SKIN DILEMMA &
How Detergents Damage Your Health
this article learn:
what you put on your skin ends up in your body
ingredients to avoid
shampoos, conditioners, creams & lotions are harmful
breakouts can be caused by dry skin
synthetic fragrances are toxic
FD&C colours should be avoided
some products contain animal ingredients
to avoid using detergents
soap is better for your skin than detergent
some soaps are better for you than others
essential oils are good for you
natural transparent soap is different from other soap
you recognize this: You have a shower, you use shampoo, conditioner, and then
body wash, or a soap bar. Before you even finish towelling yourself off, your
skin starts to itch. First your shoulders, then your legs, arms, and the top of
your head, maybe even your face! Your skin feels tight and itchy and starts to
get flaky. You reach for your body lotion or cream and slather on a thick layer
of it to stop that itch and cover the flakes! But, several hours later, you have
to apply it again, and then again and again. What is wrong with your skin? What
are you doing wrong that causes your skin to be so dry? You wonder, does anyone
else have this problem or is it just me? After all, you are using expensive, name
brand shampoo and conditioner, and the best smelling body wash around! Maybe you
have severely dry skin, maybe even eczema!
this is you, then you are suffering from what I call the DRY SKIN DILEMMA!
It is time to break this cycle and regain that healthy skin you were born with.
do I do that when everything I have tried does not seem to work?! You do it
by becoming educated about what is in all these products that you use everyday
without even thinking about them. Then make decisions based on FACTS, not marketing
you have to know what the INGREDIENTS of your cosmetics (bar soap, shampoo,
conditioner, body wash, cream, lotion, hairspray, gel, mousse, make-up etc.) are.
If you live in Canada, you may not even find an ingredient list on the bottle
or wrapper. If you live in the US, or you are lucky enough to find that ingredient
list, do you understand what it says? Maybe if you have a chemical name dictionary!
Ingredients usually have long complicated names, and there can be a very long
list of ingredients on even a small bottle. Some common ingredients in cosmetics
include: Sodium lauryl sulfate, Sodium laureth sulfate (SLS), Ammonium laureth
sulphate (ALS), Cocomidopropyl Betaine, DEA, TEA, and MEA, Formaldehyde, Fragrance,
Imidazolidinyl Urea, Diazolidinyl Urea, one or more type of Paraben, Phenoxyethanol,
Phthalates, Propylene Glycol, Triclosan, FD&C colours (all). Shampoos and other
cleansers that contain these chemicals are DETERGENTS, not SOAP. Why
are we using detergents on our skin?
World War II, no-one used detergents. Why was that you ask? No one used detergents
before WWII because they were yet to be invented. Why did no one invent them before
this time? Well, that is a tricky question, but my answer to that is that detergents
were not needed before then. This was because everyone was happy with the real
soap that was used to wash people, dishes & floors, etc. During WWII the fats
and oils that were used to make soap became scarce because they were being used
instead to manufacture nitro-glycerine for explosives, and so another chemical
source for cleaning agents had to be found. We were finding petroleum all over
the place by this time, and scientists discovered that they could make thousands
of new chemicals from this petroleum, including what they called detergents. Detergents
soon became a regular household item because there was no alternative during WWII.
OK, so if soap was so good at its job (before the war), why did we not return
to using real soap after the war was over? Well, if you ran a company that made
detergents and soap, and you could make a much larger profit on one product (detergent)
versus another (soap), which would you promote? Today, detergents are still much
cheaper to manufacture than true soaps, and marketing has ensured that a majority
of the population is absolutely convinced that detergents are safe to use,
and gentle to our skin and hair. The same goes for make-up, hairspray, creams
and lotions, and any other cosmetics. These also changed from being made with
'real' ingredients to being synthetically prepared from petroleum products and
becoming very similar to detergents.
but how does this have anything to do with why my skin is dry? And for that
matter how could detergents or cosmetics be bad for me? Well, do you remember
those chemicals found in cosmetics that I listed above? What sort of research
do you suppose has been done to prove that they are safe for use on your skin?
Would you be surprised to learn that the vast majority (>80%) have never been
tested? And that the majority of the others have been tested only by the manufacturer
and not an independent testing laboratory? What is also really scary is that testing
methods and regulations covering the use of chemicals in cosmetics (including
shampoos, conditioners, creams & lotions) are based on knowledge from the 1960s.
