Ingredients Commonly Found in Commercial Soaps Leave a comment

These are the ingredients found in commercial soaps and why we don’t use them.

When shopping for a soap you may not know what ingredients to avoid and why so here is a handy list to guide you to make the right decision.

So you know what ingredients to look out for that have a positive impact on your skin and the environment, but what about the negative ones? These are some of the ingredients most commonly found in commercial soaps along with the reasons why at Peace With The Wild, we are not fans.

Foaming agents

Sodium lauryl and laureth sulphate are common ingredients in soap, shampoo and other foaming products. They clean via corrosion and are a source of irritation for the skin, often leaving it dry and red. It also eats away at skin and hair proteins and can even damage the follicles of the hair. If you can, avoid it and seek natural soaps that clean without it.

Animal fats

If you are vegan or vegetarian, the last thing you want your soap to contain is animal fat. Sodium tallowate is used often in soap and creates a thin lather. Whilst it is not really bad for your skin, it is a product that comes from the slaughterhouse, therefore undesirable for those who prefer not to use animal products.

Palm oil

Sodium palmate and sodium palm kernelate are mild cleansers and are not considered as ‘bad soaps’ but they are made from palm oil. As you most likely know, the cultivation and harvesting of palm oil has a devastating impact on the environment and has been responsible for the destruction of many types of wildlifes habitats as well as the extinction of some species.


Polyethylene glycol is a plastic and when used in soap, comes as a thick, sticky liquid. It works by helping other ingredients get absorbed into your skin so if your soap contains other harmful ingredients, PEGs will aid them in being absorbed into your body.

Cocamide MEA

Otherwise known as cocamide monoethanolamine, it moisturises and conditions the skin and is made from coconut oil that has reacted with monoethanolamine. Unfortunately, cocamide DEA has a high irritation potential and is known to have adverse effects on the skin so it is best to avoid it.

Petrol byproducts

Mineral oil and petrolatum are often used in commercial soaps and as byproducts of the fuel industry they contain impurities that have been linked to serious medical conditions.


Common preservatives in commercial soaps include EDTA or potassium sorbate. Whilst they are not bad per se, there is some debate around their safety once it goes down the plug hole and into the waterways. There is evidence to suggest that they can be pollutants in large quantities therefore negatively impacting wildlife.

Want to shop for soap without the nasties? Click here!

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