Skin irritation from Shaving soap?

Discussion in 'Shave Soaps' started by bald as, May 20, 2015.

  1. bald as

    bald as Well-Known Member

    First I do understand fully YMMV and as such I want this to be a generalised discussion based more on ingredients as opposed to brand names.

    I started shaving a long time ago but have always suffered from soap irritation. Recently as part of a discussion with @maltedmilk I decided to have a go at making my own shaving soap. I found looking at many of the commercially available offerings they were often quite complex chemically and that got me searching the net for the side affects some or all or none of those chemicals could have. In terms of lather, glide and cushion most soaps are similar if you put in the correct effort to create the lather and prep your skin so I felt there must be something I have a reaction to in one or many of the soaps.

    I love menthol but react to it or one the other components in menthol soaps. I love particular scents but some, not all seem to react with my skin. I enjoy particular oils and their particular properties but do they all love me :) . I do understand a commercial product needs a shelf life but human skin appears to be at times super sensitive to even small chemical additions. Preservatives may or may not be an aggravation. The additives may well be safe for the average person but a few may react.

    Again please don't name a particular soap, that is not the idea of this post, but if there is a chemical/oil you have identified that disagrees with you explain how you isolated it.

    I found making a top quality shaving soap for myself to be very easy, surprisingly so, and after 5 batches I believe I have produced a soap for me that ticks all the boxes. It is a very simple soap and without scent and I have no skin reactions.

    Many people never have a reaction to Shaving soap but some do.

    maltedmilk likes this.
  2. Primotenore

    Primotenore missed opera tunity

    Article Team
    I have a sensitivity to cinnamon. Never realized it until a particular soap set me off. I have had issues with certain Bay Rum soaps as well; it may be the clove oil.
  3. youngunn

    youngunn Where's my TSD aftershave balm???

    Some people are sensitive to the bentonite clay some artisans put in their soaps.
  4. bald as

    bald as Well-Known Member

    It is interesting about the Bentonite clay. I wonder if it is a drying factor with people who have a naturally dry skin. Or maybe there is a possibility of a purity issue. I'm not certain how pure the various clays are. Pretty pure I'd imagine as they are cosmetic grade.

    Both clove and cinnamon are regarded for some people as a skin irritant.
    youngunn and maltedmilk like this.
  5. youngunn

    youngunn Where's my TSD aftershave balm???

    Yeah some have reported a burning sensation after a few minutes of the lather being on the skin
  6. swarden43

    swarden43 "It's your shave. Enjoy it your way."©

    Glad you were able to come up with something that works for you! :happy108:

    If you're willing, perhaps post your recipe over Soap Making forum so others who suffer from irritation might benefit.
    spacehobo likes this.
  7. SmurfK

    SmurfK Member

    I beg to differ. Human skin is an organ that that can take a physical beating and regenerate very fast. It's very improbable for a shaving soap to affect it. But you can have some discomfort. Easiest way to get rid of this problem is simply to replace the cream or soap.

    Now, as i mentioned in other posts around, we are misguided by the whole "natural is better than chemical concept" and we also don't understand what chemicals, preservatives and additives are. Just because a component from a soap does have a funky name, like "stearic acid", does not mean that it's chemical, as well as "tallow" does not mean only tallow. You can break up tallow in 5-6 different acids and other chemical compounds. You most likely find some crazy things in it, like cyanide, in small quantities.
    Essential oils are a main cause of irritations regarding the soaps. Guess what. Those are 100% natural. Actually, most shaving soaps don't contain too many chemical components. You usually have 2-3 chemicals in a soap. Not necessary preservatives, but more emulsifiers or hardening substances.
    Making your own soap, or buying soap made by someone else it seems like a very bad idea, from my point of view. Big soap manufacturers follow some rules to assure that the product you are using is safe from you. You would not follow those rules and you won't have the equipment to test out the products you are using or to separate the components you are needing. You will most likely have a soap base, with some essential oils added, and, if you are lucky enough, those essential oils won't provoke irritations. Let's say you want to create tallow based soaps. One of the "ingredients" in tallow are pesticides. Depending on what kind of food did animal ate, a fair amount of pesticides will be found in your tallow. There is a limit of pesticides that manufacturers need to test. You can't do that at home too easy. So, you might end up doing more harm than good and, you will, most likely, end up with a poor performing soap.