Back then people thought that the skin was an effective barrier to chemicals;
that anything placed on the skin was not absorbed in the body in any appreciable
way, so we did not have to worry very much at all about what we put on our skin.
These days, it is extremely obvious that the skin is actually very efficient
at transferring chemicals from the skin surface to the blood stream and to
the rest of your body. In fact, this knowledge is being exploited by the pharmaceutical
industry to deliver drugs via skin patches. Delivering these drugs through a skin
patch is much more effective than if you were to swallow a pill. If you were to
take a pill, you would have to swallow at least 10X more of a drug to get the
same effect as putting a skin patch on your arm, lets say.
now that we know that what we put on our skin ends up in our bodies, should
we not test all these chemicals in our detergents/cosmetics by the same measures
that we test the effects of drugs on our system? Yes, of course we should!
Does this mean it is happening, or going to happen? No. And why is that? The cosmetics
industry is simply too large and powerful, and the regulating bodies are small,
understaffed and powerless. Besides, they say, we've been using these chemicals
for so long now that we would have seen any problem with them already, and that's why
most of them are classified as GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe). The fact of
the matter is that there are so many people with chemical sensitivities, allergies,
eczema, asthma, autism, Alzheimer's, breast cancer etc that are not traceable
to a single source because of all the synthetic chemicals we put on and in our
bodies. We have to consider that rising 'disease' rates are due to the sum total
of the chemical soup that we expose ourselves to everyday. We have to take
responsibility for ourselves and our children by using products that are as
human friendly as possible, and removing detergents from your life is an excellent
way to start.
2004 study found that a very popular preservative used in cosmetics, called a
PARABEN (comes as butyl-, ethyl-, methyl- and propylparaben), was found
in breast cancer tissue. Parabens are classified as estrogenics, which mean
they mimic estrogens. This class of chemicals is strongly suspected of causing
feminizing effects of male sexual organs and falling sperm counts, as well as
breast cancer. The really scary part is the role they play in affecting the
unborn baby's future fertility.
is another chemical that has been widely used in detergents (like liquid
hand 'soap' from dispensers). Triclosan kills any living micro-organism (such
as bacteria), and is considered a pesticide by the EPA (Environmental Protection
Agency). So, why is it present in detergents, deodorants, creams, lotions, toothpaste
and mouthwash? Good question! The reason is that we have been conditioned to fear
every little bacteria that exists, and that we have been conditioned to think
we need special antibacterial soap to prevent us from catching a cold or the flu
or salmonella poisoning. What we are really doing is killing massive numbers of
good bacteria that live in harmony on our skin and keep the nasty bacteria under
control. What we are actually doing is opening ourselves up to infections by bacteria
that are resistant to antibiotics: the so-called Super Bugs. And that is just
what we do to our own bodies. What happens to the millions of liters of this chemical
that wash down our drains every year, straight through the wastewater plants and
into our rivers and oceans? Washing with plain soap and water is just as effective
at cleaning our skin, without the harmful and irreversible side effect of antibiotic
resistance, or throwing natural ecosystems out of balance.
so those are 2 chemicals that I don't want to see in the products that I use, is
that all? Unfortunately, the list of nasty chemicals to avoid is very long.
The worst offenders in shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, cream, lotion and other
cosmetics are the preservatives, the colours and the fragrances. These
additives cause the largest number of allergic reactions among people, and not
surprisingly contain the most toxic chemicals. So why do detergents and
cosmetics contain these colours, fragrances and preservatives anyway? Synthetic
chemicals are frequently unattractive to the human nose and must contain copious
amounts of fragrance to mask their stink. Washing synthetic clothes in natural
soap reveals that synthetic clothes also stink without synthetic fragrances clinging
to them. Colour is added for the same reason. Synthetic products need to be made
more attractive to encourage you to buy them. Preservatives must be added because
consumers demand a long shelf life, and because of the high percentage of water
in most synthetic products, the possibility of spoilage is a certainty without
preservatives. So, your skin creams, shampoos, and conditioners will last
indefinitely on the store shelf, but unfortunately, once in your body, they will
not give you a longer life!
colours are derived from carcinogenic (cancer causing) coal tar dyes and these
colours are banned every so often because we finally find out that they are carcinogenic
too. These are all listed as FD&C or D&C (Food, Drug & Cosmetic) colours. Oddly
enough, the pigment that gives beets their colour is not allowed for use in cosmetics
in the US, but coal tar dye derivatives are. A recent study showed that coloured
diapers irritated the skin of some babies, leaving the same pattern on the skin
as the color pattern in the diaper. Hair dye carries strong warnings on the do-it-yourself
package because it is carcinogenic, but if you get your hair coloured by a professional,
no law forces the hairdresser to show you a warning even though the product is
exactly the same.
