Put down the pump and back away from that bar ““ there may be harmful chemicals lurking in your hand and body soap that could be potentially perilous for both you and the environment. Take a peek at the ingredient list of your favorite soap or body wash to see if it contains any of the following:
1. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, or SLS: A common ingredient in many soaps, shampoos and toothpastes, SLS is responsible for the bubbling lather we all love. Unfortunately, it’s also a potentially harsh chemical compound that can cause skin irritation, dryness and damage. It may also be harmful for many body systems and functions.
2. Diethanolomine, or DEA: Used as a wetting and lathering agent, DEA may irritate the skin, as well as the nose and throat if inhaled.
3. Triclosan: Found in most antibacterial soaps, it is used to kill bacteria. Overuse of products containing triclosan can be a problem because it may eventually lead to new, resistant strains of bad bacteria. Triclosan may also be an endocrine disrupter and can produce potentially harmful byproducts when combined with hot, chlorinated water.
4. Synthetic Fragrance or Dye: The pleasant scent or colorful appearance of your soap may be the result of hundreds of combined chemicals. Because specific ingredients in a fragrance or dye are not required to be listed, there’s no way of knowing exactly what makes your soap smell or look so good and whether or not the chemicals used may be harmful.
Obviously, you need to keep your hands and body clean, so you can’t really stay away from soap altogether. For safer suds, look for natural ingredients such as coconut, jojoba, olive and avocado oils, aloe vera, essential oils and natural extracts.