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What Is Triclosan and Why Should You Avoid It?

Triclosan is found in many mainstream skin and body care products, particularly antibacterial soaps, body washes and toothpastes. Studies have shown it can actually have adverse effects on our health, so how can we avoid it?

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Triclosan is found in many mainstream skin and body care products, particularly antibacterial soaps, body washes, toothpastes and even some cosmetics. Studies have shown it can have adverse effects on our health and may even lead to bacterial resistance to antibiotics. It's also not great for the environment, showing up in our rivers and oceans and contaminating the water. Not exactly what you want to put on your skin, right?!

What is Triclosan?

Triclosan is a chemical ingredient used as an antibacterial and antifungal agent in common household products including soaps, toothpaste and hand sanitisers, and has only been around since the 1960s. Banned from use in skin care in the US by the Food and Drug Administration just last year, Triclosan is still used in many Australian skin care products because it is not yet banned here. According to the FDA, washing with 'antibacterial' soap containing Triclosan is actually no more effective than washing with regular soap and warm running water, so it's not some amazing cleaning agent as some brands claim it is. Triclosan has been linked to disrupted hormonal development, a reduction in bacterial resistance and an increase in allergies. 1 According to the Australian Department of Health, it can also irritate the eyes and skin. Sydney's St Vincent's Hospital even stopped using sanitising products containing Triclosan over five years ago!1

Why should we avoid Triclosan?

As the substance has become more common in soaps and personal care products, it has also emerged in the environment, contaminating our waterways and potentially harming our marine life. Triclosan is among the seven most frequently detected compounds in streams across the United States, and it has even been detected in the urine and breast milk of large portions of the population.2 The Australian Department of Health has warned that using a number of products containing Triclosan, such as medicated soaps, antibacterial hand washes and toothpaste, could be a risk to our health over time. Many of the products containing Triclosan may also contain chemical preservatives, artificial fragrances, sulfates and skin stripping detergents which can cause other health problems too.

Which natural alternatives do I recommend?

Life Basics White Clay and Activated Charcoal Soap
With a refreshing Peppermint scent, the Life Basics White Clay and Activated Charcoal Soap is designed to cleanse and exfoliate the body to remove build up and impurities without irritating the skin. A nourishing blend of Coconut, Olive, Castor and Grape Seed Oils, this luxurious soap also contains White Clay to detoxify the skin without stripping its natural oils, leaving it smooth and softened after each use.

Dr Bronner's Pure-Castile Liquid Soap Citrus Orange
The Dr Bronner's Pure-Castile Liquid Soap in Citrus Orange makes an ideal alternative to antibacterial soaps, providing deeply cleansing action for 18 different uses around the home, including as a body wash, shampoo and laundry detergent! With a zesty citrus scent thanks to Lemon and Orange Blossom, this natural soap contains Coconut Oil and Jojoba Oil to help nourish and revitalise skin.

Organic Shop Hand Soap Aloe and Milk
Certified Natural and Cruelty Free, the Organic Shop Hand Soap in Organic Aloe and Milk contains nourishing extracts of natural Aloe Vera and Milk Protein to leave skin nourished, smooth and supple. This vitamin-rich formula also contains soothing Vitamin E to deeply cleanse skin and remove dirt and impurities. Ideal for the bathroom or kitchen, this soothing, foaming soap leaves hands clean, cleansed and free from grime.

Squeakie Natural Hand Sanitiser
Formulated with natural antibacterial ingredients, the Squeakie Natural Hand Sanitiser keeps hands clean and germ-free without disrupting your hormones or immune system. Complying with the World Health Organisation hand sanitiser guidelines, this natural hand sanitiser contains Pure Milk Whey Alcohol, Sea Kelp, Rosehip Oil and Aloe Vera to remove bad bacteria without drying skin. Ideal for all skin types, including sensitive skin and delicate children's skin, this handy squeeze bottle is an essential germ-buster and can be kept in your handbag or the kids' schoolbags.

Grants Kids Toothpaste in Blueberry
The Grants range of adult & Kids toothpaste contains a natural blend of ingredients ingredients including Peppermint Oil, Cardamon, Celery, Thyme, Rosemary & Sage which may all help to fight bad bacteriaand help promote healthy gums. They are fluoride-free and promote healthy gums and teeth. The kids version has a delicious blueberry taste that kids love!

Dr Bronner's Organic Pump Soap Baby Unscented Mild
The Dr Bronner's Organic Pump Soap in Baby Unscented Mild is a gentle, fragrance-free formula which is ideal for use on babies and those with sensitive skin. A 4-in-1 liquid hand and body soap, this rich, smooth formula contains Hemp Oil and Organic Shikakai to cleanse the face, hair and body without the use of harsh chemicals. Keep one by the kitchen sink, in the laundry or in your shower for use by the whole family.

Sources: 1ABC News, 2Sydney Morning Herald

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