Online market surveys have found that more than 50 million Americans are experiencing skin sensitivities and allergies to many of the skin products offered in the market today. Add to this figure a growing trend among millennials who prefer quality organic or all-natural skin care products that are free of chemical additives. This market trend is driving consumer demand for all natural soaps, shampoos, moisturizers and skin care products that do not contain harsh chemicals, heavy metals, synthetic stabilizers or petroleum by-products. New market research conducted in 2020 shows homemade soaps are a growing global industry currently commanding about $18 billion dollars each year. The US retail market for handmade soaps stands at $1.7 billion dollars annually.
This article will discuss in detail the time and labor-intensive process of designing homemade skin products and how the use of all-natural ingredients will provide a protective barrier to human skin. It will be the first in a series of articles to discuss the growing demand for healthy skin care products. First, providing a preview of liquid oils, followed by a discussion on solid oils and then herbal additions used in handmade soaps, lotions, salves, and shampoo bars. By using clean-sourced food-grade oils, herbs, spices, and plant extracts that are available in most homes, we create one-of-a-kind products. Fresh ingredients are the key to healthy skin.
What is Found in Store Branded Soaps?
More consumers are reading the ingredient list not only on packaged food items but dental products, clothing as well as skin care products. Here is what I found when choosing a bar of soap from the supermarket. The active ingredients list showed Soap (Sodium Tallowate,
Sodium Cocoate and/or Sodium Palm Kernelate), Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate, Water, Glycerin (Skin Conditioner), Hydrogenated Tallow Acid (Skin Conditioner), Coconut Acid, Fragrance, Sodium Chloride, Pentasodium Pentetate, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Titanium Dioxide, D&C Green 8, FD&C Green 3. If you are like me, I could not pronounce many of the ingredients on the list. Let us decipher what this list includes.
Sodium tallowate is some sort of animal fat or combinations of animal fats used in commercial soap making. Titanium dioxide is used as a color enhancing agent and is considered a “possible carcinogen for humans.” All synthetic food dyes formerly used in food production were discontinued as the public demand is for clean sourced foods. With the rise in allergic reactions whether from what we eat or use as skin care products, more and more consumers are looking for healthy options.
Additives Found in Some All-Natural Soaps
The field is wide open as the homemade soap making industry grows. But here too, individuals will need to be smart shoppers and continue to read ingredient labels to understand what is in skin care products. To entice buyers some homemade soaps tout bright colors under the label of organic, all-natural and homemade. To obtain these bright colors in soap, titanium dioxide, FD&C dyes, ultramarines, iron oxides and zeolites are used as color enhancers. That cannot be all that bad, right? We did the research and here is what we discovered.
Titanium dioxide, ultramarines, iron oxides and zeolites can be mined from the earth or synthetically produced. Purity levels established by the USDA for titanium dioxide is 99 percent which still leaves room for contaminates such as lead, arsenic, and mercury.’Ultramarine is considered a natural pigment that contains aluminum, sodium and sulfide. The FDA states ultramarine is safe for external use only.’ Zeolites are in the same class as ultramarines and are used widely in the petrochemical industry for natural gas fracking.’’Iron oxide is toxic but allowed in soap that is purchased from other countries.’’This research project showed that many color enhancers are used in homemade soap making, even if obtained in their natural state can be contaminated and will be absorbed while bathing. If the color enhancer used in soap production is a synthesized, man-made ingredient, this too carries several concerns as to the purity of the final product. The last thought to mention, during our digging through online sources, it was discovered that several soap sites are not based here in the United States, so the ingredient list provided on their websites include many of the above-mentioned questionable additives.
The Ingredients in Our Brand of Soap
Careful consideration is foremost in developing our soap designs. We use only food grade oils that are from sustainable sources. We try to keep things simple by utilizing whole herbs, grasses, and seasonings to avoid introducing harsh chemicals in the soap making process. You will not see the brightly colored soaps other sites offer as our soap line is truly clean, no additives or synthetically produced colors. Many of our oils are purchased locally so
ingredients are fresh. The hard oils like mango butter, shea butter, palm oil, palm kernel flakes and cocoa butter are purchased from reliable sources and reviewed regularly to ensure that the quality of the ingredient is consistent. Our soap recipes have been tested and adjusted to produce the high-quality product you expect.
Cold-process soap making is a labor of love. We are careful in the slow heating of our oils to maintain the nutrients in the oil, so your bathing experience nourishes your skin as well. It would be safe to say that you are not only what you eat but what you absorb through your skin. We continue to strive to provide the best bathing experience for your enjoyment and your health.
The remainder of this blog will provide a list of oils and the health benefits of each oil to help you choose the best soaps for your specific health needs. We combine more than the standard 3-4 oils to produce our bars of soap, shampoo bars and salves. The reason is simple, some oils provide UV protection, sunscreen capabilities and other oils promote a healthy lather. Other oils help moisturize your skin. By combining oils in this manner, you really can nourish your skin which acts as a protective barrier to environmental toxins, germs, and dirt. Let us consider some of the liquid carrier oils used in homemade soap bars. Carrier oils form the base of the soap bar and are used in a higher volume to carry the secondary or supportive oils to make a great bar of soap. In the following blog, we will review the secondary oils, hard oils as well as additives that are beneficial for healthy skin.
