Coming Clean: The Truth About Soap
By Chere Deshayes
What Is Soap?
Soap is the oldest cleanser around. It is created by a chemical reaction between oils, water and lye. Although lye is used to make soap there is no lye left after saponification (the chemical reaction that makes soap) is complete. There is no such thing as a bar of soap that was made without the use of lye. Different kinds of soap are made using a variety of different oils. Both animal & plant oils can be used in the soap making process, each adding different qualities to the soap.
Conventional Bar Soaps
Much of the soap available in the store today is not really soap at all, but a detergent. Detergents are a petroleum based product, like gasoline and kerosene. Have you ever noticed how regular soap leaves your skin feeling dry, itchy and tight? Alkali, the most common irritant in soap is often the culprit. Others ingredients in mass-marketed soap have been proven harmful to human health and can cause severe skin irritations in some people. These include ingredients such as DEA, Isopropyl Alcohol, BHT and Triclosan (commonly found in anti-bacterial soap). The most common ingredient in conventional bar soaps is sodium tallowate. It is the natural product of combining tallow, or beef fat, with lye.
The attractiveness for tallow for mass producing soap is that it processes quickly, produces a hard bar of soap and is cheap and plentiful.
The New Bar On The Block
While there is nothing new about handmade soap, its popularity is growing rapidly. The sales of handmade soap continue to grow as part of society’s movement toward buying products that are healthy and good for the environment. With the ever increasing use of synthetic chemicals and studies about their dangerous effects, consumers are on the lookout for more “green” alternatives.
Benefits Of Handmade Soap
Evidence abounds of the healing properties of a handmade bar of soap. Those who suffer from skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, as well as people that have sensitive skin or are hypoallergenic often find immediate relief by switching to handmade soap. Compared to store bought soap, handmade soap is very mild. They are often made from vegetable-based oils, such as olive, coconut, and palm and do not contain the potentially harmful chemicals found in conventional bar soap. One of the biggest differences between commercial soap and handmade soap is glycerine. Glycerine is a clear liquid that absorbs water from the air and is a key factor in keeping skin soft and healthy. Glycerin soap is especially good for sensitive and delicate skin, and for children. Because it is a high quality by-product in the soap making process, many mass commercial soap manufacturers often extract the glycerine and sell it as a by-product to be used in higher priced products like lotions and skin creams.
Handmade Soap Is Good For Your Body
For adults, the skin covers approximately 20 square feet of the human body. It is the largest human organ and is the bodies first line of defence against dehydration, temperature, infection and harmful substances. Handmade soaps give your skin the care it deserves and make bathing a gentle, soothing experience.
Handmade Soap Is Good For Your Mind
For many of us today, life seems to move at an often hectic pace. While the stress of everyday life increases, personal time is at minimum. A fragrant, handmade bar of soap is a simple indulgence that fosters a feeling of relaxation and being pampered. Treat yourself or someone you love to the benefits of handmade soap!