Why Use Natural Soap
Posted on 8th September 2020 at 21:58
Why Use Natural Soap
There are so many reasons to use natural soap, it truly is a one of a kind experience and once you have washed your hands or body with natural soap, there is no going back to chemical based bars.
In this article we’re going to break down the benefits of natural soap and why you’ll never go back. Topics we’re going to cover include:
Natural soap is great for your skin
One of the best reasons to use natural soap is it’s great for your skin. Natural soap is made using only natural ingredients which are generally better for your skin.
If you are using 100% natural soap then you can guarantee there will be no chemicals in the soap which can cause damage to your skin.
Most common soaps you buy at your supermarket or pharmacy will contain chemicals of one kind or another. The most common ingredients we see used in soaps and shower gels that are of a chemical nature are Sodium Lauryl Sulpahte and Sodium Laureth Sulphate.
These chemical surfactants are specifically designed to remove grease and oil from skin. The problem is that your skin needs a specific type of grease to tie its skin cells together and stop water from evaporating out of your skin.
Find out more about surfactants here.
When you use these chemical surfactants on your skin, they are aggressive and can remove your natural grease and leave your skin dry because they have essentially created lots of gaps in your skin for water to get out and bacteria to get in.
The reason chemical surfactants were introduced into soap making was during World War 2, when most of the world was rationing, oils and fats were in short supply and prioritised for food. Chemical surfactants were used in soaps instead as they were cheaper and could replace the rationed oils and fats.
When you wash with a natural soap, they are a lot milder than the chemical version of soap. Also because of the way soap is produced they naturally contain glycerin, which is extremely moisturising and actively works by drawing moisture towards it from the environment around it.
Glycerin is the key reason natural soap is better than chemically formulated soap. This is because the natural soap will wash away dirt and bacteria from your skin, but once it has done that it leaves a layer of moisturising glycerin behind to draw moisture towards your skin.
This is one of the main reasons why to use natural soap.
It is gentle on your skin, it doesn’t remove natural grease that stops water from evaporating out of your skin, and leaves a moisturising layer of glycerin behind to actively draw moisture towards your skin.
Natural soap is great for the environment
Natural soap is great for the environment because all of the ingredients are naturally produced by nature and hence they can naturally degrade back into nature.
Soap is essentially a salt or salts of the fats oils and butters used to make it. Hence why all of the ingredients start with ‘sodium’ for instance sodium olivate is the salt of olive oil.
These salts, once used, naturally biodegrade back into nature seamlessly. On the other hand chemical based soaps have a hard time breaking down, especially if they contain antibacterial ingredients such as triclosan.
Triclosan is most commonly found in antibacterial products such as soaps and cleaners. It is commonly used because of its ability to kill bacteria. Once this ingredient is washed away into our waterways it floats on top of the water.
When triclosan is exposed to sunlight it turns into a dioxin. Dioxin’s are harmful chemicals that were the key component in Agent Orange, a chemical used by the Americans in the Vietnam war.
The main risk with dioxins in our system is if they come into contact with chlorine in our water treatment system they become more harmful. This is because chlorine can turn a dioxin from being benign to quite harmful.
Natural soap is environmentally friendly because it only contains the salts of natural oils and fats which is why it seamlessly biodegrades back into nature.
On top of our soaps being 100% natural, they are extra environmentally friendly as they are packaged in biodegradable and compostable packaging, which also breakdown easily into nature whilst keeping the soap hygienically packaged for our customers.
No chemicals in natural soap
To be called a ‘soap bar’ officially under EU & UK law, the main cleaning component of the soap bar must be from oils and fats that have gone through the saponification process.
When soap’s main component to clean is made up of chemicals the ‘soap’ is not actually allowed to be called soap.
This has led to a rebranding exercise for a lot of the market leaders who have had to rename their products to things like ‘moisture bar’ or ‘cleansing bar’.
This is because the vast majority of what people buy thinking it’s soap, is actually detergent based cleansing bar, which are a lot harsher than natural soap bars of which contain glycerin.
These bars rose to prominence through necessity during World War 2 and have ever since that time period beaten their natural soap rivals.
This is mainly because they can offer a bar for a significantly cheaper amount than a natural soap due to the cheap detergents used in production.
So we’ve told you about SLS, SLES and triclosan, but there a number of other chemicals that can be put into soaps, shampoos, shower gels and other skin care products.
One of the chemicals that is a danger to look out for in soap and other skin care products is parabens. These chemicals are often added to formulas to increase their shelf life.
Parabens are dangerous because the imitate estrogen, and once they are absorbed into the bloodstream the body can be tricked into thinking there is a large amount of estrogen in the body. It can then react by increasing fat, starting puberty early and even cause reproductive issues in both sexes.
Parabens can also be hidden inside another chemical found in a huge amount of products we use every day. Fragrance.