Fragrances are also particularly bad because
they do not have to be listed as individual ingredients even though they contain
hundreds or thousands of different chemicals. When artificial fragrances are listed
as parfum or fragrance, how would you ever know that there are scores of carcinogenic
or otherwise toxic chemicals in it? Hospitals ban perfume and aftershave because
of their health effects. Are you one of the countless people who get headaches,
skin rashes, dizziness, nausea or vomiting when you even smell someone else's
perfume? You know the power of these toxic chemicals. If a product is labelled
as unscented, it means masking chemicals have been added to make it seem like
it has no smell. Only a Fragrance Free product does not contain chemicals to make
it smell good, but this still does not mean that it has no smell. This is crazier
still: New car smell can be bought in a bottle to keep your car smelling 'new',
but car manufacturers have recently voluntarily decided to try to reduce your
exposure to this same toxic mix of chemicals that off-gas from the plastics in
the car interior because they are hazardous to your health! So, can I never
use a product that has a great smell? Of course you can! Essential oils give
your nose and your other senses a workout without any of the negative side effects.
In fact, the positive benefits of using essential oils are so many, that entire
businesses exist that market their amazing powers. Once you smell authentic,
pure, natural, wonderful essential oils, you will wonder why we needed to make
toxic, artificial fragrances anyway! But wait, you know the answer to that:
profit. Essential oils are usually more expensive because of the labour involved
in obtaining them.
but I still don't know why I have such dry skin! You're right, of course,
I have been making this a long story (but it's not even the half of it!). Why
do so many people suffer from dry skin? And how come so many people think they
have skin problems when they really don't? The answer has to do with profit. If
you sell soap that left your skin clean, fresh and not dry or irritated, would
people need to buy your expensive creams or lotions? If you sell a soap that does
not leave residue on your skin that aggravates acne, how could you sell an expensive
cream against acne? If you made a shampoo that left the hair clean, undamaged,
shiny, manageable, a cinch to blow-dry, and lets you style your hair without needing
gel, mousse, or hairspray, would people buy conditioner, hot oil treatments, gel,
mousse, or hairspray? Your skin is dry, your acne is aggravated, and your hair
is damaged because this is what the intended result is. It is as simple as that.
the damage from colours, fragrances, and preservatives to the inside and outside
of your body, detergents themselves damage your skin's protective layers
and this is why your skin cannot retain its natural moisture levels. Detergents
actually damage (dissolve) skin protein and draw your skin's natural oils from
far beneath the surface. Once you towel dry after a shower, the urgent itch you
feel is your skin telling you something is wrong. Then, you think you are doing
your skin a favour by using cream or lotion to give it back the moisture it needs,
but again, all you are doing is damaging your skin with the same chemicals that
pulled your natural moisture out in the first place. By using detergents and detergent
based creams and lotions, your skin loses its ability to defend itself from the
outside world and needs repeated applications of cream or lotion just to stop
itching for a period of time. All the while, the preservatives, colours and fragrances
are seeping into your blood stream and doing who knows how much damage! For some
people, the deep stripping of natural oils causes their skin to produce copious
amounts of oil to compensate for it. This aggravates acne and can actually cause
skin to breakout.
same thing happens when you use detergent shampoo on your hair. Because it
leaves your hair dry and damaged, you also need to use conditioner. Because the
conditioner leaves your hair limp and very wet even after toweling off, you have
to blow-dry longer (more hair damage) and you have to put more stuff in it (gel,
mousse, hairspray) to make it do what you want. All the other stuff you put on
your hair damages it more and so you buy a more expensive shampoo (even though
it has all the same ingredients as the cheap shampoo). You can see what I
you read this following excerpt you will wonder why detergent use is not banned!
