Beautiful photos of bath bombs have been splashed across Instagram and Pinterest for years, turning what used to be a simple soak into a psychedelic scent festival. While it may seem like a princess’s dream to bathe in melted rainbows, ingredients in popular bath bombs are more in line with something Gargamel would have dumped in his cauldron. Read on, you’ll be shocked by the dangerous ingredients you could find in your beautiful and luxurious bath bombs.
Here are just a few of the ingredients that can be found in commercial bath bombs that are dangerous:
- Fragrances — Terms like “fragrance,” “fragrance oils,” or “fragrance oil blend” are frequently used in products, but did you know that the FDA doesn’t require companies to disclose the chemicals used in them? Below are a few of the many possible chemicals that may make up a portion of “fragrance” in bath bombs. Some “fragrance” components have been listed on the EPA’s hazardous waste list.
Dangers : Human carcinogen, hormone disruption, reproductive malformation, lower immune response.
Dangers : Respiratory allergies, liver disease, embryo toxicity, diabetes/hypertension, sclerosing peritonitis, cerebral ischemia/neurodegenerative diseases, and other aging-associated diseases
Dangers : Decreased hormone levels, low sperm quality, obesity, ovarian aging, can lead to cancer
- Talc — Although this ingredient isn’t extremely popular in bath bombs, it’s been found in a few products of a well-known brand. If you haven’t seen the news yet, talc has been associated with an elevated risk of ovarian cancer, so it’s not the sort of thing you’ll want to marinate in.
Dangers : Linked to a higher risk of ovarian cancer. You can read more about talc and ovarian cancer here.
- Glitter — Most bath bombs contain glitter or a vegetable oil based lustre.
Dangers : Since glitter is formed from small pieces of plastic, once it runs down the drain, it’ll never biodegrade. And remember, glitter and lustres don’t belong in the sensitive, pH balanced vagina. It can cause inflammation and infections such as UTI’s and yeast infections.
If that’s not bad enough, maybe this is? When my sister was a toddler, she got a speck of glitter in her eye. No one knew for weeks. It resulted in an infection of her cornea. Her eyesight is okay today but the innocent speck of glitter could have resulted in a complete loss of eyesight. Fortunately, our parents realized something was wrong and took her to a specialist (Actually, several before the problem was diagnosed). Glitter, eyes, baths, babies – seriously, not good combinations.
- Artificial Dyes — Even the beautiful swirls of synthetic and artificial color are known for causing an array of ill health effects. D&C Red 33 : A dye derived from petroleum or coal tar (a known human carcinogen).
Dangers : Allergy-like reactions, ADHD in children, and some have even been linked to neuron damage and brain cancer.
- Parabens — Preservative ingredients that extend shelf life of the products.
Dangers: Known to disrupt endocrine system and can lead to early puberty. They can trigger allergic reactions in the skin which leads to quick exposure to the body, especially if you’re soaking in the bath. Certain parabens have been associated with breast cancer.
What are some safer alternatives to bath bombs?
Don’t get me wrong, we all need a luxurious bath from time to time. If you’re a bath fanatic who needs more than just hot water to feel pampered, here are some simple and smart solutions:
- For a fragrance fix that doesn’t turn you into a human teabag, use scented candles or incense. You’ll still get that calming aroma without steeping yourself in unknown chemicals—and the soft light will set a relaxing mood.
- If bubbles are your thing, and you don’t want to spring for a jacuzzi, you can find natural recipes for making bubble bath all over the internet. Here’s one from DIY Natural.
- Is it the eye-popping color that your crave? There are much safer options to consider than bathing in dyes. Look for submersible LED lights that can illuminate your bath from below. Here are some examples from 100candles.com. You can choose whether the lights flicker or not and some have a remote control and change colors.
If you refuse to relinquish your bath bomb addiction, at least seek out talc-free options and products scented with recognizable ingredients rather than “fragrances.” If you’re the DIY type, you can try making your own your own safe bath bombs!
A special thank you to Kayla Mackie at ConsumerSafety.Org for this guest post. About the author, Kayla Mackie:
As the Product Safety Investigator for ConsumerSafety.org, Kayla draws on her passion for asking questions and diving into research. She provides consumers with the information they need to make smart choices about they products they surround themselves with.