COMPARATIVE EFFECTIVENESS OF ANTISEPTIC SOAP ON HUMAN SKIN

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ABSTRACT

This project investigates the effects of selected medicated soap (Delta, Tetmosol and Tura) commonly used at the study area on some normal micro flora (Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Streptococcus pyogenes) of the human skin. A total of seventy two samples were collected from three body regions (armpit, cubital and finger web) and subjected to both microbial and biochemical tests. Out of the total samples, Thirty six samples each were collected from Ariaria, Karu and Aba communities also in Karu. All the samples were cultured in standard Blood and MacConkey agar at 370 C for 24 hours. The result showed that there were differences in the prevalence of both Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis at the two locations. Null hypothesis was therefore rejected following t-test (t-cal= 0.75, df=1, 0.05 and t-tab=12.7). Staphylocccus pyogenes was isolated from only one sample after treatment. The result also indicated that application of treatment reduced the prevalence of the skin micro flora. On the basis of treatment, the Null hypothesis was also rejected again, for this sample batch (t-cal= 1.0, df=2, 0.05 and t- tab=4.03). These results seem to suggest that, the use of these medicated soaps should be in moderate levels because, over- use may reduce the resident micro flora thereby giving way to transient micro flora, which may grow opportunistically above the normal threshold level, creating a disease situation especially in immune-compromised individuals.

1.0  INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY

Normal micro flora (microorganisms) are found on the surface of all human skin (Prescott et al ., 2008) . The skin is an important organ of the body that serves for protection against infections by germs and shields delicate underlying tissues against injury (Speers and Dawson, 1965). If an individual loses this protection either by injury or by surgical operations, the person is much more susceptible to infections on the skin. Most of micro flora found on the human skin is harmless and some are beneficial. It is important to note that every organism is a potential pathogen because; even the most innocuous microbe may cause infection particularly if the skin is broken or infected. Some of the normal micro flora of the skin that are of bacterial origin include, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Streptococcus aureus, Candida albicans, Mallasseiza furfur and Mycobacterium spp. This study is limited to some normal skin flora of bacterial origin. Bacteria are ubiquitous in nature, and live in the bodies of plants and animals (Fredrickson et al., 2004). There are approximately ten times as many bacterial cells in the human flora as there are human cells in the body, with a larger number of the skin flora. The normal skin micro flora are non – pathogenic, but could either be commensals (not harmful to their host) or mutualistic (beneficial). However, resident microbes can cause skin diseases and enter the blood system creating life-threatening diseases particularly in immunosuppressed people. (Alam et al., 1990). Suppression of the normal flora by use of antibiotics or other antimicrobial agents indicates that the normal flora may serve as defense against colonization by potential pathogens. For instance, treatment of the skin of humans with antibacterial agents such as hexachlorophene results in suppression of the normal Gram positive flora and promotes colonization and clinical infection by Gram negative bacilli and other organisms that cannot normally establish themselves on the skin. Common hygiene practice such as use of  soap can change the prevalence of a particular skin flora and probably replace them with other microflora. Soap is a cleaning or emulsifying agent made by reacting animal or vegetable fats or oils with potassium or sodium hydroxide. Soap often contains coloring matter and acts by emulsifying grease and lowering the surface tension of water so that it readily penetrates to remove dirt. Medicated soap contains additional ingredients, usually for the treatment of skin disorders. Soap cleanses because molecules of fat are attracted to the fatty part of the anions of soap in water solution and are pulled off by the dirty surface into water