We say soap. What’s the first word you would use to describe it? Chances are you thought “cleansing”, “cleaning”, or something to that effect.
The good news is that you are spot on with your idea of what constitutes an actual soap. Soaps are made by combining naturally occurring fats and oils with an alkali substance in order to create a product that cleans your skin.
The bad news is if you are using any of the popular brands of ‘soap’ in the market today, you’re not using soap at all. Let’s do a quick test.
Flip over the packet of your soap, which probably goes under the name of beauty bar or bath soap, and take a look at the ingredients. Yes, we know. That’s a long and complicated list of chemical names that most of us left behind in high school!
But here’s what you should know– this list proves that these bars masquerading in our supermarkets and pharmacies as soap are actually detergent bars.
Detergent, like the ones you wash your clothes and dishes with?
The very same! Unlike soaps that are made from naturally occurring substances, detergents are synthetic. They’re made from synthetic surfactants (a surface active agent that allows water and grease to mix), petrochemicals, and other cleaning agents.
We all know this can’t be good. But do we know how bad it can get and why?
Chemical composition of soap
Here is a list of eight ingredients that are present in the chemical composition of most synthetic beauty bars today, why they are used, what they are made of, and what their effects are in layman's terms:
Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate
Our soaps travel a long way from industrial towns to our metro cities. They’re stocked and stored for long periods and that requires Methylisothiazolinone, a preservative as strong as its name is complex. Research has found that this can often be a neurotoxin, a substance that affects the nervous system. Experts across the globe state that the concentration of methylisothiazolinone in increasing to unhealthy levels in beauty bars.
Mineral Oil and Petroleum Oil
All these skin drying agents can’t leave a detergent bar feeling soft in your hands, can it? But you’ve surely never come across a rough beauty bar in your life. That’s because chemical additives such as mineral and petroleum oil soften the texture of the skin detergents we use. But these oils are comedogenic, which means that they tend to make your skin vulnerable to blackheads and pores. They also leave a harmful layer of chemicals on your skin which makes it hard for your skin to breathe.
This is a chemical used as a whitening agent. Titanium dioxide is used to lighten the base colour of the soap from an off white to a purer white. This makes colour contrasts more vivid. Titanium dioxide is nano-particles, which are ultra-microscopic in size, making them able to readily penetrate your skin and travel to underlying blood vessels and your bloodstream. A study by The International Agency for Research on Cancer shows that inhaling high concentrations of titanium dioxide dust may lead to lung cancer and using even small quantities on your skin for long periods can have a carcinogenic impact.
We have just discussed a handful of the numerous dangerous chemicals that are present in the soaps we’re sold through attractive packaging and misleading marketing. If this has made you wonder about what pure soaps are like, we invite you to try our soaps at Idam.
We hand make our soaps in small batches with all natural, locally sourced ingredients. Our soaps are natural, vegan and eco-friendly. Each bar comes with the goodness of age-old traditional mixes and a nature-inspired remedy. Our timeless recipes have been used and loved by men and women across generations.
It’s time to ditch your detergents and give your skin the love it deserves!