If you had to name a recent innovation with the greatest benefit to humanity, there’s one everyday practice that you might never even consider.
Hint: It’s something that few people did until about 150 years ago.
It’s not the use of fire, or the wheel or even the invention of antibiotics. It’s handwashing. That’s right, hand hygiene is "the single most important factor for infection control."
The simple act of hand-washing prevents millions, perhaps billions of cases of disease every year, and we have none other than the great Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing, to thank for making it a common practice in the mid-1800s.
Before Florence, no one routinely washed their hands—not when preparing food, delivering babies and even doctors performing surgery didn’t scrub-in. We truly owe Florence a tremendous debt—in fact, Nurses Day is celebrated on May 12th in honor of her birthday.
I’m thinking about soap because this coming week is National Handwashing Week, created to raise awareness of the need to keep our hands clean.
And picking the right soap can be tricky. Here’s why:
Major-brand antibacterial soaps are heavily promoted as a panacea to a health-concerned public, but studies have shown, and The Center for Disease Control indicates, that for all the disinfectants and antibacterial products out there, nothing works as well as regular soap and water to keep us safe from pathogens.
What’s worse is that anti-bacterial soaps “significantly contribute to a growing scourge: antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”
From a beauty and skin care perspective, these soaps can also have a drying effect caused by harsh additives, leaving skin rough and broken, providing additional pathways for infection.
Many of the most widely used bath soaps today have been found to contain potentially harmful, definitely questionable ingredients such as:
- Parabens (such as methylparaben and propylparaben) are preservatives often found in bars of soap and are known to cause serious health issues
- Triclosan is a pesticide that has antibacterial properties, which is believed to contribute to antibiotic resistance
- Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS) is used to produce lather and bubbles in soap but permeates outer layers of the skin easily and is a skin irritant for people with sensitive skin or eczema
- Cocamide DEA sounds OK because it comes from coconut oil, but it is one of the top skin irritants—and there are even some hugely popular and natural-sounding brands and soaps that still contain it...
Truth is, simple, honest soap gets rid of pathogens without toxins and helps maintain our wellness.
If you’re looking for a simple way to make a big difference with your skin, change your soap. Many skin problems result from the products used for cleaning skin. It’s a great example of how small actions can take root and blossom with even greater impact.
Eu2Be soaps are made with natural ingredients like virgin olive, coconut, castor and safflower oils and other natural ingredients you can pronounce. They’re designed to clean and moisturize your skin as you lather up.
So, let’s take a cue from Florence Nightingale—especially during this time of year: taking time to wash our hands frequently is a small practice that protects our health, wellness and our skin.
You can protect your skin naturally, simply, effectively and with lots of moisture when you choose Eu2Be soaps and natural skincare products.