Is Soap Still Natural If Made with Sodium Hydroxide or Lye?

April 06,2023

Is Natural Soap Still Made With Sodium Hydroxide Or Lye?

In today's environment, many people are concerned about the chemicals in their products. Many people are also looking for natural, safe items.

In the case of soap, lye is used to initiate a chemical reaction that yields a salt known as soap. Saponification happens when lye is appropriately mixed with oil or butters, which provide smells and other natural qualities to the soap.


Sodium Hydroxide

Sodium hydrooxide (commonly known as lye or Caustic soda) is a chemical component that is found in a variety of soaps and cleaners. It aids in the fusion of fats and oils, regulating pH levels and making soaps less acidic and gentler on the skin. It is also present in cleaning goods such as oven and drain cleansers.

Despite being a typical soapmaking ingredient, pure sodium hydroxide is not suitable for use on the skin. It can produce chemical burns ranging from minor to severe, as well as holes in your skin and underlying tissues.

Soap is created by combining a diluted lye solution with a base oil or fat, which results in an exothermic reaction that rapidly heats the mixture. The lye is turned harmless through saponification at this point, and the soap is complete.

If you're producing your own soaps or utilizing commercially available ones, you should always wear gloves when handling the product. Those gloves will protect your hands from being burned or injured, as well as your eyes.

A patch test on your skin is the simplest approach to determine whether the soap you're considering is safe to use. To test for irritation, dab a tiny bit of the product behind your ear or on your forearm. If there is no redness or itching after 24 hours, the soap is okay to use on your body.

Sodium hydroxide is used as a pH adjuster in many cosmetics and personal care products at extremely low concentrations (usually 5% or less) to make the product less acidic. It's found in nail cuticle removers, hair straighteners, and other items that require a lower pH to function properly.



Lye, also known as sodium hydroxide, is a highly alkaline material. It's commonly found in foods like olives and pretzels, but it also plays an important role in soapmaking.

Lye is available in flakes, pellets, microbeads, and coarse powder form and in a variety of pH strengths. Its purity and consistency make it an excellent choice for producing soap.

Lye was traditionally produced by burning wood at high temperatures and allowing the ashes to soak into water. It produced a solution known as potash as a byproduct of the operation.

Lye is not as caustic as acids when used in lesser doses and will not burn your skin. When used in larger concentrations, though, it can burn your hands and even your flesh!

When working with lye, wear gloves and other protective equipment. Maintain a modest body temperature and operate slowly. Never combine lye and water on a heated surface, and keep it away from children and pets.

If you drop lye flakes, beads, or crystals, clear the area immediately of anybody and anything, including your skin, and sweep it away. To eliminate any residue, thoroughly rinse the area with soap and water.

Furthermore, be in mind that lye emits heat and will sting your skin if you touch it directly. When handling lye, use heat-resistant containers and avoid leaning over or moving it around too much while it is combining with water.

While the thought of lye may be unsettling, it is also an essential element in a variety of cuisines. It is a crucial element in drain cleaners and oven cleansers, but it is also used to cure some types of meat, such as lutefisk, and other dishes.

Sodium Cocoate

Sodium cocoate is a skin cleanser ingredient made from coconut oil. It naturally cleanses your skin and is less irritating than other types of alkali salts.

It does not clog pores or cause acne, unlike other additives like as salicylic acid. However, it can still be drying to certain people's skin, so apply a moisturizer after using a soap containing sodium cocoate.

Saponification is a chemical process used by soap manufacturers to create sodium cocoate and other components. To produce alkali salts, the chemical reaction breaks down the fatty acids in the oils. The alkali salts are then combined with glycerin to create soap.

Because the mixture of lye and the oils used in the soap making process can be hazardous, it is essential to handle lye with caution. Work in a well-ventilated location and always turn your head away from the stirring.

This is due to the fact that lye emits powerful odors and might be explosive. The lye is dissolved in water before being combined with the other ingredients in the soap to form a thick paste. This mixture is then put into a mold and let to harden and cure for a few weeks.

The soap will not contain lye once it has been cured, making it safe to use. If you're concerned about the lye, ask your local shop or manufacturer how their soaps are made.

The FDA considers sodium cocoate to be a safe component used in the production of bar soap. It's also a common ingredient in various cosmetic items. Many people find it useful for keeping their skin clean and moisturized without triggering outbreaks.

Sodium Palmate

Many people ask if soap can still be considered natural if it contains sodium hydroxide or caustic soda lye. This is due to the fact that lye is extremely alkaline and can be detrimental to your skin.

Fortunately, handcrafted soap does not include lye, which is beneficial because it is healthy for your skin! Soap is made by combining lye with oils (fats), which causes a chemical reaction known as saponification. This method converts lye and oil into soap and glycerin, making it gentler on your skin than commercial soaps.

Some of these products also contain the skin-friendly component Sodium Palmate. This is a synthetic version of the fatty acids found in palm oil, obtained by a process known as saponification.

According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick, it's used in soap because it helps eliminate excess oil and buildup, and it can also help keep the soap from splitting apart.

Laurel acid, which gives the soap a firm texture and is also a moderate cleaner, is another ingredient in these products. It is also an excellent emulsifier and can increase the foam in a bar of soap.

If you have questions about the ingredients in your soap, contact the manufacturer or read the label. Some producers are committed to employing substances that are safe for human health and the environment, whilst others may use more synthetic compounds.

Consider switching to a homemade soap that contains sodium palmate or another organically derived component if you want to lessen your environmental effect. Look for a brand that has a Made Safe logo, which certifies that their goods are devoid of ingredients that have been connected to damaging humans or the environment.


Glycerin is a natural byproduct of the soap-making process (saponification), which occurs when oils and alkaline solutions are combined. As a result, the fat cells dissolve into salts, leaving the glycerin to float around in between the oil molecules.

Glycerine, also known as glycerol or stearic acid, is a hygroscopic chemical capable of attracting and retaining moisture in the air as well as on the skin, particularly dry or sensitive skin. It can also be used as a moisturizing factor in hair care products and is a common ingredient in body washes because it leaves skin soft and silky.

Despite some unfavorable news, using glycerin on your skin or in your products is not hazardous. It is one of the most vital humectants to include in your personal care regimen since it can seal in and keep moisture for your skin, leaving it soft and supple.

However, glycerin has a drawback in that it can cause melt and pour soaps to sweat if exposed to air for an extended period of time. The easiest method to avoid this is to wrap the soaps after they have been poured and store them in a cold, dry location for at least a week.

Glycerin, in addition to being a hygroscopic humectant, contains antioxidant characteristics that may lessen the effects of aging, and it is gentler on your skin than many commercial soaps. It's a terrific alternative for folks with dry or sensitive skin who wish to avoid harsh chemicals in their products because it's naturally produced by the soapmaking process.

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