Look a little closer at the ingredients list of the skin care products you're using and you might see words you can't pronounce! If you Google them you might find out your favorite body wash or beauty bar is actually is full of synthetic detergents or surfacants as foaming agents, synthetic chemicals preservatives, petroleum products, SLS, phthalates or parabens or triclosan.
These additives can actually irritate your skin and are horrible for the environment when they are washed down shower or tub drains.
There is a slightly acidic hydro-lipid protective film that sits on the skin's surface, acting as the interface between you and the world. It's called the acid mantle. When dirt and bacteria comes in contact with it, it becomes trapped in the natural oils produced by your skin.
We all know water and oil don't mix together. Have you ever try to clean an oily stain from a cloth just using water? So water alone isn't going to cleanse. Nearly all compounds fall into one of two categories: hydrophilic ('water-loving') and hydrophobic.('water-hating'). The oil on the skin, with its trapped dirt and bacterica, won't mix with water, but the chemistry of soap creates a bridge between hydrophilic and hydrophobic moelcules to gently lift and suspend the dirty oil in its lather in such a way that it can be "washed away."
And "soap" is so good at its job that adding antibacterial substances doesn't make it any more effective at eliminating germs, according to the Food and Drug Administration. (Antibacterials may also help breed aggressive, antibiotic-resistant bacteria another good reason to avoid them.
FALSE: Body washes are more moisturizing.
There is a common perception that liquid body washes are better than bar soaps because they may be more moisturizing, but the results of a recently published study suggests otherwise. Chronic contact dermatitis often is tied to hidden allergens found in shampoos and body washes, according to Cory Dunnick, MD of the department of dermatology at the University of Colorado at Denver
Dr. Dunnick was one of the investigators in a study that compared ingredients in the top-selling 50 bar soaps and 50 body washes on Amazon.com to determine if there was a difference with respect to allergen content. They obtained the ingredients list for all the products and compared them with the . Counter to the common belief, results of the study indicated that liquid soaps were likely the worse choice for sensitive patients: They contained far more preservative and surfactant allergens than bar soaps, and there was no difference in fragrance content between the two classes. Of the 50 liquid washes, 44 had one or more preservative allergens, compared with none of the bar soaps.
FALSE: Body washes are more hygenic
And then there's the myth that bar soap is less hygienic than body washes. The switch from bar soap to liquid has been driven by a fear of bacteria lurking on bar soap. And fear sells. But because the bar of soap is rinsed off between uses, it's self-cleansing. A study published in 1988 in the journal Epidemiology and Infection concluded that washing even with contaminated bar soap is unlikely to transfer bacteria. In the study, prewashed and softened commercial deodorant soap bars were inoculated with E. coli and P. aeruginosa bacteria at levels 70 times as high as those reported on used soap bars. Then, 16 people were told to wash their hands as usual with the inoculated bars.
“After washing, none of the 16 panelists had detectable levels of either test bacterium on their hands."
A true soap is gently cleansing, less irritating, naturally anti-bacterial and hygienic. And the best true soap on the market does all this with natural ingredients!
Olive oil is a gentle oil with little cleansing properties, but it's high in antioxidants like vitamin E and polyphenols. It also adds hardness to a soap bar. Coconut oil, palm and palm kernel oil are all natural foaming and cleansing agents. Avocado oil is conditioning and high in vitamins A, B, D. Castor oil is a moisturizing that makes long lasting bubbles. Mango butter adds conditioning and moisturizing properties, while adding hardness to the bar.
The key to the best bar soap on the market is the soap artisan who has experimented and tested with different percentages of oils and butters to get just the right amount of cleansing without damaging the acid mantle leaving the skin feeling dry, the right amount of conditioning while still producting creamy lather and lots of bubbles and the right amount of hardness for a long lasting bar of soap.
That's the magic of a "true soap." There is no need for phthalates, parabens, artificial surfacants, detergents, chelating agents, harsh detergents or chemicals to get clean.
At Island Thyme Soap Company we think we have perfected one of the best handmade soap recipes on the market.
Ready to ditch the body wash and come back to bar soap?