All natural soaps are not created equal. The term "natural" can be defined many ways. Some people consider any soap that is homemade or handcrafted natural, even if it contains synthetic ingredients. While others think that if soap is made with organic oils, it can still be considered natural even if it contains synthetic fragrances. When you are at the store and trying to choose a natural soap for your sensitive skin, you want to be sure to read the ingredients.
Here is a list of things to look for when you are reading the ingredients on a bar of "natural" soap.
Soap is scented with fragrance and essential oils. Essential oils are oils that are derived directly from plants, while fragrance oils are synthetically created. Many fragrances are not available as essential oils, or are too expensive, so soapmakers will use fragrance oils. If you have sensitive skin you may want to use only soaps scented with essential oils, as that fragrance oils can be a skin irritant. Many soapmakers will label their soap as natural even if they use fragrance oils, so this is a key ingredient to check.
Read the ingredient list to see what kind of colorants are in the soap to determine how natural the soap is. There are a variety of colorants available that vary from completely natural to very synthetic. If you want a very natural bar of soap, you should look for soap that is colored with natural herbs, rather than synthetic colorants such as FD&C Red#3. Soap can also be colored with mineral colorants, which may or may not be synthetic depending on their source. If you have sensitive skin, use soaps with herbal or mineral colorants, as these are the most natural and the least likely to irritate your skin.
All soap is made using lye, so don't be scared if you see it listed as an ingredient. Lye, combined with oil, makes soap, so lye is used to make soap, but there is no residual lye in a bar of soap. Since there isn't any actual lye in the final bar of soap, some soapmakers prefer to list the oils in the soap as 'saponified oils'. This means that the oil was combined with lye to make the soap, and soap made with lye is completely natural.
Decide how natural you want your soap to be. If you have very sensitive skin, you should probably choose the most natural soap. Many skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, tend to clear up or become less irritated when people choose to use natural soap.
If you would like to learn about the natural soap that I make, you can visit my website, which is listed below in the Resources section.