Sodium laureth sulfate. Methylisothiazolinone. Cocamide.

Triethanolamine. Is it really soap, or is it a synthetic chemical detergent? Are you familiar with the term “dermal absorption”? In a nutshell, dermal absorption is the transport of chemicals in the environment from the outer surface of the skin into the skin as well as the circulatory system. Put another way, the above list of chemicals common in most commercial bath products is absorbed through the skin with each and every shower. As evidence continues to mount that chemicals such as Trihalomethanes are linked to an increased risk for spontaneous abortion as well as an increased risk of developing bladder and colon cancer, is it any reason that stores such as Meli Lips in historic Glendale, Arizona that offer all natural soaps are growing in popularity? 

The advantages of using natural soaps are numerous. First, these soaps are usually manufactured with ingredients and essential oils that promote healthy skin and prevent drying. This often includes glycerine, a moisturizing agent removed from most chemical detergent soaps. There are an array of other beneficial ingredients that you may want in your natural soap.

As an example, birch tar. For hundreds of years birch tar was known for is restorative properties. It was also recognized as a safe and effective treatment for eczema, itchy skin, psoriasis, and dandruff. Additional benefits include improved blood circulation, and the blockage of toxin build up in muscles and skin. As a bonus, birch tar has properties that serve as a disinfectant and antiseptic which speed the healing process for small cuts and abrasions.

Black pepper is another ingredient to consider in your soaps. In addition to exfoliation, it stimulates the lymphatic system. What is pepper without salt, specifically Dead Sea salt. Used for more than a thousand years, these salts are know for having an array of relaxing therapeutic effects. Like pepper, they also exfoliate the skin, an important process for maintaining healthy skin. Activated charcoal is another ingredient to consider. In addition to being a natural colorant, it is know to combat dry, itchy skin. Claims have been made that it also contributes to clear, healthy skin.

Then there is lye, sodium hydroxide. While this is classified a chemical, and not a natural product like coconut oil, it is a crucial ingredient in the making of soaps. Contrary to perception, lye in soap is not an evil. Quite the contrary. In the hands of a knowledgeable soap maker, in regards to gentleness lye is superior to commercial products that use an array of chemicals.

As your skin is an organ, and as chemicals are absorbed through the skin, you should take as much care in selecting products as you do when buying groceries. If the list of ingredients in a product makes you think of high school chemistry class you probably shouldn’t eat it, or rub it on your skin. In the modern era of miracles made manifest in the ease of access to information through the use of the internet, there are an array of resources available to understand the ingredients in soap – Environmental Working Groups Skin Deep Database. Another option is to simply look for stores such as Meli Lips that display the Certified Essential Oil Coach seal, and ask questions.

Article written by Internationally acclaimed Author Jim Hinckley