Your Skin and Soaps


One of the things I like about Ayurvedic medicine is this policy: if you wouldn’t put it in your mouth, don’t put it on your skin. 

We are way too soaped up! Too many hand washes, body washes, liquid detergents and not enough old-fashioned soap-bars.

Certain soaps and liquid soaps strip the delicate skin barrier, are very harsh on our skin leaving it in a vulnerable and overly dry state. It can lead to people developing itchy skin and reactive dermatitis. Of course we need to remove germs and dirt, but the soaps we choose matter.

For many clients who come to me for help with skin complaints, from eczema, dermatitis to dandruff, or psoriasis, I recommend they stop using any liquid soaps and avoid direct contact with detergents altogether.

Liquid soaps and detergents are classified as non-ingestible, many are made from synthetic detergents with added fragrance and are sold as hand and body wash. We should not ever be consuming them. I know it sounds weird, but many of us are likely to be unknowingly swallowing them and absorbing them through our skin!

It is also important to make sure you are rinsing all the detergent off your dishes after washing, otherwise you will be ingesting small amounts of detergent. This can contribute to a range of gut health and sensitivity issues. 

An alternative is Castile soap - an ancient style of soap made of plant-based oils. You can buy it as bar soap or a liquid and is does not have a synthetic detergent base.  This is a mild and good soap to use, but if you use the liquid version, dilute it significantly!

Make sure you protect your skin using gloves while cleaning and doing the dishes. For your bathroom sink and shower I recommend soaps made from plant-based oils which can be found in all health shops and at markets.