Natural products are a hot topic right now, and for good reason. More and more research suggests that our bodies perform best when treated with quality ingredients. That holds true for your skin, too, with scientific studies proposing that the majority of ingredients in soap are absorbed directly into the skin. What you put on your skin matters. Here are some reasons why.
1. Soap is different than detergent.
The FDA states that “there are very few true soaps on the market. Most body cleansers, both liquid and solid, are actually synthetic detergent products.” But what does that mean?
Detergents suds up nicely and often come at a lower price point, which makes them attractive to consumers. They are also comprised of a variety of chemicals that allow manufacturers to produce higher quantities at a lower cost. Detergent is actually regulated as a cosmetic – not a cleanser – but is legally labeled as soap. Detergent products dry out the skin and serve to mask odor as much as they cleanse.
Soap, on the other hand, is created by creating a base of fats or oils combined with an alkali. The reaction between the two is called saponification, and what was once a liquid becomes a solid. The process creates no waste, and additional ingredients can be added to achieve the desired results. For example, shea butter can be added as a moisturizer. In our case, natural caffeine is added to give your mind and body an extra boost.
2. It’s all about balance.
One time, maybe long ago, you took a chemistry class. In that class, you likely learned about pH levels. Your skin is your body’s barrier to the world. It’s your armor. And your armor functions best when it is in balance. Using the wrong products or eating the wrong foods can affect your skin’s pH levels, leaving it angry (AKA wrinkled, inflamed, sensitive…you get the picture). In a nutshell, if your skin is dry, itchy and red, you’re likely too alkaline (basic). If you tend to be oily and often suffer from breakouts, you’re likely too acidic.
Your skin should be at a pH of about 5.5. Natural soap typically falls between 8-9 on the pH scale. Because showering dries the skin, a soap with a higher pH level will help balance out the effects of showering.
3. Essential oils mean more bang for your buck.
Many essential oils offer benefits to your mind and body. You can turn your home into a spa with some of the most popular essential oils, many of which you can find in natural soaps:
- Eucalyptus is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, providing relief from joint and muscle pain, and for the cooling, refreshing effect that helps reduce stress and mental exhaustion.
- Lavender Oil also acts as an anti-inflammatory for your joints, with aromatherapeutic advantages as well. The aroma of lavender helps alleviate stress and can help relax the mind to improve sleep quality.
- Peppermint is one of the oldest medicinal plants. Containing menthol, it helps alleviate pain and inflammation and ease the pain of aching muscles. Additionally, the aroma of peppermint oil stimulates the mind and is thought to aid focus, memory and general mental performance.
- Since the days of ancient Egypt, Chamomile has been used to relieve pain. The aroma is also known as a sedative that calms, helping to reduce stress and encourage sleep
4. The planet is your friend.
Natural soap isn’t just good for your skin, it’s good for your planet, too. Because ingredients come from nature, they do no harm to nature when they make their way through the system. For the same reasons, natural soaps also don’t require animal testing. Even the manufacturing process for natural soaps is better for the environment! It’s a win, win, win. And if you can win three times, we say go for it.
Glycerin naturally occurs in plant fats and oils and helps your skin retain moisture for hours after you wash. The saponification process bonds glycerin with soap molecules and helps keep your skin feel soft and supple. Many commercial soaps actually remove the pricey glycerin and sell it as a separate element, leaving your skin to pay the price.
6. The Experience.
Natural soap elevates your shower, and post-shower, experience. The naturally occurring aromas paired with the sensational cleansing power of quality ingredients can transform your day to day.
7. No parabens. No sulfates.
Parabens and sulfates are not good for you or your skin. Parabens are used as a preservative and sulfates offer cleansing and foaming. Used in moderation, they may not cause harm. However, parabens and sulfates are used in many, many products. Choosing to use products that do not contain either chemical removes one layer of toxicity.