In general, soap seems like a good thing… after all, cleanliness is next to Godliness, but in our germ-afraid society, have we gone too far? Unfortunately, many of the things we use as “soap” are actually harsh detergents or chemical cocktails. Rather than the gentle action of true soaps that pulls dirt and grime off the skin, these detergents can strip the skin (or other surfaces) of healthy oils. Most laundry detergents, for example, contain no soap at all, but are just a chemical detergent mix. This is also true of many body wash products that don’t contain any soap but just a mix of chemicals. Certain natural soaps can be beneficial to the skin, but most commercial versions are more detergent than soap and strip the skin of vital oils. So how does a person decipher the dirty details of soap? Let’s look at the options.
Antibacterial soaps and sanitizers have taken center stage lately with all the scares about various types of flu viruses originating from various animals. The antibacterial label is popping up on all kinds of soaps, especially kids soaps, cleansing wipes, and even adult bath soaps.
Scented Soaps and Washes
Most commercially available bar soaps and body washes are artificially scented. These scents come from chemicals, and most of these products are laden with detergents, preservatives, and questionable ingredients. Ever wonder why there is a growing need for moisturizing body washes, lotions, and other forms of skin nourishment? Aside from the fact that many people are deficient in saturated fats and have dry skin from the inside out, most bar soaps and body washes are also stripped of the glycerin made in the soap making process. This leads to an unbalanced soap that pulls moisture out of the skin. While we think we are nourishing our skin with a lovely infusion of pomegranate and green tea, we are usually just stripping our skin’s natural oils and exposing our largest organ to hundreds of chemicals. In fact, the average person is exposed to over 100 chemicals before even leaving the bathroom in the morning! There are soaps that are healthy and beneficial to the skin, but you aren’t usually going to be able to find them in your grocery store. The best types of bar soaps are made from vegetable (not mineral) oil blends and have the glycerin put back in so they clean without drying skin. For liquid and foaming soaps, liquid castile soap is best, and often cheaper than the scented, antibacterial options anyway.
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