Living in the close confines of New York City, reaching for antibacterial hand sanitizer is tempting. However, recent studies reveal antibacterial products may have the opposite of their intended affect.

I am not sure how this happened, but bacteria somehow got a terrible reputation. While some bacteria are bad, most people don’t realize that many beneficial bacteria co-evolved with us and are essential to our immune system. Like antibiotics, antibacterial products are not discriminatory and don’t differentiate between good and bad bacteria. Instead, they wipe out everything in their path. Triclosan, the active chemical in most antibacterial products, is currently under review by the FDA and EPA, yet is found in most antiseptic soaps and some toothpastes.

Ironically, Triclosan may actually make your more susceptible to illness and is no more effective than regular soap and water. So reconsider before reaching for the antibacterial stuff and lather up with some gold old fashioned soap.