I have always been an active person for most of my life, being active means that I sweat a bit more than the average person... intentionally. This meant I took frequent showers to keep my skin clean and make sure I don't give off any body odor. This is about the time I was introduced to handmade soap and I noticed the difference immediately.
Handmade soap is closer to the actual definition of soap than commercial soap, this therefore makes it a better choice out of the two. Having said this, it is good to have a better understanding between the two.
What is Commercial Soap?
Commercial soap is actually not technically soap. It cleans hence we consider it a soap. Its actually a detergent. What is the difference between a detergent and soap you may ask? The process of soap making, natural or commercial is a chemical process however commercial soap contains far more chemicals than handmade soap.
Commercial soap uses industrial ingredients to produce lather, add moisture and to enhance the hardness or fragrance of the soap. All these ingredients are industrial grade and synthetic ingredients that are cheap and helps produce a low cost bar of soap.
Unfortunately many of the ingredients used by themselves are rather harmful to the human body but during the chemical process their impact is greatly reduced... that is for many persons but not for those with sensitive skin.
Commercial soap can contain ingredients such as
- sodium cocoyl isethionate
- stearic acid (hardener)
- sodium tallowate (sodium salt of cow fat)
- water sodium isethionate (detergent/emulsifying agent)
- sodium stearate (emulsifier)
- sodium dodecylbenzonesulfonate (synthetic detergent)
- sodium cocoate or sodium palm kernalat
All these ingredients and more are used in the production of commercial soaps
What is handmade soap?
Handmade soap has the closest ingredients that constitutes as actual soap. the ingredients are simple and can be sourced from nature except for one.
Ingredients of handmade soap
- Oils or Fats
- Sodium Hydroxide
That's about it for a basic handmade soap. Three simple ingredients. This basic recipe can be adjusted to add color and fragrance and even natural additives such as oatmeal or goats milk. This type of soap is the closest you will get to a good old-fashioned natural soap.
Natural soap is easy on all skin types and have virtually not side effect beyond ingesting the soap its self. Handmade soap can be made in two ways. Using the Hot process or cold process method. Either method produces a by product of natural glycerin which help moisturize your skin.
This natural form of moisturizing your skin is what really makes the difference between commercial soap and handmade soap. Glycerin is a valuable and very sought after substance that the cosmetics industry seeks out. It is used in so many products from lotions to lip balms and many more items.
Why I gave up using Commercial Soap
When it comes down to taking multiple showers a day you tend to run through soap pretty quickly. I, like many others had my favorite name branded soap that I would use, often switching the scents hoping for something a little different. Over time I realize that taking all these baths may be doing more damage to my skin than I would want.
I realized that I was buying lotion more often as well. Why? well because my skin was usually dry after a shower and if I didn't moisturize the dreaded elbow ash or arm ash would develop on my skin. This was an indicator that something was wrong.
If you can drag your finger nail across your skin and leave a white line on your skin...you have dry skin. This was happening to me each time I took a shower. Unfortunate for me I did not know there were other alternatives.
I thought i would 'jump slick' and switch to liquid soap. This has to add more moisture to my skin its made from liquid. I bought my favorite brand liquid soap and started to used it. An increase in fragrant smells and a better lather this had to be better. Once I stepped out the shower and dried off. There it was within less than a minute - DRY SKIN.
To make matters worse I have what some may call combination skin but more towards the oily side. This was the reason it took me so long to realize what the soap was doing to me. It usually took about 2 hours on an average on a warm Bahamian day before my skin started producing oil again. By the third hour, the oils would be in effect and start to pick up dust and dirt. This is the main reason for me having acne.
By stripping all the oil off my skin and drying it out, my skin had to work twice as hard to replace what was lost hence it produced too much oil, which in turn trapped dirt in my pores and the vicious cycle of facial and back acne continued.
I had to do something, and then a little ad on facebook caught my eye about making your own soap. I took the class and tried my first handmade soap. I was a totally new experience.
This was definately not commercial soap. The feel the lather the moisture and even better I didnt need lotion to moisturize after I showered.
That was enough proof for me. From one class and making my first handmade soap I have not used commercial soap since.