For a Frugal, Healthy Soap, Go With Goat Milk!
Everywhere you look, you can find ads for creams, lotions, and serums with names including promises, such as "anti-wrinkle" and "anti-aging." These products have ingredients with names you can't even pronounce, much less know what they are. The price tags on these attractively packaged miracles are even more intimidating, with some of them costing as much as a day's salary. After reading reviews and comparisons of these products, I've found that most people see mild improvements in their skin after prolonged use and many times the less expensive products are as effective as the more costly ones.
If you are looking for the benefits of these products without the costs and unrecognizable ingredients, goat milk soap is a great alternative. Goat milk soap is believed to go back as far as ancient Egypt where Cleopatra was thought to have bathed in goat milk. It does not contain harsh ingredients such as alcohol, petroleum, and preservatives. It's also effective in treating psoriasis, eczema, acne, as well as other skin problems and irritations.
Benefits of Goat Milk Soap
Goat milk contains healthy vitamins and nutrients that are very nourishing for your skin. These include vitamins A, C, E, and some B vitamins. It contains amino acids, citric acid, enzymes, unsaturated fatty acids and zinc. In addition, goat milk soap contains lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid often found in skin rejuvenation products. Alpha hydroxy acid helps get rid of dead skin cells and leaves healthy new cells at the surface. Goats milk also has a low pH — very similar to the pH of your skin. This promotes moisturizing and helps prevent dryness and skin irritations.
Which Soap to Choose
When shopping for goat milk soap, you may be overwhelmed by the many types available. Many brands of goat milk soap are made with all-natural and herbal ingredients. All types have basic ingredients of lye and a combination of carrier oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, and other more exotic and costly oils. The oils and lye are combined, which cause what is called the saponification process — the process of producing soap.
From this point on, your selection will depend on your individual preferences. Some soaps contain essential oils, which are made from natural herbs. Others have fragrance oils, which are more like a perfume and have no added benefits. You can find goat milk soap with added dyes or completely natural. Some ingredients and their benefits are as follows:
- Oatmeal is a soothing exfoliant.
- Honey helps to moisturize skin as it attracts water. It's also anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and it speeds healing and cleans wounds. It's great for eczema and acne.
- Tea Tree essential oil is antibacterial, anti-microbial, antiseptic, anti-viral, a fungicide and insecticide. Soap that contains Tea Tree oil is good for treating fungus such as athlete's food and toe nail fungus.
- Lavender essential oil is great for pain relief from sore and aching muscles, sprains, and back ache. It is also an antiseptic.
People ask if goat milk soap is safe to use during pregnancy. There is conflicting information regarding use of certain essential oils during pregnancy, particularly during the first trimester. Some experts err on the side of caution, advising avoidance of certain essential oils. Although the amount is usually not enough to cause adverse affects when absorbed though the skin, this is a personal decision. Many soaps contain no essential oils and are safe to use during pregnancy.
Another question commonly asked is whether it is safe for children. A plain goat milk soap is safe for children, although no ingredients are added to prevent stinging if it gets in their eyes. If your child tolerates this well, you can go on to try a soap with natural ingredients, such as oatmeal or honey, but with no essential oils. Chamomile and calendula are oils that are especially gentle and soothing to young or sensitive skin. It is wise to use one kind of soap for a period of time before moving on to another to be sure there is no sensitivity to the skin.
Where to Buy
Goat milk soap can be purchased in health food stores, craft fairs, online, and even in supermarkets. (A brick-and-mortar store will generally have fewer kinds of goat milk soap than an online store.) Although some bars are more expensive, you should be able to purchase a bar of soap for around $5.00. Keep in mind that some bars will be crafted into beautiful works of art, while others will be plain chunks of soap. An elaborate appearance doesn't mean that it is a more effective product. Be sure you don't store your goat milk soap in an airtight container but allow the bar to breath to prevent sweating and molding.
Once you try goat milk soap, you may even want to clear out your shelves and replace your many bottles and jars of expensive products with a few bars of this natural — and less expensive — alternative.
Terri Donnelly is the owner and crafter behind Beulah Land Soaps. She uses her own goat's rich milk to create unique and healthy options for soap-lovers everywhere! Read more by Terri:
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