This year Lush is celebrating 30 years since its co-founder, Mo Constantine, invented the bath bomb. It’s been 30 years since this iconic bath-time saviour exploded onto the scene, but have we ever stopped to consider what’s actually in them?
Constantine was apparently inspired by the fizzing action of alka-seltzer. She managed to replicate that effect with a mixture of baking soda and citric acid, aka the base of every bath bomb. Some companies also add Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSA) into the mix to make experience more foamy.
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After the base ingredients are added to give the bath bomb its fizzy magic, it’s time to add the ingredients to make it smell – and look – good. This includes epsom salts, essential oils, petals and glitter to name a few.
So far, so safe. But, not all bath bombs are made equal. Some manufacturers choose to use sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) in their bath bombs. While experts agree that this is completely safe to use, it can have a drying effect of the skin.
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If you suffer from eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis, sticking to bath bombs made with SLSA, or no foaming agent at all, will be better for you. Plus, SLS made using palm oil whilst SLSA is 100% natural and derived from coconut oil.
If you’ve got sensitive skin you should also keep a close eye on the ingredients in your bath bombs. Opt for soothing essential oils like lavender and cocoa butter over harsher oils like concentrated tea tree.
It’s not just people with sensitive or dry skin who need to look out for the ingredients. It’s a little known fact that some bath bombs shouldn’t be used while pregnant.
It’s usually the essential oils which are added to bath bombs that can cause issues during pregnancy. There’s little research into which essential oils are safe for pregnant women, making the use of bath bombs a bit of a minefield. Oils to avoid during pregnancy include basil, cedarwood and rosemary.
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In any case, it’s best to speak to your GP if you’re not sure which ones are suitable for you. Most reputable bath bomb manufacturers have guidelines available on which ones are suitable for use.
The conclusion? Always read the label and do your research. A bath bomb should calming and, with the right blend of essential oils, great for your skin. If your skin doesn’t always like to play ball, err on the side of caution and do extra research before picking up one of our fizzy friends.