Thursday, September 8, 2016

Anti-bacterial soap ban by the FDA

The recent ban by the FDA of 19 chemicals found in anti-bacterial soap is a significant shift in position by the agency. Previously, the position was that anti-bacterial soaps don't provide significant benefit versus non-antibacterial soaps. Now, the view is that anti-bacterial soaps may cause harmful effects over the long term.*

Our soaps are made from natural, organic ingredients (detailed ingredients are available at; just click the soap category, then the soap). This means that not only do we use ingredients most people are familiar with (e.g. lavender flower buds in our Lavender soap; oatmeal and honey in our Oatmeal Honey), we do not use any of the 19 banned chemicals. Additionally, there are no sulphates, phalates, or parabens in our soaps. In our view, these ingredients produce harsh, detergent-like qualities that dry the skin and allow skin irritations to develop.

Sulphates, phalates, parabens  are often found in commercial soaps, as well as some soaps that are advertised as "natural" - for good reason. These ingredients produce a quick lather that is thick and full. Advertisers fully understand the appeal of fluffy, lather on attractive actors. In contrast, our soaps produce a lather that is much more creamy, and made of tiny bubbles (think of the froth of steamed milk on the surface of a latte). This is because of the significantly higher concentration of butters and oils in our soaps. Two side points:

  1. We don't use artificial emulsifiers in our soaps. This means it will take one or two bathings to allow warm bath/shower water to allow the oils and butters to meld naturally (a slightly sticky initial feeling is natural - this is the olive oil, and it will go away);
  2. We recommend using a bath mat in the shower. Those higher concentrations of oils and butters in our soaps naturally find their way to the tub floor and make for slippery footing. 

Do we use emulsifiers, and preservatives in any of our products? Yes, we use them in our lotions and creams. We use natural preservatives, such as rosemary oleoresin to reduce rancidity of natural oils. Rosemary oleoresin is an oil extract of the rosemary leaf, and is a natural antioxidant. And, we use natural emulsifiers to hold the oil, butter, and water molecules together.

Incidentally, these preservatives are not necessary when making bath soap because water is essentially removed during the saponification process, and our long (five week) naturally aspirated curing stage. But, that is a blog for a different day.


Lexington Soaps