Our day to day lives are often jam packed. From morning workouts and back-to-back meetings to rush hour traffic and kids’ activities, it can be hard to find the time to think about the little things, like the ingredients in your soap.
But ingredients matter. Just as you make healthy eating choices, you also want to make informed, healthy decisions when selecting products that go on your body.
When you cook, you choose fresh, quality ingredients. When you bathe, you choose…well? What do you choose?
It can be hard to know what is good for your skin and what isn’t. Labels are full of scientific names that mean little or nothing to most of us. But those ingredients are going directly onto your skin, which means they’re also being absorbed into your body, and have a variety of repercussions, from irritating your skin leaving it dry, flaky and/or itchy to causing internal damage to your organs. Knowing what ingredients to avoid will set you down the right path.
The Bad: Ingredients to Avoid.
SULFATES (Especially sodium lauryl sulfate)
Sulfates generate lather. Unfortunately, many of us associate a good lather with a good cleaning. While sulfates do in fact clean your skin, they also remove nearly all oils, leaving your skin dry and potentially irritated. And not all sulfates are created equal: Some are gentler than others. Sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate are two to avoid when possible.
Many soaps contain alcohol for one of two reasons: to help other ingredients penetrate your skin or to preserve the soap itself. Ethanol, Isopropyl Alcohol, Alcohol Denat, and Methanol can cause dryness, irritations or even breakouts. But again, not all alcohols are bad. Cetearyl, Stearyl, Cetyl and Behenyl Alcohols are are “fatty alcohols,” which are used as emollients and actually protect your skin and help it stay moisturized.
If you see the word “Fragrance” on a label, you should avoid it. Ingredients in fragrances aren’t required to be disclosed and do nothing to improve the efficacy of your soap. Fragrances do, however, pose risks to your health. Skip the fragrance.
METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE & METHYLCHLOROISOTHIAZOLINONE
These preservatives are sometimes used to inhibit bacterial growth in soaps. In addition to irritation to your skin, they may also pose dangers to your lungs and respiratory system.
The Good: Ingredients to Look For.
Look for soaps containing oils that come from plants, such as coconut oils, vegetable oils, cocoa butter, olive oils, aloe vera, jojoba, etc. These natural oils shouldn’t irritate and allow your skin to retain moisture rather than stripping your skin of what it needs to stay hydrated.
Glycerin naturally occurs in plant fats and oils and helps your skin retain moisture for hours after you wash. The saponification process bonds glycerin with soap molecules and helps keep your skin feeling soft and supple. Many commercial soaps actually remove the pricey glycerin and sell it as a separate element, leaving your skin to pay the price.
Essential oils are more than a great substitute for fragrance: they also provide their own unique benefits. Different essential oils do different things, so do a little research when choosing!
ROSEMARY EXTRACT or VITAMIN E OIL
Preservatives aren’t always a bad thing. If soap will have any shelf life, it’s important to make sure it stays usable. Rosemary Extract or Vitamin E Oil may be used as a natural preservative with no harmful side effects.
We believe in the fighting power of natural soap. We also believe in removing a layer of toxicity from your lifestyle. Take the time to learn what goes into the products you use every day and reap the rewards.