- Soap is made from the combination of fats or oils, water, and an alkali (usually lye). True soap can be either solid or liquid (emulsified), but most soaps come in bar form.
- Body wash is usually a detergent, or a soap-like product containing extra chemicals, as opposed to a true soap. Detergents are usually petroleum-based with various added chemicals, such as parabens, other preservatives (some of which are suspected to disrupt hormonal function), surfactants, and phthalates.
- There are growing concerns about parabens, a type of preservative found in many beauty products, including soap. While individual products usually contain safe amounts of parabens, public health advocates worry that exposure to many different paraben-containing products cumulatively could be contributing to health problems. For one, parabens are known to disrupt hormone function by mimicking estrogen and binding with estrogen receptors on cells.