The truth is that most common big-brand soaps on the market contain synthetic chemicals. These can be harmful to your health and the environment. Many people are now opting for a safer and more environmentally friendly choice: an eco-friendly soap. Along with other added benefits, an eco-friendly soap can limit the worry of potentially harming your skin and significantly lower your environmental impact.
So, what are some reasons you should use eco-friendly soap?
1. Ditch the Bottle
According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, it’s estimated that by 2050 there will be one piece of plastic for every fish in the ocean. That’s alarming to think about! Most big brand soaps come in a plastic bottle, which depending on the type of plastic, may or may not be recyclable.
By using an eco-friendly soap, which is typically produced in bar form, you will be preventing 1 bottle of plastic from being produced and then disposed of. It may not seem like a lot, but over several generations in a household, this can be a significant step towards reducing your plastic waste and helping resolve the global problem of plastic pollution.
2. Protect Our Waterways and Marine Life
When soap is washed down the drain it can end up in our lakes, rivers, and oceans. These synthetic-based chemicals can wreak havoc. A detergent or surfactant breaks the surface tension of water which can make it for small creatures that get around on the surface of the water. When the surface tension is lower, it will reduce the oxygen levels of the water, causing harm to fish and other marine dwelling wildlife. Phosphates in soaps or detergents can cause freshwater algal blooms that release toxins and ultimately depletes oxygen for aquatic life.
Think about the cumulative effect this can have on a body of water over several years, decades, or even generations. An eco-friendly soap should be chemical-free and made from only natural plant or oil-based ingredients which are biodegradable and will not disrupt the natural eco-system of the environment.
3. Save Your Skin
If you use a chemical-based soap, chances are it contains some synthetic chemicals that could be harmful to your skin. Triclosan is an anti-bacterial chemical often found in soaps and toothpaste can cause skin irritation. Formaldehyde, a preservative found in many soaps and cosmetics is usually found in small concentrations, however, it can cause allergic reactions and skin rashes in some. Not what you had in mind when you lather up your soap right?
An eco-friendly soap is suitable not just for those with sensitive skin but for anyone who wants to protect it. A naturally produced bar of eco-friendly soap will leave the skin more hydrated without any risk of exposure to potentially harsh toxic chemicals.
4. A Natural Scent
We all love the delicious scent of soap when we wash up, leaving us refreshed and ready to take on the world. The problem is the “fragrances” that you see on the label of your soap or body wash bottle means chemicals. Phthalates or “plasticizers” are used to create strong smelling scents in oils, fragrances, and soaps. They have been shown to affect the reproductive systems of lab animals. The results of low exposures on humans are still unknown, but it’s a risk many are not willing to take.
The truth is, an eco-friendly soap scent will not be as strong as a chemical-based soap. However, the scents in eco-friendly soaps will not be irritating, rather a more natural and less-heavily fragranced. You will find there some really unique scents as they are derived from essential oils and plant-based ingredients. Some of my favorites include lavender, peppermint, creamy cocoa butter, and vanilla.
5. Prevent Animal Cruelty
Unless your current soap says “vegan” or “cruelty-free” on the label, you can’t be sure that animals are not harmed during the production or testing processes. Neither the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) nor the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission requires that household products be tested on animals. However, many big companies don’t want you to know their dirty secrets about testing their products on animals. This saddens me to think of an animal suffering just so a product can be developed and sold for profit.
The good news is that many smaller eco-friendly brands are beginning to stand up and do the humane thing and produce personal care products without harming animals. Look for “vegan” AND “cruelty-free” on the label to be sure no animals were harmed during the ingredient sourcing, production process, and testing.
6. Give Back
A reputable eco-friendly brand will be committed to lowering its environmental impact and produce their products will sustainability in mind. Some eco-friendly brands even go a step further by pledging to donate a percentage of their profits to a non-profitable organization, planting trees, or donating to grass-roots organizations.
By doing some quick background research on an eco-friendly brand before you buy, you can be more informed as a consumer and look to give back with every purchase. You are also supporting a small business that has the best interest of the environment in mind.
7. Save Money
Stop spending your hard-earned money on designer or luxury brands of personal care products that are chock full of chemicals. I’ve seen some personal care and beauty products that can even cost up to $100 per product!
A quality eco-friendly soap bar will cost you no more than $10. It will also last much longer than a liquid soap or body wash. Purchase your soap bars in bulk quantities to really save money or opt for an even more thrifty concentrated multi-purpose solution for all of your cleaning needs.
8. Protection from Parabens
Have you heard of parabens? These are preservatives commonly found in personal care products and beauty products, including soaps. Manufacturers love them because they prevent mold and bacteria from building up in the product allowing it to last longer. Parabens have been shown as a potential danger in animal studies.
Now the jury is still out on the definitive decision of harmful impacts of parabens in humans, but it’s a potential risk that many are not willing to take anymore. An eco-friendly soap is paraben-free and will leave you free of any worry of a potentially harmful effect on you or your family member’s health.
Many big brand soaps contain palm oil. Palm oil production has been under scrutiny as it’s responsible for a significant percentage of the world’s deforestation. This is because forests are burned illegally in order to grow oil palms due to their value. Unfortunately, with destroyed forests comes destroyed wildlife that inhabits them. These include endangered species like orangutans, rhinos, elephants, and tigers. These forest burns also cause air pollution and release high levels of CO2 into the atmosphere.
It’s very hard for producers to tell if their palm oil production is sustainable and done without environmental harm. It’s best to avoid it altogether and use an eco-friendly soap that is palm oil-free. Instead, it should be made from ingredients such as plant-based or essential oils which are sustainably produced through organic farming and responsible ingredient sourcing practices.
11. Stay Away from Sulfates
Sulfates are most commonly found in soaps as the ingredient: sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS. They are also present in a number of personal care products such as shampoo, conditioner, and even toothpaste. They function wonderfully as a foaming agent giving you a lathering effect when mixed with water and applied to your skin. This foaming effect is very useful for manufacturers as it gives customers a sense of deep cleaning. However, these foaming agents can actually strip the skin of natural oils, causing your skin to overcompensate by producing even more oil. An undesired effect if you ask me.
Sulfates have also been linked to skin irritation and reactions. All the things I didn’t exactly imagine when lathering up in the shower! Natural soaps have been around for thousands of years but it wasn’t until the last 100 years that surfactants such as SLS have been added. We’ll let you decide on what you think is more “natural” for your skin.