Updated: Aug 4, 2020
Many of the products we use to get clean - soaps, facial cleansers and body washes, might actually be doing us more harm than good.
To be regulated as “soap”, the product must be composed mainly of the material you get when you combine fats or oils with an alkali, such as lye.
The cleaning action must be done entirely as a result of that material.
This is why many commercial brand products avoid the word “soap” on their labels, instead they use terms like “beauty bar”or “moisturizing bar”.
The word “soap” is heavily regulated (For more information on this see EU legistlation terms)
Many conventional shop products are actually detergents.
The cleaning action is done by stripping the body of all oils through synthetic chemical ingredients. In fact, the glycerin that remains from soap processing (the same glycerin that is responsible for natural moisturizing and is great for the skin) is removed from commercial soaps.
But why would they do this?
Because they know that soon you'll be buying the matching moisturiser!
Yep! That's right, its taken from one product and put into another!
It is instead placed into the lotions and creams displayed nearby in the other grocery aisle. The shop bought soap dries out your skin, so you reach for the lotion to moisturize.
You have now purchased two items instead of just one!
How does it effect the skin?
One of the main ways your body acquires nutrients, other than eating, is through the skin. Your skin is your largest organ with some sources saying 60 -70 percent of the substances you put on it are eventually absorbed into the bloodstream. This means our skin allows us to absorb vitamins and minerals, but, unfortunately, it absorbs harmful chemicals we put on it, too.
This means they could disrupt our hormones, promote allergies, lead to reproductive issues and increase risk of some cancers. With serious side effects like these, we need to be particular about what we put on our skin.
Here are four chemicals you should watch out for:
Fragrance. If the ingredient is vague, it’s probably hiding something. “Fragrance” could actually be a cocktail of chemicals and you’d never know it. Companies aren't require 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 are hiding under that one sneaky term and they can cause skin irritation too.
Parabens. These ingredients are estrogen mimickers - meaning that once applied to the skin, they enter the bloodstream, and the body mistakes them for estrogen. When the body thinks there is an abnormally high amount of estrogen present in the bloodstream due to the presence of these hormone disruptive parabens, it reacts in various ways: decreasing muscle mass, increasing fat deposits, causing early onset of puberty and spurring reproductive difficulties in both men and women.
Sulfates. These chemicals are used to produce lather and bubbles in soap.
Some common sulfates are SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) and SLES (sodium laureth sulfate). Sulfates strip the skin of its natural oils and increase penetration of the skin’s surface. They are also irritants for people with sensitive skin or eczema.
Triclosan. 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.
If we are washing our bodies with soap that contains harmful ingredients every single day, this adds up over a lifetime to wreak havoc on 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.
Improve your overall health by choosing high-quality soap and body wash free of these four hormone-disrupting toxic additives. Make the switch and both your skin and your body will be thanking you for it.
The content provided in this blog post is provided for information purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice and consultation; it is provided with the understanding that Naghtons Skincare is not engaged in the provision or rendering of medical advice or services. You understand and agree that Naughtons Skincare shall not be liable for any claim, loss, or damage arising out of the use of, or reliance upon any content or information in the article.