Why use natural body care products? - Enchanting Herbals

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Why use natural body care products?

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What is soap?  True soap is made through a chemical reaction of an acid (fats &  oils) with a base (lye, a solution of sodium hydroxide & water).   This process is called saponification.  The two methods of saponification used are Cold Process and Hot Process.   Cold Processed soap is made using only the heat generated from the  chemical reaction of the oils with the lye.  It’s poured into a mold,  sets up for 24 hours and then it is cut into bars and allowed to cure  for 2 – 3 weeks.  Hot Processed soap is made using additional heat for a  prolonged time, with a slightly shorter cure time.  Our soap is made  using the Cold Process method.

The fats and oils used are from  vegetable and animal sources.  Vegetable oils like Olive, Palm &  Coconut are used and animal fats known as tallow (fat from cattle &  sheep) and lard (pork) may also be used.  We use only vegetable oils and  butters to make our soaps.
Why use natural soap?   The most common reason people use natural soap is because it’s gentle  to the skin and makes it feel soft, unlike commercial soap which leaves  skin feeling tight and dry.  Commercial soaps are made with the same  detergents used in dish soaps and floor cleaners.  Manufacturers have to  add all kinds of synthetic skin conditioners to make up for the fact  that the harsh detergents are very drying to the skin.  For example,  Dove – yes the beloved Dove.  The first ingredient, meaning it’s the  predominant one, is Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate, a synthetic detergent.

Another  reason to use natural soap is avoiding synthetic fragrance oils also  known as aroma chemicals, which are recognized by the FDA as “common  contact allergens”.  Many people are sensitive to these chemicals and  experience headaches, dizziness, rashes & other skin irritations,  even nausea, never suspecting that their soap may be the culprit.  Our  soap is made with only pure essential oils.

And it’s not just for  people with sensitive skin or allergies.  More and more people are  becoming aware of what’s in their soap and feel good knowing that it’s  made with natural vegetable oils not chemicals.  They’re beginning to  realize how constantly bombarding our bodies with these various  chemicals stresses our immune system.  It becomes overwhelmed by all of  these chemical “invaders” and having to deal with them unnecessarily,  rather than being able to focus on actual invaders like viruses and  bacteria.

Why use natural body care products?

Did  you know that our skin absorbs up to 60% of substances applied  topically, such as soaps and body care products.  This process is called  transdermal penetration and the extent of absorption depends  on molecular size, the particular substance, and the condition of the  skin at the time of contact.  Hard to believe?  Think products such as  nicotine, birth control hormones and nitroglycerin patches.

Every  day we use soap, body scrubs and washes, lotions, facial cleansers and  toners, deodorants, sunscreens, and toothpastes just to name a few.   Women use an average of 12 body care products daily and men use about  7.  So it’s important to know what we are putting on our skin.
It  is equally important to understand how our skin functions in order to realize the impact that body care products can have on our health and well being.  
Our skin is the largest organ of our body and has nine essential functions:

1.   Protects our bodies from physical, chemical  and thermal damage; also plays a key role in      our immunity by guarding against pathogens.
2.   Regulates body temperature.
3.   Absorbs UV rays  and converts them into vitamin D3 which helps maintain strong bones by       enhancing the absorption of Calcium and other minerals.
4.   Prevents excessive loss of minerals.
5.   Regulates moisture by preventing excessive absorption and evaporation of water.
6.   Serves as a sensory organ by responding to heat, cold, touch, pain and pressure.
7.   Metabolizes and stores fat.
8.   Helps excrete salts, urea, water and toxins through sweating.
9.   Secretes sebum, our body’s own lubricating substance.
Many  commercial body care products contain mineral oil (petrolatum) and  other harsh chemicals that can be irritating and sensitizing.  Our skin  is alive and breathes, absorbs and excretes and using products that contain mineral oil or petrolatum can interfere with that natural  process.  Parabens, synthetic fragrances and colorants are some of the  other common chemicals found in commercial products that can be  potentially harmful.    

Parabens,  used to inhibit microbial growth and extend the shelf life of products  (a.k.a. preservatives) have caused many allergic reactions and skin  rashes.  Found in almost all body care products even though they are  known to be toxic.

Synthetic fragrances –  products containing these are problematic because manufacturers are  allowed (by the FDA) to list these as “fragrance”.  They do not have to  list all of the actual components making up the fragrance – therefore we  have no way of knowing what is actually in the product.  Some problems  caused by these chemicals are headaches, dizziness, rash, coughing, skin  irritation and nausea.

Synthetic colorants,  used to make cosmetics “pretty” are made from coal tar.  These  artificial colorings can cause skin sensitivity and may be  carcinogenic.  These are labeled as FD&C or D&C followed by a  color and a number.

Some other ingredients to avoid: Sodium  lauryl sulfate (SLS) and Sodium/laureth sulfate, Diethanolamine (DEA)  and Triethanolamine (TEA),
Diazolidinyl urea & Imidazolidinyl  urea, Propylene Glycol also PEG (polyethylene glycol) and PPG  (polypropylene glycol), Phthalates and Petrochemicals.  Many of the  ingredients listed here cause allergic reactions, headaches, asthmatic  complications, skin irritations, skin and
hair dryness, and eye irritations.

Using  natural body care products is a way to help limit our exposure to  everyday toxins or at least ones within our control.  We are often  exposed to toxins that are more difficult to avoid, many found in our  homes and workplaces.  Some common culprits are found in carpeting,  perfumes and colognes, laundry detergents, air fresheners, and  commercial and household cleaning products.  Many people who have  sensitivities to these toxins and those found in body care products, may  never have a full blown allergic reaction like hives for example, but  they may have symptoms like frequent headaches, runny nose, skin  conditions such as eczema, anxiety and irritability, never realizing the  source of the problem.

 
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