Avoid these 8 toxic chemicals in your soap and shampoo

Regularly washing your hair and body may sound like a great way to keep your hair and skin healthy. However, the fragrant shampoo and body soap you’re using may actually be doing you more harm than good, especially since it can actually contain a number of harmful chemicals.

8 potentially harmful chemicals in mainstream soap and shampoo

In the quest to create shampoos and soaps that act and feel like what they think people expect, companies add a range of chemicals to their products, many of which can actually be quite harmful to people.

Some of these ingredients include those that are added to give shampoo, soap and body wash products their scent, color and foamy-ness. Yes, these may make you feel that your hair and body are getting cleaned, but these same chemicals can also harm you, without you knowing it.

Here are 8 common but potentially harmful shampoo ingredients to watch out for:

  1. Sodium lauryl sulfate

You know that nice, foamy lather you get when washing your hair and body with shampoo and soap? More often than not, that comes from a chemical known as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS).

A safety assessment study of SLS published way back in 1983 suggested that products that stay on the skin should not exceed a 1% concentration of the chemical. This is because tests found that continuous skin exposure to SLS could lead to irritation. [1]

In addition, SLS can also disrupt the skin’s natural oil balance and cause eye damage. [2]

  1. Sodium laureth sulfate

Similar to SLS, sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) is another chemical that companies add to soap and shampoo to make them foam up.

SLES is also known to cause skin irritation if left on for too long.

The chemical’s difference with SLS, however, is that once absorbed by the body, it takes longer for the liver to get rid of it. Not only does it stay in the body for much longer, but much more energy is used to get rid of it. [3]

  1. Parabens

Parabens are preservatives that are added to shampoo, body soap, and other cosmetics to prevent the growth of harmful mold and bacteria.

While they help keep cosmetic products – including shampoo and soap – free of harmful bugs, parabens also have a darker side to them. These chemicals have been linked to several side effects, such as cell damage, endocrine dysfunction and even cancer. [4]

Studies have shown that high enough concentrations of parabens can increase the proliferation of human breast cancer cells. In addition, these chemicals have also been shown to promote UV-induced damage in the skin, increasing the risk of developing malignant melanoma, a form of skin cancer.

  1. Formaldehyde

You may know formaldehyde as the chemical used to preserve bodies at the morgue. This chemical, like parabens, is used to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and mold in the shampoo.

Formaldehyde has also been linked to cancer. Specifically, this chemical has been known to cause damage to DNA in a manner that can lead to cancer.

In addition, formaldehyde can also cause allergic reactions, including skin irritation and asthma. [5]

  1. Diethanolamine

Diethanolamine (DEA) is an emulsifier and foaming agent. It reduces surface tension so that water- and oil-soluble ingredients can blend together.

DEA, however, has also been linked to cancer. A 1998 National Toxicology Program study found an association between DEA and cancer in laboratory testing. [6]

The dangers of DEA are high enough that the European Union has banned its use in cosmetics. [7]

  1. Coal tar

Coal tar is added to shampoo to help treat dandruff due to its ability to relieve itching, scaling and flaking caused by various skin conditions.

As with most harmful materials in commercial shampoo, coal tar can be linked to cancer. Specifically, the National Toxicology Program classifies it as a carcinogen.

In addition, other studies have shown that coal tar can also cause neurological damage.

As with DEA, coal tar has already been banned in Europe.

  1. Synthetic fragrances

These might seem harmless at first glance – all they’re supposed to do is add some nice scents to your shampoo and body wash. The problem with these, however, is that shampoos that have “fragrance” on their label can contain thousands of hidden chemicals.

Some of the chemicals used in fragrances include acetaldehyde and benzophenone. Both of these chemicals have been listed by various organizations as possibly carcinogenic to humans. [8]

  1. Triclosan

First used as an ingredient in hospital disinfectants, companies started using triclosan as an antimicrobial agent in products like shampoo and body soap in the 1990s. However, the Food and Drug Administration ruled that products with this chemical aren’t any better at killing bacteria than plain old soap and water. [9]

Use natural shampoo to avoid harmful chemicals

With all these harmful chemicals in shampoo and body soap, you may be wondering if you’ll ever get to wash your hair and body safely again. Thankfully, there is a solution – you can use natural shampoos like our All-Natural, Glyphosate-Tested Shampoos and Body Soaps.

Health Ranger Shampoo and body soap still maintains a luxurious texture and cleansing bubbles, washing away dirt and grime while leaving your hair clean and rejuvenated – without the harmful chemicals found in commercial shampoos.

Health Ranger Shampoo and body soap are made from only the finest organic coconut, olive and sunflower oils and lightly scented with essential oil. All product lots have been lab verified for safety and purity, and are 100% China-free, non-GMO, non-synthetic, and rigorously lab tested for glyphosate, heavy metals, and microbiology.

Cleaning your hair and body shouldn’t involve exposing yourself to harmful chemicals. Do yourself a favor, go organic and use a natural shampoo, so you can wash away your worries about dangerous chemicals.

Next article Avoid these harmful ingredients in your makeup and skin care routine


Anita Patrick - August 7, 2020

Thank you health ranger for always giving out important information on how to preserve your health when going shopping.

Blessings to you and family

Solani Someni - August 7, 2020

I for many years now make and have made my own soaps, shampoo, skin products and laundry soap from only natural certified organic products/oils, fats, essential oils, as well as my own homemade “lye” made out of the wood ashes I clean out of our wood heater from the wood we harvest on our own land. There are absolutely NO chemicals or additives in these soaps, skin products. I have been using them for years, same as our neighbors that live way out here have always come to me to buy the products they need for their families.

Not only are they a much more healthy alternative to the store bought products, they are also much cheaper, since I only charge our neighbors and friends the actual cost of the ingredients, which is basically not even pennies on the dollar. I will never go back to buying the store bought chemical products. I see and feel the difference between the products I make and what you can buy in the store as well as the neighbors coming back to buy, tells me that that these products are so much healthier for you and your family.

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