Shower Gel Review

May 08 2011 Published by under commercial soap reviews,daily soap stuff

I’m always thinking about the Handmade soap vs. Commercial soap thing. Sometimes l worry a little that all the stuff l write on my blog and in my soap descriptions might sound a little cheesy, a little too much like a carefully designed & scripted handmade marketing speech. I try to speak from the heart, but l’m sure potential customers think l am just trying to sell things. l guess yes, to a certain degree l am. l love my soap, and l DO want to sell it. There are many soapmakers the same. But there’s also a very big part of me who honestly believes in my ingredients and what l make. I worry about the amount of chemicals in modern day life.  l hate washing my hair in the shower and reading the back of the shampoo bottle and wondering what it all is. And l hate that l never have time to check those ingredients and find out whether they are safe or not. I hate feeling that somehow l am being tricked into using something that l would normally not touch with a bargepole, all because l don’t have enough time to decipher the name and investigate it.

So l decided the other day to start reviewing some commercially available soaps that you can buy in any supermarket. At first l was going to concentrate only on bars of soap, but then l remembered that so many of my friends and family have told me that they don’t use soap in the shower because of the soap scum issue. Instead, they swear by shower gel. And this pretty lime coloured one was positioned right in front of my eye in the soap aisle of my local supermarket, so l decided it could be the first review subject.

Initially l had decided only to investigate the ingredients, because l know l’m always rabbiting on about the ingredients in handmade soap and how wonderful they are. So it was going to be a simple breakdown of what makes up each product.

Halfway through compiling this list, l started to wonder if l should actually USE it, and also describe how it made my skin feel compared to a bar of my handmade soap. I used to love shower gels, especially with those loofah sponges. But by the time l finished reading the label, typing out everything, and googling/researching, and then listing it below, l’m not so sure l want to go anywhere near the stuff! I was actually going to give it to my kids to use in their shower, but now l don’t think l’m comfortable even with that.

I’m not sure if l’m just being a scaredy cat, whether l am so biased towards handmade soap now that l am unable to think objectively or fairly.

What do you think?

It’s a looooooong ingredients list below. How does it make you feel when you get to the bottom of it all? I’d really love to know, truthfully.

I’d also like to mention that as much as possible, l have simply cut and pasted content from other sources – none of the below is my opinion. ln all cases l googled the name of the ingredient, and then cut and pasted the most relevant bits. All l was trying to do was find out where the ingredient came from and why it might be included in a bottle of shower gel. And then if there were any side effects to follow  l included those. (l didn’t deliberately go searching for emotive reviews.) As much as possible l have linked back to the pages where l found the information. So l’m not saying ‘don’t ever buy shower gel again’. What l am trying to say is ‘here are the ingredients inside a typical bottle of shower gel, and here is some of what l read about those ingredients’. The same sort of information that l included on my soap ingredients list.

So here we go.
250mls of Lime Shower Gel, packed with essential oils. The ingredients list, l assume listed in order of quantity from most to least:

