Request a Quote ARCSI Join Our Team

What’s in your “naturally derived” hand soap?

By: Susan Gonzalez, RN

The ingredients in “naturally derived” soaps aren’t. One such case: Method hand soap.

Is this their “Method” of deception?

So I am in a rush and I pick up some hand soap at the market. I make sure it doesn’t contain triclosan, an anti-bacterial chemical that actually has it’s own law suit groupies and is currently under investigation by the US FDA for health concerns including being suspected to cause cancer.

I put it out for the family to use. After all, the label says “naturally derived” and the scent is juicy pear…how could it be bad??
But then I get looking more closely at the label. Here are the ingredients:

water (ok so far…)
sodium laurel sulfate (not exactly from nature, but ok)
cocamide DEA (while it starts out as coconuts, it gets mixed with chemicals and ends up a possible carcinogen and irritant)
cocamidopropyl betane (known skin irritant)
glycerine (fine)
aloe vera gel (wow! something natural!)
vitamin E (fine)
citric acid (OK)
sodium chloride (salt, ok)
benzophenone 4 (a chemical that causes a high degree of dermatitis when tested)
sodium citrate (fine)
methylisothiazolinone /methylchloroisothiazolinone -OK here’s where I go nuts…

Methylisothiazolinone is a registered pesticide. The EPA approval is for industrial use. (preventing mold and bacteria on heavy equipment in oil field operations, cooling systems, paints, dip tanks and sprayers) No where in the approval documentation does it list a use for “personal care products”.
The EPA, in it’s own document reviewing methylisothiazolinone states, “it is highly acutely toxic when applied dermally or to the eye and is considered to be corrosive”

Workers handling methylisothiazolinone making products that are category I or II toxicity level must wear:
long sleeves
chemical resistant gloves
protective eye-wear
chemical resistant apron

Under “safety recommendations” it states if exposed:
“users should wash hands before eating, drinking, chewing gum, using tobacco or using the toilet”
Wait, I’m confused….should they use this hand soap containing methylisothiazolinone to wash their hands after being exposed to methylisothiazolinone?

Wait we’re not done with the list of ingredients:

parfum (fragrance that could contain up to 50 different chemicals including formaldehyde)
yellow #5 (this artificial color also known as tartrazine, was associated with hyperactivity in children and removed from the UK safe list)
green #5 cl 61570 (the safety data sheet states ” wash hand thoroughly after handling” more confusion…)
Well at least the bottle is 100% recycled plastic. It also says “recycle for good karma”.
Well, Method hand soap-that-says-you-are-naturally-derived-but-you-lied, karma can be a bitch.

Granted, you are not eating this stuff, you are merely washing with it, but remember: your skin is a carrier, not a barrier. If you think you are washing this stuff off before it has a chance to be absorbed, you’re wrong.

It turns out “naturally derived” has no meaning on labeled goods. Only 5 out of the 16 ingredients could be considered to be “naturally derived” if we stretch it in this product, so if you see “naturally derived”, don’t be fooled.

You can use just simple castile soap to clean your hands. I am in love with Dr Bonner’s soaps and use them in mixtures all over the house. Using just coconut oil (for real), jojoba oil, olive oil and hemp, they add essential oils (pure oil) to scent the soap with lavender or peppermint. Nothing artificial. Fair trade. All natural. Family owned. USA made. I get mine at my local supermarket with the body washes and loofahs.

I love you Dr Bronner (don’t tell my husband)

The Savvy Sister is a cancer survivor and RN who looks for simple ways to make positive impacts on our health. Click here to visit her website for more healthy living articles.