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You don't want to smell funky, so you use commonly available soaps. They have pleasant scents, lather well and keep you from being a social outcast. Many soaps also contain harmful ingredients used in products like antifreeze and engine degreasers. Why not just go to the car wash for your daily shower? Yuck! Not using soap isn't an option for most of us, so we have to be careful with the brands we buy to avoid as many harmful ingredients as possible, including propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, pthalates and parabens.
Fermentation of yeast and carbs creates propylene glycol, a type of alcohol often used in soaps as humescents, to seal moisture in your skin. Propylene glycol is also used in adhesives, fabric softeners, tire sealants and wallpaper strippers, reports Natural-Health-Information-Centre.com. You shouldn't use the product on your skin, due to the risk of eye and skin irritation and kidney or liver damage, yet it is a common ingredient in soaps, notes the website. Using a chemical also used in brake fluid is not the way to great skin!
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
You'll be hard-pressed to easily find a commercial soap or shampoo that doesn't contain the compounds sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS, and sodium laureth sulfate or SLES. SLS is a surfactant and is used in soap to help break water tension to allow for easier lathering. SLS is a known mutagen, meaning it could mutate your DNA. Does it make you wonder if the X-Men use a lot of SLS products? The ingredient can also cause immune system impairment, skin irritation, stunting of the eye development in children and inhibit hair growth by eroding the follicles. If SLS is combined with ingredients containing nitrogen, it can create a carcinogenic -- cancer-causing -- compound, notes Lori Stryker, in her article, "Why Switch to All Natural Cosmetics?"
Pthalates, used to keep plastic flexible, are in just about everything. They are known to be toxic, but were grandfathered into use by the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, states Health Central. In other words, the government lets manufacturers keep using pthalates because they were used before we knew they were toxic. Yeah, that's common sense. Pthalates mimic estrogen and can disrupt the hormones of men, women and children. Keep in mind pthalates might be labeled simply as "fragrance," so avoid the soap if it doesn't identify the source of its fragrance, suggest Health Central.
Parabens are used as a preservative ingredient in some soaps and shampoos. Parabens are also endocrine disruptors, similar to pthalates. According to Stryker, high levels of parabens are often present in tumors removed from women with breast cancer. Parabens might also inhibit sperm production. The substance is so widely used that it is in up to 99 percent of conventional cosmetics and beauty products, states Stryker. If you can't trust the manufacturers, who can you trust? No one, apparently, because parabens also appear in some products labeled as "all natural," so read the ingredients carefully, even for a product that seems like it would be paraben-free.