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  • Posted November 8th, 2018

    Why natural soap is naturally better, for your skin and for the planet

    Why natural soap is naturally better, for your skin and for the planet

    When is soap not really soap? More often than you might think. Bas de Vries of Quincessentials explores why natural soap is naturally better.

    Even if you don’t break out in a full body rash, the chemicals used to make conventional soap will most surely dry your skin. Unfortunately, many people wait until itchy, dry skin is a problem before making the switch to natural soap. Many people also use additional products to replenish and moisturise the skin after using conventional soap.

    What most people don’t know is that soap you buy in stores is made with animal fat and chemicals. These chemicals strip your skin of its natural oils. That’s why often when you take a shower, you do not actually moisturise and your skin feels tight or dry.

    Natural soap or chemical detergent?

    The next time you walk down the soap aisle at your favourite store enjoying the fresh, clean scents and the bright colourful packaging, pay attention. Look at the labels. Most manufacturers have removed the ‘good’ stuff that occurs in the soap making process, and replaced it with synthetic lathering agents and harsh chemicals. These cheap, plentiful detergent bars are not only bad for your skin, but they’re also bad for the planet.

    Natural soap produced by Quincessentials
    Fragrance-free oatmeal and goat milk natural soap by Quincessentials

    What’s so bad about it?

    Large commercial soap manufacturers make it a practice to remove the glycerine that is produced during the saponification (soap-making) process. The glycerine is a highly profitable substance, often sold to other companies who use it to make lotions and moisturisers, which your skin, now dried out from the harsh detergent ‘soap,’ desperately needs.

    Most commercially produced bars contain synthetic lathering agents, artificial colours, and a slew of chemicals we can’t even pronounce. Antibacterial and antimicrobial soaps often contain triclosan. Triclosan is a toxic chemical that is known to cause cancer. According to Beyond Pesticides (formerly National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides), manufacturers of a number of triclosan-containing products claim that the active ingredient continues to work for as long as 12 hours after use. Consumers are, therefore, exposed to triclosan for much longer than the 20 seconds it takes to wash their hands or face.

    These nasty chemicals and toxins are now finding their way into our eco-system. Every time that lather goes down the drain, those pollutants are going with it. A recent report by the UK’s Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) revealed that synthetic chemicals from soap, body washes, shampoos and other healthcare products were sneaking through the filters at water purification plants. The list of offenders included phthalates, which are linked to reproductive disorders in both humans and animals, and parabens, a preservative, which links to cancer.

    A selection of natural soaps by Quinessentials
    A selection of natural soaps by Quincessentials

    Always remember that your skin, your body’s largest organ is porous and absorbent. It absorbs whatever it comes in contact with. Prolonged use of chemical products will cause the body to store the chemicals in body fat or in the brain. With enough accumulations of toxins in the body, illness can occur.

    Natural soap makes a difference

    All natural organic handmade soap does not strip your skin of its protective natural oils. Sure, these soap bars generally cost more than the detergent bars you’ll find at your supermarket. But the difference is these soap bars are actually good for your skin and for the planet as well. And you probably will save on buying additional moisturisers. Natural soaps are made with essential oils and nourishing organic ingredients rather than chemicals. Using quality all natural products, such as the ones produced at Quincessentials, is the best way to go when it comes to skincare.

    You can learn more about the benefits of natural soaps in our dedicated topic introduction. If you’d like to try making your own natural soaps, check out the Lowimpact.org online natural soaps course.

    About the author

    Quincessentials is a natural product research, development and production company with a focus on zero-waste skin, body and hair care products based on the fruit and seeds of Quince. Scientific and clinical studies have already demonstrated the potential of quince in pharmaceutical products, helping to protect the skin from the harmful effects of the environment while lending itself to environmentally friendly processing technologies.

    The views expressed in our blog are those of the author and not necessarily lowimpact.org's


    • 1Barbara Jones November 8th, 2018

      I haven’t used ‘products’ on my body or hair for at least 20 years and my skin and hair condition is great. I also never use anti-bacterial anything. So I agree with the main sentiments of this article, but find it rather emotive and worry this might put-off some starting to think about the implications of all the chemicals we use without thinking. I’d like to know what the ‘nourishing organic ingredients’ are so I can make up my own mind and not feel as though I’m being targetted by an ad for a company. Personally I only ever use olive oil soap with no essential oils, and wash my hair in water more often than soap it.

