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INGREDIENTS TO AVOID: Triclosan/ Triclocarbon

The terms of "Antibacterial", "Germ Protection", "Kills 99.9% of germs" have been really effective marketing lingo to sell products that targets people with OCD, loving mothers, and people who generally love the idea of having no bacteria and germs on themselves.

That is basically, almost everyone... myself included.

Before I started reading ingredients and researching their uses, benefits and dangers online; terms like that speak out very strongly to me and I grab the products off shelves on its guarantee that each time I use it, germs and bacteria die~

Bacteria Germs animated GIF

However, now that my "green eyes" are opened... these are the terms I shy away from. Why? Let's look deeper into it!

This week, the ingredient to avoid is:
Triclosan/ Triclocarbon


Anti-bacterial and Anti-fungal agent

Why should you avoid it:

1) Have the potential to create antibiotic-resistant bacteria

If you recall Biology in Secondary School, about bacteria and why it is so important to finish your dose of antibiotics~ The same thing applies to the use of such antibacterial products.

If bacteria isnt killed off completely, they have the ability to build up a resistance and over time, it will require something stronger and potent to kill them.

2) Suspected of interfering with hormone function 

Studies on animals (rats & frogs) have shown that it impacts male and female hormones like testosterone and estrogen, and also affect thyroid systems, which regulate weight and metabolism.

I know we arent the same as rats and frogs, but is it something I want to take a chance on???

3) Bad for the environment

Triclosan/ Triclocarbon are a highly persistent chemical in the environment and they do not degrade for over a decade. 

If you are not aware, in Singapore, we reuse our grey water to meet with our water demands. Newater's technology is top notch in the world, but I dont know how they cope with all the non-degradable chemicals in our grey water.

So, let's just use products with biodegradable ingredients, alright?

How to identify on a label: 
Triclosan/ Triclocarbon

Used mainly in antiperspirants/deodorants, cleansers, laundry detergent, and hand sanitizers.
Not so common products that use this ingredient are facial tissues, antiseptics for wounds, and other household products that states that it can be used to resist bacteria, fungus, mildew or odors.

Safer alternatives:

1) Use essential oils

Personally, I use Eucalyptus for my laundry and floor, Lavender in my hand soap and Tea Tree (as known as Melaleuca) with my shampoo~ These are easy to find and I like their scent, plus it's these are pretty versatile!

Other essential oils to try: Thyme, Clove & Oregano
These 3 are known to be effective against everyday bacteria found in our surroundings!

2) Use Alcohol

If it is just bacteria and germs that you are concerned about, and you dont have access to water & soap~ alcohol works magic! 

However, if you are looking for something to clean, note that alcohol doesnt remove dirt and grime and I find that it is really drying to the skin. So, I will still opt for the use of essential oil or the next simple alternative!

3) Washing hands with soap and water properly

The best way to ensure that your hands are bacteria and germ free~ is to wash your hands thoroughly with a gentle natural soap and ensure that your hands are completely dry after washing!


And since we are on the topic of bacteria, I had an interesting conversation with a lady from Japan who founded her own natural soap line and she was specialized in the research of good bacteria found internally (think Yakult). She was sharing with me about why and how we should use natural ingredients to not eliminate bad bacteria but rather to cultivate good bacteria to fight off the bad. 

Food for thought~

Because, if you think about it, that's a win-win situation plus it's safe!
Now, how to go about cultivating good bacteria itself to began with,
is something new and foreign to me (besides drinking yakult) so let me research more on it first!

That's all I have~
Next ingredient, next week!