Although bar soap has been around much longer than liquid, it often gets the short end of the stick when compared with its more modern substitute.
One claim against bar soaps is the bacteria factor. A lot of research has been done over the past three decades examining the risks bar soaps pose in terms of being harbors to several harmful bacteria, including E. coli, which can cause diarrhea, along with other issues, and Staph. aureus, the leading cause of skin infections such as antibiotic-resistant MRSA. As bars of soap are often shared, fears concerning the transfer of bacteria have appeared. However, studies have shown that although bacteria levels on previously-used bar soaps are slightly higher than on unused soaps, there have been no detectable levels of bacteria left on the skin’s surface after using the soap. Bar soap users who are still worried about spreading germs can always make sure that each person has his or her own soap or simply stick to liquid soap instead.
Another con of bar soaps is the fact that many have a higher pH level than liquid soaps. Because of this, some bar soaps are often more drying to the skin. Dried-out skin is not only uncomfortable but also heals more slowly when injured. What most liquid soap enthusiasts fail to take into account is that there are many different soaps on the market that have low or neutral pH levels, which are less drying.
On the other hand, most bar soaps contain glycerin, which is good for people with dermatological problems like eczema. It can even help people who just have dry skin. Also, for people who are allergic to fragrances, bar soaps can be the most convenient option; there are many bar soaps on the market that are fragrance-free. Fragrance-free liquid soaps, on the other hand, are a little harder to find.
So what should you do?
The Centers for Disease Control recommend using liquid soap over bar soap to prevent a MRSA infection, noting that antimicrobial soap is unnecessary. If you still want to use bar soap, do not share it, and leave it somewhere where it will dry off easily after use.