    • 2Bas de Vries November 8th, 2018

      Hi Barbara, Thank you for your response and concerns. The use of Essential oils in our products are there for a reason, and not all soaps have this addition. They are mainly found in our shampoo bars to help restore a balance of the scalp and to moisturize or feed hair for example. Good skin and hair care is not simply a matter of products,lifestyle, diet and environment all play a role. Most of our products, if not all are developed to cater to specific needs of our clients. You are absolutely right that it is possible to limit use of many products if your “life” agrees with that. Unfortunately we do not all have perfect hair, or a scalp that is healthy, let alone a healthy skin. For that reason we try to create alternatives, in a sustainable cooperative manner.

    • 3Mike Pinard November 10th, 2018

      Ok since your article is dated 2018 can you tell me where I can buy soap with Triclosan in it?

      Well you can’t it was banned by the EU in 2010 and US in 2016.

      This is either sloppy work or deliberate misinformation which do you no credit.

    • 4Dave Darby November 10th, 2018

      Bas – Mike’s point – is he right about Triclosan? Do we need to amend the article?

    • 5Bas de Vries November 10th, 2018

      In September 2016, the FDA announced that effective September 2017, it would prohibit the sale of “consumer antiseptic washes” containing triclosan or 18 other ingredients marketed as antimicrobials due to FDA findings of the lack of efficacy in these products. However online these products are still being offered. https://www.amazon.com/McKesson-Antibacterial-Soap-18-Each/dp/B00AN2KBXQ/ Therefor it is mentioned. EU regulations merely require a producer to notify a product, there is hardly any control. Further more the original article was written end 2016.

    • 6Bas de Vries November 10th, 2018

      The above example of availability was just one example, a simple google search will reveal many more offerings.

    • 7Mike Pinard November 11th, 2018

      Sorry but it won’t wash ( intended). This is sloppiness at best or deliberate misinformation at worst.

      Triclosan is referred to as causing cancer and you cite a report from Beyond Pesticides. That’s deliberate misleading as the reports concerns over Triclosan are as an endocrine disruptor and leading to microbial resistance. But hey ho let’s say it gives you cancer much more scarey even though you would find it difficult to buy the stuff now

      Next you make claims over an RSC report

      about concerns over pollutants supposedly from normal soap. You give as a reference a report over the pollution of water by BiphenolA from plastics? WTF

      Now if your product is good say why and how if that ain’t enough don’t start trying to scare people because that is wrong. There are enough people getting stressed out by everyday life without adding to the burden. I know some who have so much worry about all this type of shit making choices over simple things is difficult for them.

    • 8Bas de Vries November 12th, 2018

      Mike, thank you for your response. I do appreciate constructive criticism.

      There are many studies linking Triclosan to increased cancer risks here is one more study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945593/ . Feel free to do a search for more. Sure we can argue all day long on how consumers should be warned, and to which degree they should be concerned, I however am of the opinion that a warning is in place. You are absolutely free to think differently. Your assumption that it is difficult to buy is not based on facts, each person with access to internet and a bank account can purchase this on Amazon and a whole host of other platforms. If you believe that this is difficult, I guess our definitions of that are different.

      As for Bisphenol A, this you are right is not directly linked to solid soaps but to packaging materials, liquid soaps, shampoo’s conditioners, but also food packaging containers. I agree that the wording might lack some clarity and I will change this to clarify. This however does not mean it is not an integral part of the problem when it comes to our hygiene (and food) products.

      It is not and never has been my intention to add stress, it is my intention to share information and allow people to make up their own mind. It is hardly fair to put blame on the information. I can imagine the stress, the pressure related to making the right choices, which is why we have chosen to come up with alternatives which eliminate these worries by simply using good, healthy, natural materials for our products and packaging.

    • 9Bas de Vries November 12th, 2018

      Mike, I just like to add that although formally Triclosan has been banned from soap in the EU and US it is not banned in other hygiene products, it is still used in Colgate toothpaste for example. It is also still used in other cosmetics and deodorants. I therefor believe that we can not over emphasize this subject.

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