We are surrounded by chemicals as a form of beauty and personal care products such as body wash, cleanser, lipstick, makeup, etc. But do we actually know which chemicals are good for our skin and which are bad? As a wise person, you should know well what you eat, what you apply on your skin, and what you wear.
Like other products, our body washes contain various types of chemicals some of which may toxic for our skin. Today I will help you to know those ingredients so that you can check them while buying a body wash next time. If you find any of those listed ingredients, don’t buy. Go for an organic body wash or its alternatives.
Let’s see which are the culprit chemicals of a body wash.
01. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) / Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
These are the most used and cheapest ingredients in the ordinary body wash or cleansing products. They are also used in some beauty and skincare products. They are commonly known as “surfactants” and used in several products as a cheaper foaming agent. These chemicals break down the surface tension of water and help to make a lather.
The main drawback of SLS or SLES is its irritation. Generally, it creates irritation, causes allergic reactions, and sometimes may create rashes. Once a rumor was spread about SLS and SLES that they are carcinogenic. But it is proved false now. If your body wash contains SLS or SLES, there is nothing to worry about if you wash them off properly with water (source). But I suggest you use an SLS or SLES free body wash if you want to use it for your kids or if you have super sensitive skin.
Parabens are widely used in beauty and skincare products as a preservative. Generally, four types of parabens are used and their chemical name is butylparaben, propylparaben, methylparaben, and ethylparaben. It was first used commercially in the 1950s (source). They are used to stop the growth of bacteria, fungus, and other organisms to increase the shelf life of the products. It is the positive side of parabens.
But, the negative side is more dangerous than positive. Parabens are carcinogenic and have a direct link to breast cancer. Unfortunately, or mistakenly when you use parabens infused products they enter into the body and create dysfunction to the hormones. And this is responsible for some serious health issues.
Luckily the awareness about parabens among mass people are increasing day by day and they avoid those products which contain parabens. That’s why the manufacturers use other preservatives instead of parabens and they labeled the term “paraben-free” on the product container. You must check it before buying any kind of product.
03. Synthetic Fragrance
You might hear that artificial fragrance causes allergic reactions or irritates the skin. Sorry to say, it is not that simple. Synthetic fragrance is a combination of several chemicals. And most often manufacturers do not state them on the ingredient list to cheat us. The chemicals of synthetic fragrance are really hazardous to health. Generally, the synthetic fragrance contains benzene derivatives, phthalates, aldehydes, amines, and other toxic substances which cause a serious impact on our body. Synthetic fragrance may contain over 100 chemicals and some of them are carcinogenic. They are also responsible for skin dryness, neurological disorder, CNS disorder, etc.
This is because the popularity of the “fragrance-free” product is increasing day by day. If you like fragrance you should pick the natural aroma. Essential oil or essential oils blend also be a source of natural fragrance. And you should give priority to the skin health than the aroma.
04. DEA, MEA, and TEA
The elaborations of the above-mentioned terms are diethanolamine (DEA), monoethanolamine (MEA), and triethanolamine (TEA). They are mainly used in those products which produced foam or lather. It includes body wash, shower gel, bath bomb, bubble bath liquid, shaving foam, and so on.
The common name of these three chemical groups is ethanolamine. They are responsible for skin irritation and dryness. You can also feel eye irritation for them while bathing. They may also create reactions with nitrosamine and create a carcinogenic byproduct. That’s why the European Union (EU) has banned them to use in cosmetic products.
From now, check again and again whether your anti-bacterial body wash or soap contains triclosan or not. Because, as far I know, most of the people do not know what makes their product anti-bacterial. Generally, the beauty world uses triclosan to make the products anti-bacterial. You would get it in soap, body wash, bath bomb, toothpaste, etc. But it is not good for your body and health.
Study shows that triclosan develops anti-bacterial resistance. Moreover, an antibacterial body wash doesn’t do any special task. You can get the exact same result with the conventional soap-free body wash. If you need anti-bacterial body wash to go for those which contain natural ingredients like honey or turmeric to serve the anti-bacterial purpose.
06. Cocamidopropyl Betaine
Cocamidopropyl betaine or coco-betaine is a synthetic chemical extracted from coconut oil. If a manufacturer marked it as natural ingredients, don’t trust him. Cocamidopropyl betaine is actually a surfactant available in several body washes, soaps, toothpastes, detergents, and cleaning products. It helps to condition skin and create foam.
But, as a skincare ingredient, Cocamidopropyl betaine isn’t so good. It has some negative impacts on your skin and body. You have to bear an allergic reaction and irritation if you use a product infused with coco-betaine.
An interesting fact is that Cocamidopropyl betaine was chosen as “Allergen of the Year” in 2004 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society.
I think everybody is familiar with the name formaldehyde. It is one of the oldest preservatives usually used to preserve dead animals in a biological lab. Unfortunately, it is now available in various beauty and skincare products to prevent bacterial growth. You may found formaldehyde in body wash, conditioner, shampoo, and cleanser.
But, it is alarming. Formaldehyde is linked with various health disorder even cancer. It creates allergic reactions. If it goes continuously inside your body it will destroy your immune system as a slow poison.
The Last Words
Self-awareness is the key to stay safe. If you can distinguish between good and bad, you can keep yourself free from danger. So, stay updated and stay safe from all odds.