NATURAL SOAP - WHAT IS THE BENEFIT?
We are continually hearing stories of how synthetic chemicals are affecting our health and stories encouraging the use of natural products. With commercial soap the use of synthetics is only part of the story.
Commercial companies produce glycerin during soap making and in a sense the extracted soap is the by-product.
Glycerin is a humectant, meaning that it attracts moisture and so a soap that contains glycerin is moisturising.It is also known that glycerin when combined with water softens the skin.
Soap is produced by mixing a caustic solution (lye) with fats or oils (fatty acids).The oils that are used (whether animal or vegetable) contain glycerin as part of their chemical makeup.When these oils are mixed with the lye, a chemical reaction happens and the resulting liquid is soap with this glycerin still mixed in. (At this stage the handmade or natural soap makers pour the liquid into molds and let it set to form bars of natural soap).
Now!! Commercial companies take the liquid phase a step further. Salt is added to the mixture which causes it to curdle and a solid precipitates out and floats to the top.This solid is skimmed of the top, and, after further processing, is pressed into bars of soap. However, this type of soap (without glycerin and with other chemicals added) is very drying and detrimental to the skin.
The liquid which remains after the soap is removed (glycerin) is then distilled to remove all impurities and sold. Glycerin has many uses and its sale provides profit for the soap making companies.
Natural soap - Castile Soap
How moisturising and gentle a bar of natural soap is on the skin depends, not just on the glycerin content, but also on the type of oil/oils used to make the soap.
One of the most basic natural soaps is Castile Soap made from only olive oil and lye. Using 100% olive oil makes a soap that is sometimes slow to lather, but a soap which gives rich, creamy suds that are gentle and mild enough for the most sensitive skin. Castile soap originally came from Castilia, an olive producing provence in France.
Glycerin Based Melt and Pour Soap
You may often see offered Glycerin Based Melt and Pour Soap. This is natural soap with extra glycerin added, making it easy to remelt. This high content of glycerin makes the soap very moisturizing but the bars do not last as long as the conventional bar of soap as the glycerin readily dissolves in water.
Where to buy Natural Soap
For high quality, natural soap, handmade in Australia go to Jenshers Natural Skincare