9 Common Soap Ingredients To Avoid

August 21, 2021

Many people are unaware of the dangers of regularly using commercialized soaps on their skin. The chemicals in many over-the-counter bar soaps can irritate your skin and clog your pores. What's worse, they often contain harsh detergents that strip your skin of its natural oils. That's why it's important to use a gentle, natural soap that cleanses without stripping your skin of its natural oils while also providing all the necessary cleansing and conditioning your skin needs.

By avoiding the use of bar soaps that contain harsh chemicals and ingredients on a regular basis, you can prevent serious skin problems like dryness, itching, irritation, and even skin cancer. Many popular bar soap brands leave skin feeling dry, making it vulnerable to cracking, peeling, and severe skin conditions like eczema. Finding alternatives such as handmade natural soaps is ideal for avoiding unhealthy chemicals and ingredients from damaging your skin’s layers, keeping it healthy and moisturized. 


People spend a fortune on branded soaps every month. Unfortunately, many of these products contain harsh and toxic chemicals that can harm your skin than good.

If you are one of that 75% of people, you are putting your skin at risk every time you take a shower. Now that we have identified the problem, let’s talk about what you can do to solve this problem. The first thing you should do is stop using cheap soap. This is actually the easiest step you can take towards healthy skin. You see, once you start using good quality soap, you won’t have to worry about your skin getting dry or irritated. That’s because natural soap with natural oils cleanses your body properly without drying it out. 

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the 9 ingredients you should avoid that are commonly found in popular bar soap products and explain why they are so bad for your skin.

9 Bar Soap Ingredients to Avoid

If you do some research, you will find many over-the-counter soaps sold in supermarkets and convenience stores contain harmful chemicals. These are the kinds of chemicals that can cause rashes, itching, and other types of skin problems. If you absolutely must use these soaps, at least consider using them sparingly. In fact, we highly recommend that you use handmade and natural soap in every bath or shower you take. You see, most people don’t realize that just because a product says “100% natural” on the label, it doesn’t mean the product is truly 100% natural. Here are nine common chemicals and ingredients to watch for on labels that signal they are not the best option for your skin. 


There are over 40 different parabens used in cosmetic products, including brand-name bar soaps. Parabens are added to prevent the growth of microorganisms and maintain moisture levels in the formula. Unfortunately, studies have shown that high amounts of parabens can cause hormone disruption in humans. This is especially true when exposed to high heat during manufacturing. Some research suggests that parabens may be linked to breast cancer. In fact, the FDA has required manufacturers to add warning labels to products containing parabens. However, this doesn't mean all parabens are bad. It just means that manufacturers need to disclose which ones they are using in their products.


Phthalates are another type of hormone disrupter. They are used as synthetic plasticizers to make products such as soap bars and lotions more pliable and flexible. Phthalates also help keep fragrances in skincare products in tack for longer periods. They have been associated with reproductive and developmental problems in animals and have also been shown to cause DNA damage in human cells. They have been found in nearly every tested product, including soaps, shampoos, and body wash. Phthalates are not banned in the U.S., but the EPA does regulate them.

BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) and BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole)

BHT and BHA are two chemicals that are added to many branded bar soaps to prevent rancidity. Both are safe when applied topically, but too much BHT or BHA on your skin can cause irritation. The best way to protect yourself from BHA and BHT is by using a good quality, handmade, or natural soap that does not contain these two chemicals. Look for “antioxidant free” or “no BHA” on the label.


Triclosan is another common ingredient used in many branded bar soaps. Like parabens, it is a hormone disrupter. While Triclosan has been proven to be effective at preventing the growth of bacteria in the shower and on your skin, recent research indicates that long-term use of this chemical may be harmful to your health. It has been linked to an increased risk of asthma, allergies, and other respiratory problems. It has also been associated with neurological and behavioral problems in children. Too much exposure to any type of hormone disrupter (including Triclosan) can lead to developmental and reproductive problems. Though Triclosan is also not banned in the U.S., the EPA regulates its use in products like bar soaps.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)

SLS and SLES are harmful chemicals that can cause negative skin reactions.

SLS and SLES are chemical surfactants used in many branded bar soaps. These chemicals are very effective at cleaning but can be harsh on your skin. They have been known to cause dryness, itching, irritation, and redness. They are also not good for your skin when used on a daily basis.

Many people with sensitive skin cannot use products with SLS or SLES in them without getting some sort of negative reaction. These two ingredients are common in many branded bar soaps because they make the soap easier to pour and also act as foaming agents.

If you are using a product with SLS or SLES in it, it is best to limit your exposure to this ingredient by using a bar of soap that does not contain it.

Synthetic Fragrances

Many people think that adding a fragrance to a product makes it more “pleasant” to use. This is not true. A pleasant scent can sometimes mask an unpleasant smell, but adding a pleasant scent to something that already has an unpleasant scent will simply make the unpleasant smell hidden. The most common synthetic fragrance used in personal care products like bar soaps is Parfum (which is short for perfume de florals), a mixture of several different chemical compounds. These chemicals are extremely effective at covering up or hiding the smell of chemicals common in many commercial products. They are also a natural byproduct of your body when you are perspiring or having a hot flash. That is why many people with sensitive skin cannot use products with synthetic fragrances in them without getting some type of skin irritation.