Amazingly, even after governments and industry know these facts on Sodium Lauryl
Sulfate (SLS) and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS), it is still considered safe to
use on humans! That's like saying it is perfectly safe to be run over by a car,
as long as it doesn't park on you for long.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
Published in the Journal of the American College of Toxicology,
Volume 2, Number 7, pp. 127-181, 1983.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate are irritants
in patch testing at concentrations of 2 percent and greater and that irritation
increases with ingredient concentration. In some cosmetic formulations, however,
that irritant property is attenuated. The longer these ingredients stay in contact
with the skin, the greater the likelihood of irritation, which may or may not
be evident to the user. Although Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is not carcinogenic in
experimental animals, it has been shown that it causes severe epidermal changes
to the area of the skin of mice to which it was applied. This study indicates
a need for tumor-enhancing activity assays. Auto radiographic studies of rat skin
treated with radio-labeled Sodium Lauryl Sulfate found heavy deposition of the
detergent on the skin surface and in the hair follicles; damage to the hair follicle
could result from such deposition. Further, it has been reported that 1 percent
and 5 percent Sodium Lauryl Sulfate produced significant number of comedones when
applied to the pinna of albino rabbits. These two problems - possible hair loss
and comedone formation - along with proven irritancy, should be considered in
the formulation of cosmetic products. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Ammonium Lauryl
Sulfate appear to pose less potential hazard when in products designed for brief,
discontinuous use, following which they are thoroughly rinsed from the surface
of the skin.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Ammonium
Lauryl Sulfate appear to be safe in formulations designed for discontinuous, brief
use followed by thorough rinsing from the surface of the skin. In products intended
for prolonged contact with skin, concentrations should not exceed 1 percent.
you notice the date of the study? Manufacturers and regulating bodies have known
about the damage caused by these two chemicals for over 20 years!
We are still buying shampoo and bodywash and liquid soap and bubble bath with
these chemicals as the main ingredients and being led to believe that our skin
will be left soft, clean, and healthy...How is this possible? Has the desire for
profit stripped corporations of any ethical concerns for human health? Apparently
so. Does this not count as false advertising? Apparently not.
best you can do for your skin is to get rid of the detergents you have in your
house and replace them with healthy alternatives. For instance, stop using your
mass produced, tallow based liquid or bar soap for washing your hands and replace
them with a bar of our natural transparent soap. Replace your detergent shampoo
and conditioner with a bar of our natural transparent soap. Replace your body
wash or cleansing bar with that same bar of our natural transparent soap. Replace
your skin creams and lotions with ...nothing at all! Chances are, you won't actually
need to cover your skin with anything at all. Unless you do a lot of drying work
with your hands (gardening or handling dusty boxes without gloves, or soaking
your hands in hot water for any length of time) or live in an extremely harsh
climate (dry cold, dry heat, drying winds, excess sun exposure) you can free yourself
completely from all creams and lotions. Using fewer products AND having healthier
skin sounds like a winning combination to me! Your skin will love you for it and
you will love your bank balance!
talked a lot about detergents. So what is soap, how does it work, and how do I
pick a good soap? Keep on reading, we are just getting to that!
is real soap different from detergent? Soap is chemically different from detergent:
Soap is defined as the product of fats/oils with lye (NaOH, or Sodium Hydroxide),
and is not made with synthetic (petroleum) oils.
is also different from detergent in how it works:
Soap is made up of a
molecule that has a polar end and a non-polar end. When dirt and oil is washed
from your skin's surface using soap, the dirt and oil are surrounded by the soap
particles with the non-polar 'tails' and the polar 'heads' point away from the
dirt and oil into the water. You might remember the terms hydrophilic (water loving)
and hydrophobic (water hating) from highschool chemistry. Having these properties
at opposite ends in one molecule is what makes soap such an effective cleanser.
Soap allows dirt and oils to mix with water and let it all get rinsed away, thus
leaving your skin surface dirt and oil (and soap) free. Detergent on the other
hand, competes with the oils and dirt for the right to stick to and sink into
the surface of your skin, thereby releasing oil and dirt from the surface and
from far below the surface of the skin. Solvents in the detergent then keep the
oil and dirt from settling anywhere else. Did you know that detergents foam because
of foaming agents that are not necessary for it to work? Foam is only added for
our viewing pleasure because people expect detergent to foam, and that the more
foam there is, the better it works...but just think: your dishwasher detergent
works without foaming! For the same reason, detergent shampoo, liquid soap and
body lotions are thickened to make them seem rich and because we expect them to
have a certain texture. Handmade natural soap does not need any of these toxic
extras to make it conform to expectations. What you see is what you get - an
honest bar of soap that works, is pleasant to use, and is healthy for you and
Soaps can also differ significantly amongst themselves:
different oils and/or fats can be used in making soap: There are many different
kinds of fats or oils that are used to make soap (instead of a very small choice
of detergents), and some are better than others. Most mass produced soaps are
made from tallow (beef fat) or lard (pig fat), whereas most handmade soap makers
use non-animal fats such as Coconut, Palm, Olive or Castor oils. What's the difference,
you ask? Well, animal fats contain unsaponifiables (chemicals that do not turn
into soap) that can aggravate acne and cause breakouts. Not only that, but all
animals concentrate pesticides, herbicides, hormones, and other environmental
contaminants in their fatty tissue, and therefore, these chemicals end up in soap
made from these fats. Can you guess why animal fats are used in mass-produced
soap? You're right! Because they are cheap!
