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The Truth About Bar Soaps: Debunking the Common Misconceptions

In an age where liquid soap reigns, bar soap has gotten a bad rep — but for no good reason. The reality is that a lot of the reasons why people avoid bar soap is actually due to misconceptions that have little to no truth behind them.

The fact of the matter is that bringing back bar soaps may be one of the best things you can do for your shower routine, and skin.

With so much conflicting information, it can be hard to create skincare habits that hydrate, moisturize and rejuvenate your skin. With that said, you may want to change how you think about bar soaps. It’s time to set the record straight:

Myth: They Dry out Your Skin

FACT: This couldn’t be less true. In fact, liquid soaps are known to contain many chemicals and ingredients like fragrance and alcohols that are harsh on your skin and cause irritation and dryness. Bars, on the other hand, contain natural, fatty oils that effectively moisturize and hydrate the skin.

While some regular bar soaps may be harsh for certain skin types, there are products like Erno Laszlo soaps that are specially created for those with sensitive or oily skin.

MYTH: They Are Full of Germs

FACT: Because bar soap collects the dirt and germs from your body, many people believe that using the product — especially after it’s used by someone else — is very unhygienic. The reality is that these germs do exist (sorry), but the chance of them transferring onto your body is very low.

Marlene Wolfe, an environmental health researcher at Tufts University, shared with Vice that “There’s not a lot of evidence that bacteria from bar soap is transferred to the next person.”

This is because the product contains ingredients that are actually self-cleaning once they dry out. So long story short, if you are afraid of your bar transferring germs, just leave it in a dry area where it can clean itself.

MYTH: They are Bad for the Environment

FACT: Because bar soaps are often made of natural ingredients, require less packaging, and in some cases are packaged in recyclable boxes, they are actually far less harmful to the environment than people think. As a matter of fact, comparatively, liquid soaps have a 25% larger carbon footprint.

MYTH: They Will Make You Sick

FACT: This is another myth stemming from the misconception that bar soaps are essentially germ factories. The reality is that it likely won’t make you sick — even if it is built up with bacteria (which it isn’t, really).

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, under 1 percent of bacteria make people sick. You’re also far more likely to spread germs if you share — when it’s a solo product, however, you’re put at little risk.

MYTH: They Are Far More Expensive

FACT: It’s easy to be misled that soap bars are more expensive because, when exposed to water, they wear down fast. That said, most keep their product in a dry place where it doesn’t get worn down.

Liquid soap, on the other hand, is far more expensive due to the fact it is bigger and requires more packaging. As a matter of fact, it’s time to stop thinking critically about bar soap, and think more critically about the products that claim to replace them.