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List of Ingredients in Dove Soap

Sharalene Wheeler

We get a lot of questions about Dove’s soap. On this page you will find all of the ingredients contained in Dove’s Sensitive Skin Unscented Beauty Bar (ingredients can be found here) and a brief analysis of each ingredient. Keep in mind that just because an ingredient is listed as “potentially irritating” or “may dry your skin out” doesn’t mean it will. Skin irritation depends heavily on a lot of variables like your own unique skin, and the concentration of that ingredient on your skin. Many people can tolerate Dove’s soap, some can not.

If you are interested in cosmetic ingredients you may want to consider picking up a copy of A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients by Ruth Winter, M.S. (I will refer to this book as DCI from now on). This book is a great resource and has helped me in my journey as a soapmaker.

Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate

Uses: According to DCI it is used as a detergent, wetting agent, and emulsifier
About This Ingredient: This is a synthetic detergent. It may dry the skin out because if it’s degreasing properties. Depending on where you look, this detergent is may be listed as a mild skin irritant.
How It’s Made: This detergent is chemically synthesized in a lab.
The Bottom Line: This ingredient does not appear to have any beneficial properties for your skin (aside from cleaning it), and may dry it out.
Stearic Acid
Uses: Used as a hardener in soap. According to DCI, it also gives liquid soap a pearly appearance.
About This Ingredient: According to DCI and Cosmetics Info it is deemed safe by the FDA and CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review) expert panel. DCI states that it is a possible sensitizer for allergic people. Stearic acid is a consituent in some vegetable oils.
How It’s Made: According to wikipedia, Stearic acid is prepared by treating animal fat with water at a high pressure and temperature, leading to the hydrolysis of triglycerides.
The Bottom Line: This ingredient does not appear to have any beneficial properties for your skin, and may sensitize you to allergens.

Sodium Tallowate

Uses: Used for cleansing.

About This Ingredient: Sodium tallowate is a salt of Tallow (according to Cosmetic Cop’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients it is a substance extracted from the fatty deposits of animals, especially from suet (the fat of cattle and sheep). Tallow is often used to make soap and candles. In soap, because of its fat content, it can be a problem for breakouts). According to The Soapmakers Companion (Susan Miller Cavitch) “Quite a bit of controversy surrounds the use of tallow in soapmaking. It is thought to clog pores, cause blackheads, and increase the incidence of eczema for individuals with sensitive skin. “
How It’s Made: Sodium tallowate is made my mixing Tallow with Lye (a solution containing water and an alkali).
The Bottom Line: This inexpensive and readily available ingredient cleanses and moisturizes your skin, but may worsen or cause acne.
Sodium Palmitate
Uses: Used for cleansing and creating lather.
About This Ingredient: Sodium Palmitate is a salt of Palmitic Acid (according to Cosmetic Cop’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients. Palmitic Acid can be drying to the skin).
How It’s Made: Sodium Palmitate is made my mixing Palmitic Acid with Lye (a solution containing water and an alkali).
The Bottom Line: This ingredient cleanses your skin, but may dry it out.

Lauric Acid
Uses: According to Cosmetic Info it is a surfactant and cleansing agent.
About This Ingredient: Lauric Acid occurs naturally in some vegetable oils like palm oil. It can be irritating to super-sensitive individuals at high concentrations.
How It’s Made: Occurs naturally.
The Bottom Line: This ingredient cleanses your skin. It may irritiate very sensitive skin.
Sodium Isethionate
Uses: Saponification agent (this is what turns the oils into soap). Synonyms include Sodium Hydroxide.
About This Ingredient: Sodium Isethionate is very dangerous in its unreacted form. It reacts with fatty acids to form soap, at which point there is no Sodium Isethionate left in the mixture.
How It’s Made: Occurs naturally in wood ash. It is synthesized in a variety of ways. Some of them can be found on wikipedia.
The Bottom Line: This ingredient is very hazardous, however, it should all be used up in the chemical reaction to form soap. All soap requires an oxidizer such as Sodium Isethionate.

