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Next time you walk through the soap aisle in your local store, look more closely at the labels. You might notice that most of the bars on the shelf do not say “soap” on their labels. Instead, you will see names like beauty bar, body bar, moisturizing bar, or some other variation. The list of ingredients may include strange-sounding things like “sodium laureth sulfate” or “sodium lauroyl isethionate.”
These products are not actually soap: they are detergents in bar form. Commercial manufacturers remove beneficial things that naturally occur in the soapmaking process, such as glycerin, and replace them with synthetic lathering agents and harsh chemical surfactants. Artificial surfactants, such as sodium laureth sulfate, technically do the same thing as soap; they are simply harsher on the skin, and made in large factories using chemicals derived from petroleum. While inexpensive, these detergent bars can exacerbate skin problems, particularly for those who already have sensitive skin. If you notice regions on your skin that feel irritated, an important factor to consider is what you are using to wash your skin.
True soap, particularly handmade all-natural soap, is much more gentle. Handmade soap cleans your skin and leaves it feeling moisturized and supple – a detergent bar tends to strip away beneficial oils and leave your skin feeling dried out. True handmade soap naturally contains glycerin, which is one of the best possible skin moisturizers. Again, glycerin is typically removed from commercially-produced soaps.
Modern commercial detergents are often touted as being superior cleaning agents; this is simply not true. All soaps and detergents will remove the things that you want to wash from your skin, the only difference is the condition in which they leave your skin when the washing is done. Some additions to commercial soaps are simply unneccesary; after numerous studies, the FDA found no evidence that washing with antibacterial soaps provides any benefit over washing with regular soap. Some antibacterial agents, such as triclosan, actually contribute to drug-resistant “superbugs”; why would you want this in your soap? One could say that there was never a good reason to use synthetic detergents in place of handmade soap, other than convenience to the manufacturer (not the actual user).
All true soap is made from specific kinds and mixtures of natural oils Look for ingredients on soap labels such as olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter. Be wary of scents, fragrances, and color additives – while some are natural, many are also synthetic products. Look for soaps that only use real essential oils, which are scents distilled directly from the natural plant material. Lavender has a calming effect which has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. Essential oils such as lemongrass, mint, and cedar are naturally anti-microbial. Many handmade natural soapmakers also produce unscented soaps.
In summary, if you have issues with skin sensitivity, pay attention to what goes on your skin every day. At Sensitively Yours, we offer a line of all-natural, handmade soap: Mu Soap
Try one of our most popular natural soaps is Lemongrass, made with a blend of both lemongrass and may chang essential oils.