Soap makers can be anyone from multi-national corporations, small businesses to weekend DIY health fanatics. The way they each produce soap, and the environments they make them in can drastically affect both the quality and benefits of the soap.
Most importantly, the soap we use can affect our health. One of the main ways your body acquires nutrients, other than eating, is transdermally— through the skin. Your skin is your largest organ—22 square feet on average—and 60 percent of the substances you put on it is eventually absorbed into the bloodstream. This semipermeable membrane allows us to absorb vitamins and minerals, but, unfortunately, it absorbs harmful chemicals we put on it, too.
Chemicals in common soaps are no joke. They can disrupt our hormones, promote allergies, lead to reproductive issues and increase the risk of some cancers. With serious side effects like these, we need to be particular about what we put on our skin.
Here are some toxic chemicals commonly used in commercial soaps that you should watch out for when buying soap:
Harmful Ingredients Commercial Soap Contain:
Fragrances (Perfume Scents)
Fragrances could actually be a cocktail of chemicals and you’d never know it. The FDA doesn’t require companies to disclose the breakdown of a fragrance’s ingredients to consumers because the chemicals that produce fragrance are considered “trade secrets.” Most of the time, synthetic chemicals and cancer-causing toxins (like phthalates, used to make fragrances last longer) are hiding under that one sneaky term. Constant exposure to fragrances has been shown to negatively impact the central nervous system, can cause hormone issues, trigger allergies, migraines, asthma symptoms, cause skin conditions and can aggravate existing issues such as acne.
Known as chemical preservatives, these harmful ingredients are found in the majority of commercial soap and beauty products.
Known to cause cancer, this additive is often used as a ‘plasticizer’- a fancy word for an ingredient used to produce plastic.
Made from petroleum, these chemicals should be considered unsafe for humans because little is known about the long-term effects they have on our health.
This chemical is most often found in antibacterial soap. Recent studies have found that triclosan actually promotes the emergence and growth of bacteria resistant to antibiotic cleansers. It also creates dioxin, a carcinogen that has been found in high levels in human breast milk. Dioxins have disruptive effects on the endocrine system and negatively affect thyroid functions. And here’s a fun fact: dioxin is the primary toxic component of Agent Orange!
Commercial soaps are packed with artificial dyes that have been known to cause health problems and illnesses in humans.
Ingredients Healthy Natural Soap Contain:
Despite what most people think – oil is actually an important ingredient in soap, especially if you have oily or acne prone skin. Added oils like coconut oil, grapeseed oil or olive oil help to nourish and moisturize skin and bring it back to its natural PH levels.
Scented natural soaps are usually created with an essential oil to produce a natural, harm-free odor.
Honey, Aloe, Oatmeal and Other Healthy Ingredients
Natural soaps are made with organic, biodegradable ingredients that are harvested, produced, or sourced in a safe and conscious way. Unlike chemical ingredients, a consumer can easily understand what these ingredients are and how their body will react to them.
With these facts, it’s not surprising that people who make the switch from commercial to natural soap almost immediately say they notice a difference in their skin and overall health. By avoiding synthetic ingredients like perfumes and chemicals with natural soap, you are able to boost your overall health and drastically improve your well-being.
Think about it. If we are washing our hands and bodies with soap that contains harmful ingredients every single day, this adds up over a time and will slowly destroy our health.
With minimal government testing on these chemicals, it becomes up to us, as smart consumers, to make informed decisions as to what does and doesn’t go on our skin.