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How To Choose Safe Chemical-Free Soaps and Skin Care Products.
You know the nice foamy lather and amazing smell your soaps, shampoos, and lotions produce? For commercial products, those sensations are often created thanks to a variety of harmful chemicals.
Regulations on soaps, lotions, and cosmetics have come under intense fire for over a decade now because of how loosely regulated and confusing the manufacturer's restrictions are to produce safe products.
Common sense may question… “How is that possible?”
Here’s how - big companies can regulate their own product's final ingredient list to a large extent before being sold. To make matters worse, the same manufacturers can hide harsh chemicals behind labels of “natural” or “organic” before they hit the market. Even the savviest of clean-cleaning hopefuls can be in the dark on which soap and skin care products are actually safe.
That’s why since we started Goat Milk Stuff in 2008, our mission has focused on producing safe and natural goat milk soaps.
We Were Duped, too… How About You?
If you’re just now ditching your tubs filled with harsh chemicals and want safer products for you or your family, congrats! And, don’t be hard on yourself for just getting started either, because our story started in a similar fashion.
It was years after we had kids before we really knew how bad the skin products and baby wash we regularly used really were. We didn’t have thousands of blogs and harsh ingredient whistleblowers exposing what we know today.
"I’ve been using GMS soaps for over ten years. I love the way they lather and the way my skin feels afterwards. The Clean Cotton scent joins OMH and Lavender as one of my personal favorites. The fragrance is best described as fresh, like sheets off the clothesline. I like to store my soaps in their bags in the corners of my dresser drawers, like a sachet. There, they lightly scent my clothes until I’m ready to use them." - D. Connell
But, after we got over the initial shock of how harmful our kids’ baby wash was, we were determined to eradicate all the nasty chemicals from our showers, sinks, and kitchens. I mean, we were a family determined to eat and live clean, so it didn’t make sense to wash our skin with dangerous chemicals, right?
During our research to produce high-quality natural soaps and skin care products we’ve discovered several problems with big name brand products. That's why we feel it’s important to share our research and help our customers make informed decisions on what soap and skin products they buy.
Let’s dive in.
Four Harmful Ingredients Found In Soaps and Skincare Products
In a long list of potentially toxic substances found in soaps and skin care products, there are four you’ll absolutely want to try to avoid. Those four harmful agents are sulfates, triclosan, phthalates, and synthetic preservatives. Below we discuss each one of these harmful ingredients and why you may want to steer clear of them all together
#1. Avoid Sulfates. Sulfates are used in household cleaners and personal hygiene products worldwide. They’re highly disputed between government and world agencies and boots-on-the-ground clean-living researchers, such as doctors, chemists and professors.
Sulfates' primary function in soaps and shampoos is to create a chemical reaction to foam and clean. This action is the primary cleaning process for any soap or detergent containing sulfates. Two well documented sulfates linked to health issues are Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate (SLES) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS). Research shows strong evidence that SLS and SLES can create skin irritation along with long-term organ problems. Skin irritation associated with sulfates in cleaners is due to the product being left on the skin instead of being properly or quickly washed off.
Other dangers associated with sulfates are the byproducts and trace contaminants they create such as 1,4-Dioxane. Interestingly enough, 1,4-Dioxane is “reasonably expected to be a human carcinogen” as warned by the National Institute of Health.
#2. Avoid Triclosan. This is an antimicrobial agent used by some soap makers, but was banned in 2016 by the FDA. The Mayo Clinic advises people to stay away from Triclosan because the chemical can be absorbed through the mouth and skin. The most documented health issues associated with Triclosan are as follows...
- Hormone disruption
- Weakening of the immune system
- Decreased Fertility, and
Even though the FDA forced companies to stop the continued use of Triclosan, you still might see products floating around containing the harmful chemical. The companies who were using Triclosan were given two options when the banning took place - 1) They could pull the chemical from their shelves completely 2) Or, use what was left of the chemical and then halt further use. Chances are Triclosan has phased out to a very low market presence, but the sheer danger of its exposure is noteworthy.