is removed from mass-produced soap for resale:
Whenever fats/oils are
mixed with lye to produce soap, glycerin is produced as a by-product. Mass-producers
separate this from the soap and sell it separately because they can make money
from it. Why waste it in soap when no one can see it there, when it can be sold
for profit? Leaving it in soap is actually not a waste. Handmade soap retains
this natural glycerin, which adds an emollience and softness to the soap you just
can't get with your supermarket brand.
is natural soap, and then there is 'natural' soap:
Some people call their
soap 'natural', even though it contains toxic synthetic fragrances, carcinogenic
coal tar derivative dyes and synthetic preservatives. What then, does natural
mean? It depends on whom you ask! I consider a natural soap to contain only materials
that came from plants in as few steps as possible, are as pure as is possible
without over-refining, and not been significantly chemically altered. For instance,
I consider Castor bean oil natural even though it is obtained by pressing the
beans, heating and mixing with water, and separating the oil from the rest while
filtering. The castor bean oil has not been chemically changed, but only separated
from the rest of the bean. I consider processing a small component from a plant
through many complicated chemical reactions to obtain a raw material that bears
no or only a very small resemblance to the original, to not be natural. Some ingredients
on products are described as derived from some natural raw material, but invariably
this means that the ingredient has undergone many chemical changes to make into
the ingredient that is listed on the label.
do you assume when someone uses the word natural? In the same way, what does organic
mean? If you ask a chemist, they will say any molecule that is carbon based. If
you ask a health food storeowner, they may say anything that is grown without
pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizer. Be sure you ask the source for
need to ask yourself questions about the products you use.
- Do you see
an ingredient label?
it contain some of the chemicals on the above list?
it contain fragrance or parfum?
it contain colour additives?
if you have no known health issues, you should avoid products that don't list
the ingredients, or that contain undesirable chemicals.
not only are you taking better care of your skin when you use natural soap instead
of detergent based products, you will save a lot of money by using fewer products,
and you will send less garbage to the landfill.
had no idea how much money I was throwing down the drain (literally) on all
kinds of unnecessary products until I made my own soap. After using my own soap
for only a couple of days, the difference to my skin was amazing. I did not need
to use cream or lotion, because my skin no longer felt dry or itchy. I was
absolutely stunned that I had been so brainwashed into buying all these synthetic
chemicals by these marketing gurus, when all they do is damage my body! I
consider myself to be a pretty astute consumer (I don't fall into marketing traps,
I thought!), but I believed that using shampoo, conditioner, cream, lotion, body
wash, gel, mousse, hairspray etc. was absolutely necessary, normal, and perfectly
good for me!
you want to take care of your health and the health of your loved ones the best
way that you can, then start right now and try our natural
handmade transparent soap! Not only is it made with all natural ingredients,
it is also the most gentle of all natural soaps, and in contrast, it leaves no
excess oily residue on your skin to irritate and cause blemishes or aggravate
that I know how people are poisoning themselves everyday with products they are
hoodwinked into buying, I cannot stay silent about it any longer. I started my
own soap company in the hope of not only making a living, but also to provide
a real solution to a giant problem. Save your skin and save your money by buying
a natural soap made without synthetic colours, artificial fragrances, preservatives,
or animal products!
Helga van Oostveen, B.Sc.
Clearwater Soap Works
Our transparent soap Variety Packs make excellent gifts, and are a terrific and
economical way to start exploring our wonderful soap varieties.
Click here for details
P.P.S. Be sure to email all your friends to let them know about this important information! Send the message as is, or add you own message.
|"To" E-mail Address:
|"From" E-mail Address: