Natural soap, shampoos, and skin care is so much more than pretty and expensive soap from that local shop you go to. It is about the overall health of your skin. Your skin is your protective cover. It is a beautiful canvas of cartilage, epithelial cells, and mucosa. It protects you against infections. It naturally heals it's self. It defines your outer beauty.
If you don't treat your skin well, it will lash out at you. If you don't use sunscreen, you could burn or develop melanoma. If you use toxins and harsh chemicals, it will absorb them into your blood stream. If you don't treat it well, you could look older than you are, it could become irritated and inflamed, and it could have allergic reactions. Plant based products help prevent these things by not allowing harsh toxins to enter your system and irritate your skin.
Every day soaps, body washes, and scrubs contain many harsh chemicals and toxins. Please take a moment to read about natural sugar scrubs. The things that you rely on to make you and your family clean, can be filled with these chemicals. It takes the body less than 1 minute to absorb what it comes in contact with into the blood stream. This is how your skin can obtain several nutrients (example: Vitamin D from the sun).
You may have heard the words parabens, sulfates, fragrance, and triclosan being thrown around in the natural soap world. Triclosan is found in many liquid, antibacterial soaps. It The FDA has been recently looking into the possibility of this chemical affecting hormone levels. All of these things can disrupt the endocrine and central nervous system when absorbed transdermally (through the skin) over an extended period of time. Some have even been proven to be carcinogens (cancer causing agents) Even mainstream brands are starting to stray from these chemicals.
Some of these toxins are used as preservatives, as a foaming agent, fragrance, and as a antimicrobial. These things can be obtained using natural ingredients. For example, rose water is a natural antimicrobial. Also many plants create beautiful fragrances without artificial chemicals, such as rosemary and lavender. Essential oils (not fake fragrance oil) are also beautiful scents to add to natural soap. Most are very beneficial to your skin. Tea tree oil can help clear up blemishes, mint and lavender can help headaches, and mint is a natural antiseptic.
It is very important that you choose a natural cleanser for your facial cleaning routine as well. Many of us suffer from oily, acne prone skin. The common drug store cleansers contain many chemicals that make you think they are working but are more detrimental than beneficial. Here are a few:
Picking a natural facial cleanser and natural soap can be overwhelming if you aren't sure what to get. The best place to start is to figure out your skin type. Do you have oily skin? Acne prone? Dry? Combination? Sun damaged? Once you figure that out, you can determine the best soap based on this criteria:
There are several unconventional facial cleansing methods, for example the oil cleansing method. What is that? It is a natural soap method that implements a variety of plant extracted oils to clean your face, as opposed to traditional face washing. Some people have a lot of success with this method in clearing their acne prone skin. That was not my experience, however I recommend trying this method as it is a natural cleansing system. There are a few different oil blends depending on your skin type. For example, if you have oily skin you want to use 30% Castor oil, 70% Sunflower oil. As the oil sits on your face under the hot washcloth, the toxins and dirt on your skin is lifted gently using a steaming system. How to do the oil cleansing method (recommended to do only at night):
You can even add other plant based oils, such as jojoba oil or almond oil for added moisture. You can also add in a small drop of your favorite essential oil to help your relax. I was not a fan of this type of natural soap personally because it is time consuming and it did not work well with my skin's needs. Younique's skin care system has been the savior of my skin.
Below is a video about the Younique products and cleansing system and how it has changed my skin and the health benefits to their all natural, plant based products.
Chemical based shampoos have sulfates in them. This is a foaming agent that is found in many dish soaps that can cause redness, itchiness, and irritation of your scalp. This happens to me every time I use shampoo containing sulfates. Isopropyl alcohol is also found in many shampoos, which can strip your hair of moisture. It is the alcohol that is used on your skin at the doctor's office when they draw blood. Formaldehyde is also found...we all know what that is. Yes, a baseline for embalming fluid. It is also a tissue fixative used in biopsy submissions. The National Cancer Institute states that in 1987, the EPA classified formaldehyde as a probable carcinogen under prolonged exposure. Embalmers, pathologists, and other workers that are exposed to formaldehyde at high levels are at a greater risk of developing leukemia and brain cancer. Why would you want to put that on your body or in your hair?
Some conditioners use mineral oil as a conditioning agent, which is a derivative of petroleum...yes that is crude oil. Baby oil is a good example of a mineral oil. In recent studies show that this oil will coat the skin or hair in a film that won't allow any toxins to be released through your pores and won't allow air to your hair strands. This can slow down natural skin cell development.
Fragrance is found in most of the common household products. You might that fragrance is not a bad thing, however synthetic fragrances can cause disruptions in the central nervous system and even behavioral changes such as depression.
Normally people think of shaving cream as being a harmless substance when it comes to natural soap. That is very untrue. Most shaving cream products contain all of the toxins that I have been discussing, such as parabens and fragrance. There are many shaving cream products that actually dry out your skin after shaving by containing alcohol. Alternatives to traditional shaving cream is plant based oils, such as almond or jojoba oil. It hydrates your skin, leaving it soft and healthier.
Natural soap products are not only a better option for your overall systemic health, they are better for problematic skin types, dry skin/hair, redness, and they improve elasticity. If you are interested in making your own soap, I have a page on soap making supplies with tips and recipes. Please take a moment and read your labels, and watch for those toxins lurking in your neighborhood drugstore.
Please take a moment to look at my Skin Candy line of natural soap, scrubs, and other skin care.