Whatever way you choose to clean your skin, whether it be a body wash or bar soap (I'm a bar soap kinda person myself), be on the lookout for some easily avoidable ingredients if you're looking for healthier, less toxic and more "green" body and skin care. Some of these ingredients are being slowly phased out of skin care products as customer demand has edged further away from potentially harmful ingredients.
This is a great thing, but it's still important to know what to avoid if you're looking for the purest, "greenest"1 and least risky personal care products for you and yours. So without further ado, here's a list of the big ones you will want to avoid when shopping:
Triclosan – This ingredient is still used in some antibacterial soaps and cleansers, particularly for the hands since it is a potent antibacterial agent. The reason is its antibacterial properties. The problem is, this chemical has been identified as a cancer causing agent due to its potential dioxin contamination. Dioxin I is a poisonous substance that can result from the manufacture of other chemicals used in common household products.
Propylene Glycol – All of our products are formulated without this common additive. It is a petroleum by-product which is used in everything from soaps and cleansers to antifreeze, toothpaste, deodorant (our natural deodorant is formulated without this as well), cosmetics and even ice cream and processed foods.
Cocoamide DEA – This ingredient also goes by the names of TEA, MEA, (MSDS), diethanolamine, and triethanolamine. These are foaming agents that are harsh chemicals which cause irritation and may be linked to several health issues.
Parabens – One of the most common preservatives used in all kinds of personal and body care products. They are extremely controversial. This family of chemicals can have the prefixes of “Methyl” “Poly” and several others. All should be avoided due to their ability to mimic hormones and interfere with the body’s balance of male and female hormones, causing related health problems.
Lanolin – This is a moisturizing ingredient that many are now realizing is not only a potent allergen in some people, but also may contain toxins. It is derived from sheep skin, and has been touted for moisturizing properties. However, many people have allergies to it and it can often be tainted by pesticides.
Mineral Oil – Another potentially toxic petroleum derivative. Mineral oil is known for clogging pores and “suffocating” the skin rather than helping moisturize and protect it. It is actually one step away from being crude oil. This ingredient should be totally avoided in any products that are used on the skin.
Artificial fragrance and colors – These can appear as the term “fragrance” on the label or “coloring”. They can really contain anything though since the fragrance is often protected under trademark or other similar rights. There are literally thousands of chemicals that can make up artificial fragrances. Since artificial fragrances are so universally used, it's an ingredient that is going to be in a lot of the soaps and washes you come across. Just look for either a fragrance free product, or choose only products that are naturally scented with natural oils.