It's that time of year when we advise our readers to read the labels of the products you're Valentine's Day partner is putting on his or her skin.
Today we'll examine some of the ingredients listed in commodity shave products. Show his face some love this Valentines Day and make sure he's avoiding these ingredients.
- Glycols: Often listed as propylene glycol, butylene glycol and ethylene glycol. To create shaving foam in a can, manufacturers use chemicals called surfactants and propellants. Such chemicals make for a convenient product but are hard on the skin as they reduce the skin’s ability to retain moisture. Shaving foam in a can may contain propylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze and brake fluid. Often linked to skin irritation, dryness, rashes and dermatitis. If used regularly, glycols may contribute to kidney problems and blood disorders. Propylene glycol, for instance, has been shown to cause liver and kidney damage, to inhibit skin cell growth and cause dermatitis, and can cause nervous system problems and gastrointestinal issues if ingested. Shaving foam is also terrible for the environment when the can of leftover nasty chemicals ends up in landfill.
- Sulfates: Often listed as sodium lauryl sulfate [SLS], sodium laureth sulfate [SLES], and ammonium lauryl sulfate [ALS]. These are common surfactant ingredients used in products intended to foam.
- Emulsifiers: Often listed as Triethanolamine (TEA), diethanolamine (DEA) and monoethanolamine (MEA. These three emulsifiers are common in toiletries as they help to keep oil and water from separating, making products easier to use. These compounds are readily absorbed by the skin and cause mild to moderate skin and eye irritation. TEA, DEA, and MEA have been linked to hormone disruption and an increased risk of cancer.
- Mineral oil: Often listed as liquidum paraffinum, paraffin oil, paraffin wax, petrolatum, mineral oil jelly, liquid vaseline, paraffinum, liquidum, baby oil. Mineral oil is a petroleum byproduct and something you want to avoid putting on your skin. Manufacturers include mineral oil in shaving products because it can lock in moisture, helping to avoid skin dryness. Mineral oil is comedogenic, meaning it can cause acne and skin irritation and infection. Petroleum products can also be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Exposure to PAHs, including through the skin, has been associated with skin irritation, allergies, and cancer.
- Phthalates: Often listed as di-butyl-phthalate [DBP], di-ethylphthalate [DEP], dimethylphthalate [DMP], benzylbutylphthalate [BZBP] Used widely as stabilizers, phthalates help to make products smooth and extend the life of fragrances. Phthalates are endocrine disruptors and have been associated with reduced sperm count and prostate enlargement, cancer, insulin resistance in men.
- Formaldehyde: Often listed as formalin, formal and methyl aldehyde, DMDM hydantoin, urea-imidazolidinyl. Used as a preservative and disinfectant. It is absorbed by the skin and is an irritant to the skin, eyes, nose, and throat. It may cause respiratory difficulties and is also a carcinogen.
- Parabens: Often listed as methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben. Known endocrine disruptors. Parabens are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer and various reproductive health issues. Parabens are present in some shaving products as preservatives to help prevent bacterial growth. Intriguingly, research suggests that methylparaben applied on the skin reacts with ultraviolet light, increasing skin ageing and damage to DNA.
Island Thyme Soap Company's old fashioned wet shave soap contains none of the above. We make our shave soap with vegetable stearic acid, water, tallow, vegetable glycerin, coconut oil, potassium hydroxide, sodium, hydroxide, phlalate-free fragrance, avocado oil, cocoa butter.
It's a classic men’s grooming essential that's so much better for his skin, his health and the environment than all those canned gels and foams. It's long lasting, a good value, and once you get the hang of "loading the brush" it's no more difficult to use. So this Valentines Day, show his face some love. Our shave soap makes a very thoughtful gift!