Natural Soap Making and Ingredients in Soaps

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Natural Soap and It's Benefits on Your Health

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Introduction

I have written many articles on why harsh, synthetic and artificial chemicals are potentially hazardous to your health. Skin and personal care products such as soaps can be particularly irritating to your skin and disturb its protective Acid Mantel. Natural skin care is not just about cleansers, toners, moisturisers, etc, it is about adopting an all round natural approach to the care of your body and its skin.

This article written by a guest author provides you with some insight into how you can make your own, natural soap that will be beneficial to your skin and your health. It also provides you with helpful inforamtion about which chemicals to avoid...

Natural Soaps - Your Health and Skin Will Thank You
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Natural Soap Making and Ingredients in Soaps

By Carla Donnelly

What is in your soap?

Active soap ingredients have always been on the forefront of all beauty, bath and germicidal soaps alike but do you know which substances make up most of the ingredients in your regular soaps? Letís take a look.

Among the most common soap-producing plants are the following:

    • Soap Plant (Chlorogalum pomeridianum)
    • Soapbark (Quillaja saponaria)
    • Soapberry (Sapindus mukorossi)
    • Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis)

Roots are the primary source of saponins in most plants while others locate abundance of the same ingredient on the bark. Manual extraction procedure with water produces lather required for an immediate shampoo and body-cleaning needs.

It is obvious that people of the past have managed to use such ingredients in their purest form until they have discovered that other earth and animal-derived material can be used to enhance the efficiency and usability of such products.

Development of Soap Making

Our ancestors have seen the benefits of adding or enhancing the ingredients which makes up the soap they use. It was by accident which they realized that mixing saponin-containing substances with ashes or charcoal derived substances produces a more refined saponified substances as sodium stereate and in some cases, potassium stereate.

In addition, they have found out that the addition of rendered animal and plant fats with the then popular sodium hydroxide solution (which they have known then as an element and not a solution), produces a solidified version of soaps.

Plants are an abundant and popular known source of soap oils - olive oil, coconut oil, canola oil, tallow, palm, olive oil, soybean oil among others .

Modern Soap Ingredients

The introduction of soap technology and as people rallying on to reducing the manufacturing cost of soap production, fat oils such as rendered pork fat or beef fat, derived from animals have overtaken the use the use plant oils plant-derived saponin sources.

But the inclusion of several ingredients in soaps is generally not advantageous for it proved to be irritating to most skin types. Soaps derived from animal fats are no more than different so synthetic materials which makes skin more prone to itching and bacterial attacks.

Plant Oils and Animal Fats

Plant oils used for making soaps are considerably milder and the skin soft. It leaves little residue which usually is dissolved by washing. Moreover, the addition of scents such as perfume adds to the irritating properties of some soap products.

This residue takes in the form of sodium hydroxide, a popular caustic base agent in soap, rayon and papermaking.

Fats and oils derived from plants and animals are good enough to use as soap themselves but they lack the necessary caustic agent for them to produce the lathering effect as seen when using regular bath soaps.

Soap-Making

Lye (sodium hydroxide), is used in the entire saponification process. As treated fats and oils are mixed with lye, it begins to react and form begin the process described above. This process brings about the characteristic thickening and hardening of the liquids and begins assuming a different phase - thickened soft solid mass. This process is repeated until all lye has reacted with oil so that molding and packing goes next.

Active Ingredients - What does this mean?

Active ingredients are one among the most controversial substances ever to put in a bar soap. Active ingredients determine the applicable usage of a certain soap to a personís body and skin types.

For example, anti-bacterial soaps have triclosan and triclocarban as its active agent which inhibits the growth of specific type of bacteria (gram-positive).

In the same manner as BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) anti-oxidants and PEG-6 methyl ether sometimes found in detergents and added to soaps sometimes do more harm than good so it is best to check for some of these ingredients.

You can find soaps made without petroleum or animal products if you have sensitive skin, allergies or are interested in natural products that are environmentally friendly.

Carla Donnelly is a writer on environmental and health issues at the MangoLife Wellness Website. Sign up for the free monthly newsletter and get a free vegetarian ecookbook plus a chance to win a chemical-free soap that raises the body ph and is good for the environment: http://www.mangolife.com/miracle2webpage2.html

Benefits of using Natural Soaps on Your Skin

As mentioned in the introduction to the guest author's article above, I have written much about the potential problems of using harsh chemicals on your skin. The major problems with using non-natural substances are that your skin is more likely to have an adverse reaction to these chemicals.

Some soaps are known to have causes severe irritation, dermatitis, eczema and other skin reactions. Apart from the possible irritation, soaps tend to change the pH of your skin and this has the effect that the protective acid mantel of the skin is reduced or even temporarily eliminated, leaving your skin open to attack from pathogens and other environmental factors.

In short, you should always be mindful of the possible effects on your skin when using any new product on your body. This includes new skin care products, soaps and even washing powders, which often leaf a residue in your clothes and have also been known to cause skin problems.

 

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