Many consumers don't think twice when selecting a bar of soap at the store. Maybe they have their favorite brand, or maybe they grab the cheapest package they can find. The fact is, most of us never even consider what these products are made of and how they can impact our health and the environment.
Fortunately, there seems to be a growing trend of people looking for natural options. And from that demand has emerged a wide variety of all-natural soaps containing essential oils instead of the more common fragrance oils found in commercial soaps. The price might be a little higher than what you're used to, but you'll find comfort in knowing that your soap doesn't contain any of those nasty chemicals.
So, why should you spend the extra dough on natural soaps? What are essential oils and how are they better than fragrance oils? These are the things I'd like to address.
Essential oils are therapeutic oils derived from seeds, flowers, plants, herbs, and other natural sources. The oils are extracted by a pressing or steaming process. The result is a clean scent that smells delightful and is good for your body. Natural soaps that contain essential oils leave your skin feeling pleasant and smooth. They also possess many healing properties that are beneficial to your skin.
Fragrance oils are synthetically produced chemical compounds. They are available in many different scents, but they don't provide any of the benefits to our skin that you get from using all-natural soaps. In fact, it's not uncommon for these commercially-produced soaps to cause rashes and other skin irritations.
Our skin is the largest organ we have. When using a skin care product, it is absorbed through our pores and into our body. This means that the harmful, synthetic substances found in fragrance oils don't only affect our skin, but also our overall health. Long-term exposure to the toxins and chemicals in commercial soaps and shampoos can potentially lead to illness.
Natural and homemade soaps contain glycerin, which is great for softening the skin. Commercial soaps remove the glycerin during production in order to sell it to other companies who make lotions and moisturizers. The absence of glycerin in these soaps tends to dry out your skin and make it feel tight, which will more than likely lead you to buy those lotions and moisturizers in order to get your skin back to normal. Since the glycerin in natural soap moisturizes your skin while also cleaning it, it can eliminate the need to buy those extra products.
Something that most people don't realize is that soap made with fragrance oils isn't really soap at all. They're actually detergents. If you look at the packaging, you'll see that most of them don't even use the word 'soap' because, legally, they can't. Instead, you will see names like 'body bar', 'moisturizing bar', 'beauty bar', or something similar. These synthetic soaps are not only bad for you, but they're bad for the planet.
You see, when you use synthetic, fragrance-based soaps and shampoos, you're sending all those chemicals and toxins down the drain and they eventually find their way into our ecosystem. Some of these substances have even been known to find their way through filters at water purification facilities. One of these chemicals, known as phthalates, has been linked to reproductive disorders.
If you value your skin, your health, and the environment, you should strongly consider switching to all-natural soaps, shampoos, and other skin products made with essential oils instead of their commercially-produced counterparts. Chances are, you will enjoy the benefits you receive from these real soaps, and you'll be hard-pressed to go back to the world of fragrance-containing detergents that are disguised as soaps. Give it a try and see what you think.
By: Mike Singer