Water
Uses: Typically used in soap as a solvent for dissolving the oxidizer.
About This Ingredient: A solvent is always needed to dissolve the oxidizer. It can be water, milk, or any other liquid containing water.
How It’s Made: Occurs naturally.
The Bottom Line: Water is used as a means of dissolving the oxidizer (the thing that combines with the oils to make soap).
Sodium Stearate
Uses: The Stearate salts are generally used for their lubricating properties. They also help to keep emulsions from separating into their oil and liquid components, according to Cosmetic Info.
About This Ingredient: According to DCI, this ingredient is about 98% Stearic Acid, and carries the same risks.
How It’s Made: Made by reacting sodium with stearic acid to create the salt, sodium stearate, according to wikipedia.
The Bottom Line: This ingredient does not appear to have any beneficial properties for your skin.

Cocamidopropyl Betaine
Uses: Used as a surfactant, according to Cosmetic Info.
About This Ingredient: This is generally regarded as one of the more gentle surfactants, although some studies indicate it may be an allergen, according to wikipedia.
How It’s Made: I wasn’t able to pin this down difinitively, but I gather that it is synthesized in a lab.
The Bottom Line: This ingredient cleanses your skin. It may also be an allergen.
Sodium Cocoate
Uses: Used as a surfactant.
About This Ingredient: This is a gentle surfactant.
How It’s Made: Sodium cocoate is produced by hydrolysis of the ester linkages in coconut oil with sodium hydroxide (same as Sodium Isethionate), a strong base, according to wikipedia.
The Bottom Line: This ingredient cleanses your skin.

Sodium Palm Kernelate
Uses: Used as a surfactant.
About This Ingredient: This is a gentle surfactant.
How It’s Made: Sodium Palm Kernelate is formed by combining Palm Kernel oil with an oxidizer (such as Sodium Hydroxide).
The Bottom Line: This ingredient cleanses your skin.
Sodium Chloride
Uses: Used as a thickening agent.
About This Ingredient: Sodium Chloride is the same as ordinary table salt.
How It’s Made: Occurs naturally. Can be mined or taken from seawater by evaporating it.
The Bottom Line: This ingredient does not appear to have any beneficial properties for your skin.

Tetrasodium EDTA
Uses: Used as a preservative and chelating agent, according to wikipedia.
About This Ingredient: No known toxicity to the skin.
How It’s Made: Synthesized in a lab.
The Bottom Line: This ingredient does not appear to have any beneficial properties for your skin.
Tetrasodium Etidronate
Uses: Used as a preservative and chelating agent (DCI lists this as a synonym for Tetrasodium EDTA, I’m not sure why Dove lists this twice).
About This Ingredient: No known toxicity to the skin.
How It’s Made: Synthesized in a lab.
The Bottom Line: This ingredient does not appear to have any beneficial properties for your skin.

Maltol
Uses: Used as a flavoring agent, according to wikipedia.
About This Ingredient: I wasn’t able to find any information on the use of Maltol in soap. It occurs naturally in some types of plants. It does have a fragrance.
How It’s Made: I can’t say difinitively, but I would propose that it is probably harvested from plant material.
The Bottom Line: This ingredient does not appear to have any beneficial properties for your skin. It might be used as a fragrance, but maybe not considering Dove claims this bar to be unscented.
Titanium Dioxide
Uses: Used as a whitening agent.
About This Ingredient: Titanium Dioxide is thought to have no negative side effects when used externally. However, I have read that people can be sensitive to it.
How It’s Made: Crude titanium dioxide is purified via titanium tetrachloride in the chloride process, according to wikipedia.
The Bottom Line: This ingredient does not appear to have any beneficial properties for your skin. It may cause skin irritation.

http://www.alabu.com/education/dove-ingredients


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