It might be your soap if you buy it at the grocery store or department store. Most soaps sold in stores aren’t in fact soap, they are detergents. A natural soap, handmade like ours at Buck Ridge Soap Company is made with limited ingredients generally oil, water and lye which transforms from lye to glycerin and soap in a process called saponification. We may add other things like shea butter, aloe vera concentrate, clays, natural exfoliants like oatmeal, essential oils or fragrances or replace the goat milk with tea or goat milk, sometimes honey or beeswax may also be added to a recipe but they all start with just 3 things; oil, water and lye. A soap not made with lye (sodium hydroxide), isn’t soap.
When a person takes a hot shower, the soap and water will strip away the skin’s oils. This can cause the skin to feel tight and itchy. In extreme cases, the skin may even crack or bleed. If the soap is actually detergent it just makes things worse.
So natural handmade soaps are better?
Yes. The reason handmade natural soaps help rather than hurt is because they are often made with a lot of moisturizing oils and butters not found in detergent bars or ‘beauty bars.’ For example, our recipe generally has a blend of organic sustainable palm oil, coconut oil, olive oil and sunflower oil plus shea butter, all highly moisturizing and good for your skin.
We make a variety of soaps that are great for all skin types but we also make soaps that can help with more sensitive skins like our Pure Shea Butter soap has no colors, no fragrance, it has just our standard oil blend and extra shea butter. We also make Got Goat?, which is a great soap for those who can’t use coconut oil products. It is a castile soap made with fresh goat milk, which contains lactic acid that is good as a gentle exfoliant. This is a harder, dryer bar than our shea butter-based soaps but many people prefer that type of bar.
We also make soaps with a variety of essential oils and natural extracts that are good for helping with various skin conditions – not a cure of course but they do help much more than just a regular bar of soap like our Wildman Pine Tar soap for example. Pine tar has been used for hundreds of years to treat psoriasis. According to medical research pine tar has anti-inflammatory antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties and for those with plaque psoriasis it is particularly helpful in slowing the overgrowth of skin cells. (Plaque psoriasis is a non-contagious inflammatory disorder that causes the overgrowth of skin cells resulting in scaly dry and itchy skin.)
Soaps with tea tree oil, lavender essential oil or peppermint essential oil will also help with itchy skin. We sell several varieties. Just look at the ingredients and make sure it says essential oil or essential oil blend.
One popular soap in the summer months is our Camper’s Friend which contains a blend of essential oils that flying insects in particular dislike. It was our first soap and what kicked off our soap making as a hobby in 2013. It led to a full-fledged business in 2017.
It isn’t just the soap though; it is how you shower.
Changing your soap alone won’t help the itch if you are taking a super-hot shower. Very hot water combined with even the best most moisturizing and gentle soap will skill make you itch afterwards if your skin is sensitive to it. If you itch after a hot shower, try turning the temperature of the water down.
The optimal temperature for shower or bath water, so that it washes away environmental dirt and bacteria, is no higher than 112 degrees Fahrenheit, Cleveland Clinic dermatologist Melissa Piliang says. So, if you are washing in water so hot your skin is red when you get out…it is probably way too hot. Play with the temperature and see if that helps.
After your shower is important too.
The right way to dry off after a shower is not to scrub your towel all over roughly. Instead, it is best to pat dry, yeah, we know you might feel stupid doing it but it really does make a difference. That water you just washed in is good for your skin and needs to soak in a little and you don’t need to scrub your skin dry, you just scrubbed in the shower!
Then, even if you are a man, you need to moisturize. Our Unscented Body Lotion is great for this. If you don’t want to have a scent or think maybe fragrances are also irritating your skin. Buck Ridge uses natural preservatives derived from coconut and radish root so our lotion is all natural and gentle.
And if you are *really* having dry skin issues with severe itching, especially in the winter months, helpful hint…our Simple Man beard oil or Unscented Bath and Body Oil might be just what you need. Yes, it’s oily but a little goes a long way and if your skin is really dry, it’ll soak those natural oils right up and help a lot toward staving off that awful winter skin itch. (Especially if you are in a climate where you have to wear thermal underwear or long knee socks that leave your skin feeling like ants are crawling on you at the end of a long day.)
If you don’t have our beard oil or body oil, grab some olive oil from the kitchen (no EVOO just plain old olive oil) and slather it on. Seriously. It’s better than nothing and it will help moisturize your skin.Got your own dry skin alleviating tips? Comment below and share your tips with others!