Soap Goes Organic

How to Choose All-Natural Organic Soaps for Sensitive Skin

Nowadays it seems everywhere you look you can find organic alternatives. Consumers have many more options than ever before when it comes to choosing pesticide and chemical-free products. Beyond fruits and veggies, organic products include clothing, baby food, teas, and even…soap!

What is organic soap?  Manufactured according to USDA approved standards, organic soap does not contain the often skin-irritating detergent and chemical based ingredients found in many mass-produced personal care products.  Organic soap components are often found in plant-based renewable resources that have been produced in a chemical-free natural environment, and typically in a fair trade manner.

Today consumers can discover organic soap alternatives in bar soaps and shower gels, floor and laundry cleaners, and even pet shampoo. As consumer demand for these all-natural solutions increases, so do the natural soap offerings for personal and homecare.

How to choose the right organic soap? Make sure you understand the process and ingredients that go into each bar. Organic or natural soaps are often proudly produced by master soapmakers who still consider the process an art. They use top quality ingredients found only in nature, including pure essential oils. They begin by mixing small batches for a long period of time, allowing the soap mixture to thicken slowly. Then they add in special botanical concentrates, herbs, and spices. Poured into a mold, the soap is then allowed to harden. After several days the soap is removed from the molds and cured for several weeks. This special, careful process often results in the highest quality, mildest, yet effective all-natural soap.

Natural soaps often feature special healing or soothing essential oils like lavender, lemongrass, peppermint, and rosemary.  A good moisturizing choice for frequently dry and sensitive skin is a combination of soothing oatmeal and lavender natural soap, or aloe baby soap. People with more oily skin are likely to find relief with citrus or tea tree oil selections.

All natural soaps are commonly free of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). As a primary foaming agent, SLS is found in most shampoos, bath gels, dish detergents, toothpaste, and bar soaps.  Certainly an important ingredient, SLS performs many cleansing functions. The downside is often debated, though, among all-natural soap enthusiasts. They claim that SLS can lead to skin/scalp irritation on sensitive individuals and even irritation of the gums after brushing. To avoid these potentially uncomfortable side effects, natural, organic bar soaps and shampoos are recommended. Dry/sensitive scalps benefit from aloe/lavender combinations, while oily scalps can often be remedied with citrus shampoo bars.

Recently, antibacterial soap products have become very popular with consumers. Along with this soar in popularity is an increase in the debate over how helpful antibacterial soap really is. Some researchers claim that antibacterial products are contributing to the emergence of more skin irritations as well as drug-resistant superbugs.  They claim that, when overused, antibacterial agents – often considered quite harsh – can lead to bacteria -attracting skin irritations including eczema. Some believe that antibacterial agents can rob the skin of needed fatty acids, moisture, and amino acids. This would results in dryer and rougher skin. And finally, some lab studies suggest that use of antibacterial products kill off sensitive bacteria, leaving behind hardier strains such as E Coli and staphylococcus aureus that may live longer. So, what to believe? You don’t have to be a strict purist to believe that falling back on nature’s bounty and choosing organic products is the safe route when navigating the antibacterial soap debate. According to organic soap proponents, healthy living goes hand-in-hand with limiting overall chemical contamination from our daily use products. Fortunately, the choice to go organic gets easier and easier, as more products find their way to the market every day.

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