Handmade Soap, Why You Need it in Your Skin Care Routine

Our skin is the first thing someone sees about you, the body’s largest organ and the first line of outward defense; does the mighty skin deserve to be treated the way it is today? 

Consider all of the things that contact with your skin, that you can’t control-pollutants in the air, harsh sunlight, humidity, hard water etc. Now look at the things many of us choose to put on our skin- chemical-laden soaps, synthetic fragrances, deodorant etc. The thing about our skin is that when you bring it in contact with harmful ingredients, they get into your body. And decades of usage will put a burden on the body as our organs cannot eliminate them.  

The Problem With Ordinary Skin Care Products

As consumers, educating ourselves on ingredients and effects will show us a different picture of commercial skin care products. Here are some ingredients in products that you should be wary of: 

#1 Propylene glycol

What are they: An organic alcohol, it is commonly used as a skin-conditioning agent. Even a 2% concentration can irritate the skin and result in dermatitis and hives.

Where is it found: Moisturizers, sunscreen, makeup, shampoo and hair sprays

#2 Synthetic Fragrance-

What are they:  While the rose flower smells amazing, the rose scented perfume may cause you to sneeze! This is because they are chemically synthesized, often from petroleum products, which can cause itchy, scaly, painful skin, and potentially worsen asthma.

Where is it found: Perfumes, colognes, baby lotions, wipes, air fresheners, candles, dryer sheets and detergents

#3 Parabens

What are they: Parabens are preservatives that keep our products such as lotion, foundation, mascara etc. bacteria and fungus free. While it is imperative to keep bacteria at bay, ‘long-chain” parabens like butyl-, isobutyl-, propyl- etc. can potentially disrupt the endocrine system. This is dangerous as the endocrine system affects growth, development, and reproduction. Testing on animals and tissues have revealed endocrine disruption however, the effect isn’t blatantly obvious in human beings hence, it is still prevalently used in cosmetics.

Where is it found: Makeup, body washes, deodorants, shampoos and facial cleansers 

#4 Phthalates

What are they:  These chemicals are widely used to increase the elasticity of plastics which unfortunately are linked to endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity.

Where is it found: Nail polish, perfumes, lotions, perfumes/colognes and hair spray

#5 Sulfates

What they are: Sulfates are cleansing agents that are primarily responsible for creating rather thus helping remove dirt and oil. They may come from natural sources such as coconut or palm but most of them are made synthetically. While not deadly, this ingredients can exacerbate redness, itching and inflammation in people with sensitive skin.

Where is it found: Soap and shampoo

#6 Aluminum compounds

What are they: This compound work by stopping the sweat ducts from releasing sweat to the surface of the skin and minimizes body odor by inhibiting the bacteria that feed on your sweat. Studies have indicated links between aluminum and certain diseases such as cancer and degenerative brain disease but haven’t been conclusive. But dermatologists fear that since aluminum plugs the sweat ducts, the body cannot rid itself of any potentially cancerous substances absorbed during antiperspirant use.

Where is it found: Antiperspirants

Why choose handmade soap over traditional soap

 

Firstly, because soap is the easiest thing to switch! We understand that swapping your entire skin care routine to organic ones can be too much at once which can cause a dent in the wallet. Changing one thing and experiencing the change before a drastic change is the way to go.

Secondly, commercially made soap is often made of chemical agents to with sharp fragrances which can be drying or irritating to the skin. On the other hand, handmade soap are made with natural ingredients such as oils, glycerin, lye etc. which are not harsh on the skin.

Good Ingredients In Natural Soap

●     Glycerin: The holy-grail of moisturizer, glycerin is the natural component that that attracts water from the surrounding air and softens the skin. Soft and moisturized skin is so important to maintain the ph of the skin and leave it looking fresh and young.

●     Essential Oils: Of course, you want to feel and smell good after a bath which is why essential oils wins over beats synthetic fragrances on both counts. Derived from plants, essential oils produce a natural, chemical-free odour which can make you feel and smell good with its therapeutic properties.

●     Customization: This is a fun aspect of handmade soap and you will often unusual ingredients like match, watermelon etc in handmade soaps which you may not find in supermarkets. A skilled soap maker can find creative ways to express themselves beautifully with their values and personality reflecting in fabulous soap! Some unique ingredients that you will not find in commercial soaps are:

❖    Green Tea

●     It is as good for the skin as it is for the body as Green tea is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols which can slow down aging.

❖    Activated Charcoal

●     You’ve probably seen this deep black component in masks and scrubs all over Instagram lately. And for good reason as this compound acts like a magnet to attract and absorb dirt and oil from the skin.

❖    Coconut Milk

Being rich in fatty acids, coconut milk soap can remove impurities like dirt, dust from the skin while maintaining skin's natural hydration.

 

How Is It Made

Commercial Soap

 

●     Mass Produced: Karl Marx had the right idea about large corporations which can be seen in making commercial soaps as they are largely produced by multinational companies with factories all over the globe. This kind of production focuses on minimizing costs irrespective of quality and is not known to pay their workers well.

●     Factory-Made: Commercial soaps are made in batches by machines in large factories where profitability is the priority. Not only is this process impersonal but also harmful to the environment.

●     Dubious ingredients: Most commercial soaps do not contain glycerin to save costs, instead they add cheaper synthetic chemicals or substances to thicken, color, add foam, clarify, enrich, and scent the soap. We’ve spoken about the dangers of synthetic fragrances and such soaps use them as they are cheaper. 

Natural Soap

●     Locally Produced: This depends on your beliefs, would you rather support local artisans and their communities or large corporations? You may think that your contribution is too less to matter but on the contrary, your support goes entirely to the owner-artisan who will pass it on to the community instead of the very low trickle-down effect in corporates.

●     Low Carbon Footprint: Handmade soaps are made with local, clean ingredients made with manual-labor, which causes the soaps to have a low carbon footprint.

It looks to us that the competition between natural soap and commercial soap has a clear winner! Avoiding synthetic ingredients in something like soap, which you use

 every day, will surely boost your skin’s health and improve your wellbeing too.

According to the research by Green Beauty Barometer in 2016, 35% of women will spend more on green beauty products; out of which 63% of millennials said they were looking for natural skin care buys to include in their regimen. Such statistics are very encouraging to small artisans and will make a positive to skin care worldwide.

References:

http://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/chemicals-of-concern/phthalates/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1568482/

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1817/5539/files/Kari_Gran_Green_Beauty_Barometer_Results_2016.pdf

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