  • Aqua (water)
  • Sodium laureth sulfate, or sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES), is a detergent and surfactant found in many personal care products (soaps, shampoos, toothpaste etc.). SLES is an inexpensive and very effective foaming agent. SLES has been shown to produce eye or skin irritation in experimental animals and in some human test subjects. Some products containing SLES have been found to contain low levels of the carcinogen 1,4-dioxane.
  • Cocamide DEA, or cocamide diethanolamine, is a diethanolamide made by reacting the mixture of fatty acids from coconut oils with diethanolamine. It is a viscous liquid and is used as a foaming agent in bath products like shampoos and hand soaps, and in cosmetics as an emulsifying agent. Cocamide DEA is an allergen that may cause contact dermatitis in individuals who are susceptible to skin allergies. Cocamide DEA showed a high irritation potential.
  • Lime Oil (l’m going to assume this is the essential oil mentioned on the front of the tube, although l am finding it a bit hard to believe there are the equivalent of 40 limes inside the tube!)
  • Glycerin (information credit here) is a humectant, meaning it attracts moisture to your skin. Glycerin is a natural by-product of the soapmaking process and while commercial manufacturers remove the glycerin for use in their more profitable lotions and creams, handcrafted soap retains glycerin in every bar. Glycerin is a neutral, sweet-tasting, colorless, thick liquid.The process of removing the glycerin from soap is fairly complicated – in the most simplest terms: you make soap out of fats and lye. The fats already contain glycerin as part of their chemical makeup. When the fats and lye interact, soap is formed, and the glycerin is left out as a “byproduct”. But, while it’s chemically separate, it’s still blended into the soap mix. While a cold process soapmaker would simply pour into the molds at this stage, a commercial soapmaker will add salt. The salt causes the soap to curdle and float to the top. After skimming off the soap, they are left with glycerin (and lots of “impurities” like partially dissolved soap, extra salt, etc.). They then separate the glycerin out by distilling it. Finally, they de-colorize the glycerin by filtering it through charcoal, or by using some other bleaching method.
  • Lauramidopropyl Betaine has low irritation to skin and hair so it is used in shampoo, bubble bath, hand washing, and all kinds of personal washing products. It can improve the comb ability and smoothness of hair. Therefore, it is especially suitable for the application in high standard shampoo, bubble bath, baby shampoo, hand cleaner, Also, LAB can be used as detergent, wetting agent, thickening agent and antistatic agents.
  • Sodium chloride, also known as salt, common salt, table salt or halite, is an ionic compound with the formulaNaCl. Sodium chloride is the salt most responsible for the salinity of the ocean and of the extracellular fluid of many multicellular organisms.
  • PEG-150 Distearate is used in beauty products and cosmetics as an emulsifier and thickening agent; it is most often seen as an ingredient in shampoo and other hair products. The 150 designates the molecular weight of this specific PEG. PEGs are controversial ingredients in cosmetics and beauty products, in part because of their ability to penetrate the skin and be absorbed into the body, or assist other chemicals and ingredients in absorption.  PEG 150 is a high weight PEG and is not easily absorbed by the skin.
    The Cosmetics Database finds PEG 150 Distearate to be a moderate hazard depending on usage and notes contamination and toxicity concerns. According to a study published in the International Journal of Toxicology, PEG 150 Distearate can contain harmful impurities, including: Ethylene Oxide, known to increase the incidences of uterine and breast cancers and of leukemia and brain cancer, according to experimental results reported by the National Toxicology Program; 1,4-dioxane, a known carcinogen; PAHs, known to increase the risk of breast cancer; lead; iron; and arsenic (Source).
  • Lactic acid, also known as milk acid, has gained importance in the detergents industry the last decade. It is a good descaler, soap-scum remover, and a registered anti-bacterial agent. It is also economically beneficial as well as part of a trend toward environmentally safer and natural ingredients.
  • Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer is listed as a moderate hazard ingredient by the Cosmetics Database. The EWG notes contamination concerns including methacrylic acid, a potential toxin and carcinogen; acrylic acid, a human respiratory toxicant, known toxin and potential carcinogen; and 2-ethylhexyl acrylate, a known immune syste, human lung and skin toxicant. It is, however, “Considered safe based on assumption of low absorption.”
  • Trideceth-7 – surfactant & emulsifying agent
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulphate is a highly effective surfactant and is used in any task requiring the removal of oily stains and residues. For example, it is found in higher concentrations with industrial products including engine degreasers, floor cleaners, and car wash soaps. It is used in lower concentrations with toothpastes, shampoos, and shaving foams. It is an important component in bubble bath formulations for its thickening effect and its ability to create a lather.
    It has been shown to irritate the skin of the face with prolonged and constant exposure (more than an hour) in young adults. SDS may worsen skin problems in individuals with chronic skin hypersensitivity, with some people being affected more than others. SDS has also been shown to irritate the skin of the face with prolonged and constant exposure (more than an hour) in young adults. In animal studies SDS appears to cause skin and eye irritation.
  • Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, widely abbreviated as EDTA is a polyamino carboxylic acid and a colourless, water-soluble solid. It is widely used to dissolve limescale.
  • Methylchloroisothiazolinone is a preservative with antibacterial and antifungal effects within the group of isothiazolinones. It is effective against bacteria, yeast and fungi. It was first used in cosmetics in the 1970s. In high concentrations it can cause chemical burns and it is a skin and membrane irritant and so it was largely removed from most cosmetic products except for those with only short duration skin contact such as rinse-offs. Prohibited in cosmetics in Canada & Japan.
  • Methylisothiazolinone or MIT, sometimes erroneously called methylisothiazoline, is a powerful biocide and preservative within the group of isothiazolinones, used in shampoos and body care products. Though long considered safe for use in cosmetics, two recent in vitro studies have shown that MIT is neurotoxic, causing damage to rat brain cells in tissue culture.
  • Magnesium Chloride is nothing short of a miracle mineral in its healing effect on a wide range of diseases, as well as in its ability to rejuvenate the aging body. We know that it is essential for many enzyme reactions (especially in regard to cellular energy production), for the health of the brain and nervous system, and also for healthy teeth and bones. However, many are not aware that it is also an impressive infection fighter.
  • Magnesium Nitrate – as far as l can tell, it is used as a  preservative.
  • Limonene is a colourless liquid hydrocarbon classified as a cyclic terpene possessing a strong smell of oranges. It is used in chemical synthesis as a precursor to carvone and as a renewably-based solvent in cleaning products. Limonene takes its name from the lemon, as the rind of the lemon, like other citrus fruits, contains considerable amounts of this compound, which contributes to their odor.
  • Citral is an aroma compound used in perfumery for its citrus effect. Citral is also used as a flavor and for fortifying lemon oil. It also has strong antimicrobial qualities.
  • Linalool is a naturally occurring  alcohol chemical found in many flowers and spice plants with many commercial applications, the majority of which are based on its pleasant scent (floral, with a touch of spiciness).
  • CI 42090 – A brilliant blue colour with good all round stability, excellent for blending with other colours especially tartrazine to achieve green shades
  • CI 19140 -Tartrazine is a synthetic lemon yellow dye used as a food coloring. From Wikipedia: Tartrazine appears to cause the most allergic and intolerance reactions of all the azo dyes, particularly among asthmatics and those with an aspirin intolerance. Symptoms from tartrazine sensitivity can occur by either ingestion or cutaneous exposure to a substance containing tartrazine. A variety of immunologic responses have been attributed to tartrazine ingestion, including anxiety, migraines, clinical depression, blurred vision, itching, general weakness, heatwaves, feeling of suffocation, purple skin patches, and sleep disturbance. Certain people who are exposed to the dye experience symptoms of tartrazine sensitivity even at extremely small doses, some for periods up to 72 hours after exposure. In children, asthma attacks and hives have been claimed, as well as supposed links to thyroid tumors, chromosomal damage, and hyperactivity.

I welcome your comments.

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