I don’t claim to be a scientist, doctor or anthropologist, but in the process of formulating our products, I have done some pretty extensive research on which ingredients are beneficial and which are harmful to your skin. I hope to explain the importance of using natural products to create a healthy and natural microbiome for your body’s largest organ in a way that is concise and easily digestible. Please reference the list of sources at the end of this article.
Our skin is more than just a physical barrier that covers our bodies and keeps our organs from falling out and bad things from getting in. Our bodies have their own ecosystem that is teaming with good fungi, bacteria and viruses that work together to prevent their harmful relatives from getting past our epidermis. The trillions of organisms that live on your skin do a myriad of things like prevent fungal infections, help heal wounds, kill pathogens and protect you from environmental toxins like pollution and ultraviolet radiation. This microbiome begins to develop from the moment we are pushed out into the world. Every person has their own unique combination of these beneficial microscopic organisms that is determined by the environment we are exposed to as we grow.
Unfortunately, in the early 20th century, soap companies started waging a war on all fungi, bacteria, and viruses using ads that falsely claimed that all of these things had to go in order to prevent deadly diseases from spreading and wiping out all of humanity. In part, they were correct, but they failed to educate people on the benefits of the organisms that had taken up residence on their bodies throughout their lifetime. As more and more people were giving up their “simple lives” and moving to the big city, diseases were able to spread more quickly. This left the door wide open for big soap companies to use fear tactics to sell chemical laden products that strip your skin and destroy the natural habitat where beneficial organisms live.
Now we know that a lot of these chemicals, many of them petroleum based, do more harm than good. Research has found that they can cause devastating long term effects like cancer, birth defects, weight gain, hormone imbalances and an overactive immune system. Much like the relationship between Nemo and the anemone he lives in, we have a symbiotic relationship with the organisms “big soap” has been trying to exterminate for so many years. In fact, the average pH human skin has become less acidic over time making it more difficult for these organisms to survive.
Creating a healthy environment for these beneficial fungi, bacteria and viruses to thrive as well as avoiding chemicals that mimic hormones (hormone disruptors) and cause imbalances is as important as removing the harmful organisms. Most chemicals are only harmful in large doses, but these hormone disruptors are especially dangerous because they can be easily absorbed and are toxic in low doses.
Things to Avoid: Mercury, Isocyanates, PCBs, Acrylates, Nicotine, BPAs, BPSs, Parabens, Carcinogens, Formaldehyde, Pesticides, Synthetic Fragrances, Synthetic Antioxidants
*These ingredients are usually disguised under their scientific names but a quick google search can show you how they appear on product labels
Many of the ingredients listed above are ironically more “cosmetic” than they are intended to make the product more effective. They are included in the formulation as preservatives, emulsifiers or to improve the lather, creaminess, or moderate viscosity. In some cases they are included to counteract the negative effects of other harmful ingredients in the formula.
We are not suggesting that you should boycott bathing or lose friends and family over your stench, but we are encouraging you to choose products that are natural and beneficial to a healthy microbiome. These products can be hard to find. Many of them still contain ingredients that are unnatural and/or they just don’t work. We have made products that are effective, luxurious, and create a healthy habitat for your microscopic friends to live. This is why our products are formulated to Cleanse, Exfoliate & Replenish your skin without any of these harmful chemicals.