‘Wash your hands properly with soap’. This is something we have trained children to do for many generations. And rightly so: proper hygiene saves lives. However, traditional soap bars have largely been replaced by antibacterial liquid soaps and shower gels. The question is: are these soaps actually better?
We are not trying to deny hand washing is an important factor in maintaining good health. Rather, we are highlighting the fact that many of these ‘modern’ soaps are made entirely from synthetic ingredients which dry out the skin and cause problems such as eczema.
Is antibacterial soap more hygienic than traditional soap?
Disinfectants are required in the operating room of a hospital or when trying to prevent disease transmission. However, the Health Council of the Netherlands advises against using antibacterial soaps in the home, office, or at school because doing so has not proven to be more effective in reducing infection rates.
In fact, there are some real drawbacks to using antibacterial soap:
- It irritates the skin and increases the chances of developing an allergy
- It kills good bacteria as well, disrupting the skin’s natural flora
- It can cause hormone imbalances
- It is harmful to the environment
Mass-produced soap is not real soap
The majority of soaps are mass produced and are not real soaps. This includes products such as scented shower gels by well-known brands or the antibacterial sanitizers kept in many kitchens. These types of soaps are manufactured using refined fatty acids and other additives such as foaming agents, antibacterial chemicals, synthetic perfumes, and preservatives. Cheap ingredients are used to keep costs low.
This is why many people suffering from skin conditions such as eczema are not allowed to wash their hands with soap. Mass-produced soap dries out the skin and strips it of nourishment. In fact, a growing number of people, who frequently washed their hands with mass-produced soap from a young age, are developing allergic contact dermatitis.
But what is ‘real’ soap?
Real soap is created via a chemical reaction that occurs when you mix an alkali(lye) with fat. The name given to this chemical process is saponification. It really pays off to use a rich, nutrient-dense vegetable oil in this process as this produces the best soap. Making a natural, high-quality soap is a time-consuming process that requires craftsmanship and costly ingredients. Real soaps do not just clean the skin, they nourish it and prevent it from drying out.
Squalan SOAP: nourishes the skin
Squalane is one of the core ingredients in our exquisite Squalan Soap. This soap contains just five ingredients, including our all-time favourite squalane, which is derived from sugar cane. Squalane oil is unique in that it is identical to squalene – a substance produced naturally by the body. It soothes, nourishes, and hydrates the skin and forms the basis of all our products.
Each of our remaining four ingredients have been chosen on the basis that they are healthy to consume, ensuring the quality of our oil is second to none:
- Cocoa butter: hydrates, nourishes, and protects
- Saponified olive oil: binds dirt to the oil and nourishes
- Water: is needed in the saponification process
- Castor oil: hydrates and soothes; adds a slight ‘sauna fragrance’ to the soap; is often referred to as the ‘miracle oil’
We use a lot of extra fats when making Squalan Soap to create a rich moisturizer that does not contain any lye. These extra fats create soaps that are soft and nourishing, as do the high-quality ingredients and glycerine (a natural by-product of saponification).
Squalan Soap can be used to wash the hands and the rest of the body. It is perfect for the delicate skin of infants and young children and doubles up as a shampoo.
How does soap actually work?
A good analogy is that soap acts as a sort of bridge between water and the oil and dirt present on your skin. The oil and dirt are removed from the skin because they attach to the soap molecules, which are then rinsed off by water, preferably lukewarm water. This process makes it clear that soap, even soap made from exclusive ingredients, always strips the skin of necessary oils and moisture to some extent. Nevertheless, it is important that real soap, not synthetic ingredients, causes this oil depletion. The ingredients in Squalan Soap replenish many of the oils lost through bathing and washing, leaving your skin feeling soft and nourished, instead of dry and tight.
How to use soap without irritating the skin
Avoid long and frequent showers: the skin has an amazing ability to clean itself. Water alone will rid the skin of the majority of bacteria. Only use soap in those areas that really need it – skip using soap on the rest of the body.
Do not take very hot showers: water dries out the skin and hot water even more so. Use lukewarm water.
Do not use synthetic soap: use a handmade soap that only contains natural/pure ingredients.
Avoid soaps containing allergens such as parabens, alcohol, preservatives, and perfumes.