Soap – The Big Lye

Old olive oil factory

Dear Dr. Mom, When you step into the market to pick up a bar of soap, what is it you’re really buying?  Phrases like “beauty bar, deodorant bar, moisturizing bar,” and the list goes on and on, is only telling you one thing, you are not buying soap.  What you are purchasing is a petroleum based detergent product.

Soap, by definition, is a cleansing agent made from the mixture of the sodium salts of various fatty acids or natural oils and fat.  Because of FDA regulations, a cleaning product cannot be listed as soap unless it actually contains the fatty acids and natural oils combined with lye to produce soap.

So, what’s the difference?  Let me tell you a story.  For two years a boy suffered with severe allergies, chronic sinus infections, and was all around miserable.  The first step in dealing with his problems was to remove his adenoids that had become infected.  After the surgery, his sinuses cleared up for all of two weeks.  Then once again he succumbed to yet another sinus infection.

Unable to determine the reason for the sinus infections, he was put through allergy testing.  After two sessions and more than 80 injections covering irritants from pet dander, mold, trees, dust (and the list goes on), they determined that he reacted to absolutely nothing.  And so we were sent home with instructions to monitor his diet for the next month in the hopes of determining weather or not he suffered from a food allergy.

While allergy testing covers most airborne irritants, it does not cover the common chemicals we subject ourselves to everyday.  Since the boy’s family members suffered from severe allergic reactions to formaldehyde, a common preservative used in most hand creams, lotions, lip balms, and cosmetics, it occurred to his mother that he might suffer from a similar allergy.  So, she stripped his bedding, pillows, clothing, curtains, and washed everything in a batch of homemade olive oil laundry soap.

The result: After two weeks his sinuses began to clear.  Within a month all of the symptoms he routinely suffered, from migraine headaches to breathing difficulties, gradually faded away as though they had never existed.  Many people today realize that our homes are over-saturated with a host of chemicals. Many of these chemicals carry moderate to severe side effects with prolonged exposure.  What we fail to realize is how many of them are completely unnecessary.

Making your own soap with natural ingredients is both a rewarding and simple process and one that can truly benefit your entire family. Or you can buy a natural based soap that is filled with natural and healthy ingredients – read labels and trace cause to effect.


7 thoughts on “Soap – The Big Lye

  1. I’ve been dealing with skin allergies for a long time. Still haven’t really pin-pointed the cause yet, but think it’s related to stress… Although I’ve switched to many non-detergent type soaps, maybe there’s a bad one still lurking in my routine. Thanks for the read!!

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