Triclosan: Why Should You Avoid Beauty Products with This Ingredient?

woman applying beauty product on hand

Do you know what’s in your toothpaste? How about the other products you use daily that come into contact with your skin?

By now you’re probably well aware of the harmful chemicals that companies use in our everyday products. What you’re not aware of is the fact that these chemicals aren’t just in your lotions and mouthwashes—they’re literally everywhere.

One of those chemicals is called Triclosan, and it’s up to no good. Triclosan products are everywhere. Keep reading to learn more.

Why You Should Avoid Triclosan Products

Triclosan is an artificial antibacterial and antifungal agent. It was created to help kill off bacteria that grows within the body and the skin’s surface. Triclosan came about in 1964 and was used in the 1970s as a hospital scrub.

As we mentioned, Triclosan was created. It’s not something that can be found in nature. Triclosan (TCS) is known is the chemist world as a polychloro phenoxy phenyl with “antibacterial and antifungal activity”.

Today, Triclosan is used in a wide variety of products from soaps and toothpaste to sports equipment. It’s used as both a preservative and an antimicrobial agent. You may find some of its chemical cousins and trade names labeled as Triclocarbon, Irgasan DP-300, Lexol 300, Ster-Zac, Viv-20, Cloxifenolum, Microban, Ultra Fresh, Irgacare, Bio Fresh, and Amicor.

And those are just to name a few—trust us, you want to know more about Triclosan products and why you should avoid them.

Why is Triclosan Dangerous?

Triclosan isn’t just harmful to your health, it’s harmful to the environment as well. The chemical is also lipophilic, meaning that it bioaccumulates in body fat for a long period of time. It can be detected in human breast milk, blood, and urine.

Ongoing studies of Triclosan have uncovered that longterm use of the chemical can alter hormone regulation, contribute to antibiotic-resistant germs, have a negative impact on the immune system, and is a possible carcinogen. It has been linked to certain human health effects, such as:

  • Abnormal endocrine system/thyroid signaling
  • A weakened or damaged immune system
  • Increased chance of development of allergies, asthma, and eczema in young children
  • Developmental and reproductive toxicity
  • Uncontrolled cell growth
  • Inflammation of the colon
  • Certain cancers

When you use products containing Triclosan you absorb the chemical through your mouth and skin. Once it enters your body, it’s readily absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract where it begins to wreak havoc on your body.

Triclosan also wreaks havoc on marine ecosystems. Over 95% of Triclosan is found in consumer products that end up down residential drains. As a result, it has become one of the most prevalent contaminants in our natural waterways that gets left untreated.

Not only can it combine with chlorine to form chloroform—a very carcinogenic compound—but it also reacts with sunlight to form a compound known as dioxin a. This compound is highly toxic and responsible for the damage of complex aquatic ecosystems.

Products That Contain Triclosan

Triclosan is found in everyday products. And by everyday products, we’re not just talking about your soap and toothpaste. To get a better idea of what you’re dealing with, here’s a general list of products containing Triclosan:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Cosmetics
  • Self-tanner
  • Deodorants
  • Detergents
  • First Aid kits
  • Kitchenware
  • Clothing
  • Office supplies
  • School supplies
  • Bath and beach towels
  • Personal care products
  • Sports equipment and products
  • Cleaning products
  • Pet products
  • House paint
  • Air filters and dehumidifiers
  • Custom building products

Basically, Triclosan and its pals are everywhere and in everything. Anytime you see advertising with “odor control”, “antibacterial”, “antimicrobial” and the like, you can be sure that whatever it is you’re buying contains Triclosan. Unfortunately, not all advertisements will be a dead giveaway.

Fortunately, the demand for chemical-free products is being heard. Thanks to public pressure, many manufacturers out there have begun to rethink and reformulate their products. Of course, this is being done quietly, and products with the older formulations will still be out there for some time.

How to Avoid Products Containing Triclosan

Avoiding chemicals, in general, is very difficult since they’re everywhere now. One of the best things you can do to avoid products containing Triclosan and its relatives is to educate yourself. The second best thing you can do is to not become overwhelmed with all the information out there!

There is an abundance of chemicals that undergo name changes just like Triclosan. And, while it’s required by law to state the ingredients of a product on the packaging, those ingredients may as well be written in hieroglyphics. But, you can always supplement the ingredient list with a quick google search.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you can’t pronounce it, it’s probably bad for you. (Trust us, this will save you a lot of time and energy going forward.)

Start in your own home with the products you use the most. Replace them with their natural and chemical-free alternatives—your immune system will thank you. This includes your makeup, face wash, shampoo, toothpaste, and all of the other things you use for your daily routine.

Once you’ve tackled those products, you can move on to your actual cleaning and laundering products, replacing them with their chemical-free counterparts. If you have time, there are plenty of DIY recipes out there.

Is Germ-Free Really the Way to Be?

There isn’t much evidence that using “antibacterial” products or even antibacterial soap is any better than just washing your hands with regular soap and water to the tune of Happy Birthday. Truth be told, we need a certain amount of germs in our lives to build up our immune systems and keep us healthy.

Our “Be Healthy” section is full of tips to live a natural, healthy, and happy life. So, if you found this article about Triclosan products helpful, then you should check out the rest.