The True Cost of Commercial Soap
The price you pay per bar may be less,
but is that bar of commercial"soap" really
cheaper in the long run than a bar of natural soap?
I did a Google search to check pricing for a well-known commercial soap brand. It turns out that you can buy about four small bars of their so-called "soap" for the price of one of ours. Now, most commercial "soap" is not really soap, but that is a discussion for a different blog.
So commercial "soap" is less expensive, more colorful, has long-lasting scents and is cheaper—sounds like a great deal—right?
While it’s true that you are going to pay more for a bar of natural soap, commercial soaps can actually cost you more…and in more ways than just money.
Let’s start with the most obvious comparison--money. To make my case, I’ll need to use my chemistry background (I was a science teacher before making soap in my kitchen became more than just a side job), so bear with me.
Glycerin is a humectant, which means it’s a good moisturizer. It also happens to be a natural by-product of the soap-making process. Handmade soaps retain all of the naturally moisturizing glycerin.
Unfortunately, commercial manufacturers use a process to remove the glycerin from their soaps. Removing the glycerin helps increase the shelf-life and can also be sold or used in other products. No glycerin means that commercial soap dries out your skin, which creates a demand for moisturizing creams and lotions.
And what do they put in those creams and lotions to make them moisturizing? The glycerin that was removed from their soap!
Also, commercial soaps do not superfat their soaps. Superfatting is the process of adding extra fats (oils or butters) when formulating a soap recipe, so there is more fat in the mixture that the lye can react with during the chemical reaction. Superfatting leaves a portion of unincorporated oils in the finished soap. Superfatted soaps have superior moisturizing and emollient qualities.
Commercial soap companies do not want extra oils—it decreases shelf-life. Without these extra oils to moisturize your skin naturally, you must once again reach for that bottle of lotion!
So although one small bar of commercial soap may cost less, what happens to the cost once you add in the price of all of that cream and lotion—which is also filled with chemicals?
When you look at it this way, a natural soap seems like a much better value.
Also, if you use a liquid body wash, there is another factor to consider. What is the first ingredient listed on the label? It is water. The main ingredients for a solid bar of natural soap are skin-nourishing oils and butters. Properly cured soap has very little water remaining, meaning you really get what you pay for.
I find it surprising that a product we use to keep our bodies clean is damaging our environment.
As we bathe with our commercial body bars or washes, we coat our skin with synthetic compounds like fragrances, dyes, preservatives and foaming agents and then wash those chemicals down our drains and into our water systems.
I wrote a blog post about triclosan, an antibacterial chemical commonly found in commercial soaps. Aside from the negative effects, it has on your skin, there are concerns about its impact on the environment.
Most wastewater treatment plants do not remove triclosan during the treatment process. This triclosan-laden water which ends up in rivers, streams, and ponds, is toxic to algae and may impact the development of aquatic animals.
And remember, this is just ONE example of ONE chemical.
As all the harsh chemicals in commercial soap wash down your drain, it affects wildlife--from fish to birds and natural foliage to flowers.
I’d like to think that you can’t put a price on your health, but when it comes to skin diseases, The Society for Investigative Dermatology and The American Academy of Dermatology Association already did.
Many of the harsh synthetic chemicals and chemical preservatives added to create lather, colors, scent and years of shelf-life are known to be skin irritants. What is the cost of a trip to the dermatologist and the prescription cream to help clear the irritation?
The cost of medical expenses and lost production from skin diseases is estimated to be more than $37 billion per year! That’s a huge number that isn’t doing anything to help our insurance premiums or our quality of life.
In our natural soaps, we only use the simple ingredients needed to get the job done--cleanse your skin. Ingredients that are safe for my grandchildren.
Just a few years ago, consumers may have considered a bar of natural soap a luxury. For today’s educated consumer--I don’t believe that is true anymore.
So, this is what you find with a cheaper bar of commercial soap – a product that will get you clean, but at what cost?
Are you considering making the switch to natural soap?
Have you already made the switch? Let us know in the comments section below.