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Dr Bronner’s Soaps and pH

Posted on: April 7th, 2020

Is the pH of soap important?

Soaps vary in their pH depending on how they are manufactured. Natural saponification (or the use of caustic soda (or lye) to saponify oils and fats to make soap), even with the removal of as much lye as you can, still results in a soap which has a pH in the range 10 to 11.5. This is very alkaline and can cause some irritation to sensitive skin. Common mass market toilet soaps, laundry soaps and even some “baby soaps” can fall into this category. Soaps that are based on milder saponification techniques or are “superfatted” have a much lower pH of around 8.5 to 10. While this is still alkaline it is much less alkaline than mass market soaps (pH stands for “potential Hydrogen” and indicates acidity or alkalinity. NB the pH scale is a logarithmic scale which means something with a pH of 11 is ten times more alkaline than a something with a pH of 10, or 100 times more alkaline than something with a pH of 9, and so on). The soaps you see that have a pH around 5.5 (the pH of normal skin) are synthetic soaps made from a selection of detergents and binders, not based on the saponification of fats and oils (also called syndet bars).

What is the pH of Dr Bronner’s Soaps?

Dr. Bronner’s soaps are true soaps made from organic coconut, palm kernel, olive, hemp, and jojoba oils.  They have been tested and have a pH around pH 9, which makes them one of the mildest soaps based on the saponification of fats and oils, the traditional method of making soap.

All Dr. Bronner’s products state a full list of their ingredients clearly on the label and are selected to be the healthiest and best for the skin. There are no synthetics, no petrochemicals, no GMO’s only  certified organic ingredients that ensure product purity and no artificial fragrances or colorants.

Also, additives are important. Glycerin, for example, is a by-product of the saponification of fats and oils with the reaction being fat or oil plus lye gives soap plus glycerine. Mass market soaps have most of this glycerine removed as it is a prized ingredient in its own right and is used in skin care products where manufacturers get “better value for money” and you get the benefits of glycerin’s humectancy (to maintain better moisture balance) and hence better skin feel. By leaving glycerin in the soap you not only get better moisturising capabilities but the soap will not dry out, it (along with the lower pH) will not clog pores and will not remove excess oils ultimately causing your skin to dry out.

Fatty acids of this medium-long size are the primary types found in coconut, palm kernel, olive, hemp, and jojoba oils.  Dr. Bronner’s soaps are made with this perfect blend of oils, making the Pure-Castile Soap superbly mild.  Additionally, Dr. Bronner’s soaps are “superfatted.”  This means that after the main soapmaking reaction has finished, a measured amount of citric acid is added to lower the pH and draw out some of the fatty acids.  These free fatty acids increase the soap’s mildness, as well as contribute to a creamier lather and smoother feel on the skin.  Superfatting happens when the hemp and jojoba oils are withheld from the saponification reaction and are added afterwards.  These two oils have exceptional skin benefits.  Jojoba oil (an occlusive), glycerin (a humectant), and hemp oil (a concentrated source of linoleic acid, an emollient). This means that the Bar Castile supply what our skin needs to be strong and healthy.

According to PROOF

Most high-street bath products are, quite frankly, unnecessary. Anything that produces a lot of foam has been made to appeal to your senses rather than your desire to get clean. It’s best to stick to simple bath bars, avoid bubble-baths altogether, and limit your use of bath foams and shower gels, which contain an even thicker chemical soup, and are linked to skin problems and urogenital infections. If you’re looking for the mildest way to clean your skin:
–  Opt for vegetable- and glycerine-based soaps over harsher petrochemical-based varieties.
–  Look for products that contain a minimum of ingredients, and which are preservative- and colour-free.