Check-Up: Cleansing the face with natural soap
Althea is 45-years-old and has stopped using soap on her face. She says her skin is really dry and using soap makes this worse as her skin looks dry and rough. She asks Check-Up if it’s OK not to use soap. She applies skin moisturiser in the mornings and evenings. Althea was wondering if using natural soaps on her skin could make a difference.
Soap works to clean the skin by loosening bacteria and other germs so that they can be washed away. Using soap instead of water alone encourages you to wash longer so as to get the soapy feeling off your skin. This is good for cleanliness.
A ‘natural’ or ‘herbal’ soap is one where all the ingredients used to make it are derived from plants. Most soaps contain lye (sodium hydroxide) which produces a lather and lye isn’t easily replaced but there are some plants which contain levels of “saponin” in sufficient quantities to produce lather and can therefore be used as a soap.
To use these plants as soap they should be grated and water added. This results a thick lather, which is suitable for bathing and washing with. If your skin tends to be dry then add a little oil, such as tea tree oil.
For a Yucca bar soap, you can grater the Yucca into a pulp and then add a few drops of oil to it like virgin coconut oil. Line a tin with waxed paper and pour this pulp mixture on to the waxed paper. Herbs and flowers are added to give the soap texture, colour, scent, therapeutic properties and to make it pretty.
Don’t mix the flowers into the pulp as the colour will change. Just leave them on the top. Rose petals, dried rosemary, lavender and peppermint are interesting choices to add to the top layer of the natural soap. Any flower listed as edible will be safe to use in making handmade soap. The water content will evaporate leaving ‘natural, herbal, soap’. Typically, natural soaps won’t dry out your skin. These herbal, handmade soaps are available for purchase at some herbal store outlets.
By the way, if you have dry skin there is no problem with washing your face with water only! If you have oily skin then you will probably need a soap. When using water only, spend the time to wash your face well to remove any bacteria.
There are other substances which can be used to clean your face which are NOT soap. You can try:
· Milk- a cleanser
· Oatmeal-a natural cleanser and skin scrub
· Finely ground Sugar- will exfoliate and cleanse the facial skin
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