Siloxanes are a very common ingredient in bar soaps. It is added to help the soap foam better and to provide a mild cleaning action. It is also a foaming agent that allows the soap to create a nice lather when you wash with it. This ingredient does not cause any problems for most people, but it can be an irritant for some people with sensitive skin. If you are one of those people, you should avoid using products with this ingredient in them. There are plenty of great non-toxic alternatives that will work just as well (if not better) than siloxanes.

PEG (Polyethylene glycol) This is another ingredient that is very common in bar soaps. It is used as a conditioning agent to help moisturize your skin and keep it soft. However, there is a problem with PEG. It has been shown to clog your pores and prevent your skin from properly shedding dead cells and toxins. This can lead to blackheads, acne, and other types of skin problems. In fact, some experts believe PEG may even play a role in the development of wrinkles. If you have sensitive skin and use products with PEG in them on a regular basis, you are exposing yourself to unnecessary risks.

Artificial Dyes and Colors

Many commercial products use artificial dyes and colors to make their products look more appealing to the consumer. However, many of these dyes are very dangerous to your health. They can cause cancer, birth defects and interfere with your immune system. That is why many people opt not to use products with artificial dyes and colors, as they usually come with some type of negative reaction. If you are using products with any type of artificial dye or color in them on a regular basis, you are exposing yourself to unnecessary risks. There are some exceptions, such as a natural red dye that has been shown to have little or no ill effects. But, even then, it is best to limit your exposure to it as much as possible. One common dye is Carrageenan which is often added to soaps for aesthetic reasons. It is a red seaweed extract that gives many soap products a reddish tinge. This can be very harsh on skin in large amounts, especially for those with sensitive skin.


(PAH) Dioxane is another chemical that is used in the production of many commercial products. It is a member of a group of chemicals called polyaromatic hydrocarbons or PAHs. These chemicals are present in almost every product made in a plant. They are not dangerous by themselves. However, when inhaled or ingested, they can cause cancer. Dioxane has been shown to be present in some commercial soaps and personal care products. Even though it is a very small amount (often only 1/10,000 of the total product), it can be enough to cause health problems. If you are using any type of soap or other product that contains dioxane on a regular basis, you are exposing yourself to unnecessary risks. There are some exceptions, such as natural soaps, which often contain low levels of dioxane. But even then, it is best to limit your exposure as much as possible. For example, if you use a bar of soap every day, it would be wise to use a brand that does not contain dioxane. You could also use a liquid soap or one that comes in a pump spray bottle.

With consistent use over a long period of time these chemicals in commercial soap can cause: 

  • Liver damage
  • Tissue damage
  • Some types of cancer
  • Organ toxicity
  • Unbalanced hormone levels

Keeping that in mind, it may be time to make the switch to natural alternatives that get the job of cleansing and refreshing your skin without the negative effects. 

How To Know If Your Bar Soap Contain Harmful Ingredients

The easiest way to find out if your go-to brand for bar soap contains any of the harmful ingredients and chemicals liThe easiest way to find out if your go-to brand for bar soap contains any of the toxic ingredients and chemicals listed above is to read the ingredient label carefully. Another option is to call the company and ask them directly. You can reach many companies by calling their main telephone number and asking for either their “Chemical Disclosure Statement” or “Environmental Product Declaration.”

Do some research into what your bar soap contains to avoid using harmful chemicals on your skin.

Both of these statements will tell you the exact list of ingredients and chemicals in the product. And, if the product does contain hazardous chemicals, it will list that ingredient on the statement. If you are using any type of soap or other product that contains any of the above-listed ingredients or chemicals on a regular basis, you are exposing yourself to unnecessary risks. There are some exceptions, such as natural soaps that often contain low levels to none, which can be a great alternative. 

Finding Safe Alternatives For Your Skin 

There are several safe alternatives to using commercial soaps that are made with harmful chemicals and synthetic detergents. One option is using skin care products like homemade natural soap instead. You can find these soaps in specialty shops like Blue Bison Soapery. Our handmade soap recipes are ideal for people with sensitive skin, and there are a variety of options that will lock in moisture and calm irritated skin.

Personal hygiene products should be able to cleanse your skin without causing any negative reactions or have negative impacts on your overall long-term health. Reading the product label is a surefire way to ensure this. Moreover, artisanal soap makers like Blue Bison Soapery use only the finest natural ingredients in each bar of soap. That way, you can rest assured that your skin is getting only the best plus the added benefit of natural moisturizers, antibacterial properties, and nourishment without chemical preservatives and synthetic colors. 

Using ingredients such as olive oil and shea butter naturals instead of those chemicals listed above also promotes the healthy rejuvenation of skin and supports its natural abilities to heal itself. 

Each handmade soap recipe is made by using the cold process, which means there are no chemical “babies” created during manufacturing. That means you are getting the pure ingredients of the soap, free of any additives or other ingredients that may cause irritation.

People who use homemade soaps report that they have clearer complexions than those who use only commercial products. So, it may be the right time to finally try and make the switch to a more natural skincare bar soap that compliments your skin's health and well-being.





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