Friday, March 14, 2008
In Search of Real Soap...
Several years ago I had problems with my skin that seemed to magnify in intensity during the winter. I developed what was thought to be allergies to perfumes in soap. The Doctor told me to switch to unscented soaps...how boring! What I found is that my skin condition remained unchanged after I made the switch. I had multiple suggestions...use ivory, or liquid body wash...nothing helped until one day I happened to stumble upon a website that sold old fashioned lye soap. The seller told a story similar to my own, and how they discovered the "soap" as sold in the stores isn't really true soap. You can find more information about true soap from the U. S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
Office of Cosmetics and Colors Fact Sheet dated February 3, 1995.
Needless to say I was hooked on the idea, but not quite ready to jump in and make my own soap. I dabbled with melt and pour glycerin soap for several months, made lots of nice Christmas gifts that year, before jumping in with making lye soap. My first batch was made in the crock pot so I could test the soap as soon as it hardened up. I was so delighted with those first bars, even though they weren't a very luxurious bar of soap, but it was soap! I absolutely LOVE the way my skin feels after I have bathed with a bar of good old fashioned soap...it is like a cleanser and lotion wrapped into one single bar! My skin was digging it, and thanking me! I am no longer a scaley, cracking lizard in the winter.
I discovered that the "soap" I was accustomed to using from the stores had in fact been the culprit for all of the skin rashes, redness, inflammation, irritation, itching, and burning I experienced every day after I bathed. My skin problems had absolutely nothing to do with the fragrances, and everything to do with the fact that my "soap" was really a detergent.
If you found this information useful, you might also be interested in reading about the differences between commercial and homemade soap OR how commercial soap is made.