Hand Made Soap With Lye Is Proven Safe

Bar of soap on a dish. Soap made with lye is safe to use.

Soap with lye is proven safe. Combining fats and lye will result in the compounds of soap and glycerin. Lye is a caustic ingredient, which means it is able to burn or corrode organic tissue by chemical reaction. Lye doesn’t burn your skin as immediately as hot oil does. It will cause burns if left on your skin for a prolonged time. Soap with free lye would not make for a pleasant experience if you washed with it.

Handmade soap safely and effectively cleans your skin, assuming there are no underlying conditions that complicate this. Years ago, bars of soap would have been the most likely form of soap available. There is nothing inherently dangerous about using a bar of soap to cleanse your skin. A well-crated bar soap will not have any free lye leftover and poses no danger to healthy skin.

How can a product with lye as an ingredient be safe?

The answer to this involves a little chemistry. The first thing to understand is this: compounds don’t necessarily take on the exact same properties as their ingredients. Take table salt for example. It is a chemical compound consisting of Sodium (Na) and Chlorine (Cl). Most of us use or consume table salt on a daily basis. Most people would not even question whether it is toxic or not, because its daily use is so common.

Did you know that both of the elements that combine to make up salt are dangerous as pure elements? Sodium in its pure form is a soft metal that is highly reactive. Pure sodium reacts violently and potentially explosively when placed in the presence of water. Chlorine in its pure form is a gas, which is poisonous and forms the basis for some chemical weapons that have been used previously. Nothing about the properties of these two elements indicates they would combine into something that almost all humans consume as part of their diet every day.

Soap Chemistry

The reason is due to chemistry, we won’t get into the details in this article. Compounds created with dangerous ingredients don’t necessarily take on those same qualities as their constituents. The same is true of lye and soap. Soap, which includes lye as an ingredient is safe because the lye reacts with the fat molecules and turns into soap. A properly balanced soap recipe ensures there is more fat molecules than is needed to balance the chemical equation based on the number of lye molecules. Doing so ensures there are no lye molecules left over. This guarantee also ensures there is a small amount of oil left over which makes the soap feel moisturizing after use. Soap makers refer to this as superfatting. They add enough fat to consume all of the lye, and then add a little more to improve the feel of the soap. Any well-made soap recipe will use this principle to some degree.

You can shop our selection of natural bar soaps made with organic ingredients at Bay Berry Bliss. All of our recipes yield soap with lye that is proven safe.


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