Are Bubble Bath Ingredients Harmful?

Soak yourself in toxic bubbles!

bbTaking a bath is much more than getting yourself clean. To me it’s a ritual, an indulgence, a therapeutic experience, and if I don’t get it, I miss it.

And the manufacturers of the bubble bath products understand this only too well. They know I need to feel pampered and indulged and to have not just my body soothed, but my ego as well. OK, I admit it!

BUT, when you sink into a warm bubble bath full of lovely, smelly bubbles, do you know what’s happening to your skin? The bad news is that it gets worse the longer you stay in the bath.

With some skin care products (like face wash, for example), if there are harmful ingredients, you rinse them off almost immediately. But with a bubble bath, the chances are you stay in the water as long as you can – enough time for any harmful ingredients to really soak into your skin and start causing trouble.

Contact dermatitis is a common reaction that you may notice. Your skin will develop a red, itchy rash which is severely irritating. Further exposure to the chemicals (even in another product) makes it worse. The only safe skin care is to stop using anything but water on your skin.

Check your bubble bath for any of these potentially harmful ingredients:

Sodium laureth sulfate is a high foaming surfactant, which is included in the bubble bath as a cleaning agent. It makes the skin more permeable, enabling other chemicals to penetrate the skin. Sodium laureth sulphate is also potentially harmful because, in the manufacturing process, it can form dioxane as a by-product. Dioxane (1,4-Dioxane) is a known carcinogen, causing cancer in rats and mice. Dioxane is easily absorbed through human skin. Sodiul laureth sulphate can also be an eye irritant.

Cocamidopropyl betaine can cause contact allergies and dermatitis, and can be contaminated with impurities linked to cancer or other significant health problems.
Propylene glycol is a humectant, which means that it is included in the product to stop the product drying out. It alters the structure of the skin, and can inhibit cell growth. It can also carry other chemicals down into the deeper layers of the skin, making it easier for them to reach the bloodstream. Also used as industrial anti-freeze.

Cocamide DEA is currently under investigation as a cancer causing agent. It can be an irritant and can cause contact dermatitis.

Cocamide MEA is known to cause contact allergies and contact dermatitis. It is unsafe for use in products which could be inhaled, and may form carcinogenic compounds called nitrosamines on the skin or in the body after absorption.

Citric acid is used to exfoliate the skin. It can cause skin irritation, bleeding or pain. Not recommended in products for use by children.

Sodium benzoate is included in cosmetics, and also foodstuffs, to act as a preservative. It kills cells that would otherwise infect the product and make it go ‘off’. This ingredient has been implicated in a number of health issues, but most particularly in the case of people and children suffering from asthma.

Sodium lactate is used as an exfoliating agent. It is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA). These acids can cause increased sensitivity to sunlight because they remove an outer layer of skin cells. You should rinse thoroughly after using a bubble bath containing lactic acid, and not expose your skin to the sun immediately after using the product. In the US, the cosmetic industry safety panel recommends restrictions on its use.
5-Bromo-5-nitro-1,3-dioxane is toxic and should be rinsed off thoroughly. It must not be used in products that stay in contact with the skin. It may form carcinogenic compounds called nitrosamines on the skin or in the body after absorption

Benzophenone-3 is used as a UV absorber and can be an irritant and cause contact dermatitis and photosensitivity. Subject to limits on the amount that can be included in the finished product.
Coumarin is used in cosmetics as a fragrance, but it is a cancer suspect and is banned for use in food products in the USA. It is also a component ingredient of warfarin (rat poisin).

Ethylparaben , Butylparaben and Isobutylparaben act as preservatives. They kill cells that would otherwise infect the product and make it go ‘off’. These ingredients have been implicated in a number of health issues, but most particularly in the case of people and children suffering from asthma.

Hexylene glycol can be irritating to the eyes.

Lactic acid is used as an exfoliating agent. It is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA). These acids can cause increased sensitivity to sunlight because they remove an outer layer of skin cells. You should rinse thoroughly after using a bubble bath containing lactic acid, and not expose your skin to the sun immediately after using the product. In the US, the cosmetic industry safety panel recommends restrictions on its use.

Rosmarinus officinalis is included as a rosemary oil additive. It can be an irritant.

Sodium hydroxide is a harmful irritant and can be corrosive to skin and harmful to eyes. There are restrictions on how much can be used in skin care products. Labels must state ‘Keep out of the reach of children’.

Urea can cause changes in the skin structure, increasing its permeability, thus allowing other chemicals to penetrate the skin.

CI 42090 (FD&C Blue #1) is a blue colourant known to be carcinogenic.

CI 15510 (D&C Orange #4) is an orange colourant which is known to be harmful or irritant to the eyes. In the EU, it is not allowed to be used in products in or near the eyes.