In the past, soap was not a luxury that could be picked up at the local market; people made their own. Today however, most of us head off to the local market to get what we need. Unfortunately, manufactured soap does not have all the same benefits, so we need to be extra careful in choosing the best soap for our skin. Below is a list of five different things we all need to keep in mind when we are buying soap.
- Examine the Fats
When it comes to diets, we know how to weed out the good fats from the bad. We should apply the same sense of responsibility when choosing the kind of soap we use. Many soaps on the market today are usually more affordable than homemade soaps because the fats they use are either synthetically produced. When choosing a good soap, it is important that you think about all those saturated fats that you’ve been told not to eat. The very reason they are not good for your heart or other health conditions, make them ideal for nurturing your skin. While they may not be good for food, they are hearty enough to provide a nice protective barrier for your skin.
2. Avoid Antibacterials
At first glance, the words antibacterial may seem like a good idea. Anything that can kill those germs we are constantly picking up on our hands can be a blessing, right? Not exactly. Antibacterial soaps contain an agent called triclosan, an ingredient that has been banned in many products in the U.S. because of its effects on the body’s hormones. According to some research studies, it works as an endocrine disruptor and a suspected carcinogen.
That doesn’t seem like an even trade, especially when there are so many other options that will clean your hand and not do you harm.
3. Go Organic or Natural
When you check the labels, look for soaps that are made from 100% natural ingredients. You will find some soaps that say only “natural” on the label. While that may sound good, on closer inspection you may find that they have also added in a few synthetic ingredients along with it. When you read the label, you will find that 100% natural soaps will list only good oils, fats, and butters as their primary ingredients. Anything else should be easily identifiable as natural. Assume that anything you can’t pronounce or don’t recognize is synthetic.
4. Choose Unscented
When fragrances are added to soaps, they are usually synthetic. According to the National Academy of Sciences, around 95% of the chemicals used to produce those fragrances come from crude oil. These derivatives are directly linked to cancer, allergies, nervous system disorders, and even birth defects.
5. Avoid Preservatives
Manufactured soaps are usually made with synthetic hardening agents to give them a longer shelf life. In order to do this though, they have to remove some of the fats (which give your skin moisture) and glycerin. It may last longer but your skin will definitely pay the price.
Natural handmade soaps, on the other hand, will break down much more quickly. In fact, if exposed to excessive moisture they will slowly start to disintegrate. The label will usually instruct you to keep them in a cool, dry place until ready to use.
If you’re not in the “do-it-yourself” camp and are able to take the time to make your own soaps, then your best alternative is to become a savvy shopper. For years, we have been taught to carefully read labels in order to choose the healthiest and most nutritious food for your household. Applying those same guidelines to our skin care, will help us to reap the same benefits and keep unwanted chemicals from entering our bodies through the skin.