Sunday, November 2, 2014

Homemade Soap versus Commercial Soap



"My doctor told me to use Dove soap for my skin and that it was better."  Oh, the times I've heard that one.  I'm a health care provider and I can't tell you how many times I've heard this.  Have you ever walked down the aisles for soaps and body care products and actually read the ingredients?  Here are the ingredients in Dove's 'sensitive skin' beauty bar (yes, it does NOT say soap because it isn't 'soap'):

Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate, Stearic Acid, Sodium Tallowate, Sodium Palmitate, Lauric Acid, Sodium Isethionate, Water, Sodium Stearate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoate, Sodium Palm Kernelate (Palm Kernel Oil), Sodium Chloride, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Maltol, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891)

Let's break down what these ingredients are.

Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate is used as a detergent, wetting agent and emulsifier.  It has no beneficial properties and may in fact dry out skin.  (1)  "Sodium lauroyl isethionate is created by combining fatty acids with isethionic acid. Isethionic acid is created by combining sodium bisulfite in an aqueous solution and ethylene oxide.  Ethylene oxide is a known carcinogen. Traces of ethylene oxide can remain in the product, along with carcinogenic 1,4-dioxane." (2)

Stearic Acid - I even use this one.  It is a naturally derived fatty acid found in both plants and animals.  It is used both as a thickener and a hardener.  It is also used as a surfactant (reduces water's surface tension) allowing water and oil to mix together.  This allows 'soap' to take dirt away from your skin by trapping around it.  (3)

Sodium Tallowate - this is saponified Tallow.  When tallow is combined with sodium hydroxide (lye), what remains is sodium tallowate.  Another way to word this is 'saponified oil of Tallow'.

Sodium Palmitate - saponified Palm Oil.

Lauric Acid - Lauric Acid is a naturally occurring acid found in many oils such as palm and coconut.  However, many 'body bar' and 'beauty bar' manufacturers have to add more in as their processes strip much of this from their products.

Sodium Isethionate - also known as sodium cocoyl isethionate is a sodium salt derived from coconut oil.  It acts as a surfactant in detergents.  In essence, it helps oil and water bind together.  (4)

Sodium Stearate - is a naturally occurring fat derived from the saponification of fats and oils.  Like with Lauric Acid, many  'body bar' and 'beauty bar' manufacturers have to add more in as their processes strip much of this from their products.


Cocamidopropyl Betaine - "Cocamidopropyl betaine or CAPB is a chemical that is derived from the processing of coconut oil and dimethylaminopropylamine. It is regarded as a main ingredient in many personal skin care products because it is a surfactant and has the ability to reduce irritation from ionic surfactants." Again, this is made from coconut oil.  It does cause skin irritation in many.(5)

Sodium Cocoate - this is saponified coconut oil.

Sodium Palm Kernalate - this is saponified Palm Kernal Oil.

Sodium Chloride - plain old salt.  Helps to 'harden' the bar.

Tetrasodium EDTA - I explained something similar to this on my post for Soda as well "The Perils of Soda" (Calcium sodium EDTA).  These are preservatives made from ethylenediamine, formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.  It is also a penetration enhancer.  Meaning that whatever it is in, it helps penetrate the surface better and gets into the skin more and more including other more potentially harmful ingredients. (6)

Tetrasodium Etidronate -  another form of tetrasodium EDTA (they really need 2 forms?)

Maltol - a sugar compound derived from the bark of a larch tree or pine and in food is used as a flavor enhancer.  In soaps it helps to increase bubbles.  I often add organic sugar, honey, molasses, or even maple syrup to increase lather.

Titanium Dioxide - a whitening pigment naturally derived but chemically extracted.  Much controversy on it's use as some use 'nano-particle' size while others don't.  I have not used this in my soaps in years (once I found out more about it and then only use the non 'nano-particle' size one for those that insist on a truly white soap).  (7)

So, those are the ingredients in Dove, Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar.  I have a 'look-alike' bar.  What are my ingredients?  If I were to write it in the "INCI" terms as they did (you can now write the 'common' names), it would be worded as follows:

"Sodium Palmitate, Sodium Palm Kernalate, Sodium Talloate, Sodium Cocoate, water, Stearic Acid, and glucose."  In layman terms, saponified oils of Palm, Palm Kernal, Tallow, Coconut Oil, Stearic Acid and Sugar.  That's it!  IF I add any 'scent' I use essential oils.  NO fragrance oil at all.  NO chemicals, NO preservatives, NO 'surfactants', etc.  



So, I ask you 'why' is 'homemade' soap better?  Commercial manufacturers have found that it is very lucrative to remove the most beneficial part of soap!  The glycerin!  In doing so, they have to add many 'other' items because this 'natural' surfactant has been removed.  Natural soap has all that natural surfactant remaining in it and is a much healthier option.  Many people have reactions to these chemicals.  They usually do not react to the natural products.  I get so aggravated when I hear that the 'doctor' or 'provider' told them to use a commercial product over a naturally made one because of this.  It is just so much better for you to use a naturally made soap!!  If you don't use mine, use any, homemade, natural soap!  Please read your labels, know your soap maker and ask questions.  Have a great day and take care of your skin.  It's the largest organ of your body.


(1) https://sites.google.com/a/queensburyschool.org/what-s-in-this/sodium-lauroyl-isethionate
(2) http://chemicaloftheday.squarespace.com/todays-chemical/2013/8/26/sodium-lauroyl-isethionate.html
(3) http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/cleansing/products/stearic-acid-in-skin-cleansers.htm
(4) http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/cleansing/products/sodium-cocoyl-isethionate-in-cleansers.htm
(5) http://www.naturalwellbeing.com/learning-center/Cocamidopropyl_Betaine
(6) http://www.annmariegianni.com/ingredient-watch-list-tetrasodium-edta-the-preservative-made-from-formaldehyde/
(7) http://www.organicmakeup.ca/ca/titaniumdioxide.asp



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