Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Drugstore creams and gels tend to contain a cocktail of chemicals to give you a clean shave, but in doing so they dry out your skin and can cause skin sensitivity and allergic reactions.
If your shave cream contains triethanolamine (TEA) it’s time to toss it. TEA is a thickener and wetting agent that allows water to flow more freely by reducing the surface tension that holds droplets together. It’s also a precursor chemical for the blistering weapon nitrogen mustard gas, a surfactant that attracts dirt and grease and is also suspect as a skin toxin.
Drugstore shaving creams are made from petroleum-derived chemicals. A typical shave cream contains about 8 percent stearic acid, a waxy, solid, saturated fatty acid used as an emollient, which according to studies may cause damage to the skin and liver toxicity. It also contains 6 percent polyoxyethylene sorbitan monostearate, an emulsifier that
has been identified as a suspected skin and sense organ toxin, and .4 percent TEA. Other ingredients are 5 percent glycerin
(a solvent), 2 percent lanolin, and 80 percent water, which soften the skin. A typical drugstore shaving cream has a pH in the 5 range, which makes it more acidic than acid rain.
Fragrances in mass-market shaving creams pose their own risks. Synthetic fragrances, which are made in a lab, start from a base of petrochemicals. Synthetic scents can dry and irritate skin, and trigger allergies and a variety of toxic respiratory symptoms.
Swap your old shave creams that contain dangerous chemicals for natural shave creams with soothing ingredients that are good for your skin and your health. Look for shave creams that rely on plant-based ingredients and essential oils for fragrance that are found in nature, not a chemist’s lab.
aw good buys
Dr. Bronner Organic Fair Trade Shaving Soap Gel. A blend of organic coconut, olive, and jojoba oils with natural peppermint and spearmint
leaf provides a moisturizing lather and refreshes skin.
Aubrey Organics Men’s Stock North Woods Shave Cream. Use daily for a comfortable, easy shave and invigorated skin. Soothes and guards against irritation from razor burn and has a classic pine scent.
Kiss My Face Moisture Shave is paraben-free, pH balanced, and 100% biodegradable. Natural botanicals and soothing aloe and olive oil leave your skin silky smooth.