From time to time I talk about things that affect our health and make us more susceptible to illness. Soap can be one of these. I can already hear your mind whirring. Soap? What? You just put it on your skin to take the dirt off. Itís not like you eat it. Unfortunately it goes deeper that than. Your skin is made to absorb things. When we put lotions on our hands they Ďdisappearí, the skin has absorbed it. When we put on perfumes you donít feel a wet spot there for as long as you smell the fragrance. This is because your skin pulls the ingredients into your body. So, along with everything else we are learning, we need to learn what is healthy to put on our bodies, as well as in our bodies.
We have all heard of SLS or Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. This is a common ingredient in soaps and shampoos. The reason it is added is that it makes the product suds really nice. We have gotten used to the concept that if you are moving around a lot of suds you arenít getting clean. There are a lot of good cleaning products that arenít sudsy, but Iím a little like you, I like the feel of suds when Iím washing my hands, face and hair. The problems are that SLS is an irritant. It makes shampoo and soap sting your eyes. It can cause dandruff, rashes, cause hair loss and slow hair growth, damages the immune system, possible cause cataracts. If mixed with other ingredients (not by itself) it has been linked to cancer. In addition to soaps and shampoos this can be found in some toothpastes.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid. I remember when product manufacturers bragged that they were putting this into their creams and foundations. It was supposed to peel away the old skin and make you look younger. In fact what it does is dry out your skin and makes you look older. Go figure.
Diethanolamin (DEA) or Triethanoomnine (TEA) these are both foaming agents like SLS, but actually much harsher on the body. These can damage the liver, kidneys and pancreas as well as the irritations to the skin eyes and the sensitive skin of the nose and mouth. They also lower the immune system.
Coloring agents are sometimes made from coal tar. Because there are many permutations I wonít go into all of them here, but they are irritants, and have been linked to tumors in lab animals.
Does your soap contain formaldehyde? Unless you know that every ingredient has been listed on the label you have no way of knowing. Soap, shampoo, and cosmetic manufacturers do not have to list all the ingredients on their labels. They hide behind a concept of Ďtrade secretsí to leave off anything they donít want you to know about. Formaldehyde has been linked to lung cancer.
Quaternary Ammonium Compounds are something I hadnít heard of before. It is found in soaps to break down the soap and the water and allow them to mix together, as well as to preserve the soap and kill germs. It is bad for our skin and hair because it pulls the moisture out of it, causing it to be dry, dull and flaky.
Perfumes are sometimes found in soaps. Soap itself does not have a pleasant odor. In order to make it smell good you need to add something that smells good. Many soap manufacturers use perfumes to do this. Although most of us donít notice the effects they do accumulate. Those that are sensitive may notice right away that they feel nauseas, get a headache, have blurred vision, forget things, canít concentrate, become clumsier, or are suddenly moody. These are the mild reactions. Other people can have seizures, dizziness, rashes, muscle cramps, trouble breathing, even loss of consciousness. The sad part is that you donít have to be the one using perfumes to experience the side effects. There are people in our world that are so sensitive to these chemicals that just being in the same room can cause some severe reactions. In fact, the wearer of the perfume doesnít have to even still be there. I have noticed that perfume clings to others that donít use it, or lingers in a room long after the wearer leaves.
So what can we do to avoid these problem chemicals? Choose your personal care products wisely. If you canít pronounce a word in the ingredients list donít buy it. If it doesnít have an ingredients list donít buy it. If the ingredients look like something you would panic over if you got it into your mouth, donít buy it. If you know someone that is sensitive to fragrances donít use a product with fragrance if you are going to be around them.
There are some wonderful, natural organic soaps and shampoos out there. I have found some made by a small company in Illinois. It is called Cheriís Organics. I have personally met with Cheri. Although I donít agree with her on every subject when it comes to the purity of soap products we stand side by side. If Cheri is going to put anything in her products that is not natural she will list it as such on her labels. She will also tell us of some of the Ďside effectsí of some of the herbs and essential oils that she is adding to her soaps. This is because all products, not just the chemical ones, have more than one use. Cinnamon is a good example. It smells great, but it is a warming essential oil. It is also useful as a sugar substitute because it slows down blood sugar spikes. No ingredient in any product should be taken for granted.
I have recently purchased a small stock of Cheriís Organic Soap. It is now on the website. I have tried it at home and love the fragrance, the cleansing, and the soft feel of my skin after I use it. I have used them for over a month now to ensure they donít have an adverse effect that is not noticed at first. If you are sensitive to essential oils please check out the ingredients before ordering. Unfortunately I canít read your mind, or muscle test a stranger over the internet while you are ordering. Unless you are extremely sensitive I feel comfortable in saying: ďTry it, youíll like it!Ē
Wholistic Skin and Body Rejuvenation Level One Certificated Course Material by Gloria E. Gilbere, N.D, D.A.Hom., Ph.D, Wholistic Rejuvenist, copyrighted 2008 by Gloria E. Gilbere, LLC.