One of the biggest challenges we face as consumers is avoiding the bad and getting the good. Despite the desire to live healthier, purer lives, we’ve got to limbo through the isles to find the products that support our beliefs. Needless to say, there aren’t any silver platters descending from the sky with perfectly straightforward answers or clues.
That being said, let’s find out a little bit more about soaps: a product most of us (hopefully) use regularly.
“The Conventional Soap”
I hate to make it sound crude, but I’m finding myself inclined to discuss these under the label of “chemical” rather than “conventional.” Why? Well, for a number of reasons.
First off, these soaps often contain industrial chemicals that can be harsh on the skin, namely Propylene Glycol and Sodium Laurel Sulfate. While these chemicals are good for bubbling up, they are skin irritants and can cause eye damage with enough of it (which is why it stings to get that soap in your eye!). In addition to that, soaps are loaded up with fragrances, which, unless smelled in their natural state, do a disservice to our olfactory. This, just like the industrial chemicals, are applied to the skin and then absorbed by the skin. That means more synthetic chemicals are going into you.
Antibacterial soaps are also a concern, namely for their potential to harm people in the long run. This is a bit of a controversial subject, but the argument speaks to antibacterial soaps actually aiding the rise of superbugs and failing to kill the viruses most of us aim to avoid.
Considering this, one may shutter at the thought of applying these chemicals on the skin. What’s worse, though, is that the water that becomes saturated in these chemicals makes its way to the great outdoors. Essentially, these soaps present foreign, harmful substances to our already beleaguered water supplies. Antibacterial soaps can be especially destructive on the environment. As noted by WebMD, according to Rolf Halden, PhD, associate professor at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute, several million pounds of triclosan and triclocarban (an antibacterial chemical in bar soap) are produced annually. Much of it is flushed or rinsed down drainpipes. “Water treatment plants don’t process the chemicals well. They end up in surface waters, frequently at concentrations that are toxic to aquatic life,” Halden says.
The Benefits of Organic
When it comes to organic soaps, we are able to cleanse ourselves without the use of the dyes, fragrances, and chemicals found in “conventional” soaps. Not only does this offer us a healthier, more natural approach to cleansing, but it provides us with a great opportunity to nourish our bodies with some of the best ingredients found around the world.
Organic soaps, above all, are perfect for those not wanting to adversely affect their bodies or the environments around them. Made with organic ingredients, meaning ingredients grown under the tenets of organic farming, these soaps are inherently safer for the environment. Of course, any foreign presence can tip the balance of things, but with organic, these are natural, less biologically threatening substances. Sometimes the waste from organic products can actually be beneficial to the environment, enriching soil for example.
When it comes down to it, look for soaps that employ natural ingredients first. Olive oil is a great ingredient to look out for, but you want to be sure it is actually olive oil and not a diluted mix. Of course, choosing your favorite scent is also easier with organic. Lavender, for example, noticeably fresher in an organic soap bar compared to liquid, antibacterial lavender soap.
Saving your skin can be simple once you’ve the right understanding. From there, follow your nose (and wit) and you’ll be saving your skin!