Last week, the FDA announced a major victory for our health and wellness—the agency banned the use of triclosan in soaps, specifically those marketed as antibacterial, which make up a whopping 40 percent of the total soap market and 90 percent of all antibacterial soaps.
The agency said in its decision that the soap industry had “failed to prove [triclosan-containing soaps] were safe,” reports the New York Times.
“Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water,” Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement. “In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long-term.”
Triclosan, an antibacterial agent, has been linked to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a major health concern for consumers, specifically as these types of infections are on the rise—a result in large part due to animal agriculture, which laces animal feed with antibiotics (to stimulate animal growth, among other things).
But it has also been implicated in endocrine disruption—a growing concern as endocrine-altering substances are found in so many daily-use products already. Triclosan has also been connected to an increased risk of allergies and issues in the microbiome, as triclosan has been linked to disrupting gut bacteria.
The FDA’s decision pointed to good old-fashioned soap and water as just as effective—if not more so—than soaps containing triclosan. And ordinary soap doesn’t run the risk of contributing to the antibiotic-resistant bacteria problem.
“In all the F.D.A. took action against 19 different chemicals and has given industry a year to take them out of their products,” reports the Times.
But the ruling doesn’t mean triclosan is banned from all products—in fact, it’s still allowed in soaps, just not those marketed specifically as antibacterial hand soaps. Even toothpaste, including Colgate Total, can also still continue to contain triclosan.
A spokesperson for Colgate-Palmolive told the Times the company had “scientific evidence” that proved its triclosan-containing toothpaste did actually show health benefits by way of reducing harmful bacteria in the mouth.
Still, the move is a step toward cleaner health and beauty products for an industry that’s largely unregulated. And that’s worth noting, especially for us here at Zatik Natural–a small brand committed to clean beauty. It seems almost silly that a controversial chemical like triclosan would become so widespread when, yes, a simple bar of soap and proper hand-washing techniques are just as effective. But, of course, without the risk of infection. We take this as a sign that consumer demand for cleaner products is only going to increase and help to change the industry for the better.
Check out our handmade soaps!
Sea-Buckthorn & Apricot Soap Bar
Coconut & Blue Cornflower Soap
Simply Olive Oil Bar
Calendula & Neem
Sea Kelp Charcoal
We are living in a convenience culture. Our food is fast, our Facebook feed scroll even faster. We’re all busy—most of it for good reason, we hope. But some old school habits may be worth keeping around, like the good old bar soap. Yeah, the kind your grandmother always had around in those vintage soap dishes. Bar soap is back.
Of course, when we talk about bar soap, we most certainly are not talking about the detergent-laced supermarket aisle stuff that leaves you fresh and clean as a whistle. There’s a new soap in town, the hand-milled, small-batch, natural-ingredient soaps that you need to know about.
According to a recent Scientific American article, bar soaps are more efficient. While that Big-Gulp-sized liquid soap or body wash may appear to be the bigger bang for your buck, you’re going to use more of it than you would a bar soap. It’s pretty simple, actually: It’s difficult to meter out exactly the amount you need to achieve the cleansing power for the job. And with most bottles coming with pumps, you end up getting what you get anyway—even if it’s too much for hands or face washing.
Water consumption goes up with liquid soaps as well—you’ve got to work it into a lather, after all. But with bar soaps, wet hands usually do the trick, conserving water usage.
Bar soaps are also way better for the environment than liquids. Like, way, way, better. Grist reports that liquid soaps can use up to five times more energy to produce than bar soaps. Plus, liquid soaps often contain, well, liquid, including water. Shipping heavy liquids around requires trucks to use more fuel, and that’s a problem for the planet, too.
Plus, there’s that whole what-the-heck-should-I-do-with-the-empty-soap-bottle conundrum that can keep you staring at your recycling and trash bins for way too long. Bar soaps often come wrapped in paper, or nothing at all.
Another perk to bar soaps is that they’re generally multipurpose—good for both face and body. They’re generally gentle, making them excellent choices for kids, too. And, let’s not forget Grandma, either.
Check out Zatik’s handmade bar soaps!
image: Veronic Foale
Daily skin cleansing is commonplace. Most of us do it without a thought—we wash our face in the shower (morning or evening) and probably do a quick face wash in the sink at the other end of the day. Well, when it comes to how to wash your face, it’s not as simple as you’d think (or hope) it should be.
How to Wash Your Face (the Wrong Way)
Just because you’ve been doing it your whole life doesn’t mean it’s right. Are you washing your face like this?
- Scalding hot water—this can dry out and damage your skin. It’s a no-no.
- Harsh chemical ingredients—soaps and facial cleansers can be made with alcohol and other drying or damaging ingredients (more on the ones you want in a bit.)
- Rough sponges, washcloths, or loofahs–these can also irritate and damage skin.
- Leaving your makeup on may seem like it makes sense, you are washing your face, after all, but it’s not the best practice for clean skin.
- Wetting your skin too much before you apply the cleanser can wash it away leaving to unclean skin.
How to Wash Your Face (the Right Way)
Yes, there is a right way to do it. Give these best practices a shot and see if your skin doesn’t look amazing after a few weeks.
- Use lukewarm or cool water—cold water if you want extra points. Cold water shrinks the pores and is quite invigorating and won’t damage the skin like hot water.
- Use natural ingredients—cleansers need to be strong enough to remove dirt and oil, but no so strong they can strip paint. While many commercial products promise effective cleansing benefits, they may be too harsh, particularly for delicate skin. And if they’re stripping away all of your skin’s natural oils, you can be left with overly aggressive oil glands, that can lead to breakouts.
- Exfoliating is a key component to cleansing the skin, but don’t overdo it with harsh scrubbing products or tools. Try to find a balance between natural exfoliants like fruit acids, and stronger treatments used less frequently. For everyday cleansing, use your hands or a gentle electric skin brush on the softest setting.
- Make sure you remove all of your makeup before washing. Oils are the best at taking off makeup (especially heavy foundation and mascara). Swipe cotton balls soaked in jojoba, almond oil, or another skin-friendly oil (or blend) until makeup is removed. Then wash as usual.
- Yes, starting with dry skin when you wash is ideal. Use a little water to activate your soap in your hands, but apply to a dry face for best results.
- Follow your cleansing with skin toning products to brighten and rejuvenate your skin tone and be sure to apply a hydrating moisturizer and SPF protection.
Image: Lucho Molino