Soap’s not as clean as you may think mamas! Watch out for hidden nasties when shopping for your bathroom.
When we think of cleaning our skin, thoughts of soapy bubbles and lather come to mind.
Soap-making is an age-old process, invented thousands of years ago. Traditionally made with natural oils and lye – the process can be very simple, but unfortunately many commercial skincare makers today have learned to make it cheaper, faster – like junkfood for the skin.
When soap is made, natural glycerine forms which keeps your skin hydrated. But many manufactures remove that glycerine and sell it separately as a byproduct. They replace plant oils with synthetic chemicals, so what you end up with is not a soap at all, but actually a detergent!
How do you know if your soap is the real deal? In my Simplify Skin workshops, I teach my students how to quickly understand ingredient labels and discover those better brands. Here are three ingredients for you to look out for. If you spot them on the label, keep walking!
- Perfume or Parfum
We may love the scent of perfumed products, but this synthetic ingredients is made up of tens or even hundreds of chemicals. Perfume is one of the top allergens, it’s irritating for our system and should not be used, especially with small kids. Natural soap makers use herbs and essential oils that not only add a lovely scent, but also have beneficial properties too!
One of the biggest offenders, antibacterial soaps are becoming a serious problem. Marketing tells us that antibacterial products help to keep the family healthy, something we all want! It’s become so popular that over 70% of cleaning products contain some form of antibacterial, like Triclosan. Here’s the problem: in order for Triclosan to work, it needs to be left on the skin for 3 minutes. I’m lucky if my kids wash for 10 seconds! So, bacteria are receiving these micro-doses and becoming resistant. These super-bugs are causing such health concerns, that experts and doctors are urging us to stop using antibacterials. Plain soap and water works just as effectively and keeping your family safe from illness, and the FDA agrees. They’re currently looking into antibacterial products and their marketing claims. In the meantime, we can start at home by ditching the antibacterials!
- SLS or SLES
Those mountains of bubbles in your soap are created with a synthetic chemical, usually SLS or SLES. It’s so harsh on the skin that it not only removes excess dirt, but it also strips your skin of its natural oils. You know that tight feeling you get after you wash your – that’s not good! Your skin compensates by producing more oil, so you get stuck in a product cycle, washing off the oils and getting more oily. One of the biggest complaints that I hear about natural soap is that is doesn’t lather, but that doesn’t mean it’s not cleaning you skin! If you want the bubbles, try using a shower puff or pouring natural liquid soap into a foam dispenser. I share more recipes and tips for simplifying your life on my website Little Green Dot. After years of teaching in person workshops – the Simplify Skin workshop will soon be available online! Sign up to the newsletter to get more details.