Friday, March 28, 2014

What's the Big Deal About Handmade Soap?

Aqua Lime Soap
Soap is soap isn’t it?  Not so!   Many years ago, I thought I couldn't use soap or body washes.  They made my skin tight, dry and itchy.  It aggravated my psoriasis, and I’d often have little bumps on my skin.  Then one day I learned that what I thought was “soap” was not really soap at all!  The bars at the grocery store that I used to buy are actually full of synthetic detergents, not soap.  I had never really even tried a true soap.  A real soap is very gentle and much healthier for your skin than detergents. 

Next time you are in the soap isle of the grocery store, look at the labels.  Most of the soaps on the shelf don't say soap on their labels.  They call themselves Beauty Bars, moisturising bars, or body bars. These bars are not actually soap and can't legally claim to be soap.  They are detergents. No wonder they aggravated my sensitive skin! 

Some of the soaps in the grocery store are actually soaps, and can list Soap on their label.  But there is still a big difference between those soaps and a true handmade soap.  One major brand of soap advertises that it is very pure.  This brand is soap.  But with a handmade soap, the oils, lye, and water are combined to make soap.  Natural glycerin is also created in the process.  It is a natural by-product of the saponification process.  Glycerin is very beneficial for your skin.  But instead of leaving it in the soap for your skin's benefit, the commercial soap companies strip it off and sell it to be used in other cosmetic or pharmaceutical products.  A handmade soap retains all the skin loving glycerin from the soapmaking process.

Commercially made soaps and body washes are usually made with synthetic detergents, fillers, chemicals, petroleum, and irritants like SLS or SLES (sulfates). That’s not to say that detergents don’t have their place.  They do.  I like them for doing dishes, and I use them for laundry too.   Detergents are good for cutting grease.  But but not so good on your skin.  Have you ever used soap and gotten that tight, dry, itchy feeling?  Chances are that was because it was actually a detergent and not a true soap.  Read the labels.  If they call themselves a Beauty Bar, or a Bath Bar, then it is a detergent.  If they are detergents, then they can’t legally call themselves soap.

Here are the ingredients of a leading bar made for sensitive skin:

Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (Synthetic detergent), Stearic Acid (fatty acid), Sodium Tallowate (soap) , Water, Sodium Isethionate(Synthetic detergent) , Coconut Acid, Sodium Stearate (Synthetic detergent), Cocamidopropyl Betaine (Synthetic detergent), Sodium Cocoate (Soap)  or Sodium Palm Kernelate (soap), Sodium Chloride (table salt), Titanium Dioxide (natural whitener), Sweet Almond Oil, Rosewood Oil (essential oil), Tetrasodium EDTA (water softener), Trisodium Etidronate(preservative), BHT (preservative), Cedarwood Oil (essential oil), Rose Oil (essential oil), Disodium Cocamido-MEA-Sulfosuccinate (synthetic detergent), Cetyl Alcohol (alcohol derived from fats), Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E).
Cran-Raspberry Spritzer Soap

Compare that list of ingredients to the simple ingredients that are in a handmade soap, and you can see why handmade soaps are so much better for your skin than the commercial bars. 

Your skin is porous and absorbent.  Why not be careful what you put onto it.  Handmade soaps are a little bit of luxury that your skin will love. 


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