When it comes to soap, we’d all like to think we can trust the products we use in such intimate vicinity to our body. But the truth is that the overwhelming majority has been duped into believing years of marketing slogans and catchy jingles instead of being invited to read labels or ask important questions about basic personal hygiene products. And when it comes to personal care, it doesn’t get more basic than bar soap; that’s one of the reasons we keep the ingredients in our soaps simple and natural. Next time you suds up, consider this: the conventional bar soap you’re using might be causing more harm to your health than good. Manrepeller recently published an article that shines light on this issue, and we couldn’t be more excited that they’re sharing this important information with their followers, to help them make more informed decisions! It’s sparked an urge for us to remind our own readers why naturally sourced bar soap is a big deal, and why we make sure that’s the only kind we’ll produce at 100% Pure.
Our society’s obsession with staying clean really hit its stride during the Civil War, and has kept its pace ever since. The Sanitary Commission, begun by women devising ways to support the troops, urged that lathering up with soap and water could reduce military mortality rates. In addition to trends set by government agencies, it was generally believed that washing with soap could elevate one’s status and even represent U.S. patriotism by creating a progressive ideal around the importance of cleanliness. Bar soap is considered the first subject of a major advertising campaign, and it's even been suggested that bar soap and advertising helped to establish one another. So when we ask ourselves why we buy the soap we buy, is it because it’s the one we’ve been told to buy for years by glossy, strategic advertising ploys?
After looking at the ranking of most popular bar soap brands in the U.S. on Ranker, the level of popularity per bar soap seems to directly correlate with which ones are most heavily marketed in mainstream media. And how much does marketing have to do with how safe these soaps are for your skin and, on a deeper level, your internal health? The answer is, of course, very little. But most don’t consider that what we use externally might hurt us; it’s easier for us to understand how what we actively ingest can affect us, leading to an increasingly more educated consciousness of whole vs. processed foods. Or how what we inhale can affect us, leading to a current slowdown in global cigarette sales. But when it comes to the category of personal care, which is mainly products applied topically, bar soap is up near the top of the list of those most heavily applied on a daily basis. And do we really know what’s packed inside those innocuously pastel, freshly scented bars? The answer is often “no”, and the truth will blow you away.
A whopping 60% of the top offending ingredients in bar soap have been sneaking into your bloodstream for years without you knowing, and these insidious toxins can have serious long term effects on your health. Our skin is the largest organ in our bodies, and can absorb anything applied to it because it is a semipermeable membrane. This process of transdermal absorption means that toxins, along with the any benign ingredients in conventional bar soaps, will permeate our bloodstream with prolonged use. Guess what that means? It means there are plenty of chemical toxins piggybacking on those ‘beneficial’ ingredients that are most heavily marketed at the forefront of bar soaps ads; they’re sneaking in the back door, so to speak.
One of the main ingredients used in top selling soap bars in the U.S. is Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate, which is an emulsifier and detergent and has no scientific benefits for the health of skin. If “detergent” sounds too harsh for skin, that’s because it is; this major ingredient in popular bar soap is so harsh that it requires lab technicians who handle it to wear safety goggles and gloves. It has been known to dry out skin and cause irritation, which would seem to potentially outweigh and defeat the purpose of added moisturizing ingredients. And we can’t forget to mention Sodium Tallowate (beef or sheep fat) and Sodium Stearate, both of which have been heavily accused of stripping skin of essential oils. Quite ironically, these kinds of harsh, synthetic chemicals are often found in bars touting benefits for sensitive skin.
Another major offender is triclosan, and its brother-from-another-mother, triclocarban. Both are antimicrobial chemicals that have been used in antibacterial personal care products for years. In 1978 the FDA regulated its use in antibacterial soaps, stating it could be used only if it was shown to be safe and effective; this created a gray area for soap companies to manipulate, making triclosan legal to use since no active research on long term effects had been published. With little research being completed about potential hazards to health after prolonged use, bar soaps and other personal care products containing triclosan remained on the market and have been stealthily invading our bodies ever since.
Categorized by the E.P.A. as a pesticide, material preservative and antimicrobial agent, triclosans uses are actually very broad. Products made with triclosan range from fragranced soap bars that lather up on our skin, to industrial equipment like conveyor belts, HVAC coils and even latex paints. The E.P.A. has also highlighted endocrine (hormonal) disruptions, developmental and reproductive toxicity, chronic toxicity and carcinogenicity as the most prevalent harmful side effects to human health from triclosan used in personal care products. Even the Environmental Protection Agency can’t deny the dangers of this toxic chemical when used on humans, and that should serve as a red flag to avoid products using this chemical and become vigilant in choosing only the most pure, natural alternatives.
Now for the part where we discuss the good news! In September of this year, the F.D.A. issued a resoundingly final ruling to ban the use of 19 toxic chemicals in antibacterial bar soap; triclosan and triclocarban being the most common. The F.D.A. enforced the deadline they had given to companies in 2013, to prove that the use of triclosan and 19 others were safe and effective and had no hazardous health effects, by September of 2016-- or remove their products from the market. That’s right: any antibacterial soap companies who provided insufficient or no proof of effectiveness or safety of these chemicals in their products were instructed to immediately remove from market or reformulate. Whoo-hoo!
While this wonderful news from the F.D.A. will send plenty of soap companies back to the drawing board, we’ll be ready as ever with 100% Pure’s existing lines of Organic Olive Oil and Shea butter based, totally natural bar soaps. Instead of using detergents and harsh chemical compounds, we use saponified fruit, vegetable and seed oils to naturally build lather and deliver moisture. We believe that skin should to be nurtured, soothed and cared for; and that’s why we use only the purest blends of ingredients and most straightforward formulations; nothing to hide here! Our Organic Olive Oil Soaps are made in an ultra emollient base of cold pressed olive oil, and rather than adding oil-stripping detergents and antimicrobials that may have adverse effects on skin or, have insufficient or no effectiveness for fighting germs, we use essential oils in our soaps to gently purify skin.
In addition to our sumptuous Organic Olive Oil Soaps infused with botanicals and essential oils, we also offer delectable, triple milled Butter Soaps. These babies are silky smooth from the triple milling process and deliver moisture and hydration from saponified coconut, olive and grapeseed oils. Shea and Avocado Butter are supplemented by Vitamin E to treat sensitive or irritated skin, and even reduce the appearance of scars and fine lines. We infuse fruit extracts for scent, and essential oils to purify. No need to worry about excessive ingredients, harmful toxins, or anything that is deemed unsafe or ineffective by the F.D.A. or E.P.A.. After all, the underlying consensus is still that the best, safest way to clean hands and body comes from a simple wash with plain soap and water. And to us, plain means pure, and pure means perfect.