Lye Soap is Surprisingly Safe

Surprisingly lye in soap is safe, learn what is lye and how it works to make soap.  Lye gets a bad reputation in the marketplace.  Many people equate lye to synthetically made soaps or toxin soap, but the truth is lye is included in making all soaps; natural hand poured or mass-produced machine-made soaps.   Lye starts out as a noxious chemical until it goes through the soap process where it changes chemically to become safe.  Let’s learn how.

Lye Soap is Surprisingly Safe, Let’s start with the basic chemistry of a pH scale

Lye Soap is Surprisingly Safe, Let’s start with the basic chemistry of a pH scale. pH is an abbreviation for “power of hydrogen” where “p” is short for the German word for power, and H is the element symbol for hydrogen.  The pH scale runs from 1 to 14. pH value of 7 is neutral like pure water.  Each whole pH value below 7 is ten times more acidic than the higher value and each whole pH value above 7 is ten times less acidic than the one below it.

Acids are lower than neutral [7], while alkaline substances are above neutral. Lemon juice would be an example of an acid with a pH of 2 while lye has a pH of 13.  Although you can handle lemon juice you would not want to handle lye with your bare hands. On the spectrum, both acids and alkaline bases are caustic and can damage human skin. Lye being at a 13 level makes it a chemical that must be respected.  Lye can be dangerous if it comes in contact with your skin because it begins to react with the surface oils of the skin.

pH Strip
ph paper showing acid and alkaline levels

So how does lye become a critical and safe ingredient in soap?

So how does lye become a critical and safe ingredient in soap? Again, surprisingly simple. We just add a liquid and oil (and/or fat). Oil and lye mix to create magic. When these two elements are brought together saponification begins.  This is a process of converting the fat of the oil into soap. This saponification process eliminates all traces of lye.  The curing process can last days or weeks depending on what you added to make the soap and whether it’s a hot or cold-press process.

When the soap mix concoction hardens the liquids and the harsh alkaline material is converted to a different and safe material: soap.  There’s no longer the lye that can hurt your skin but a natural, safe soap that cleans the skin.

Surprisingly lye in soap is safe so why are some soaps drying

Surprisingly lye in soap is safe so why are some soaps drying?  Every soap manufacturer is unique in how it makes its soaps.  Natural soap makers hand-pour the ingredients and have special oils and other natural ingredients that are added to the soaps for moisturizing qualities.  A soap mass-produced usually uses cheap oils made from a petro (gas) byproduct oil along with other synthetic and toxic chemicals.  This leaves the soap harsh and drying to the skin often causing allergic reactions or other health problems.

Surprisingly lye in soap is safe
Surprisingly lye in soap is safe

 

 

Surprisingly lye in soap is safe
Natural soaps using rich antioxidant olive oil

What’s the difference in the oils we mix into our soaps?

What’s the difference in the oils we mix into our soaps?  Natural seed oils such as olive oil and coconut oil offer rich and healing antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are organic to the oil.

Antioxidants are critical to the health of your skin because they can repair unstable cells affected by the damage DNA caused by free radical exposure.  Free radicals are poison to our cells.  Free radicals steal electrons from our cells creating damaged cells.  Free radicals are very pervasive. You are bombarded by free radicals throughout the day from toxin exposure including; artificial light, pollution, body care products you put on your skin daily that are littered with toxins, processed foods, tobacco smoke, viruses, sickness, drugs, and even exercise produces free radical exposure. You need an adequate supply of antioxidants to disarm and repair your cells each day.

Pubmed’s article regarding antioxidants states;

‘Most dermatologists agree that antioxidants help fight free radical damage and can help maintain healthy skin. They do so by affecting intracellular signaling pathways involved in skin damage and protecting against photodamage, as well as preventing wrinkles and inflammation.’

Vitamins are important to your skin because they support stimulating collagen synthesis, antioxidant protection, and help reduce UV-induced photodamage.

Some of the other natural ingredients we add are goat milk soap.  [Read our blog on the benefits of goat milk in soap] Depending on the soap and what we are trying to achieve help us determine what other earth-made ingredients are added.  Our soaps for wrinkle reduction have essential oils and herbs with constituents that help collagen growth and new cell regeneration.  Soaps targeted for acne offer active charcoal with the essential oil tea tree.

Dry skin or sensitive skin issues include natural organic options including goat milk, calendula oil, jewelweed herb, lavender essential oil, lemongrass, activated charcoal, or rose clay. All our soaps benefit the health of the skin by moisturizing the skin naturally and not stripping the natural oils out of the skin like synthetically produced soaps.  Even soaps that “green market” their brands are not good for the health of the skin.

One of our favorite natural bar soaps is Awaken, which is packed with immune-boosting eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils to help eliminate germs without drying out your skin.

It’s not just the seed oils that make the difference with soap

It’s not just the seed oils that make a difference with soap, it is how they are fragranced or lack fragrance really.  What are fragrance oils and why are they harmful to the skin? Fragrance oils are synthetics that can cause cancer, lung disease, brain damage and heart disease are all too common in unprotected chemical use.  Rather than use these harsh chemicals several natural soaps use earth-made fragrances called essential oils.  Essential oils are extracted from plants.  They are safe and provide positive health benefits.

Each bar of soap we have crafted offers a specific health goal in mind.  Our most important goal is the skin health benefits, but we also seek to improve the emotional health of our users.  Using natural and pure essential oils offers a wide spectrum of health benefits including aromatic benefits.

Citrus oils for example have uplifting and energetic qualities.  Lavender offers sedative and calming properties.  Mints are good to stimulate the senses and brain, help with focus, open up the airways, and help detract fungus and bacteria. Check out Ancient Earth goat milk soap by Pure Soaps And Candles.  Its unique ingredients include patchouli essential oil which gives this bar an earthy clean aroma.  Using natural soaps with essential oils can actually help you feel better emotionally.

Surprisingly lye soap is safe
‘Ancient Earth’ Patchouli Goat Milk Soap by Pure Soaps And Candles

Your skin is the largest organ your body has.  It’s your protection against the outside world.  Most mass-manufactured soaps leave a film that clogs the skin pores. Think of what your soap does in your shower or tub.   Over time some may experience the negative effects of soap skin residue with systems such as dry skin, itchy skin, skin prone to pre-mature aging, hives, sores, etc.

Natural soap does not include toxins or sticky residues found in petrochemical soap. Natural soaps just leave what your skin needs; beautiful clean and healthy skin. All soaps including natural soaps use lye which is the key ingredient to producing soap.  If the soap doesn’t include lye, the FDA does not consider it a soap at all, so surprisingly lye in soap is safe!