Understanding Soap Ingredients: What to Avoid and What to Embrace

Understanding Soap Ingredients: What to Avoid and What to Embrace

Have you ever wondered what goes into making the soap we use on our skin every day? Considering that our skin is the largest organ of the human body, it's essential to understand how to properly care for it and what ingredients we expose it to regularly.

In this blog, we're diving deep into the world of soap, breaking down the types that are best for your skin and highlighting which ingredients to seek out and which to steer clear of. Let's embark on this journey to ensure our skin gets the care and attention it deserves!

What to Avoid:

  1. Parabens In Soap: These additives are used as a preservative and they are commonly found in many skincare and makeup brands. However, these additives are known for interfering with our body's natural hormonal balance, which could lead to potential health risks.

    If you are looking for paraben-free soap then you should avoid ingredients such as methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben and opt for a natural soap bar to help keep your endocrine system healthy.
  1. SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate) In Soap: This troublemaker is a common ingredient known for its foaming properties. However, it is known to irritate sensitive skin and trigger acne breakouts. Plus, it's notorious for clogging pores – not exactly what we want in our skincare routine. Some studies have also suggested it may contain carcinogenic contaminants. Additionally, it poses environmental concerns as it is not readily biodegradable.

    If you are looking for a natural soap bar that does not contain SLS or similar ingredients then it is best practice to avoid any ingredient with "sulfate" or "sulfonate" in the name. A few common ingredients to give a miss would be Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS).
  1. Synthetic Fragrances In Soap: Synthetic fragrances are filled with chemicals like benzyl alcohol and formaldehyde which are known to disrupt our skin's delicate balance, leading to dryness and irritation. In contrast, natural fragrances derived from plants offer a safer and more holistic approach to skincare.

    Essential oils like lavender and citrus not only impart delightful scents but also boast soothing and rejuvenating properties that can benefit the skin. By switching out synthetic fragrances and embracing natural alternatives, we can make more informed choices that prioritise nourished and healthy skin.

  2. Triclosan (TCS) In Soap: While Triclosan may sound like a powerful antimicrobial agent, its extensive use has come under scrutiny for valid reasons. It is widely used in personal care products such as soaps and hand sanitisers, triclosan was originally introduced to combat bacterial growth and maintain hygiene. However, recent research has shed light on its potential risks and adverse effects on both human health and the environment. Concerns regarding Triclosan's contribution to antibiotic resistance and disruption of hormone function have prompted regulatory bodies in numerous regions to impose bans or restrictions on its use (sadly, this is still in use in the UK).

    Despite its intended purpose, Triclosan's negative impact on microbial ecosystems and aquatic life further highlights the need to wash our hands of this chemical and opt for safer and more natural alternatives.

  3. Animal Ingredients In Soap: It can be easy to overlook the wider impact a bar of soap can have, extending beyond our skin to potentially harm animals and the environment. That's why it's essential, when seeking the perfect natural soap bar for your skincare routine, to ensure it's free from animal-derived ingredients and has not been tested on animals.

    Avoiding ingredients such as honey, goat's milk, tallow (animal fat), and lanolin (derived from sheep wool) is essential, as they not only cause unnecessary suffering to animals but also pose environmental concerns.It is good practice to look for soap bars with accreditations from organisations such as the Vegan Society and Cruelty-Free International on the packaging or website of the product you're buying from. By purchasing vegan soap bars with these certifications, you can make a positive impact on the planet whilst caring for your skin.

What to Embrace:

  1. Soap With Natural Essential Oil: Using essential oils in soap-making provides a holistic approach to skincare, offering both aromatic and therapeutic benefits. These natural oils infuse soaps with captivating fragrances that can uplift the mood, promote relaxation, or invigorate the senses, enhancing the overall bathing experience. Beyond their delightful scents, essential oils also boast various therapeutic properties, such as antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects, which contribute to healthier skin. They are also kinder to your skin and are far less likely to cause irritation and flare-ups.
  1. Natural Oils In Soap: Oils such as rapeseed and coconut oil, offer a range of benefits for your skin. These oils deeply hydrate, nourish, and protect the skin, leaving it feeling soft and supple. Rapeseed oil's rich vitamin E content helps maintain skin elasticity, while coconut oil's antibacterial properties cleanse gently and lock in moisture. Incorporating essential oils into soap-making ensures a holistic approach to skincare which will leave your skin feeling nourished, rejuvenated, and radiant.
  1. Fragrance-Free Soap For Sensitive Skin: If you have sensitive skin, we would always recommend opting for fragrance-free soap to help you avoid potential irritation. Soothing ingredients like Aloe Vera or Shea Butter provide your skin with gentle cleansing without the risk of triggering sensitivity.

    Minimalist ingredients are key, as they reduce the likelihood of adverse reactions, making them ideal for sensitive skin types. Read our blog here to learn more about selecting the best soap for sensitive skin.

  2. Soap With Natural Colourants: Embracing natural colourants in soap offers a host of benefits beyond just aesthetics. Unlike artificial dyes, which can contain harsh chemicals and may cause skin irritation, natural pigments derived from sources like paprika, tea tree, and madder root offer a safer and gentler alternative.

    These plant-based colourants not only provide vibrant hues to the soap but also provide additional skincare benefits. Paprika, for example, is rich in antioxidants, helping to protect the skin from environmental stressors and promote a healthy, glowing complexion. Tea tree, known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, can help soothe and cleanse the skin, making it particularly beneficial for acne-prone or troubled skin.
  1. Palm Oil-Free Soap: Choosing palm oil-free soap isn't just a personal preference; it's a powerful statement in support of our planet's well-being. By opting for palm oil-free alternatives, you're championing sustainable and ethical practices that safeguard precious ecosystems, wildlife, and indigenous communities.

    Palm oil production's destructive impact on forests, biodiversity, and climate is undeniable. Making the switch to palm oil-free soap, enriched with nourishing ingredients like rapeseed and coconut oil, isn't just about skincare; it's about taking a stand for environmental conservation.

    6. Soap with Natural Exfoliants: Despite the ban on microplastics being used as soap exfoliants, there's no need to compromise on the benefits of exfoliation. There are many great natural exfoliants available in natural soap such as poppyseeds, that provide a gentle and effective way to remove dead skin cells. 

    By choosing a natural exfoliant, you can indulge in a revitalising cleanse that not only cares for your skin but also shows a commitment to protecting our planet's delicate ecosystems.

In conclusion, choosing the perfect soap for your skin is a great opportunity to care for your skin whilst also being mindful of the world around you.

If you're in search of a soap bar that's perfect for you and the environment, take a look at our natural soap bars. Our soaps are free from harmful chemicals, plastic, and cruelty. We make each bar by hand in the UK with the finest plant-based ingredients.

By avoiding harmful ingredients and embracing natural alternatives, you can create a gentle skincare routine that uplifts and nourishes your skin, helping your skin to feel refreshed and nourished every day.

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