Picture this scenario... You purchase a regular 4-pack of soap bars for $5. The packaging seems promising as it indicates that it will leave your skin feeling “silky smooth” and “deeply moisturized”, so you confidently use this bar a few times only to find out that your skin doesn’t feel the way you expected. Your skin feels dry, tight and maybe even slightly irritated in some areas. This sounds all too familiar to some people and the fact is that commercial soaps can do your skin more harm than good. Fortunately, there are ways to gently cleanse your skin without stripping it of its natural oils.
Commercial vs Natural Soaps
Commercial soaps are exceedingly different from natural soaps both in the way they’re made and their ingredients. Commercial soap bars are mass-produced in large quantities using laboratory-made ingredients, which keeps their batches consistent and the price per bar low. These ingredients, however, are chemicals that can cause significant harm to your skin and affect its pH balance. They also contain artificial fragrances and preservatives to extend their shelf life.
On the other hand, natural soaps are more artisanal and made in moderate batches using vegetable oils, natural butters, and essential oils. Susan Miller, author of The Natural Soap Book, defines natural soaps as those “which rely only upon ingredients found in nature for its skin care qualities… We can think of natural soaps as those made according to natural law, and synthetic soaps as man-made cleaners—synthetic imitations of the real thing.”
The Importance of Using Natural Soaps Over Commercial Soaps
Persistent use of synthetic soaps can alter our skins’ chemical composition. That’s because commercial soaps more closely resemble a detergent than a soap bar. Aside from adding detrimental chemicals to their bars, manufacturers also remove one of the most important parts of the soap—glycerin.
Glycerin is a natural skin humectant that comes as a byproduct of the soap making process. Unfortunately, commercial soap manufacturers extract this byproduct and sell it separately, removing any moisturizing properties from their soap bars.
Natural soaps retain their glycerin content and contain ingredients that help the skin balance its loss and absorption of moisture. They’re also gentler on skin and contain antioxidant properties of both the vegetable oils and essential oils that fight against aging and dry skin. Utilizing natural soaps means your skin will feel not only cleansed, but conditioned.