The benefits of natural soap and things to consider before buying
Keeping our skin healthy and making sure we’re using the right products, with the right ingredients, is an important factor behind the decision-making of many soap-pickers in the skincare aisle. And why shouldn’t it be? Our skin is our biggest organ after all - we probably should take care of it!
So, to answer my question in short, yes, natural soap really is that good for you!
There are numerous factors that make 100% natural soaps far superior for our skin and numerous ways in which they can benefit our overall health.
Here’s some food for thought…
Let’s face it, we’ve all been lured in before by the tantalising smells, colours, and promises of silky smooth skin that Over the counter (OTC) soaps offer us. And when the packaging says it’s made from oats and honey, coconut and milk - the good stuff - why wouldn’t we believe them?
Perhaps the most important thing to take from this is, DON’T ALWAYS TAKE THEM FOR THEIR WORD. You need to figure out for yourself whether something is really as natural and healthy as it claims.
Natural or OTC Soap?
1. No Nasty Chemicals!
It’s surprising how many of the properties you expect from soaps are synthetically produced. Most OTC soaps contain chemicals to give them the typical properties that we expect from our bars of soap and bottles of shampoo.
That frothy lather, enticing smell and attractive colour often comes from synthetic preservatives intended to make the soap more attractive and long-lasting. Strong chemicals such as, Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate, Methylisothiazolinone, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, are all common ingredients in OTC soap. And, whilst they might make some great suds and make our soaps last what feels like forever, they can be far more damaging than good to our skin.
Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate is used as a cleansing agent and helps the soap to lather. However, this chemical is strong so can irritate and dehydrate your skin. Methylisothiazolinone is a common preservative but has been linked to inhalation toxicity, allergies and is a skin irritant. Cocamidopropyl Betaine, also used to make our soaps nice and frothy but, can cause eye and skin irritation and is very toxic to aquatic life.
So, one tip: if you can’t pronounce the name of the ingredients its probably not all that good for you…
2. Pure Essential Oils
Instead of long-winded chemically names, look for ones that feel a little more familiar…
Oils such as peppermint, lavender, and chamomile are all essential oils that are packed with health-promoting properties! Produced from trees, leaves and plants, these ingredients help to make natural soaps more specific to individual needs.
Essential oils help to clean the skin whilst also providing you with important vitamins that OTC soaps can strip you of. They also give you the added benefit of at-home aromatherapy!Pampering yourself never seemed so easy.
Feeling anxious or stressed? Try something with a little lavender. Trouble sleeping? Give chamomile scented soaps a go! The benefits are endless…
3. Natural Antiseptics
So, we’ve talked aromatherapy and how far pure essential oils can go to benefit our health. Now, let’s talk antiseptics.
I’m not talking chemical antiseptic. That antibacterial soap you use everyday? Yep, it contains chemicals. Most antibacterial soaps contain a chemical called Triclosan, which, studies show, actually does more harm than good for our health.
No, I’m talking natural antiseptics. Think coconut oil, tea tree oil, aloe vera and eucalyptus, all of which contain countless properties that make them so beneficial for our bodies!
Coconut and Teatree Oils both contain antimicrobial and antifungal properties. This makes them great natural remedies for skin ailments such as acne and athletes foot. Teatree oil can also be used for eczema sufferers, head lice and dandruff - it seems nature really can work wonders!!!
Eucalyptus is a great natural antiseptic for coughs and colds and can also be help remedy joint pains.
Aloe Vera is packed with antioxidants and antibacterial properties that make it the perfect go-to for skin-issues and wounds. Plus, now listen up, Aloe Vera can help your skin to maintain moisture and ultimately help prevent wrinkles!! Natures answer to anti-wrinkle cream and a fraction of the cost!
4. Healthy Fats
You’re probably more used to hearing what healthy fats are in relation to your diet, but did you know that they can also do amazing things for your skin. Natural plant and animal fats used for making soaps create a wonderful yet accidental by-product in the form of glycerin. So great in fact that many OTC soap manufacturers extract glycerin from their products to sell to others that brand themselves on their moisturising-ability!
Glycerin is an important ingredient when it comes to moisturising our skin and has a number of benefits that makes it so important to soap manufacturers. Glycerin hydrates and smooths your skin, it enhances its appearance and helps give that dewy, glowy look we all love.
Given that 100% natural soaps are made entirely from plant oils and/or animal fats glycerin is a guarantee and not something we should be skipping out on anymore! Although it might be reflected a little more in the price tag surely the pros of these natural healthy ingredients far outweigh the cons.
5. Do your bit for the environment
And without even knowing, buying natural soaps is a sure way to help out the environment!
The natural ingredients used in natural soaps are far more sustainable than the chemicals used in OTC soaps. Chemical waste from manufacturers deposits into our rivers, oceans and lakes and is incredibly damaging to the wildlife that inhabits it and even to us!
And if you’re looking for total absolution when buying your soaps, many natural soap companies hold vegan products that exclude animal fats from their ingredients lists and palm oil too if you want to help the rainforest.
Overall, the effects of natural soaps are far less adverse than those of mass-produced OTC soaps.
Let’s face it, the benefits of natural soaps are undeniable. I say its time to make some changes next time you’re on the look-out for a new soapy partner.