Wednesday, August 14, 2019

GREEN LIVING :: What's In Your Hand Soap?

Do you know what's in your hand soap?  I recently found out that one of my favorite brands of hand soap which is gluten-free and has no dyes or triclosan did indeed have fragrance.  I was surprised because I could not smell it and it was not listed anywhere in the front of the bottle.  But yet again, the soap was not labeled as unscented.  Do you see how careful you have to be?

My hand soap came back with a rating of 8 when I scanned the bar code using the ThinkDirty app on my phone.  This is not a great score for a product you use multiple times a day.

This finding motivated me to look at the hand soap choices in more detail at the grocery store and not just stick to my usual rush because I never have time to browse (#shoppingwithatoddler).  

I have found some safer choices that I want to share but before we talk about them, let's go over the chemicals you should be avoiding in hand soap.

1. Dyes :: I used to be into matching the bathroom decor with my hand soap.  I don't know what I was thinking back in the days.  Most dyes are derived from petroleum or coal tar and are known irritants and allergens that have been linked to allergic reactions, asthma attacks, nausea and even cancer.  

2.  Triclosan :: This is an antibacterial that rose to popularity in the late 90s.  All of a sudden it was everywhere, from dish soap to hand soap.  The FDA finally banned it in 2016 and gave manufacturers 1 year to re-formulate or remove triclosan products from the market.  Triclosan is thought to accumulate over time in the body and it can also give rise to hormonal imbalances and organ system toxicity.

3.  Fragrance :: This one is sneaky!  It might not be apparently obvious to you. You have to remember about green washingIt is so very important to read those labels in tiny print!  With fragrance you have to remember that it's basically a "blanket term".  Manufacturers are not required to disclose all the chemicals that went into creating that specific fragrance and all the components might not have been checked for safety.  Fragrances are absorbed through the skin and enter the bloodstream where they pose serious health risks like hormone disruption, organ toxicity, allergies and neurotoxicity among others.  

4.  Cocalidopropyl betaine  :: This is a commonly used synthetic surfactant, a chemical that helps make your soap more foamy.   Health concerns with this chemical include allergic skin reactions, contact dermatitis and environmental toxicity.

5.  Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS)  :: This is another surfactant used in soaps.  Health concerns include irritation to the eyes, lungs and skin.  Studies have also raised concerns about non-reproductive organ system toxicity.

So now that we have talked about ingredients to avoid in hand soap, here are some safe options for you:

1.  Seventh Generation Unscented Hand Soap:  I saw this at my local store and purchased some to try. If you do the math with this package deal, it's a very good price point.  It has no dyes, fragrance or triclosan and contains plant-derived surfactants.  

2.  Everyone Hand Soap:  This company is EWG certified which means that their ingredients have been tested for safety.  Their soaps are naturally scented with essential oils.  I wish they had an unscented version.  

3.  Alaffia Hand Soap:  We have used some body care products from Alaffia before.  I love their efforts to ensure sustainable development and their commitment to safe manufacturing processes making sure that their products have no unsafe ingredients.  

For things like hand soap, this year I am going to try ordering in bulk.  It's just one less thing to remember when you are at the store.  I started doing this with my kiddos' toothpaste and I am sold!

Do you use one of these brands already or do you make your own hand soap?  Let me know in the comments below!

*This post is not sponsored and reflects my own personal opinions.  This post contains affiliate links.  As an affiliate I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases made through referral links in this post at no additional cost to you.  Thank you for helping support the costs of maintaining this platform.* 

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