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Soap Opera

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What is the difference between natural and organic soaps? Is one better than the other? Here\’s what to look for and what to avoid.

What’s the difference between natural and organic soap? Is one better than the other? Can you use facial soap on your body, and vice versa? What’s the difference? Here’s what to look for and what to avoid.

Conventional soaps, even those that are glycerin based, can dry your skin. Instead, look for handmade, natural soaps, which are usually made without harmful or potentially harmful ingredients. But just because a soap product deems itself natural or organic does not mean that it is pure or better than the one next to it on the shelf. The word “organic” in the name can mean that only some of the ingredients are organic. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the ingredients are good for you, so be sure to read the label and list of ingredients carefully.

Look for ingredients such as olive, almond, and coconut oils, which replenish and moisturize the skin. Botanical-based ingredients are better than synthetic, and essential oils provide the best natural, plant-based fragrances. Ground ingredients such as almonds, rice, and coffee make great exfoliating agents to help keep your complexion clear.

Search out vegan soaps as they are cruelty-free and made without animal products (such as lard, beeswax, or beef tallow).

If the ingredients list on the label includes long words that you can’t pronounce, then the soap probably isn’t natural.

As for facial and body soap, some products for the face contain antiaging ingredients and other properties that are specifically added to treat facial skin. Many handmade soaps can be used on both face and body; just check the directions on the product label. My rule is, if the label says “face soap,” then use it on your face. If it doesn’t say anything, use it on your body.

Soap Ingredients to Avoid

  • Aluminum (may be linked to cancer)
  • Formaldehyde (linked to irritation of the skin, eyes, and lungs)
  • Butyl, ethyl, methyl, and propyl parabens (linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity)
  • Petroleum products, including mineral oil and Vaseline (environmentally damaging to produce)
  • Phthalates (known endocrine disruptors)
  • Propylene glycol (also used as antifreeze)
  • Synthetic colourants, labelled as FD&C or D&C (known irritants)
  • Synthetic fragrances (can cause allergies)
  • Toluene (linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity)
  • Triclosan (an antibacterial agent known to interfere with natural immunity)

Soap Ingredients to Look for

  • Natural fragrances
  • Olive, almond, coconut, and other plant-based oils
  • Botanical formulas
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