Liquid Soaps: Delight or Danger?
Liquid soaps are a common washroom product in the United States; they’re everywhere you go. We use them continually, often without being aware of the harmful chemical compounds in them that have been identified as serious environmental and health concerns.
These compounds range from simple foam boosters (e.g. cocomidopropyl betaine, sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate) to anti-bacterial agents such as Triclosan. The good news is that we are awakening to the dangers of these products, and essential oils give us a healthier, natural alternative.
(Note: Bottles of soaps, blends of soaps and oils with different purposes (sanitizing, heavenly smelling – and both :) will be on Ananda shortly – About the end of this month (July). We’ll include even more recipes (there are a few at the bottom of this page), and bottles for different soap types and uses, ie. for home and travel!)
Effects of Chemical Compounds: Triclosan
From toothpaste, to handsoap, to dish detergents, Triclosan is a persistent, bio-accumulative ingredient common in personal- and home-care products. Studies show that when used with municipal tap water, Triclosan reacts with chlorine to produce chloroform, and dioxins when the water is exposed to UV light.
Certain dioxins are highly toxic, and can disrupt the endocrine (hormonal) system in animals, including humans. Endocrine disruption has been linked to cancerous tumors, birth defects, developmental disorders, cognitive impairment, ADHD, and reproductive and genital mutations in baby boys.
In the plant kingdom, Triclosan inhibits the photosynthesis of diatom algae, the most common phytoplankton on earth. Many Triclosan by-products persist in the body and the environment, and they bioaccumulate. In light of both the effects of its chemical by-products, and the development of bacterial resistance, the Canadian Medical Association recommended that Triclosan be banned.
The Good News: Essential Oils Eliminate Microbes and Environmental Pollutants
Hand soaps with essential oils as active ingredients achieve the same or better anti-microbial results, without creating bacterial resistance. Anti-bacterial drugs (Triclosan) try to kill the bacteria; should some cells survive, they divide, and as the story goes, produce more of the stronger, resistant bacteria.
Microbicide without resistance is possible because the cell membranes of bacteria are made of lipids, and essential oils are lipophilic. So, the essential oils dissolve right into the fatty cell walls. Once inside, the oil inhibits the metabolism of the cell, preventing it from producing ATP (Adenosine Tri-Phosphate), the co-enzyme that provides the energy for cells to move, repair themselves, and divide.
Blending for Beauty and Beyond: New Products and Recipes to Try at Home
At Ananda Apothecary, we are concerned for human and environmental health. We are currently developing a high-quality, healthy alternative to chemical anti-microbial soaps, but also to provide gentler soaps for use in the home, for kids, and for mature skin. Our soap base is a 100% organic Aloe Castile, containing all vegetable oils that have been saponified with lye, a compound that has been used for thousands of years in soaps.
Rather than using foam boosters that will end up in the river, we choose this pump-bottle to generate the foam:
(Again, these bottles will be available at the Ananda Apothecary, along with soap bases – Castile and other natural liquid soaps – and of course, the essential oils, before the end of July! We will create a “soap and soap making” category, and include the bottles on the “bottles and pipettes” page as well.)
Currently, we are experimenting with pre-blended hand soaps for a variety of preferences: gentle anti-aging, herbal-astringent scents, floral-fruity, blends for kids, and of course, an anti-microbial blend. In the meantime, though, here are a few recipes for you to try.
The citrus-y top notes of this blend stimulate the senses and dissipate quickly after washing. Perfect to keep at work or in a handbag. Made with moisturizing soap to balance the effects of lemon’s oil-reducing action.
The delicate, earthy, yet bright tones of this blend boost energy, and/or calm the nerves, encouraging harmonious balance. Great for home use, and in a travel-size for therapeutic appointments and yoga classes.
2 drops Ylang Ylang Extra
6 drops Orange, Tangerine, or Mandarin
500 ml (2 cups) Aloe Castile Soap
Ylang ylang and citrus possess natural anti-depressant qualities to soothe, enlighten, and restore. Excellent for home, work, and weekends away.
10 drops of Super Immune
250 ml (1 cup) Castile Gel Soap
A strong yet gentle mix of antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal essential oils designed to maximize the benefits of hand washing while also supporting the immune system. Send this to school with the kids, keep one in your office, and one in the car. Made with moisturizing soap to keep skin soft, even with frequent use.