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What to Avoid in Natural Soap

When you're shopping for an all-natural soap, keep in mind that the "natural" label, on its own, carries little clout. There just isn't sufficient regulation by the FDA to back it up, so companies can use it at will to make their products seem more wholesome than they really are. It's worth your time to read labels and know what sorts of additives to avoid. Here's a list of ingredients you don't want to see in your soap.

  • Alcohol or isopropyl (SD-40) 
  • DEA (diethanolamine) 
  • FD&C color pigments 
  • Fluoride 
  • MEA (monoethanolamine) 
  • Mineral oil 
  • Parabens 
  • PEG (Polyethylene glycol) 
  • PG (Propylene glycol) 
  • Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) 
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) 
  • Talc 
  • TEA (triethanolamine) 
  • Triclosan* 

Instead, opt for ingredients that whet your appetite.
"The yummier they sound to your tummy, the better they'll nurture your skin." (excerpted from MaryJaneButters: Natural Soaps are a Bath-Time Necessity). 11/05/2008)

Antibacterial Soaps 
We've all heard that antibacterial soaps and cleaners may do more harm than good because they can facilitate the development of super-resistant germs. The bacteria simply adapt to the chemicals and become more potent. The main active ingredient in most antibacterial soaps is a pesticide called triclosan (also known as Irgasan and Microban). When it was introduced in 1972, triclosan was confined to health-care settings, such as in surgical scrubs, operating rooms and patient care units. Now it's everywhere...

*Contact with triclosan poses a wide range of risks, from skin irritation to internal problems. Studies have shown that washing hands with soap that contains triclosan is no more effective in preventing infectious diseases than washing with regular soap. Households using antibacterial products did not have any reduced risk for runny noses, coughs and other symptoms of illness. So in the long run, we're not getting any cleaner, and we're exposing ourselves to a dangerous pesticide. Not to mention that harsh soaps can deplete the skin of natural fats, weakening it and actually allowing toxins and bacteria to invade..." (excerpted from Mary Jane Butters: Natural Soaps are a Bath-Time Necessity).