Eight Shockingly Dangerous Chemicals You Didn’t Know Were in Your Soap


You may not have stopped to wonder exactly what is in your soap, as it seems to be a rather benign product. It protects you from bacteria and leaves your skin pleasantly scented. However, a large number of the chemicals that are commonly found in soap can play a significant role in the development of certain health problems. Read on to learn about the eight most toxic and dangerous chemicals that are commonly added to soap.

 

1) PEG-6:
PEG-6 is found in almost all solid soaps, and it commonly contains impurities that are suspected of causing a range of potentially fatal conditions. In particular, several studies have proven that there is a link between exposure to PEG-6 and an increased likelihood of suffering from breast cancer.

 

2) Diethanolamine (DEA):
DEA is dangerous in itself and dangerous when combined with certain other chemicals. On its own, it appears to pose a risk to unborn children because it stops the body from properly developing choline (a nutrient that is vital to brain development). When it combines with the nitrate preservatives that are often added to soaps in order to give them a longer shelf life, DEA forms a carcinogenic chemical called NDEA. Studies have connected exposure to NDEA with the development of cancers of the kidneys and liver, but it is suspected that this compound is capable of causing other cancers as well.

 

3) 1, 4 dioxane:
1. 4 dioxane is another carcinogen that is commonly found in all kinds of personal care products (including soap). It is a by-product of chemicals such as SLS, and there has been considerable pressure on cosmetics companies to prevent it from making its way into cosmetics and cleansing products. As it stands, however, its presence in soaps is not illegal and it is still in the bulk of personal care products.

 

4) Triclosan:
Triclosan is a common ingredient in soaps because it is an antibacterial agent that can help to keep your skin clean and hygienic. Unfortunately, there are also a couple of different reasons why soaps that contain triclosan could end up posing a risk to your health. For one thing, triclosan can interfere with the levels of the female hormone estrogen, and inappropriate levels of estrogen can increase your risk of developing breast cancer. In addition, triclosan encourages the evolution of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

 

5) Fragrance or ‘parfum’:
Companies often scent their soaps in order to make sure that they leave an appealing smell on your skin after you wash. However, current laws permit the makers of beauty products to add the misleading word ‘fragrance’ (or ‘parfum’) to their list of ingredients in such cases. This suggests that one innocent ingredient has been added, when in fact it often takes hundreds or thousands of additional chemicals to give a product its distinctive smell. The Environmental Working Group has declared fragrance to be deserving of an eight on a scale of one to ten, as many of the ingredients that create the scents of beauty products are extremely bad for your body. For example, some of them are linked to serious allergic reactions, while others appear to cause migraine headaches and mood disorders.

 

6) Parabens:
Parabens are preservatives that are often added to soaps in order to give them a longer shelf life. However, a huge number of scientific studies have established that there is a strong connection between paraben exposure and an increased risk of cancer. In particular, parabens seem to be linked to breast cancer, as they can mimic the action of the female hormone estrogen. In addition, other studies have shown that parabens promote neurological disorders by causing nervous system toxicity, and that they can cause severe skin rashes. The most common parabens to look out for are propylparaben and methylparaben.

 

7) Artificial colors:
Artificial colors are sometimes added to soaps in order to make them look more appealing, and the bulk of these colors are petroleum based compounds. This means that they can block your pores, preventing your skin from excreting unnecessary substances.

 

8) Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS):
SLS remains one of the most toxic chemicals that is commonly added to personal care products (including not just soaps, but also shampoos and toothpastes). Studies have shown that SLS can cause extreme irritation to your eyes and skin, interfere with the production of certain hormones, and make you more likely to suffer from mood disorders (such as depression). However, the most fatal danger of SLS lies in what happens when it combines with some of the other chemicals that are commonly found in soap. At this point, it becomes a carcinogenic nitrosamine that is quickly and easily absorbed into your bloodstream through your skin.

 

Now that you have learned more about the chemicals that you should try to avoid when picking out a new soap, it is far less likely that taking a shower or a bath will prove to be hazardous to your health. Always check the label or the company’s web site very carefully before selecting a new type of soap, and if you struggle to locate the ingredient list then you should err on the side of caution and buy a different soap.