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Soap is a key element in care and cleansing of the skin.

Soap bubbles obscurely reflecting the view through the window. test

Beautiful skin comes from balancing the energies on the inside and the outside of our bodies, including the energies of all the micro-organisms as well. Once that is accomplished healthy skin is the natural result of the general state of health that is established. The care and protection of your skin is the external hygiene. And since your skin is your most external organ it requires proper nourishment and balance on the inside too in order to function properly.

The use of soap on the outside is a rather drastic measure as evidenced by the substantial reduction of bacterial populations on the skin following its use. This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if it can be accomplished without stripping the skin of its own essential oils. The more alkaline the soap, the more likely it is to strip you of those essential oils.

Real soap is alkaline. While there are a lot of pH balanced cleansing bars and liquid gels on the market, the vast majority of them contain such a small amount of actual soap that they can hardly be considered real soap. Real soap along with glycerin comes from the chemical reaction of fat with a strong base such as potassium hydroxide (caustic potash). This is a highly alkaline substance, hence the descriptive term caustic.

Since the lye used to make the soap is so damaging to our skin, any residues that remain in the soap we use are not helping us along our path to healthy skin. With bar soap, a great deal (but not all) of the residual lye comes out during the curing process, but with liquid soap this does not happen. That is why all of our soap goes through a special process whereby the residual alkali is neutralized. In the case of bar soap this must happen before the soap is cured.

East Cape manuka bar soap

Note that pH is a unit of measure for the alkalinity (or acidity) of a substance. It is important to understand a little bit about pH to appreciate why we need to be so careful in this modern society if we really want to have healthy skin. The important thing to know about pH is that it is a logarithmic scale. That means that a pH of ten is 1000 times more alkaline than a pH of seven. The difference on the pH scale is three. 1000 is the same as ten raised to the power of three. It’s that simple.

Beware caustic chemicals in your home. While the soap intended for use on the skin might have a pH as high as ten, that of the laundry detergent and the dishwashing detergent may be approaching twelve. That is 100,000 times more alkaline than healthy skin. You definitely don’t want this stuff anywhere near your skin. (You probably don’t want it on your clothes either.)

Major tip number one: wear gloves. Always make it a habit to wear gloves when you do dishes and you will have taken a significant step towards having healthier skin.

Wearing gloves will keep it off your hands. Keeping it off of your clothes is not quite so trivial. The distinction is that it may not be so bad to wash your clothes in a highly alkaline substance as long as none of that alkalinity remains following the rinse. If the soap is real soap it should rinse out quite effectively. So any excess alkalinity due to residual caustic material in the soap should be neutralized. But many other things found in modern detergents are not soap and they do not rinse out. Some of them are not intended to rinse out. If there is more stuff that does not rinse out, there is more caustic residue left behind. Added fragrances are an example of this. You probably know that these can be irritating to the skin. Now you know a little bit about the reasons why.

The resolution of the laundry soap issue is beyond the scope of this document. It is a matter of ongoing investigation and it justifies considerable due diligence that needs to include fabric softeners. In the meantime let us restrict the discussion to the soap we will use on our skin.

East Cape manuka soap with Uganda shea butter is awesome!

Close up of white rose soap sculpture.

As stated above, we want our soap to clean us without completely stripping our skin of its essential oils. This means that we want to use real soap but we don’t want its pH to be any higher than it absolutely needs to be. In other words we want the soap but we don’t want any free alkali.

At harmonic skin tones we strive for knowledge of truth. In this spirit we carefully monitor the alkalinity of all the soap we make to ensure the absolute minimum concentration of residual free alkali that we can provide. We also make special soaps that include natural anti-microbial components such as manuka oil and natural skin conditioners like shea butter. This helps considerably to make the soap more gentle on your skin.

In addition to optimizing our process for eliminating residual lye from our soaps, the R&D department is hard at work to facilitate the manufacturing of naturally low pH soap. Pending one or two more breakthroughs in development we are anticipating success in this endeavor. If you love to be clean then you owe it to yourself to keep apprised of this one.

No matter how much we reduce the pH, the soap will always remain somewhat alkaline and will always have a tendency to strip our skin of some essential oils as it so effectively eliminates the bacteria on our bodies. This extreme effect can be balanced by putting back some of the essential oils that are lost immediately following the bathing or washing. All of our skin care products are designed to work synergistically with our high quality soap to facilitate deep cleansing of your skin.

These products really work because while the soap strips off some of your skin’s natural oils—that is after all the idea—naturally healthy conditioning ingredients such as almond oil and aloe vera accompanied by the powerful anti-microbial aspect of very special essential oils work wonders to put back. The aloe dilution is truly awesome on your skin and can be applied liberally anywhere desired.

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