Health Hazards of Commercial Soap & Bodywash


If you’re used to getting out of the shower or bath with dry, itchy skin, it could be time to check the ingredients of your soap or bodywash.

While cold weather and low humidity can also be to blame for flaky skin, skincare expert Dr Sarah Villafranco, a physician turned soapmaker at Osmia Organics, agrees harsh soaps are also the culprit, as they’re packed with chemicals that not only destroy the Ph balance of the skin, but also the planet, as they get washed down drains and into the environment.

If you notice ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulfate and fragrance in your favorite shower suds, chances are it’s doing more harm than good. Thankfully, the latest trend is natural soaps, made by hand using traditional methods. Not only are they usually made with love, they’re also great for your skin and better for your health.

The top benefits of using natural, organic soaps:

1) Commercial soap companies often remove the glycerin molecules in order to make a harder bar and make room for other chemical additives. This is why soap often leaves skin feeling dry and flaky.

2) Commercial soaps often use harsh chemicals (like sodium lauryl sulfate), synthetic fragrances and preservatives (like tetrasodium EDTA) that can flare up allergies and sensitivities, leaving the skin red and itchy all over. Natural soaps, on the other hand, use simpler, gentler ingredients that won’t irritate the skin. Think essential oils, such as geranium and juniper berry.

3) Commercial soap, especially the liquid kind, often uses plastic and other environmentally inconsiderate packaging materials. Most organic skin care and beauty companies however use more eco-friendly packaging.

4) The suds that rinse off your body and go down the drain often wind up in the environment. Additives found in commercial soaps (like the ones that make soap “lather” and smell nice) can lead to birth defects in animals. In addition, septic systems depend on bacteria buildup within the tank in order to break down waste for settling and dispersal to the soil. Using a chemical-laden soap (especially an anti-bacterial one) harms the natural bacterial action.

With so many different natural skin care and cosmetic companies on the market, it’s becoming easier than ever to make the switch to environmentally aware products, without sacrificing luxury.

Dr Villafranco’s soaps (pictured above) can be found at


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Written By

Shannon has been a journalist, beauty editor and photographer for two decades, working with some of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. After falling ill in 2010, Shannon immersed herself in holistic healing therapies, natural beauty and plant-based nutrition, while focusing her media work specifically in these areas to help spread awareness.

Today she writes about wellness, self-empowerment and holistic beauty, with her work regularly appearing in Australia’s leading health and lifestyle magazine, WellBeing, holistically-minded food magazine Nourish, wellness magazine Australian Natural Health and various websites. She is also Director at public relations agency, Communeco and a holistic healer, specialising in Reiki, EFT and Psych-K.