Nutrient Content of Oils
Almond oil is extraordinarily rich in vitamins A, B, D and E, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. It is rich in unsaturated fatty acids that penetrate deep to make your skin feel softer. The high content of linoleic acid provides your skin protection from UV radiation. And the health benefits to stronger, healthier hair are another reason to consider a shampoo bar that uses almond oil in its formulation. Almond oil helps by reducing split ends, is a treatment for dermatitis and scalp psoriasis as well.
Apricot oil is rich in vitamins A and E. This is an extremely light oil, mild and gentle on your skin which may be why the oil is easily absorbed in the skin but does not leave your skin
feeling oily. Apricot oil has anti-inflammatory properties which are effective in providing relief from eczema as it revitalizes dry and mature skin. Apricot oil is beneficial for reducing dark circles and puffiness under the eyes and will aid in decreasing fine lines and wrinkles near the eyes. Apricot oil adds a slightly nutty aroma to the bar.’
Avocado oil is rich in Vitamin E, potassium, and lecithin to nourish and moisturize your skin. Lecithin is a natural emollient that makes your skin feel smooth and hydrated. The oleic acid is beneficial for collagen production, which is important in promoting new skin growth and helps in healing damaged skin like sunburns. It calms itchy skin, promotes healing of chapped skin, and replenishes, hydrates, and moisturizes dry skin while protecting from UV radiation.’’’
Canola oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to help our skin fight
against skin eruptions, eczema, or other skin infections. It also helps moisturize and nourish your skin as canola oil also is a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, rich in Vitamins E and K which help reduce fine lines, wrinkles, blemishes, and skin spots.’
Hemp seed oil is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 and when used in soap making it acts as a moisturizer, soothes dermatitis, and fights against acne breakouts. The science is still out on hemp oil benefits for hair. Several sources suggest that hemp seed oil promotes hair growth, is a great moisturizer, helps thicken each follicle of hair, revives damaged hair by preventing water loss and adds to our hair’s natural shine.’
Macadamia nut oil is rich in vit E and tocotrienols, an antioxidant that helps fight free radical damage from environmental pollutants. Additional vitamins such as omega-3,
omega-6, omega-7, and manganese support skin health and hydration and help maintain our skin’s elasticity. Macadamia nut oil is also beneficial in hair products as it helps to maintain moisture in your scalp, boost hair shine while reducing dandruff. Surprisingly, macadamia nut oil is not a heavy oil, so it easily penetrates your scalp and hair follicles making the hair stronger. Macadamia nut oil’s antioxidant properties helps combat environmental pollutants as well. ’ Those with nut allergies should avoid products containing macadamia nuts or any of the other nut-based oils.
Moringa oil is harvested from the seed pods of the moringa tree. The oil contains a high level of monounsaturated fatty acids, with Oleic acid as the predominant fatty acid.
Palmitoleic acid in moringa oil is the omega-7 fatty acid that is found in your tissue and helps strengthen your immune system. This oil is rich in minerals like calcium, potassium, zinc, magnesium, iron, and copper. The leaves are a rich source of Vitamin C and beta-carotene. There is much to learn of the health benefits of moringa that future scientific studies will have to answer. ’
Olive oil contains a high percentage of a monounsaturated fatty acid in the form of oleic and oleocanthal acids, two nutrients that help fight inflammation. Olive oil is rich in vitamin E and vitamin K as well as minerals like calcium, potassium, zinc, and magnesium. What a powerful collection of vitamins and minerals in this oil to promote eye, skin and tissues health as well as boosting your immune system.’
Rice bran oil is packed with antioxidants, anti-aging emollients, and is a great source of vit E, vitamin B, omega-9, antioxidants such as beta-carotene, CoQ10, lycopene that help
protect skin from environmental toxins. The combination of vitamins and omega-6 promotes deep-moisturizing of your skin as it hydrates and nourishes. The affect is a reduction of fine lines and wrinkles-signs of aging. A gentle oil that moisturizes hair, helps fight split ends, and strengthens hair follicles without weighing your hair down.’
Safflower oil is high level of linoleic acid (omega-6) and is superb in helping to balance the oily patches on your face, neck, inside of elbow and around sweat glands. And with its light,
non-greasy consistency, it is an oil that is easily absorbed through your skin to nourish and help reduce inflammation that contributes to eczema, rashes, pimples, and acne. This article shows how to combine oatmeal, safflower and honey to make a paste for facial cleaning. A bit messy, but we have an oatmeal soap bar that will be much easier to handle, and you can use it every time you wash.’
Soybean oil is rich in vitamin E, omega-3 and omega-6 which is beneficial to reduce inflammation, soothes the skin and is a great treatment for acne and dermatitis. It helps
retain moisture in the skin, restoring collagen and reducing wrinkles due to UV exposure by increasing your skins natural elasticity. Only a little is needed in soap making as it contributes to a very creamy lather so you not only feel clean but will feel refreshed.’
Sunflower oil is packed with vitamin E which provides a natural sunscreen. It also
contains vitamin K, omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 which are beneficial in fighting free radicals from toxins in the environment. When used in skin care products sunflower oil helps reduce wrinkles and pores, giving a smoother complexion. When included in hair products, sunflower oil is a light oil so it conditions, repairs split ends, strengthens hair growth and promotes hair shine.’
Walnut oil is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. It is also high in antioxidants such as ellagic acid as well as omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids. Vitamins
include Vitamin E, K, A, B1, B2, B3, C and E. Minerals of selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, iron, and calcium. Another antioxidant-packed oil that is a natural way to treat psoriasis, reduce fine lines and wrinkles and promotes healthy, shiny hair. Science has found that pressing the walnut for oil retains the nutrients as well.’’
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