What soap is best for eczema?
Posted on 19th April 2020 at 20:26
What soap is best for eczema?
In this article we are going to cover a few topics that are closely related to eczema. These include:
The best soap for eczema is definitely natural and we're going to tell you some reasons why switching to a natural soap can improve the quality of your skin.
Eczema is a dry skin condition caused by a number of factors but the main cause of atopic eczema is contact with skin irritants such as sodium lauryl sulphate. This ingredient and other similar irritants are present in a large amount of consumer goods.
There are a number of other environmental factors that can cause eczema such as cold or dry weather, dampness, stress, different types of food and allergens. Humidity can also play a large factor. If you live in a particularly humid country like the UK you are more likely to suffer than someone who lives in Luxor in Egypt, one of the least humid places on the planet.
The UK humidity levels average between 70-95%, and statistically May is the least humid month. In comparison to the least humid places in the world which have an average humidity level of 26%.
As you can see the UK is very humid, which is why we have a large amount of people suffering, along with other humid countries such as China, South Korea and France.
Natural soap is better for skin that suffers with eczema because it contains no irritants. The only ingredients in a truly natural soap should be oils, fats and butters, colourants, plus some essential oils if you want a scented soap. Lye is also used to make soap, but none remains in the soap once saponification and curing has taken place.
Ingredients in soaps, shower gels, handwash and laundry detergents such as sodium lauryl sulphate and other associated surfactants are designed to be degreasers.
That means they break down oils and allow them to be washed away. This is a most admirable quality in cleaning products such as laundry detergents and washing up liquid, as you can get stubborn stains out of clothes and remove stuck on dirt from greasy pans, but not so much in soap.
Our skin on the other hand is slightly different. Human skin naturally produces an oil which is called sebum.
This natural oil has a couple of jobs which it needs to do. Firstly it needs to fill in the gaps between skin cells. The reason for this is our skin naturally loses moisture which we replenish through drinking water. When we degrease and wash away our protective sebum from between our skin cells we are allowing a lot more moisture to escape our skin than is normal. The result is very dry skin or eczema.
If your skin is dry then your skin is not responding to the loss of moisture and that is the reason you are suffering with dry skin or eczema. Some people have skin that does respond to the oils being washed away.
The problem with their skin is that if they stop washing then the skin cells still produce a large amount of oil. This can result in spots, breakouts and oily skin.
What is glycerin in soap?
Another reason natural soap is great for people suffering with eczema is it contains glycerin.
Glycerin is a humectant and actively draws moisture towards your skin. Luckily glycerin is produced naturally in the soap making process. This is why you may notice a natural soap ‘sweating’ - this is because the soap is drawing moisture from the air towards it. It does this for your skin as well.
The reason normal shop bought soap (which may contain glycerin) doesn’t provide you with this moisturising benefit is it will only contain trace amounts of glycerin and the sulphates it contains will counteract the glycerin benefit.
Why does it only contain trace amounts? The answer is glycerin is hugely valuable and one of the key ingredients in moisturising cream. Can you see where I’m going with this...
They remove it. It’s a really simply process, all they have to do is boil the soap in salt water and it separates, once the soap is separate the soap floats at the top and the curds can be scooped up and melted back down into the bar you get from the shop, with a trace amount of glycerin.
They can then boil off the salted water and are left with a nice pile of glycerin which has a much higher value than soap.
Now they can sell you this glycerin back in a moisturising cream or lotion. Isn’t that great?
Well if you’re the CEO and your knocking back a few mojito’s in the Caribbean on the company’s executive retreat, then yes that’s really great. If you’re a consumer who is worried about their skin then it’s probably not.
The good thing about Seatree Cosmetics is that we keep all of our glycerin in our soap. That’s because we believe natural is best and want our customers to have soft, beautifully moisturised skin.
Other factors to eczema
Eczema is not completely related to irritants in soap, shampoos, shower gels, detergents and washing up liquid, although they are probably the largest contributing factor. Some other irritants include:
Metals - in particular nickel
Fragrances - unnatural fragrance contains a cocktail of chemicals that can set off eczema
Formaldehyde - found in vaccines, adhesives and disinfectants
Fabrics - wool and in particular polyester can set off eczema. Natural cotton would be the best bet
Antibacterial products - the cocktail of chemicals in these have some particularly nasty ingredients that can set off eczema such as isothiazolines, neomycin, bacitracin
Cocamidopropyl betain - a common ingredient in shampoos and lotions
Stress - emotional stress can cause a flare up, and it can be difficult to relieve the stress if the thing you are stressed about is eczema
Climate - the ideal climate for human skin has a humidity level of between 40-60%. If you live somewhere with these conditions then you are less likely to suffer with eczema. If you live in the UK, then the majority of the time this is not the case
Infection - staph infections tend to be the worse for eczema flare ups. But all infections can cause stress which again may lead to a flare up
Hormones - when levels change from week to week, this is more prevalent in women than men
Allergens - there are everyday allergens that can cause your skin to flare up such as dust mites or contact with animals such as dogs and cats
Top tip for eczema
Our top tip for eczema is to avoid the irritant that you are most likely to come in contact with.
By far the most common irritant we have listed that you can avoid (because everybody has hormones and theres not much you can do about them) is sodium lauryl sulphate and its derivatives. It’s in most common soaps, shampoos, shower gels, hand wash, bubble bath, toothpaste, make-up, nicotine patches, washing up liquid and laundry detergent.
Most of the products listed above are designed to be used on skin and if you’re wondering why it is used in nicotine patches, it is because it will irritate the skin and allow the nicotine to pass through the skin quickly and more efficiently.
There are alternatives without SLS such as our 100% natural soap that you can even use for your hair and we tell you exactly how in this article.
For a relaxing bath we recommend using bath salts instead of bubble bath as this tends to have a high concentration of SLS to aid the production of bubbles.
One last thing to watch out for is some natural soap can be incredibly drying. Soaps made with majority ingredients of palm oil, palm kernel oil and coconut oil are super cleansing and can dry your skin out.
Soap still needs to contain a cleanser, our cleanser in our soap is coconut oil as it is not responsible for mass deforestation in some of the most precious habitats in the world. We only use enough to clean you and not leave your skin dried out.
Most soaps that you can find in your local supermarket or chemist will be made with palm oil. If you can find a bar of soap for under £2 then it will probably contain palm oil as its main ingredient. This is because palm oil is around half the price of most other oils.
We recommend using a soap that has a blend of ingredients which promotes moisture to the skin whilst also being gently cleansing, like these!
Our soap is formulated so that it cleans naturally with coconut oil but also nourishes the skin with top quality skin loving ingredients and lots of glycerin to keep your skin moisturised.
So in conclusion to the question is natural soap good for eczema, the answer is any soap that satisfies all the criteria laid out above will be good for eczema. We recommend our lavender soap, as lavender has the most skin loving qualities.
If you have a lot of allergies then try the patchouli soap as it has no allergens and is therefore the most hypoallergenic.
Thank you for reading our article all the way to the end. But hold on a minute, if you’re thinking of just hitting the exit button or clicking back.
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I hope you have enjoyed this article, and we have plenty more on our blog if you want to read more about why natural soap is so great.
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