Washing our skin is a regular part of our everyday routine. It’s natural for us to hop into the shower and wash ourselves without thinking much of it. When it comes to the soap we use, it’s usually the first one we grab. This is a huge mistake- many soaps contain harmful ingredients that irritate the skin leaving it dry and flakey. The effectiveness of soap depends on how it’s made and which ingredients were used to make it.
What is soap?
You’ve probably never really put much thought into what soap actually contains. All soaps are made by mixing oil or fats with sodium hydroxide or another strong alkali. It also typically contains perfume and colouring is added. Once this is complete, soap molecules and glycerin should remain together. Glycerin helps moisturise the skin. A properly made soap bar is poured into a mold and is left for a few weeks to let excess water evaporate. A bad bar of soap has glycerin removed and added salt in order to speed up the hardening process. After this preservatives are added, foaming agents (for example sodium lauryl sulfate), and other harmful chemicals.
A good-quality soap should should by expertly crafted with plant-derived oils and lye and made in way that no alkali remains at the end of the saponification process. The glycerin in soap should be naturally occuring and only safe ingredients without any preservatives or unknown, sketchy ingredients.
Ingredients to look out for:
- Parabens – some parabens can mimic the activity of hormone estrogen in the body’s cells and can form breast tumors. They can also cause a variety of allergic reactions and skin irritation. They may even cause contact dermatitis- a serious skin inflammation that results in rashes, blisters, and burning skin.
- Phthalates – this ingredient combined at low levels can cause much harm. Phthalate exposures in humans has been linked to changes in hormone levels and altered development of genitals.
- Oxybenzone – it’s linked to hormone disruption and can potentially damage cells which leads to skin cancer.
- Formaldehydes – they cause burning sensations in the nose, eyes and throat as well as coughing, wheezing, nausea and skin irritation. It’s can also cause chest pain, shortness of breath and has been linked to cancer. It’s linked to an increased risk of asthma and allergies in children.
- TEA/DEA – they’ve been linked to cancer and organ system toxicity. Studies have even found that DEA affects human male reproductive health and alters sperm structure, causing abnormalities that affect the sperm’s abilities. It accumulates in the liver and kidney (this is what causes organ toxicity and neurotoxic effects like tremors). It also affects memory and brain development.
- Sulfates – sulfates cause irritation to the eyes, skin and scalp. They are also very drying and irritating.
- Petrochemicals – these chemicals help produce lather and bubbles in soap. Some common ones are SLS and SLES. They strip the skin of its natural oils and increase penetration of the skin’s surface.
- Triclosan – it’s linked to have many negative effects on human health. It causes abnormal endocrine system/thyroid hormone signaling and weakening of the immune system. Children exposed to these type of antibacterial products at an early age have an increased chance of developing allergies, eczema and asthma.
- Irritating foaming agents – these include a lot of sulfates and other substances that are extremely drying to the skin.
Choose chemical free soaps!
Why worry about harmful chemicals when you can completely switch to soaps that are safe to use and widely available. Not only are they just as effective or even more effective, but they’re also nourishing and smell amazing. Here are some amazing chemical free soaps that we highly recommend:
Dr. Alkaitis – Organic Body Wash
A very effective organic body wash that goes on smoothly and creates a light foamy lather. It leaves the skin feeling amazing: soft, clean and silky. It contains organic saponified oils like olive, jojoba, coconut, and apricot oils. It also has some great nourishing ingredients like turmeric, seaweed, borage seed oil, lavender, vitamin E and C. It has a non-drying formula and leaves skin perfectly moisturised.
Herbivore – All Natural Pink Clay Body Soap
A gentle soap that is very convenient since it works great for both the face and body. It contains all-natural ingredients and zero fillers. The mixture of pink and white clays draws out impurities and cleanses the skin without drying it out. The geranium and blood orange essential oils give the product an amazing scent that won’t irritate the skin- especially for those with sensitive skin. It works amazingly with all skin types, specifically with oily skin.
Plant Apothecary – Get Happy Organic Body Wash
An organic skincare brand that has become popular recently. The organic body wash is simple in its ingredients and packed with USDA certified organic components. It has a light scent that is floral and citrusy that will awaken you and keep you feeling energised. It has a silky texture and creates a very light lather. It also contains only eight ingredients and is perfect for every skin types.
