Espedilla: The truth about antibacterial soap

DEAR Dr. Fritz,

I hope you are fine. I am Betsy. I just wanted to know the truth about antibacterial soaps. My friend told me that they are dangerous. If this is true, then why is it that there are still advertisements over the print and radio about these antibacterial soaps? I don’t understand. That is why it is hard for me to believe my friend. I am writing to you because I have always chosen antibacterial soap for our family’s use. It is starting to scare me. But, is this true? Do I have any reason to panic?

Please tell me. Thank you for your help on this matter.

Betsy of Lanang


Dear Betsy of Lanang,

I understand your concern. After all, we only want the best for our families but, with this, your family is among those who will be potentially affected. Again, I understand your anxieties but I have some good news and bad news for you. However, the good news would not necessarily make you happy.

Your friend is not quite right when he said that antibacterial soaps are dangerous because experts are still arguing on the potentiality of these products to create health risks, aside from not being really better than the plain soap. This is the reason why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is banning most antibacterial soaps and body washes currently on store shelves. Fortunately (or unfortunately), our own Food and Drug Administration has still not acted on this matter.

The ban covers soaps and body washes containing triclosan and triclocarban, which are two of the most common antibacterial ingredients. But aside from these two ingredients, there are other 17 active ingredients which are also included on the list.

The US Food and Drug Administration had acted over concerns that antibacterial soaps might be contributing to bacterial resistance or the emergence of the “super bug” or the antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which had infected millions of people all over the world and had been attributed as the cause among the thousands of deaths around the globe.

I wanted to talk more about the latest developments on antibacterial soaps, but, we are losing space this time so let me then continue this in my next issue. Until then!

Dr. Fritz

(Dr. Fritz Legarde Espedilla is an aesthetic dermatologist and surgeon and a clinical sexologist. She is also trained in hypnotherapy and Medical Acupuncture. She has been in the broadcast media for more than a decade and has written a book based on her 15-year stint on her radio program, “Healthy is Sexy Secrets ni Dr. Fritz.” She is also a faculty in a College of Pharmacy. For your questions, you may send them to Dear Dr. Fritz, c/o Sunstar-Davao Publishing Inc., Ebro-Pelayo Building, Jacinto St., Davao City, (former Department of Foreign Affairs office), across Ateneo de Davao University and beside Holy Child School of Davao, or you e-mail them to If you don’t wish your letter to be published, we regret that we cannot answer them. Thank you for your understanding.)
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