Betrayal in the Bathroom
Have you taken a look at the ingredient list on that cool body wash bottle? It’s probably time you did! You will notice that for most options out there, the bulk if not the sum of the ingredients are man-made chemicals.
Back in the 50’s there was this slogan boasted by Dupont: Better life through chemistry!
Considering the limited availability or cost of certain natural ingredients, it was and is certainly a logical pursuit to try and recreate natural ingredients synthetically. That said, how likely are we to be able to accurately recreate something that took millions of years of evolution to become what it is and for us as a species to adapt and interact with it? I am just going to let our current relationship with most chemicals speak for that.
This post is by no means meant to slur or tarnish any brands out there, but more to share an experience and shed some light on issues others might be living with.
Some years ago I dropped my trusted soap bar and started using whatever cool body wash had hit the market. That thing was full of chemicals but it smelt so good that all common sense was pushed aside! At the time, I was also buying into the premise that science was doing better than nature.
Over the course of the Style4men adventure I took my exploration in over-drive and have been trying new body washes almost on a weekly basis. I was aware of the high level of chemicals but not having knowingly suffered any issues I just covered my body blindly with all sorts of gunk.
In the winter of 2022, I came to the sad realization that my Body Wash was NOT my friend! Areas of my skin were so dry that I was scratching like a flea infested pooch. I actually didn’t put 2 and 2 together and assumed this was because of the cold winter air.
Then one day my skin swelled up after a shower. It became rather clear that I was experiencing an allergic reaction to my body wash. I hadn’t used that one in a few weeks so it was easy to pin point and the reaction was near instant.
This started making me research ingredients with a whole lot more interest than ever before. What I found was both disturbing and eye opening. The main issue that came out was that body washes are the number one cause of dry and irritated skin for a large portion of the population. Yes, this is a common thing! The chemical composition and high fragrance content are the main culprit. Most affordable fragrances are synthetically engineered and are well known for causing irritations and allergic reactions.
So my dry skin issues had nothing to do with winter and all to do with the toxic sludge I was lathering on. This is the product I was blindly trusting to clean my body. I wasn’t only uncomfortable with my patchy and irritated skin, I felt betrayed!
In all other grooming areas, I have been aiming for higher natural content but for some reason I wasn’t applying this core principle to the “foundational” body wash. The product that I am actually rubbing all over!
That allergic reaction was a catalyst and made me re-evaluate the products I am going to get naked with. For the first 25 years of my life I had only ever used a soap bar and had no skin issues. From the point where I switched to body wash, my body or I should say, my skin had some adjustment periods and I made up excuses not even thinking that it could be the most obvious offender. Fast forward to today and switching bottles every week or so and I was in trouble. The music has stopped and there is nowhere to sit!
This brought me to another realization. I have been using various body powders and balms as a way to increase comfort in sweaty or irritated areas. In many ways, these dry skin symptoms were directly related to the body washes. I have basically been trying to control the negative side effects of the body wash with yet another product that may also be packed with naughty chemicals. If you look at the ingredient list on some of the nut balms out there, you might reconsider.
Ten years ago, no one was interested in hearing about a natural soap bar, regardless of how good it might of smelt. The bar of soap was a thing of the past. Now that we realize the mess we are in, many of us are turning to the past and are seeing that we had a few things very right – The bar of soap being one of those things! Today, a natural bar of soap is making sense to more and more people and the demand for such product is heading back to where it was. Skin irritation and concerns about what we are pushing down the drain are some of the obvious engine pushing this rebirth.
Since that moment where my skin swelled up I have been looking for a sensitive skin, naturally composed bathing solution. My skin is in such bad shape that I am almost scared of shower time. Considering that I am a water loving mofo, this is a messed-up twist in my story.
It goes without saying that I have essentially dropped the body washes and am now trying natural soap bars. I have yet to find that perfect soap, but am very excited to see that the industry is doing well with a number of healthy options. Many of these options being made right here in Canada! So you can expect to see posts covering the timeless bar of soap.
The point of this long blurb is first to make you aware that, that itch you have been fighting with might very well be self-imposed. Second, that powder you have been slapping on to control that discomfort might not be necessary at all. And lastly, it’s high time to be looking at what’s in the stuff you are rubbing on your body.
You only get one, so better take care of it!
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