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14 Ingredients to Avoid in Your Soaps, Shower Gels and Body Washes


Rub a dub dub, that soapy stuff you’ve been using probably for most of your life has some rather undesirable chemicals in it that the bigwigs at P&G and Unilever don’t want you to know about! Chemicals that are toxic to us, irritants to our skin and in some cases our insides too. Here is our round up of nasties that could be lurking in your soap bar –

A-pinene – derived from the sap of pine trees, but just because it’s from a natural source doesn’t mean it’s good for our bodies – think about petrochemicals! It’s a major component of turpentine and can be damaging to the immune system.

A-terpineol – extremely irritating to our mucus membranes. Repeated, frequent or prolonged exposure can cause excitement, ataxia (loss of muscular coordination), hypothermia, central nervous system and respiratory depression, headache and even fatal edema.

Artificial Colours – most of these are petroleum-based and such chemicals leave a thin film that in effect suffocates our skin, making it unable to excrete toxins and waste.

Benzyl Acetate – an eye and lung irritant as well as a known carcinogen that has been linked to pancreatic cancer.

Benzaldehyde – otherwise known as Bitter Almond Oil – a narcotic that can depress the central nervous system. When inhaled it can cause vomiting, dizziness, and a sudden drop in blood pressure.

Ethanol – an alcohol used in the manufacturing of varnish and paint remover, where it is labeled as Hazardous Waste. Side effects may include irritation of the respiratory tract, impaired vision and loss of muscle control.

Fragrance (Parfum) – not all synthetic fragrance compounds are bad, but some are! Some can lead to dryness of skin and irritation. Unfortunately, the term “fragrance” is often masking a group of chemicals known as phthalates, which have been linked to serious reproductive problems in studies of people and animals.

Isopropyl Alcohol – a chemical used in antifreeze! It can have some really nasty side effects including dizziness, mental depression, respiratory problems, vomiting and even coma! Isopropyl alcohol also reduces our skin’s ability to naturally protect you against bacteria, viruses and mould.

Linalool – another narcotic that can impair respiratory function and motor activity. It also attracts bees which can be problematic for those allergic to bee stings.

Parabens – preservatives used in many cosmetics products to prolong the shelf life. They may cause skin irritation, rashes, allergic reactions, have been linked to cancer and may disrupt endocrine function within the body.

Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) and Sodium PCA – these two chemicals are not clean, they can contain harmful impurities and both have been linked to cancer. PEG-6 has been linked to breast cancer in particular.

Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate (SLS) – a known irritant to the skin and eyes, this chemical is commonly used in soaps as a foaming agent. It also increase the absorption of other (potentially harmful) chemicals in to the skin and impairs the skin’s ability to retain moisture. It can also mutate genetic material and has been used in Japanese studies to promote bacterial mutations, it’s classified as a mutagen. The American College of Toxicology (ACT) in 1983, reported SLS to be highly irritating, dangerous and that concentrations of SLS of as low as 0.5% could cause irritation yet studies have shown that numerous soaps have concentrations of up to 30%!!

Triethanolamine, Diethanolamine, Monoethanolamine (TEA, DEA, MEA) – according to the EWG this is one of the most toxic ingredients found in soap. An irritant to lungs and eyes, this chemical can cause severe and painful inflammation. The Cosmetic Review board states that it is safe to use “as long as exposure is very short as in a product that gets washed off.” What if you miss a bit?! More concerning is the fact that these chemicals can react with other ingredients in products to produce nitrosamines, which have been linked to cancer.

Triclosan – this chemical may be antibacterial but it is also a mutagen, an eye irritant, is readily absorbed thru the skin and has been linked to liver damage. Over use of antibacterials such as Triclosan has created a widespread problem of a new generation of mutated bacteria that have become resistant to the same chemicals that created them.

Click here to read my top body washes to choose if you want to go natural and organic!

  • Deena Mathew

    No more saved up mini hotel shower tubes for me, because I want to smell and feel like the Queen of Aleppo!

  • We love you Rebecca 🙂

  • iain

    please help me change to a great bar of soap

  • it’s rather frightening, all those hidden ingredients!! x

  • Jennifer

    A soapy dream I’d be so clean without chemicals mean.

  • Donna Lawton

    I’m using a fragrence free soap substitute because I have eczema. I see in your review that this soap can be used for eczema…oh the bliss of smelling of something other than nothingness as I do right now! x

  • Sarah Roberts

    I’m using Viyella Classic Soap, would love to try this though!

  • Jane orford

    my husband gets the cheap stuff ,not very nice..

