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How harmful is shower gel?

Updated: Sep 14, 2019


Harmful ingredients exist in all shower gels, which are carcinogenic and bad for health. Most people do not know or do not bother about the seven most harmful ingredients in shower gel. These ingredients damage our brain, disrupt hormonal balance and cause cancer if we are continuously exposed to them in long term.

We should always read the contents of shower gel. Familiarise ourselves with the contents before using the product and never select products only because of attractive advertisement, appealing packaging or nice fragrance.

The most common ingredients in shower gel that risk our health are:

1. Parabens

Butylparaben, propylparaben, methylparaben and ethylparaben are the most regular parabens found in shower gels. They are used as preservative. They disrupt our hormonal balance, which increases the risk of developing breast cancer, skin cancer and prostate cancer aggressively.

2. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS / SLES)

This emulsifier is used in many cosmetic products such as shampoos, toothpaste, shower gels, liquid soaps and laundry detergent. SLS upsets the natural moisture of the skin, and in combination with other chemicals creates nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic.

3. Dioxane

Dioxane occurs in a number of shower gels as a solvent. Studies show that dioxane is a carcinogen and toxic to the brain, central nervous system, kidneys and liver.

4. Propylene glycol

This glycol is a common ingredient in products for hygiene. It's associated with dermatitis or eczema, the abnormality of the kidneys and liver and can increase the sensitivity of the skin.

5. Diethanolamine (DEA)

DEA reacts quickly with preservatives to create an extremely potent carcinogen called nitrosodiethanolamine (NDEA). NDEA is easily absorbed through the skin and is linked with bladder, esophagus, liver and stomach cancer. It also prevents the uptake of choline (part of the vitamin B), required for the functioning of brain. To eliminate your exposure to NDEA, avoid these ingredients: Cocamide DEA or Cocamide Diethanolamine, DEA Lauryl Sulfate or Diethanolamine Lauryl Sulfate, Lauramide DEA or Lauramide Diethanolamine, Linoleamide DEA or Linoleamide Diethanolamine, Oleamide DEA or Oleamide Diethanolamine, and any product containing TEA or Triethanolamine.

6. Perfumes

Perfumes in shower gels are typically derived from petroleum products and can dry your skin. Toluene is found in many synthetic flavors and can lead to anemia, decrease in the number of red blood cells, damage to the liver and kidneys, and interferes with the development of the fetus. Excellent alternative for these odors is a mixture of essential oils or herbal fruit extracts that their labels are marked as "natural flavor".

7. Triclosan

Triclosan reacts with chlorine from the water to create chloroform, a known human carcinogen. When mixed with other ingredients, which are used for disinfection of the water, the chloroform can increase trihalomethanes, which are proven to induce cancer in laboratory animals. After decades of use in antibacterial soaps, the FDA finally banned triclosan from soap in 2016 over concerns about its long-term safety and contribution to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Unfortunately, it is still used in more than 2,000 consumer products like toothpaste, detergents, cosmetics, clothing, kitchenware, furniture, toys, carpets, plastics, and paints. We discussed in detail how this chemical is bad for both the nature and health in another article: 7 Reasons Why Antibacterial Soap Is Bad?

Are we taking our comfortable and convenient life style for granted? Be wary of the most dangerous mindset in a developed society: all products sit on store shelves are safe to use. Take a look at some scary evidences in the following articles to see how wrong we can be.

Study Finds Cancer-Causing Chemical in Nearly 100 Shampoos and Soaps

The Top 12 Cancer-Causing products in the Average Home

To find brands that are transparent and do not use any harmful or questionable ingredients, reading and understanding the ingredients list on product labels is essential. Check out these 3 useful tools that can make your search for the safety information on product ingredients super fast and easy.


Want to have more control in choosing safer personal care products without breaking the bank? Why don't you try making them yourself? Join our Liquid Soap Making Class or Bar Soap Making Classes and learn how to make your own body wash, shampoo, laundry and dish washing bar/liquid soap from the safest and natural ingredients.


Too busy to make? No worry, check out some popular handmade soaps available in our online shop. All our products are handcrafted from natural plant-based ingredients, free from toxic chemicals and palm oil, 100% handmade in Singapore and registered with the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) of Singapore.


#health #Soap #carcinogen #shower #showergel

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