#3. Avoid Phthalates. (pronounced thay-lates) They are hard to remove from your hygiene routine. That’s because you’ll never see the actual chemical “phthalate” listed on a label. Formulas containing phthalates have a blanket of protection under what the FDA deems as trade secrets.
Trade secrets are quite tricky. Most trade secrets protect certain "fragrances”, “flavors”, and ingredients because manufacturers claim they are proprietary information. Many companies use phthalates in soaps and skincare products as a fixative to create certain smells in fragrance. Phthalates are a vital ingredient for tons of plastic consumer goods. Their chemical properties provide more flexibility to plastics while also making them stronger.
One reason there is a rising fear of phthalates is that they’re everywhere.
"Goat Milk Stuff never disappoints. I love the thieves soap. The scent is wonderful and the soap soothes my dry skin, especially this time of year. I have never received anything from GMS that I did not like. They have the best products and excellent customer service🙂" - Claudia L.
Studies have found phthalates in candles, perfumes, household cleaners, soaps, shampoos, lotions - the list goes on and on. So, the concern of harsh or harmful chemicals landing in products designed to protect and clean skin is valid. Health issues linked to phthalates' effects are ADHD, asthma, male infertility, and breast cancer.
To limit your exposure to phthalates in your soaps and skincare products, avoid ingredients DEHP and DiNP. Also, be sure to look for “phthalate-free” as you research product ingredients.
#4. Avoid Chemical Preservatives. These are widely used in soaps, shampoos, and lotions to prevent bacteria growth in and on products. Parabens are the most widely used of the preservative ingredients, and it’s also the most notable for creating health problems. Parabens are well documented by studies proving they mimic the female sex hormone estrogen and are linked to breast cancer. Skin aging, and DNA damage are two more risks associated with Parabens.
A tricky component to identifying parabens in products is that they can hide behind the ingredient “fragrance” on product labels. So how do you avoid them? One action we recommend is reading your labels and look for any ingredient containing the word - paraben. Here are a short list of parabens you’ll want to avoid…
- Butylparaben, and
Our Promise to You: A Higher Standard of Product Safety
At Goat Milk Stuff we refuse to use harsh or toxic ingredients in our natural soaps or skincare products. We guarantee our soap and shampoo ingredients are carefully sourced and meet the highest safety standards.
"Love your soaps! Awesome that they rinse off so completely, leaving your skin feeling good. Your scents are long lasting and vibrant. I am a fan!" - Ruth F.
We make sure to exclude any of the following ingredients:
- Carcinogens: Ingredients known or linked to causing cancer.
- Mutagens: Ingredients that change the DNA of a cell, thereby harming the cell, and leading to diseases like cancer.
- Reproductive toxins: Ingredients that harm reproductive organs and increase the risk of birth defects.
- Organ toxins: Ingredients that harm internal organs and can lead to disease.
Instead we use simple ingredients to create our goat milk soap and shampoos. Ingredients like raw goat milk, organic extra virgin olive oil, organic soybean oil, and some of the highest grade essential oils make up our ingredient list to produce the finest goat milk soap money can buy.
And while we do use some fragrance oils in our products (after all, you can't get black raspberry scent from an essential oil), we are super diligent to make sure they are paraben and phthalate free and safe to use.
But we don’t just stop there. We consider all skin types and sensitivities a high priority when choosing our ingredients. From the very beginning we’ve made it our mission to help customers with both common and unique skin conditions.
That’s why we’ve gone above and beyond to create two special lotion formula recipes for unique skin types and incorporate quality control over our scents.
Our scents are created by adding essential oils and ONLY fragrances that exclude harmful chemicals. And, we make as many unscented goat milk products as possible to satisfy customers who must abide by their known skin and sense sensitivities.
Your Next Step To Cleaner Soap and Skin Care
The first step to cutting the chemicals out of your life is easy. Pay close attention to the labels before you buy a soap or skin product. And stay up to date here at our blog for Goat Milk Stuff products that can help repair, resolve, or rid you of skin problems.
Whether you’re looking to switch to natural soaps and skin care products or address a sensitive skin issue or skin type, we’ve got you covered. All you have to do is hop on over to our Goat Milk Stuff Soap Collection to get started.