Who isn’t sick of the plain-jane body soaps sold in most stores and pharmacies? These chemical cocktails are so synthetic that most of us can only pronounce one or two of the words on the ingredient list. Not only do these tend to be harsh on your skin, but they can also wreak havoc on you and the environment. If you want a soap that’s better for you and better for the planet, look for one with natural ingredients.
Common Natural Ingredients
The most common ingredients in natural body soap include natural cleansers, fragrances and moisturizers. Glycerin is a very common base for natural soaps, and it’s inexpensive enough to fit a tight budget. You’re also likely to see sodium laurel sulfate — a surfactant cleanser which can be derived from coconut — listed on both natural and synthetic soaps. Other common ingredients include oatmeal, soy, olive oil, jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, essential oils, vitamin E and herbal extracts. These ingredients vary tremendously from one natural soap brand to another, so shop around and keep your eye on the labels.
Benefits for the Environment
You’ll be doing our planet a tremendous favor by choosing natural soaps. While ordinary soaps contain ingredients derived from coal, oil and other heavy-polluting industries, eco-groovy natural soaps tread lighter on Mother Earth. Because they come from renewable materials such as plants, they can be produced indefinitely. Natural soaps are biodegradable, so they don’t stick around in a sewer, ocean or river once you rinse them from your skin.
Benefits for You
Natural ingredients in body soap can improve your health and beauty if you choose the right product. Soaps free of perfumes and dyes are gentler on sensitive skin and less likely to trigger rashes or breakouts; MayoClinic.com recommends free-and-clear products for women prone to skin problems. You might notice that your skin feels or smells better after you use a soap with natural ingredients. Several plant-based products can also help to fight pesky, chronic skin conditions such as acne, eczema and allergic dermatitis.
Choosing the Right Natural Body Soap For You
If you’re the kind of woman who gets a rash or a breakout any time someone looks at you the wrong way, shopping for any soap can be hard. Fortunately, many companies make products tailored to your own skin care needs. If you have dry, flaky skin, look for soap made with oatmeal, grapeseed oil, olive oil and beeswax.
Ladies with sensitive skin might favor soothing chamomile, aloe and lavender. If you have acne, a body soap with tea tree oil can help to tackle those painful outbreaks on your back or chest. If the choices are too overwhelming, a holistic dermatologist can provide additional help finding the right soap for you.