If you found yourself at this blog post, we likely have a lot in common. In the Mahaffey household, we struggle with allergies and skin sensitivities of varying degrees. We manage everything from Eczema to Psoriasis, Suborrheic, and contact dermatitis, along with Keratosis Polaris. And now, with four of our Clan Kids about to enter tween and teen-hood, we are prepared to take the deep dive into the world of acne.
As a family practice PA-C , I often treat these conditions in my clinic. Frequently they do require medical intervention. However, my first go-to is making sure each person has a solid non-irritating skincare routine, even when treated medically.
However, there is undoubtedly a place for handmade soap. We have seen the skin changes in our family.
~Cue Celtic Clan Soapery~
Working as a small family-owned soapery allows us to make those personal adjustments and serve those who have previously been unable to use products of their choosing.
What if I don't know what is causing the problem?
One of the options used to determine skin sensitivities is to eliminate common allergens. Some of the most frequently contributing allergens are from fragrances and Tree nuts. Using a fragrance-free soap and limited to 1-2 oils can be an excellent place to start. Monitoring how your skin responds to this type of soap can be a good indicator of what may benefit your unique skin type.
What about Essential oils? Are they better than Fragrance oils?
The long and short answer is .... Maybe.... Helpful right? I know, clear as mud. While Essential oils (EO) are all-natural (or at least all EO's used by Celtic Clan Soapery are), they still can contain allergens. If you are allergic to the Lavender Plant, there is a good chance that you will also be sensitive to the oils. There are cases in which the oil, dependent on the extraction method, can reduce allergens; the EO can still be an irritant that can worsen over time with repeated use.
While lab-created, fragrance oils (FO) can still be an option for some people with skin sensitivities. We carefully source our FO's to ensure they are free of parabens and triggering chemicals. In fact, many of the FO's used in our Soapery do contain EO blends. When determining if you can use fragrance, it is best to add it to your skincare routine in stages. First, ensure the oil blend that your soap bar contains is not triggering for your specific sensitivities; next, choose an FO/EO from a category that you historically do not have issues with.
For example, if you are in a garden and sneeze and develop watery eyes every time you are around Lavender or Jasmine, avoid FO/EO containing those properties.
Is handmade soap suitable for everyone?
That answer is more clear cut- No- No soap or skincare routine will fit everyone. In some cases, the PH level of handmade soap is too high. It will not matter what oils or fragrances you choose. People with open skin wounds and babies under six months should not use handmade (or authentic) soap. Other "soaps" (synthetic detergents) such as commercial body washes are better suited for this situation.
*Read more: What is the difference? Soap vs. Body Wash (aka Detergent)
We at Celtic Clan Soapery would be happy to help you determine the right handmade soap bar for your skin sensitivities.
~We can create a particular order of small-batch soap loaves to suit your needs.
~We have implemented a Nut-oil-free soap line.
~We also offer unscented and uncolored options for those with skin sensitivities.
Contact us today for more information on special orders and options.
Catherine Nicole Jakeman PA-C LMT is a graduate of the University of Washington School of Medicine Medex. She holds a degree in Clinical Health Services and is a Family Practice Provider - Physician Associate. Catherine has also been a Licensed Massage Therapist for 20 years. Information in this post is in no way intended to be taken as medical advice and or treatment. If you have questions regarding your specific health condition please follow up with your health care provider. No medical provider relationship has been established as a result of this post.