What you put on your body can be just as important as what you put in your body. Organic soap can be an important part of a routine that makes you feel like you’re living a healthy life. Learn if your organic soap has any harmful ingredients in this post. It could make a difference to your health!
You’re probably accustomed to seeing the word “organic” when you shop these days. Grocery store shelves are lined with organic milk, organic meat, organic fruits and vegetables.
“Organic,” “Made With Organic” and “100 Percent Organic” have very different meanings. For a product to be labeled in any of those categories, the USDA has a strict list of guidelines that not only apply to the ingredients that make up the product, but also regulate the production of the product itself.
4 Ingredients to Avoid
As you start shopping for organic soap, there are certainly ingredients to avoid. HealthyWomen.org – a site dedicated to educating and empowering women to make the most informed healthy choices for themselves and their families – suggests four potentially harmful main ingredients to avoid in your soap.
1. Phthalates/artificial fragrance. According to the FDA, phthalates are a group of chemicals used in hundreds of products from toys to food packaging to hair spray to body soaps. Historically, these chemicals in cosmetic products have been used as a plasticizer (to reduce cracking in nail polish, for example) or as a solvent or fixative in fragrances, working to make those fragrances long-lasting.
“At the present time, FDA does not have evidence that phthalates as used in cosmetics pose a safety risk. If we determine that a health hazard exists, we will advise the industry and the public, and will take action within the scope of our authority under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act in protecting the health and welfare of consumers.”
But why risk it?
2. Parabens. Put simply: Parabens are preservatives. On an ingredient list, they are easy to recognize with names like methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and/or ethylparaben. And again, the FDA has no rules or laws in relation to the use of such preservatives in cosmetics or skin care products.
Parabens are used to protect against bacteria in skin care products like soap, which sounds like a good thing. In certain combinations, other more natural ingredients can serve the same purpose. On a label free of parabens, look for essential oils along with organic acids and antioxidants to fight against a buildup of bacteria. A mix of more than one may offer more protection.
3. Sulfates. Sulfates are cleaning agents or chemicals. And isn’t cleaning the main purpose of our soaps? Though, there seems to be a debate that goes on when the discussion centers around sulfates. Although they can occur naturally, like calcium sulfate and blue copper sulfate, the general recommendation is “everything in moderation,” even when it comes to sulfates in our organic soaps. Some – like sodium palm kernelate – are rated well when it comes to posing low or no risk to our health. When possible, stick to the most natural-sounding of the sulfates.
4. Triclosan. Triclosan is another chemical agent whose purpose is to fight against bacteria. It is the “antibacterial” in most over-the-counter “antibacterial soaps”. According to their website, “… the FDA doesn’t have evidence that triclosan in over-the-counter (OTC) consumer antibacterial soaps and body washes provides any benefit over washing with regular soap and water.” So why even use it at all when more natural cleaners are available? If you’re looking for a label free of triclosan, keep your eyes open for lecithin, beeswax (such as in our best-selling Orange Blossom Honey Sanitizer) or plant-based cetyl alcohol to do the job just as well.
For more all-natural options, shop Natural Healthy Concepts’ selection of organic soaps today!
Rate Your Soap
If you’re curious about where your current soap falls on the spectrum of “maybe it’s actually good for me” and “I should never touch that stuff again,” visit the EWG’s website. The Environmental Working Group’s mission is simple: “To empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment.”
As alluded to earlier, the FDA doesn’t have specific rules for the ingredients that make up personal care products like shampoos, sunscreens and organic soaps, so the EWG established the Skin Deep® rating system. The ratings in this system are based on any proven hazards associated with those ingredients listed on the labels of the products you use every day.
Where does your current soap rank? Share your results in the comments below!