I have a rather simple rule of thumb when it comes to the purchase of groceries; if the list of ingredients that sound like a high school chemistry class and that I can’t pronounce outnumber the actual food content, it won’t be added to the cart. Now, consider this, your skin is the largest organ in the human body. Skin absorption scientifically referred to as percutaneous, dermal is the transport of chemicals from the outer surface of into the skin cells, underlying fat cells, and into circulatory system. In a nut shell your skin absorbs what ever you put on it, and studies have indicated that shaving will speed the process of absorption.

So, using the food analogy, why would you apply triethanolamine, a common ingredient in shaving cream, to your skin? Recently some companies began reducing or removing this compound due to growing health concerns. A variety of international medical studies have shown that it can be an irritant that fosters development of rashes. There is also a carcinogenic connection, especially when used in conjunction with nitrosamines. Other studies have linked TEA to contact dermatitis and and various allergies.

The majority of commercially developed shaving creams consist of about 80 percent water while the rest of the ingredients are used to create a lather, to bind the lathering ingredients to the water, and to propel it out of the can. Another common chemical compound is propolene glycol, an ingredient used in antifreeze and brake fluid. 

Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulphate (SLES) are two more ingredients that are common in shaving cream. They do make a great lather but lauryl mimics estrogen, and as a result is considered a hormone disruptor, and laureth has recently been linked to a known carcinogen called dioxane. For moisturizing mineral oil is often used. Mineral oil is a byproduct of petroleum (think gasoline). Mineral oil does lock in moisture but it can also block your pores.

Sodium laurel sulphate is another ingredient to be concerned about.
This is a common detergent chemical agent found in laundry and beauty soaps. Its most common use is as an engine degreaser and car wash soap. It’s highly abrasive, and as a result, can cause skin irritations or rashes. Even more disturbing, dependent on the the compounds it can react with other common ingredients to create a nitrate by-product, which is potentially carcinogenic.

At the risk of sounding a bit paranoid, we should also discuss triclosan, anther ingredient used in some shaving creams and other beauty products as an anti-bacterial agent. This is a proven hormone disruptor. So, just how bad is this chemical compound? Consider this, it takes a very long time for it to break down in water and numerous studies have found that it builds up creating a variety of harmful effects on fish and other aquatic wildlife.

So, what are other options? Consider all natural lathers and shaving creams such as those developed or sold by Savon Bath Treats in Kingman, Arizona.

Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America