I'm Allergic To Soap!

September 3rd 2014

I hope it's not obnoxious to say that I see myself as a deep thinker. I'm a bit of a silent type, so you'd hope SOMETHING was going on in my head during my quiet time.  I like to understand certain topics at a deep level. Sure, there's plenty of stuff that slips right over my head but if I'm interested in something I'm never happy unless I know everything I possibly can about it. I'm sure you're the same. We all have something we obsess over - and it's what makes us wonderfully unique.

When I was working with our graphic designer to come up with designs for our new soap ranges I agonised over what ingredients should be included in each range.  I had already decided they'd all be palm free but everything else was up for grabs. 

After many years of listening to my clients, I knew the wide range of ingredients that they might possibly react to - fragrances, nuts, tree nuts (like coconut oil), natural latex (present in shea butter), aloe vera and honey - to name just a few. 

Naturally, I also knew that many clients had no allergies and simply enjoyed a perfectly natural bar of soap that would leave their skin feeling soft, clean and relaxed. 

My job, as formulator, was to create ranges that would satisfy different needs - to bring pleasure and to cause no harm. 

For our vegan Coconut Milk range, I naturally needed to take particular care not to include animal derived products. This might seem straighforward, but it's necessary to actually fully understand the origin of each ingredient at our fingertips.  For example, we avoid red colourants (used to make pink) as they can contain colour derived from insects.   We select mineral colours - ultramarines - to achieve softer pinks and purples.  This important point could all to easily be missed if the formulator isn't well informed.

The ingredients for all the other ranges  - Men's, Dog, Facial, Goats Milk and Sensitive were also given careful thought.  Each range had a special job to do and a 'one size fits all' approach isn't good enough. Unlike most commercial soap bars on the market today that have the same ingredients across the whole range, we have specifically considered years of feedback when we created each bar. 

So, back to the subject of this post "I'm Allergic to Soap!".  When people say they're allergic to soap (and I hear the words quite often) I'm left to ponder what it is, exactly, they might be allergic to.  

Our sensitive skin range is made with just one oil - extra virgin olive.  Within the sensitive range we have two with dairy (goats milk) and two that are non dairy. At the very simplest, we even have a bar that is made with just extra virgin olive oil and olive leaf - nothing else.

What I'm trying to say is simply this - all soap is not created equal. Some bars will be solid detergents (not soap), some soap is too cleansing and will dry and irritate sensitive skin, some bars have multiple additives that raise the potential for allergic reactions.  At the end of the day, the best thing a person with allergies can do is minimise their exposure by choosing products where the list of ingredients is as minimal as it can possibly be.  

Soap is just a word used for a solid cleansing bar.  The word tells us nothing about the recipe - or what it contains. It's a bit like using the word 'bread' to describe everything from white bread to a gluten free, sprouted macrobiotic loaf.  It's just a word and as allergy sufferers know from experience, we actually need to read the details to understand what's inside.  

 

Comments

After visiting you recently and talking with you about my allergies to lanolin and glycerin. I was so happy to find out from you that vegetable glycerin and mineral glycerin and different, and that I would more than likely be allergic to the mineral glycerin as I\'m able to use sunlight soap. It will be interesting for me when I follow this up. Thank you so much for this information, you have been so helpful to me. I look forward to joining one of your soap making classes in the new year. I can\'t wait to learn more.

Janine Jackson
October 1st 2014