Top 10 Soap Additives that Can Damage the Skin


Most people from day to day will shower or wash their face without thinking much about the soaps that they are using. The word “soap” just implies something that is safe and clean and not likely to cause any problems. However, just like in processed foods, there are additives in many soaps which can damage the skin and lead to problems like allergic reactions, irritation or worse. Ten of the most common damaging ingredients are listed below.

Artificial Colors
Research suggests that using soaps and other personal hygiene products that are free from artificial dyes is best, as it keeps the products natural and reduces the chance of a reaction. The most common artificial color is white, derived from titanium oxide which is suspected of being a carcinogen if inhaled in small quantities.

Artificial Fragrances
While some of these scents can smell amazing, fragrances listed under titles like “parfum” are actually based on petrochemicals and can easily cause irritation of the skin. A far better alternative, if scent is desired, is to use natural essential oils like oil of lavender in one’s skin care products.

This ingredient is often found in popular antibacterial soaps and soap products. It can cause skin irritation but, more disturbingly, recent research out of Australia has also found that it can pass from mother to baby through the breast milk.

Sodium Lauryl and Laureth Sulfate
These foaming agents have also been shown to produce allergic reactions and skin irritations and are found in many soaps and shampoos. Dermatologists recommend products which instead use disodium laureth sulfosuccinate, which has proven to be less irritating to the skin; using all-natural products that have none of these agents is also a possibility.

This common ingredient in many soaps has been found to be a frequent cause of skin irritation. Even more disturbingly, research is suggesting that it also has neurotoxic properties, meaning it can do damage to the nervous system.

Tetrasodium Etidrionate
People with eczema should avoid products with the chelating agent which is meant to change the chemistry of the water and prevent the formation of soap scum. It has been shown to greatly exacerbate this chronic skin condition.

Propylene Glycol
This chemical is used in many soaps as a thickening agents, but there are issues here, too. It can age skin by leading to the breakdown of skin cells and there have also been reported cases of allergic reaction and skin irritation as well.

Mineral or Petroleum Oil
These are very popular additives in many moisturizers. However, such additives have proven to be comedogenic. This means that they can be the cause of blackhead formation and can also form a layer over the skin which reduces the skin’s ability to breathe.

Tetrasodium EDTA
This chemical is a preservative which can excite allergic reactions in the mucous membranes such as the eyes and mouth. More seriously, it is derived from formaldehyde, which itself is a known carcinogen.

Coca-midopropyl Betaine
Dermatologist recommend avoiding this severe chemical, as it has been known to cause irritation and allergic dermatitis.

Most mainstream soap products will contain at least one of the ingredients listed above. To avoid them all, it might be worth it to invest in all-natural or organic soap products that keep you clean more safely!

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Sandeep Godiyal
Sandeep has written many health field articles for both Internet and print publication. His areas of expertise including traditional medicine, alternative and naturopathic and natural treatments, wellness, medical marijuana, diets and fitness.