Fragrances commonly used in any products with a scent can contain a cocktail of chemicals that may potentially be harmful to us. For instance, parabens are used in fragrances, but because by law fragrance companies don’t have to disclose their ingredients you may not know which chemicals are in your products.
The reason they don’t have to disclose their ingredients is they are protected by the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) who have allowed this multibillion pound industry this privilege to stop industrial espionage (basically to stop competitors from stealing recipes).
Phthalates are another ingredient within fragrances that can be harmful to us. It is known phthalates are carcinogens, but they continue to be used in fragrances. They are used to extend the potency of a scent (to smell stronger for longer).
In natural soaps made with natural ingredients the scent usually comes from essential oils like lavender which are extracted from the plant. This is the only way to scent a truly natural soap.
Great for dry or oily skin
Natural soap can be great for both dry and oily skin. Both types of skin can benefit from using a natural soap and we can tell you why they are great for both types of skin.
Dry Skin - Natural soap contains glycerin within it, which is a by-product of the soap making process. Glycerin is a great moisturiser of skin and draws moisture towards the skin from the air around. This helps dry skin to regain moisture towards the skin and speed up the healing process.
Skin is dried out when there are breaks in the layers of skin which allow moisture to escape easily. This can be a consequence of frequent washing with harsh chemical based soaps. Washing with these soaps can remove the natural grease called sebum, which ties our skin cells together and create a barrier against infection and also stops water escaping too fast.
Oily skin - Skin that is excessively oily or is prone to acne has been conditioned by chemical soaps to overproduce oil. This happens because the harsh surfactants within these soaps continually remove the oil from the skin and in between the skin cells.
This tricks the body into thinking all of its natural grease is gone and therefore the body is set into action to produce more oil than it needs.
Natural soap cleans the body and face but does not remove the oil from between skin cells, plus it also leaves a moisturising layer of glycerin behind. This is great for oily skin as it doesn’t trick the skin into overproducing more oil.
When switching from chemical based soaps to natural soaps, it will take a small amount of time for your skin to adjust to the new regime, but you will be amazed by the results and your skin will be a lot softer, smoother and moisturised.
Supporting small business
Natural soap is usually made by small artisan businesses due to being unable to compete with huge brands making chemical based soaps.
These small businesses make soap in the traditional method, which is usually of higher quality ingredients that are great for skin care.
Unfortunately smaller companies can’t compete with huge brands on price because the ingredients they use are a lot more expensive than the synthetic ingredients brands use, especially when bought in bulk.
Small businesses producing natural soaps usually produce amazing products that keep peoples skin moisturised, soft and smooth. One thing to watch out for is the intrusion of larger natural soap companies onto the general market.
These soap brands are offering ‘natural soaps’ but some of the ones we have checked do in fact have some chemicals in a small proportion. They are also using mainly palm oil within their soaps.
Palm oil while being ‘natural’ is a cleaner in soap making, which means the more palm oil used, the higher cleaning power it has. This can cause skin to dry out as over cleaning skin can lead to too much oil being removed from the skin.
Also palm oil is not great for the environment; it is responsible for a large portion of the world’s deforestation and the destruction of habitats of some of the most endangered species on the planet.
When buying natural soap it’s great to buy from producers who are ethical and provide a great product as well as supporting your local producers.
True natural soap is made with essential oils to scent it rather than fragrance oils. Essential oils come directly from the plant and provide great benefits to the skin as well as smelling amazing.
Essential oils have a wide range of different benefits and we have written extensively on their different benefits. You can check out some of these posts on specific oils on our blog here.
Fragrance oils are a cocktail of synthetic chemicals which can contain hundreds of different chemicals. One of the main ingredients within fragrance oils is phthalates, which are chemicals used to make a scent last for longer.
Phthalates are potential carcinogens and can cause harm to humans. The reason you can’t see them on your normal soaps packaging is that they come under the term ‘fragrance’. ‘Fragrance’, or ‘parfum’ as is often seen on ingredient lists, is deliberately vague.
This is because the fragrance industry is protected by the European Chemical Agency and does NOT have to list individual ingredients of the fragrance. This is done to protect the multibillion pound industry from industrial espionage. This basically means it stops competitors from copying scents.
Also included in many fragrance oils are parabens; these ingredients are added to fragrance to lengthen shelf life. Parabens mimic estrogens which can cause problems with fertility in both sexes and in a study by Dabre in 2004 highlighted parabens were even found within breast cancer samples taken from patients.
Overall natural scents are much safer and can also have great additional benefits, which is another great reason to use natural soap.
There are a huge amount of reasons to use natural soap:
Natural soap is scented naturally, great for the environment, contains large amounts of moisturising glycerin and most importantly amazing for your skin whatever skin type you have.
We hope we have convinced you natural soap is something you should add to your personal care regime. It also has a whole host of other benefits depending on the soap you choose, and you can find out more about the different benefits of the essential oils in our soaps on our blog.
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