100% Pure – Organic Body Wash
This product comes in many various scents including vanilla bean, blood orange, lavender, eucalyptus, coconut and honey almond. Every time you shower your skin will feel nourished, silky and smooth. Each product is filled with hydrating ingredients including hyaluronic acid, green tea, aloe and coconut oil. The product is also vegetarian and contains a few vegan-friendly ingredients.
Earth Tu Face – Bergamont + Aloe Organic Body Wash
A delicate, simple body wash that contains only 10 ingredients. It’s made by saponifying coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil and hemp oil. Then, organic aloe, vegetable glycerin, bergamot and rosemary are added to the mixture. It has a light lather and leaves the right amount of moisture without being too oily. It’s great for dry skin especially.
Christina Moss Naturals – Pomegranate Organic Body Wash
It’s handmade with only natural and organic ingredients such as cinnamon oil, honey oil, safflower oil, coconut and sunflower oils- these all nourish and moisturise the skin. Pomegranate especially is known for its antioxidant properties that help reduce fine lines and wrinkles. A huge plus is that it’s also BPA-free.
Soapwalla – Shea Butter + Tangerine + Clay Organic Soap Bar
A food-grade and organic soap bar that gently exfoliates the skin. It contains French green clay that moisturises and shea butter which has many vitamins and nourishing properties. It has a light, citrus smell that is sweet like the orange essential oils. It can be used both on the face and body and on every skin type. All of the brand’s soaps are handmade in Brooklyn and each bar of soap is hand-cut to order.
Christina Moss Naturals – Lemon Verbena Organic Body Wash
This product has a beautiful citrus scent that is very fresh and summery. It’s effective at moisturising and softening the skin. The main ingredient used is lemon verbena, but it’s also full of other oils and organic ingredients like coconut oil, sunflower oil, aloe, ginger root and orange peel. It has a delicate lather. You don’t have to worry about harsh chemicals or irritants with these soaps. They are all handmade and suitable for all skin types.
Mukti Organics – Botanique Organic Body Wash
This organic brand has a luxury feel to it and only requires a small amount of product to fully experience the greatness of the body wash. Your skin will feel incredible after using it- moisturised and totally clean. The scent is astonishing- lemon, lime and citrus. It stays on the skin for hours after washing it without drying it out. Other ingredients include chamomile, nettles, safe, aloe, yarrow root, rosemary and ginkgo. It will feel like a tropical summer in your shower.
Osmia Organics – Milky Rose Organic Soap
A product made with 98.4% of organic ingredients such as pink clay, buttermilk, olive oil, coconut milk, rose petals and shea butter. This is a luxurious feel soap that leaves the skin silky soft without any film or residue. The essential oils like orange and palmarosa leave a slightly floral scent on the skin. Let’s not forget how beautiful this soap is packaged and how it looks inside.
Christina Maser – Handmade Goats Milk Soap
Their handmade soaps are made with coconut, sweet almond, olive, palm and castor oils, natural clays, honey, herbs, goat’s milk and natural pigments. They are also only scented with pure essential oils. Don’t worry about phthalates, chemicals, or synthetic ingredients- there aren’t any traces of them in the soap. It’s all hand poured into small batches, cut, sliced and packaged by hand.
Kahina Giving Beauty – Moroccan Beldi Organic Soap with Eucalyptus
An organic soap that feels phenomenal on the skin. It’s made using a traditional Moroccan technique and has a thick, gel-like consistency that thickly coats your skin and leaves it nourished. You leave the product on for around 10 minutes and rinse it off with warm water. It amazingly softens the skin thanks to the organic olive oils and eucalyptus leaf oil.
All of these soaps are great and a lot better than most of the soap available at drugstores. Organic, chemical free products are so much safer for your skin and even more effective than harmful ingredients. Taking care of your skin is very important. Always remember that your skin is the body’s biggest organ and everything applied onto it is absorbed and can give either positive effects or damaging effects. It’s best to be safe and switch to chemical free soap.