This is a hot-button topic for us here at What the IFF because more and more people are becoming aware of the things they don't just put in their bodies, but what they put on their bodies. The first time I used one of our natural and organic body soaps, I couldn't help wondering why my body felt unusually "squeaky." So, I did a TON of research to investigate the differences between natural vs. synthetic soap, why it was essential to making the change, and what I could expect. This blog is specifically an education piece, and is not here to scare you or warn you that you HAVE to switch everything over, right this second, to all-natural and organic products. However, it is here to do a little compare and contrast and give you the tools to be more educated on how to take care of your skin. Which helps your overall longevity and physical health. We hope it enables you to decide what will be best/work for you.
By definition: Natural soap means a true soap made by saponifying plant-based whole oils (not isolated fatty acids). Store-bought soaps are typically made with different chemical agents(based on the scents and "hydrating" effect you are looking for), hardeners, and lathering agents to give you that nice sudsy feeling between your fingers and palms. In contrast, all our soaps (and many natural soaps you might buy) are made with organic materials like lye and essential oils for scent. Also, Glycerin is generally removed from all store-bought soap to preserve long shelf life. One of the most critical elements that SHOULD be in your soap is Glycerin. Glycerin settles between the soap molecules in handmade soap to retain the moisture that keeps your skin soft and able to breathe. Because handmade soap uses natural ingredients, most of these soaps tend to help maintain a healthy balance for your skin in the long run. Many stores buy soaps containing artificial colorants and fragrances and sell them at low resale prices because of the factories they were manufactured in. Many chemically-induced soaps even have a 'can cause cancer' disclaimer. Some soaps may even ask you to avoid using "when you are pregnant or may become pregnant." These things highly suggest that the store-bought soap is not made for long-term use, given the health threats they can possess.
We take pride in the soaps we offer at What the Iff. We oppose the body care industry's use of the word "natural" to include synthetic fragrances, colorants, and preservatives. There are no artificial substances to our soaps, such as synthetic fragrances, dyes, and preservatives. Our products do not contain parabens and are colored with various organic herbs and plant-derived products.
Something to also keep in mind is how absorbent your skin is. I was going to get real scientific with you and start breaking down the structure of your skin cells and how synthetic soaps affect your skin on a deep level. However, I was worried I would go on a tangent and lose you. So let me keep it simple. The surfactants (all the things we listed in those store-bought soaps), you can find in artificial/ chemical-based soaps. These are meant to leave your skin feeling "clean and fresh" . Surfactants can harm the outermost layer of your skin, which causes redness, dryness, and irritation and undermines the skin's natural barrier. Bacteria, toxins, other nasty germs, and unhealthy substances can penetrate deeper into your skin and cause long-term harm. Not just on a skin level but can also be absorbed into your body and affect other
Overall, making small switches to something as simple as the type of soap you use to wash your body or clean your face can mean the world of difference as to how you feel. It also might jump-start more self-awareness of your health and the health of your friends and family.