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Antibacterial Soap Dried Hands

Q. I had cracked hands and fingertips for several years and found nothing that helped. Then I got rid of all antibacterial soaps. My hands cleared up immediately, and I have had no trouble since.

A. The antibacterial ingredient in most soaps, toothpastes and dish detergents is triclosan. There are some concerns about this compound, which disrupts thyroid hormones in some animals (Toxicological Sciences, Jan. 2009).

According to its website, the “FDA does not have evidence that triclosan added to antibacterial soaps and body washes provides extra health benefits over soap and water.”

Thanks for sharing your experience. Frequent use of any soap can strip oil from skin and aggravate dryness. Many people find a strong moisturizer can be helpful. Lanolin and petroleum jelly are both effective for this purpose, although lanolin can cause allergic reactions and petroleum jelly is derived from petroleum (surprise). Our favorite is Udderly Smooth Extra Care 20 Cream with 20 percent urea. It is from Redex, a company that supports our radio show.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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