There’s nothing like lathering up with a sweet-smelling soap. Unfortunately, many health experts agree that not everything found in those refreshing bubbles is necessarily good for you. Read on to learn about six risky products that should never be in your suds.
Parabens. These chemical preservatives are frequently found in soaps and other personal care items. Parabens are used to inhibit bacteria and mold, and lengthen the shelf life of soaps, lotions, and cosmetics. But several studies have linked them to possible fertility problems and increased cancer risk. Before grabbing your next bar off the store shelf, double-check to make sure it’s labeled “paraben-free.”
Pthalates. This unusually-spelled chemical (pronounced “thay-late”) is typically added to plastic to make it more flexible. But when it comes to soap, pthalates are used to bind various ingredients and preserve the fragrance. Pthalates are known to interfere with certain human hormones and are now classified as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs).
Triclosan. In an effort to keep our hands squeaky clean, the antibacterial agent Triclosan was once added to many soap products. Recent animal studies linked exposure to this powerful germ-killer to decreased thyroid hormones and there was also a concern that Triclosan’s use might lead to germs developing resistance. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned Triclosan from being added to many consumer products in 2016, so toss out any old Triclosan-infused soaps. You may even want to talk to your dentist about Triclosan since it can still be found in some kinds of toothpaste used to treat gingivitis.
1,4 Dioxane. This clear liquid is created when the chemical ethylene oxide is added to make harsh ingredients found in soaps a bit milder. The problem: this accidental byproduct is considered “a likely human carcinogen” by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Artificial Fragrances. Scented soap may dazzle your sense of smell, but several studies have linked some artificial fragrances to allergies and asthma. Certain fragrances may even be carcinogenic and cause hormone disruption. Watch out, since some fragrances labeled as “natural” can be toxic, too.
Sodium Laureth Sulfate. Commonly found in soaps and shampoos, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, or SLES, is used to catch oil-based dirt so it can be washed away with water. While there’s no concrete evidence that proves this chemical causes serious harm, it certainly can irritate sensitive skin.