By Annie, Founder of Apple Annies
It’s been a long time since I’ve used anything but organic or all natural soap. I use it daily, I travel with it, I scrub my toes with it, I even recommend it to strangers. But, on a recent trip I forgot my soap, and I was forced to use the hotel “luxury” soap for a few days. And then… it began… my skin started to dry out and get itchy.
So what was it about organic or all natural soap that my skin was missing? And why did that hotel soap bother my skin so much?
Maybe it would be best to back up a minute, and talk a little about the history of soap and the bar soap-making process…
HOW BAR SOAP IS MADE
Bar soaps were invented in the 19th century. In it’s most basic form, bar soap consists of just two or three ingredients – water, oils or solid fats, and lye (sodium hydroxide, or NaOH). The oils or fats are heated, and the lye gets added to the water to make a solution. The oils (or solid fats) are then allowed to cool, and at just the right temperature, the lye solution and the oils are mixed together so that they can bond in a soap making process called saponification.
Now, some of you are probably saying to yourself…, wait a minute, LYE sounds like a toxic chemical, right?!? Well that’s a reasonable assumption. Lye is basically a salt, and it’s a STRONG BASE, meaning that it’s pH is closer to 14 (neutral pH is 7). So yes, it is considered toxic… if pure lye touches your skin, it’ll burn the same way an acid does. The pH of lye is just too different from that of your skin, and your skin doesn’t appreciate it.
The great news is that the saponification process renders the lye benign. That is, the lye goes into the soap, but saponification disassembles the lye into it’s individual parts – a sodium molecule (Na), an oxygen molecule (O), and a hydrogen molecule (H) so that the only things to naturally come out of the soap-making process are soap molecules and glycerin. Pretty cool, huh! The soap molecules work by sticking to grease or dirt on your skin, and then allowing themselves to get washed away down the drain with your shower water. The glycerin molecules don’t rinse away as much. They work throughout the day as humectants (that is, they attract water to your skin), and they also increase skin smoothness.
WHY CHOOSE ORGANIC AND NATURAL HANDMADE SOAP OVER COMMERCIAL SOAP?
Large-scale commercial soap makers remove the glycerin molecules to make a more firm bar, and to make room for chemical additives like perfumes, colorants and whiteners, deodorants, antibacterials, preservatives, and fillers like starch. Unfortunately soap without glycerin is more drying to your skin. So this is why my skin was so dry and itchy after using the hotel “luxury” soap. My skin wasn’t used to that soap without glycerin, and it probably didn’t appreciate the synthetic color or perfumes either.
Apple Annie’s soaps, in contrast, are made from organic shea butter, milk from goats raised on organic feed and untreated pastures, organic local honey, organic whole oats, and organically home-grown and harvested herbs and botanicals, and rely only on certified skin-safe fragrance and essential oils for their scent and aromatherapeutic properties. Plus, nothing is removed during the soap-making process to make room for chemical additives.
So, that covers the part about how good natural and organic soaps are for skin. An added bonus is also how good they are for the environment. There is no plastic bottle, each bar has a paper label which can be recycled, and the soap that rinses off your body and down the drain is utterly non-toxic.
OUR SOAP PHILOSOPHY
Apple Annie’s soaps are formulated with you in mind and the planet in our hearts. Above all else, our skin care products are good for your health, good for your state of mind, and good for your skin. Your skin is your largest organ, and it absorbs some of everything you put on it. Being organic, natural, aromatherapeutic and skin-safe, our products will help nourish and hydrate your skin and revitalize your senses the way nature intended.
So, you use soap everyday on yourself, and possibly other members of your family. Your skin is your largest organ, and absorbs some of everything you put on it. This makes obsessively natural and organic ingredients paramount, especially when used over the entire surface area of your skin. So why not make a change to a product that will leave your skin clean, smooth and hydrated, and free of all those unnecessary chemical additives? Plus, you’ll be doing your small part to help OUR planet.
For more information on essential oils, see our blog post on Essential Oils.
For more information on our soap products, see organic soap products.