Sometimes we chat to share the latest and greatest information in our world of soap making. I believe it is a smart thing to have a network of colleagues who can bring new information to the table. It keeps us informed and updated in our specialty. How can you trust someone if they are not current in their education? It would be like going to a Doctor who never learned any new techniques or updated his skills once he/she left medical school.
Always, in the front of my mind, is the intention of helping you to make the best decisions regarding your needs in the world of soap. A lot has changed since I first started making my own soap. It would not make sense for me to tell you about rendering tallow and burning wood for ash to get lye for your recipes.
Today there are books and books on the market that will give you new techniques using gentle organic ingredients. In this day and age, there are many factors in choosing our soap products.
Some who have sensitive skin are hypersensitive to harsh chemicals, others have to deal with allergies. And there are some who have environmental concerns for habitat, testing on animals and other choices such as living a Vegan lifestyle.
It is my hope that I can keep you all informed of your choices in the world of soap.
This is a new catch phrase in the industry. Chemicals are not natural. So let’s learn about parabens and what they mean to those of us who care.
Parabens, first commercialized in the 1950’s, in scientific terms, are a group of synthetic compounds used as preservatives in many personal care products. When reading labels, you may see ingredients listed such as methylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben and propylparaben. They are all the same in the sense that they contain parabens.
Parabens are added to products not only to act as a preservative, but also to stop the growth of fungus and bacteria.
Most people really don’t know exactly why parabens might be bad, but when we begin seeing advertising on products that say “Paraben Free” we do take notice. It is a new catch phrase in advertising similar to seeing “Fat Free”, Gluten Free”, etc in past campaigns.
Just a silly side note here: I once picked up a bag of carrots that were stamped with the words “Gluten Free”. Ok, that is just silly as Gluten is from a grain and carrots are vegetables. Just something I had to rant about here!
What I am trying to express is just because it says something like “Paraben Free” are we to assume it is bad for us? Well, let’s explore a bit more and see what the side effects might be.
RESEARCH ON PARABENS
The FDA does set safety limits with regard to the amount of parabens allowed in products. However, what happens when individual consumers are exposed to parabens in several products over a long period of time?
Did you know that parabens are in products other than Soaps? There is evidence that 90 percent of our grocery items actually contain measurable amounts of parabens. Remember, parabens are used as a preservative. What this means, is that we carry parabens around in our bloodstreams just through our food consumption.
Now, let’s add toothpaste, make-up, deodorants, shower gels, lotions, and of course, soaps to that mix. Public health officials worry that the cumulative exposure to this chemical, from so many products, could be unsafe and could trigger various health issues.
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS
From what I have been able to find out, it seems that our greatest possible concern is how paraben might disrupt our hormone function. This preservative chemical can mimic the behavior of estrogen in our body.
That means we should be concerned with health fears like cancer, developmental issues and endocrine disruption. Unfortunately, this chemical compound can and has been linked to all these health conditions.
Even marine life is showing possible paraben side effect as our environment becomes more toxic from chemical preservatives such as paraben. Researchers believe parabens from products we use are being washed through the sewer system and then into our environment. As long as we use detergents and soaps in our water system, we will continue to see the effect on, not just humankind, but animals as well. It is sad to see how our man made chemicals affect the world we live in.
The use of parabens in products were banned in Europe in 2012. There is obvious concern of side effects from this man made chemical compound. While the FDA in the U.S.A is being pressured to ban this chemical, it is still on the market. Unfortunately, nothing in the government moves fast, so we must, as individuals, take control of our choices. Be informed about this issue of parabens.
What can you do to protect yourself? Read your labels. Remember that mass-produced soaps have ingredients that are harsh and cause undue distress to our skin, young to old, if we are sensitive beings.
Honestly, just to be on the safe side, avoid products containing parabens…. This comes directly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the big scheme of things, is this chemical compound called paraben really a threat to our way of life. I believe that it is definitely a threat. The increased possibility of cancerous breast tumors is the perfect reason I myself will always be looking for natural, organic handmade soaps.
Buy soap products made in small batches.
Avoid the mass-produced soaps found on store shelves.
Read your labels for ingredients. Natural preservatives include:castor oil, vitamin E, rosemary oil extract, and grapefruit seed extract.
There are definitely some very good alternatives when buying natural handmade soap products. I hope you will respect and protect your skin and our environment, and that this information has helped you make better, wiser decisions when shopping for soap.
Time to get off my “Soap Box”. I welcome your comments and thoughts.
Happy In Bubbles