We don't need these chemicals messing with our #selfcare
December means it's time to start thinking about those stocking stuffers or Chanukah gifts for your loved ones. What's better than a bath bomb to relax and take in those sudsy, therapeutic fragrances? Bath bombs can also get your kids to bathe without putting up a fight. They're basically magic! But, have you stopped to think what else they are putting in those bombs to make those suds glisten and fizz?
What's in a Bath Bomb?
It turns out, there can be a whole range of questionable chemicals packed neatly into those appealing little bombs. It's hard to tell exactly what's in each bath bomb because the ingredients vary widely among manufacturers, but fragrances, artificial colors, boric acid, and glitter are some common ingredients.
Fragrance is never a welcome sight on the ingredient list. The FDA does not require companies to disclose ingredients used to make fragrances in products like bath bombs in order to protect company "trade secrets (1)." Many synthetic and natural fragrances also include such hormone-disrupting chemicals as phthalates, which can be absorbed through the skin and have been found to pose specific risks for pregnant women and children (2). Studies have also linked health effects of phthalates to miscarriage, gestational diabetes, reduced IQ, and ADHD with increased exposure to phthalates.
As for dyes, the evidence is limited when it comes to FDA approved dyes readily being absorbed through the skin. However, one study found that certain dyes may be absorbed after shaving (3). Also, young children often swallow water while bathing and ingestion of some of these chemicals for young children is definitely not recommended!
Boric acid also has some side effects that you may not want to risk. It can be absorbed through the mucous membranes and has been linked to hormone disruption and developmental and reproductive toxicity (4). And then there is glitter, which is just more plastic that can end up in our lakes, rivers, and streams.
Alternatives and DIY Recipes
While there may be harmful ingredients in some bath bombs, you don't have to give them up! It's easy to avoid these ingredients with just a little extra effort. You can choose to purchase "fragrance-free" or "phthalate-free" bath bombs, but making your own bath bomb is super easy. Here are also some DIY recipes to try at home.
- 1 cup baking soda
- ½ cup citric acid
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ cup finely ground sea salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons almond oil (or apricot oil)
- ½ teaspoon coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon of witch hazel
- 1 teaspoon beet root powder
- wild orange essential oil
- rose essential oil
- Blend all dry ingredients in a bowl.
- Blend wet ingredients in another bowl.
- Combine all ingredients.
- Place in mold of choice or just form a ball about 1-2 inches in diameter.
- Allow the bath bombs to dry for approximately 1-2 days.
- To use, place bath bomb in the bath.
- To store, place in airtight container. Storing in a refrigerator can allow the bath bombs to keep for about 3 weeks (5).