  • Alia

    Currently using up some left overs from my cupboard, trying to be good and not waste products, but having read all those ingredients (some i knew about and make an effort to avoid already, others i’m new to) perhaps a few Queen of Aleppo utems could go on my new shopping list!

  • RAven kg

    my partner is a mechanic and leaves my bars DIRTY, please help me get my own beautiful clean soap!

  • Richie N

    My skin gets cracked and dry as I work outside during all weathers and I must admit my soap is cracked and dry too. Its some pink girlie BOGOFF stuff from the supermarket.

    A brand new set of Queen of Aleppo soap goodies would certainly make me smoothe and silky again – and my soap dish would look more masculine too as I could chuck out the pink.

  • siobhan marie

    would love to try these soaps they look and sound fantastic x

  • Eleanor Jones

    I tend to use a scraggy dried out soap..I would love to use something different 🙂

  • Stacey

    Everytime we buy soap its that £1.00 for 4 bars wash it all over your body stuff that i KNOW is full of harsh chemicals and yes I should be using something better on me and my kids when you consider your skin absorbs so much of it but we make the same mistake for cost and I need to try something different!

  • Lucy

    After reading about what lurks in bars of soap,
    I realise my current brand is way beyond hope.
    Containing narcotics such as benzaldehyde,
    my eyes have been opened by your informative guide.
    obviously using soap is about keeping clean,
    but now I will consider matters of hygiene.
    My soap may contain chemicals like triclosan,
    so using QUEEN OF ALEPPO is my future plan.

  • Tina Holmes

    At the moment I’m using some handmade soap


  • Kryssy Read

    I am getting on a bit now – well into my pension – rather crinkly and saggy too. I remember using Palmolive years ago believing I would avoid the wrinkles – Ha! I’ve tried all sorts over the years, even baby soap. Every one of them left my face tight and dry so I ended up with scraps of soap all over the place. I even remember melting all the bits down to make up one bar – we did that years ago….

    So, I am keen to try Queen of Aleppo soaps as I fancy some “Biteable Beauty”. I wonder which bit of me hubby will bite? He’ll have to put his teeth in first.

  • Anna B

    I am currently using The Body Shop’s Shea soap.
    I have been diagnosed with seborrheic dermatitis earlier this year and since then I have tried an array of skincare products that are on the market to keep it at bay. Nothing has worked long-term which is why I was researching natural skincare products in the hope of finding something that will help eventually. This is how I learnt of Queen of Aleppo and have found your beauty blog in the process! Please, help me stop buying more and more products that only seem to aggrevate my condition, Queen of Aleppo sounds like it might help.

  • Hannah Ellis

    Im still using gifts from birthdays and christmas and certainly not smells I’d choose!! I deserve to win so I can smell nice for a change haha xx

  • chris parham

    My own soap would be good the kids always nick it and use them


    I have psoriasis. Would love to try this soap on my skin and if it doesn’t irritate skin!

  • Michelle Fouracres

    What a fantastic prize, who wouldn’t want to win?

  • Julie McLaren

    I use whatever anti-bacterial pump soap is on offer at Tesco! Now these would be just mine!

  • Karen Kerner

    I’m using ordinary Camay–not nearly up to the quality of Queen Aleppo soaps.

  • Samantha

    I have a stock pile of gifts from christmas past i am ploughing through at the moment

  • antonia j richardson

    im using palmolive soap at the mo

  • Kate

    I’m not using any soap at the moment because the Soap i do have is always covered in black muck from when the men in my house get in for work! I deserve to win Soap from Queen of Aleppo so i can have some lovely clean soap of my own.

  • Susan Seaman

    we are using a boring white bar of soap my oh purchased no smell and just leaves yukky mess around the sink ;-(

  • anneka hulse

    My finance keep using My soap when shaving so lurking in my soap is loads of horrid man stubble yuk 🙁

  • Jeannette Austen

    OK. Big family and loads of soap needed. Yours sounds truly wonderful, for me. A tad luxurious for the kids but for me heaven. Much better then the cheap c*** I was given for Christmas last year.:)

  • Congratulations Kryssy Read! Your post was the most amusing and therefore I think you are the deserved winner. I need your address details, please either message Biteable Beauty on Facebook or hello@biteablebeauty.com

    Sorry everyone for the delay in announcing, we’ve been a bit busy here at Biteable Beauty of late!

  • Kryssy Read

    Hi Rebecca,

    I have emailed my address to you. I am so excited to have won this beautiful prize. Thank you so much.

    Kryssy xxx

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