria, including the good stuff, Daniel says: “They help retain a microfloral balance on your skin.” Sounds far more friendly and appealing right?
How do antibacterials work?
Microorganisms are extremely adept at what they do and if conditions are good, these teeny tiny bacteria can multiply very quickly - some bacteria can divide in just 20 minutes. Antibacterials work by disrupting these conditions in order to make it harder for microbes to multiply.
Daniel says: “If you want to kill unwanted microorganisms you need to look at what they are susceptible to. You have to either cut off their food, habitat or stop them from being able to reproduce. Imagine a microorganism like a big jelly disc that draws in resources from its surroundings. By poisoning their food source you prevent microorganisms from growing.”
Here's a bit more information on The Science of Soap or discover loads of soaps that sort out germs while still looking after your skin.