Let’s look at an example of a new soaper to who wants to scare his followers into buying his soap.  He wrote a good-sized e-book about the perceived dangers of any soap that contains synthetic ingredients.  I hope to open your eyes to the psychological warfare placed upon folks that might not be well versed in science.

Unfortunately, when someone googles an ingredient, the first sites that pop up are crap sites spewing alarmist and incomplete information-like the EWG or Natural News.  Then the information is perpetuated and the level of chemophobia in the public increases.  This leads to lobbyists pushing for more regulatory oversight, and the makers who participate in the unfounded slander of synthetic ingredients cry unfair!

As most stories go, this soaper became alarmed when reading labels on soap.  So he started doing his “research” and built his information on incomplete data & false assumptions.

He advised to be “cautious, or completely avoid using these four common synthetic soap ingredients”.

Here is the first:

“Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate:  This is a synthetic, chemically synthesized detergent used as a cleansing agent… Ehylene [sic} oxide is a known carcinogen.  This chemical is also known to dry and irritate skin.”

To highlight ethylene oxide (a gas) as an intermediate catalyst during production to demonize this surfactant is absurd.  It’s used for sterilizing medical equipment and dissipates leaving no residue.   This is #healthwashing.  Trying very hard to link a synthetic ingredient to a health problem.

Actually,  isethionates are a favorite of chemists because they’re such gentle detergents.  If he found this information on Wikipedia, he forgot to addThese materials are much milder to skin that other sulphate based surfactants (i.e. sodium lauryl sulfate) making them popular for use in make-up, shampoos and ‘Dove type’ soap bars.”

Read the CIR safely assessment of sodium lauroyl isethionate  http://www.cir-safety.org/sites/default/files/iseth092013final.pdf

It has been deemed “safe for use in cosmetic formulations at 50% in rinse off products and at 17% in leave on products”.  That’s a pretty high level permitted for safe use!  (it must not be irritating).  This is based on real data (animal and human dermal studies).  Isethionate salts have been thoroughly evaluated by MD’s, Toxicologist’s,  Pharm D’s, Chemist’s and Dermatologist’s.

Don’t forget, we are talking about soap.  Minimal contact time- then it’s rinsed off.

Although this type of information is infuriating, it’s not dangerous in terms of health & safety.  It’s just the good chemical (all natural) vs bad chemical (synthetic) non-sense.

pigline shampoo bar

I use sodium cocoyl isethionate to make my “synthetic detergent” shampoo bars and they last around 70 days- if washing your hair daily.  They’ve been purchased for Peace Corp duty- so they’ve been used around the world.  They’re rock hard with a neutral pH, so no vinegar rinse is needed. There is no soap scum or dulling of the hair. This surfactant is a bugger to melt and solubilize, but the end result creates mounds of dense gentle suds.