Like many people, I always believed that using “anti-bacterial” soaps were necessary. However, recent scientific studies have shown that soaps containing such “anti-bacterial” chemicals as triclosan, do not help reduce bacteria. In fact, they are harmful to you and the environment. In the United States, the FDA has ordered companies that use these chemicals to stop using them. (For more information, please click on the links at the bottom of the page to view articles.)
I have sensitive/dry skin and I’m going to share with you how my personal skin care journey has led me to stop using conventional soap on my face and why it’s made such a huge difference.
I started off like most people, using the popular mainstream skin care products found in local grocery or pharmacy stores. Then I developed a medical condition called Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, which prevented me from using these products due to the harmful chemicals found in them. Before my DIY years, I did some research and started using natural glycerin soaps with no added fragrances or colours. Most mainstream soaps have the glycerin removed mainly because it is relatively expensive, but glycerin is a natural skin cleanser, toner, and moisturizer because it helps your skin retain moisture. I saw a slight improvement in terms of the moisture level with my skin when I started to use glycerin soaps.
I then discovered Dr. Bronners All-One Hemp Baby Unscented Pure Castile liquid soap. I started to experiment with making my own shampoo, body wash, and facial cleanser by adding carrier and essential oils to it. I saw more improvements in my skin. Finally, when I completed more research about my skin type, I discovered that because I have dry/sensitive skin, I should be using a gentle cream cleanser. Even glycerin and castile soaps were too harsh on my skin. This was the turning point. I developed Lionheads’ Gentle Lavender Creamy Clay Cleanser and my skin has never felt and looked better.
Remember, oil dissolves oil so this cleanser is able to effectively cleanse my skin, even remove makeup, without stripping my skin of its natural moisture. I simply gently massage a quarter-sized amount onto my face. I then wipe it off with a soft cotton cloth followed by a toner and moisturizer. Sometimes I use some water to rinse my face before I wipe it off if I’m using a white towel to prevent my makeup from staining the towel.
I remember, even after the first time I started using this cream cleanser, my skin immediately looked more soft and clean and my skin felt so supple. Absolutely no dryness. I’ll never go back to using soap on my face! I highly recommend using a cream cleanser to people who have dry/sensitive skin. I find that applying toner and a moisturizer while your skin is still damp helps to retain the moisture too. I believe most skin types are suitable to using cream cleansers, except for people who have oily/acne-prone skin. Having said that, this is based on my own personal experience and everyone’s skin acts and reacts differently.
As for body and hand care, I make my own hand soap and bring it with me to work. I know it’s a pain to remember to carry a little bottle with you every single time you go to the washroom (and I still forget every now and then), but my skin HATES that pink soap. It feeds my eczema, which results in extremely dry, chapped, and uncomfortable (and sometimes bleeding!) hands. Plus, it’s loaded with harmful chemicals.
Here are some tips from the Environmental Working Group on how to avoid using harmful chemicals: http://www.ewg.org/…/healthy-home-tips/tip-5-wash-those-han…
If I need to use soap, I only use Dr. Bronner’s All-One Hemp Baby Unscented Pure Castile Bar and Liquid Soa (the liquid one). They are fair trade, non-GMO, not tested on animals, vegan, and organic. They are also packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled material.
There are tonnes of recipes and uses for the liquid soaps online. Here is one: http://www.lisabronner.com/dilutions-cheat-sheet-for-dr-br…/
For the liquid hand soap I use, I diluted the soap with water 1:10 and added about 10 drops of peppermint essential oil. It smells and feels so great, especially for these hot days. You can add your favorite essential oil too.
Some other brands worth a mention are Soap Works (I think they are Canadian) and Guelph Soap (aka Universal Soap), based in Guelph, Ontario. These two brands are about half the price of Dr.Bronner’s bar soaps. I really like how Soap Works doesn’t have any packaging at all, but the Pure Glycerine Bar Soap I use tends to get mushy in the hot weather so I tend to use that in the winter. Both Paul and I find that the Guelph Soap doesn’t get mushy but it does come wrapped in plastic.
PS. FYI, I wasn’t paid in any way by any of these companies to write about this.