Is 'natural' soap milder?

Feb 06, 2017, 5:00am

It is unclear what constitutes “natural” soap, since all soap is really natural, however there is a trend toward the purchase of homemade soap.

Zoe Diana Draelos, M.D.It is unclear what constitutes “natural” soap, since all soap is really natural, however there is a trend toward the purchase of homemade soap.  Homemade soap could be considered natural, but it certainly is not milder.  The term soap is used loosely to refer to any cleanser, however this is not correct as soap denotes a specific chemical entity.  Soap is created when a fat interacts with an alkali resulting in a fatty acid salt with detergent properties.  This is the type of cleanser grandma made in her back yard from animal fat.  It has an alkaline pH and strong skin delipidization properties making it anything, but mild.  I am beginning to see eczema in patients who have never experienced dry skin previously, but purchased some natural homemade soap at a street fair!

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