Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Why of Buying Real Soap

Since I seem to be on somewhat of a toiletry bent of late, I thought it might be interesting to go into soap and soap-making.
  I dabble (or at least I used to when I had more time) in just about every craft I can think of.  I don't really get good at any one thing, but like having some rudimentary knowledge and ability at lots of things.  I decided many years ago to try my hand at soap making.
  For years I just made my own soap, and gave the extra away lavishly for birthdays, X-mas etc.  Then, thanks to the proliferation of meth-making in Iowa, I could no longer obtain lye, the necessary ingredient in soap making.  I suspect if you are a plumber or something you can obtain special dispensation. You may even be able to have it shipped (expensively) to you, where it can be monitored.  Basically, lye is used in making meth, and so they have banned it from store shelves here in some vain hope of stopping it from being my knowledge all it's done is keep me from easily or inexpensively making soap.

  The regular soap you buy at the store is actually closer to a detergent.  It may be a straight up detergent--it's been too long since I did my research.  I just know I don't want to use it.  It dries my skin out, and I suspect it dries out pretty much everyone elses too.  That's probably why people buy so much lotion.
  Those body washes everyone loves so damn much are the same thing.  Any time something foams consider it suspect.  Foaming agents like Sodium Laureth Sulfate were supposedly added in the Great Depression to make people feel like they were getting more for their money.  Foaming doesn't actually equate with better cleaning or more cleaning, it does equate with more drying. Even natural foaming agents like too much coconut oil in a soap can dry skin.  To add insult to injury, all that soap scum on your tub comes from the crappy store-bought soaps too.  I have to say, since I made the switch years ago, we don't really get soap scum in our tub/shower.
  All that drying out isn't just an itchy or unsightly problem, it can cause skin issues too.
  When I was a teenager I had some sort of skin condition on my face, it was unsightly, and we went to many doctors to try to get a diagnosis.  After about a dozen doctor and specialist visits I just gave up.  Years later, when I started making my own soap and using that on my face instead of harsh "deep cleaning" products, it magically disappeared.  When I gave it to my friend her acne disappeared too.  My Mother-in-Law also had a skin condition clear up after switching to my soap. One would suspect that a soap made from real lye would be harsher than what's on the shelves, but obviously not. If the PH in the soap is right, it's just right.
  Beware of antibacterial soaps too.  Just like our guts have beneficial bacteria so does our skin.  The good bacteria can offer us some protection, but not if we kill it with antibacterial soaps.  If I was a doctor or nurse working around a bunch of staph infections etc. I would do a bit more research, but since I don't, my family doesn't have anything like that in the house, we are not high risk and simply have no need.  My guess is, the hands would be the only place even a nurse might need antibacterial soap most of the time.
  I don't make soap anymore.  I find it more convenient and satisfying right now to just buy it rather than make it.  So many people are hand-making soaps these days and I can find so many wonderful essential oil (and not fragrance oil)scents, colors and types there is little reason for me to do that until I have more time.  
  Those are my thoughts for tonight.
Good night folks.

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