    It's hard to find the exact allergen, as there are many ingredients in soaps. Especially as long as fragrances goes. For example, i'm getting irritation from Cella or Lea, that are known for being "clean" or "natural", soaps, and i don't have any problem with Tabac, where they use many essential oils to get their signature scent. Depends on more factors, it's hard to point out. We're fortunate that we have alternatives. Find soaps that work for you. As long as you don't have a "general" problem, where you can't use most of the available shaving soaps because of irritation, you are in the same category with us and most people, that can have some problems with some specific soaps due to some ingredients, that can or can not be chemical.
  8. Omaney

    Omaney Well-Known Member

    I emphatically, and with the deepest regard, disagree with your point of view.
    youngunn and theFAT98 like this.
  9. BigMark

    BigMark Tests razors by shaving Wookies

    No idea but I know I cannot use PDP or Proraso Red.
  10. RaZorBurn123

    RaZorBurn123 waiting hardily...............

    I can not for the life of me use sandalwood, but I can use a soap with cinnamon. It's all hit and miss.
    Redrock and theFAT98 like this.
  11. theFAT98

    theFAT98 Well-Known Member

    Original pdp?

    Seems like it is one of the more sensitive skin friendly soaps.
  12. BigMark

    BigMark Tests razors by shaving Wookies

    I loved it but my skin itched after using it.
    theFAT98 likes this.
  13. theFAT98

    theFAT98 Well-Known Member

    Must be a ingredient in it that gets you. Weird.

    SHAVEWIZARD420 Well-Known Member

    in my case I had a soap that burned my face the first time I used it so It went to the back of my den. I pulled it out later on and tried it and it was fine. I think some products with high concentrations of fragrance oils can irritate the skin if used everyday
  15. Dapper-in-a-can-man

    Dapper-in-a-can-man and Dad-on-hand

    I know some skins react to some EO's. I've yet to find one that has really irked me. High menthol (Stirling's Glacial line) has irritated me BUT that is heavy menthol.
  16. TheFiveO

    TheFiveO Well-Known Member

    I whole heartedly agree. There are times when a particular soap will really irritate my skin, but using it later on proves to be quick pleasant. I wonder if factors such as dryness of your skin (IE dry summers as opposed to typically damper winters) has any effect.

    I do find that the stronger the scent, the more irritation I get. I am going to chock it up to my face being sensitive to EO/FO's. I find some of the more neutral "commercial" products irritate less than the Artisans. I hate this though, since the Artisan soaps seem to have better smells and variety! There is a fairly new Artisan that I have spoke of highly on this forum who makes AMAZING soaps, but, I am saddened that many of them irritate my skin
    Last edited: May 25, 2015
  17. Bama Samurai

    Bama Samurai with Laser-like Focus

    The issue is likely not one of allergens, but rather irritants. From your description of being sensitive to Cella and Lea, you maybe want to look at lanolin (a sterol, not a fat) as the culprit. For some people, lanolin is a skin irritant that causes redness and mild burning.
  18. RazorRookie

    RazorRookie New Member

    I think I may be having a reaction from proraso red as it, or something is causing a fair bit of spots.
  19. Redrock

    Redrock Well-Known Member

    Especially the "hit and miss". As you know, I recently pared down my soap collection with several PIFs. I now have a nice collection that work for me so I want to use these guys for awhile.
    RaZorBurn123 likes this.
  20. RaZorBurn123

    RaZorBurn123 waiting hardily...............

    RazoRock's P.160 causes me to breakout. So I haven't used it in over a year, one day I decided to give it another try. It had lost a lot of it moisture and was no longer a croap, also somewhere along the way it lost whatever it was that was causing the irritation.

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