Last Updated on December 25, 2020
The vast majority of us have a well-defined skincare routine, however simple it may be. Whether you use an exfoliant, moisturizer, anti-wrinkle cream, sunscreen, and a thousand more things to keep your skin healthy and young, or simply soap, you will always need skincare products. Unfortunately, most of them are filled with chemicals, some that could have harmful effects on the skin or organism of certain consumers.
Recently, people have become more aware of this issue mainly due to all the hype around natural products on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. To make you even more conscious of this potential problem, we have decided to present a list of toxic chemicals commonly found in all types of soap and other skin products.
That being said, here are X toxic ingredients that you need to avoid in soap:
Table of Contents
Parabens are chemicals used in several industries as preservatives due to their bactericidal and fungicidal properties. As such, their main function in skincare products is to prevent microorganisms from contaminating and altering the contents of those products, thus making them ineffective. Although they are considered safe by regulators, they have been used in industry for a relatively short time causes a few concerns among certain groups of researchers. A 2004 study suggested that it may present a risk to the endocrine system, and there’s a slim chance it could be linked with breast cancer cases, which lead some consumers to move away from this compound. However, you should know that a study review published a year later considered the link between Parabens and breast cancer “biologically implausible.”
2. Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Commonly known as SLS, sodium Laureth sulfate is a cheap compound produced from coconut or palm kernel oil used in soaps (including dish soaps), shampoos, toothpaste, and a series of other care products due to its cleaning and emulsifying properties. Furthermore, it is also a highly effective foaming agent. Just like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLES) and other detergents, SLS is also a known irritant. This means that it can cause allergic reactions with varying degrees of severity in the skin of consumers. Additionally, it can also irritate the eyes and lungs. That’s why certain entities considered it toxic even though it is labeled as safe for consumer use in many countries – such as the United States of America and Australia, for example.
Classified as an ether, 1,4-Dioxane can be found in a wide variety of cosmetics, from perfumes and deodorants to shampoos and soap. Even though 1,4-Dioxane is not an ingredient used to create the formulas of the products we’ve mentioned, it is a common by-product of the mixed ingredients. For example, 1,4-Dioxane is created during the ethoxylation process necessary to produce sodium laureth sulfate from sodium lauryl sulfate. As a result, it is estimated that up to nearly half of the personal care products available on the market contain this compound. The problem is that besides being an irritant, 1,4-Dioxane is also listed as a probable carcinogen (and even a known carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program) and a substance that can cause kidney and liver disease. For these reasons, New York City decided to ban the sale of cosmetic products with more than 10 ppm of 1,4-Dioxane.
4. Propylene glycol
Propylene glycol is a synthetic syrupy liquid derived from petrochemicals soluble in water and helps the skin absorb moisture. This substance’s properties give it great versatility, so it started to be used in several cosmetic products, foods, and even in medicines. In cosmetic products, propylene glycol is used to carry water-based ingredients to the skin, prevent bacteria’s growth, and make the product last longer. Since it is derived from petrochemicals, many popular brands have stopped using this ingredient due to environmental concerns. Moreover, studies suggest that repeated use of propylene glycol products can irritate the eyes and nasal region.
Let’s end the list of toxic chemicals with one of the most controversial substances of the past few years. Triclosan is an ingredient used to be widely used in soaps, detergents, and toothpaste (among many others, of course) due to its antifungal, antibacterial, and preservative properties. Due to health concerns such as endocrine disruption and antimicrobial resistance, governmental entities worldwide decided to re-evaluate triclosan, and was even listed as a contaminant of emerging concern. After extensive scientific studies and reviews on this substance’s public health risk, in September 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided to label triclosan, together with another 18 active ingredients, as not safe nor effective. However, it’s worth mentioning that, since the FDA doesn’t regulate products in the traditional soap category, there are still thousands of personal care products with triclosan available on the market. To eliminate this potential health hazard, a couple of U.S. states decided to sign bills to ban any products containing triclosan from being commercialized at the state level. Non-toxic soaps: how to choose? If you want to make sure the soap you use doesn’t contain any toxic chemicals, opt for an all-natural product. An effective soap is relatively simple to make and does not require any toxic additives. The safety and health concerns discussed above have forced the personal care products market to adapt, and nowadays, there is a vast offer of natural products, so there’s plenty to choose from. Here are 10 brands that produce 100% chemical-free soaps: Dr. Bronner’s Puracy Avalon Organics Hugo Naturals Tom’s of Maine Rocky Mountain Soap Co. Weleda Young Living Nature’s Gate Silly Goats Soap Company If you buy products from any of these organic brands, you know for sure that you’re making the right (and healthy) choice.