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5 Harmful Ingredients in Soap and What You Can Use to Replace Them

by Michael Koh

We’ve been there.


You’re about to shower at friend’s house, or while on vacation, and you forgot your trusty soap.


Not really having another option (other than not showering), you use whatever soap is at hand. You’re done showering, and regret quickly sinks in, your skin feels dry as a bone. This makes you wonder, what chemicals are in the soap you just used and how harmful are they?


colored soap bars


We’ve compiled a list of 5 harmful chemicals in your soap just for you; and, what you can use to replace that harmful soap with!


5 Harmful Chemicals in Your Soap


1,4 Dioxane

1,4 Dioxane is a contaminant found in most cosmetics and products meant for personal care. It has a high hazard rating of 8 in EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. Not only that, but it's one of the chemicals featured in California’s Proposition 65 List of Carcinogens.

Woman reading a soap label

According to Natural News, 1,4-Dioxane is a known eye and respiratory tract irritant that readily penetrates the skin. 

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

Also known as Sodium Laureth Sulfate, but not to be confused with the gentle Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate.


SLS bonds with other common soap ingredients, resulting in a carcinogenic nitrosamine, one of the chemicals also featured in California’s Proposition 65 List of Carcinogens.

Harmful ingredient list on a bottle label


SLS is linked to skin irritations and allergic reactions, like eczematous dermatitis, leaving sensitive skin damaged and irritated.


Triclosan is a pesticide with antibacterial and antifungal properties, containing a high hazard rating of 7 in EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.

Studies show that Triclosan in low doses, can impact thyroid hormone concentrations, disrupting the endocrine system.


Antibacterial soap that has Triclosan

 Triclosan is also classified as a skin, eye, and lung irritant.




Parabens are preservatives commonly used in bars of soap. According to the FDA, “the most common parabens used in cosmetic products are methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben.”

Parabens have a tendency to mimic hormones, which can be found to disrupt the function of hormones naturally found in your body.

a faucet with running water



Ureas like Diazolidinyl Urea are known to release the chemical formaldehyde.


Formaldehyde, with a high hazard rating of 10, is a known human carcinogen, human respiratory toxicant, skin irritant and an environmental toxin. With a chemical as toxic as these, I’d look twice at that soap label next time.

Corroded glass bottles


What can you replace these harmful ingredients with?

Now that we’ve gone over what to avoid, I’m going to suggest what to reach for the next time you shower.

Try some non-soap cleansers, like Cetaphil, or (at the risk of sounding a bit sales-y) soaps like our gentle body wash (made from soapberries) are great choices! 

Glycerin soap is also a better alternative to common soap. It is a gentle soap, and they can be made of completely natural ingredients. Because of this, glycerin soap is particularly beneficial for people who have sensitive skin.

Glycerin soap


If you’d like to DIY your soap with the soapberries, here are 10 Ways to Use Nature’s Purest Soap, the Soapberries.


Avoid these harmful ingredients with Tree to Tub.


Shop our Body Care and Hair Care made from Soapberries! Join our tribe and help us build a better world! 


Ultra Gentle Body Wash for Very Sensitive Skin - Unscented
Deep Hydrating Body Wash for Dry, Sensitive Skin - Lavender
Refreshing Body Wash for Sensitive, Oily Skin - Peppermint


I actually researched parabens..on the esa website. They most certainly do not agree that they are harmful and most soap don’t use parables anymore. When one sees what appears the be cleverly disguised excerpts which are partial truths to scare people, they wonder how must facts their really are to the claims.


The name of your company make sense,you harvested the fruit from the tree and invented a body wash,shampoo and conditioner free
from biodegradable chemicals harmful to uur health and the environment,now we can leave worry- free ,the body soap we are using are safe
good for people who have babies too.

Cecilia Rivera

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