I have been reading a lot of labels and I am confused by the words, what are these things?


I have been reading a lot of labels lately and I am confused by the words that I see. Since you are the SoapMan I thought you could clear up some of my questions. What are these things?


Hey Mookie,

As my buddy Big Jim likes to say; “If it has more than six syllables you probably shouldn’t put it on your skin”.

The thing to remember about chemical nomenclature is that the name describes what it is.

Magnesium carbonate: The name tells me it is benign. This is an antacid ingredient. I suspect it’s use in your product is to make a powder flow more freely without clumping.

Magnesium carbonate hydroxide: This is an additive to clay masks; also a whitening agent. Both magnesium compounds are sometimes used in “dandruff” shampoos. Also basically benign topically.

Sodium benzoate: A common preservative used in many soft drinks. Read the words; benzoate – benzene. This is on the Soapman’s limit exposure as best you can list.

Glycol distearate: A common emulsifier (holds water and oils together). Should be fine. Can be made from animal or vegetable sources.

Dimethicone: Silicon oil. Used in food and cosmetics. You would think it would be safe, and most cosmetic chemists think it is fine. However the Soapman is not so sure. Used in lotions, hair conditioners, Chicken Pieces Parts and much more. I am going to stick to using it in the lubricating spray for the controls on my rototiller. I am putting this one on the Soapman’s limit exposure as best you can list. Do we really need it in the first place when there are so many natural ingredients that do the same thing?

Sodium xylenesulfonate: This is just creepy. Also called dimethylbenzenesulfonic acid sodium salt. A solvent foaming chemical. Big Jim says it will wreak havoc on your liver way before it gives you cancer. Might be used to deliver a “medicated” ingredient under the skin. Should never have been invented. Minimum safety data available. This goes on the Soapman’s Terrorist Chemical Watch List. Avoid this one Mookie!

Guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride: This is a derivative of natural guar gum. Should be fine, but why bother? We use organic guar gum as a thickener in our shower gels.

Keep it clean and natural!

The Soapman


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