Handmade Soap Made With Sulfur
Handmade soap today is made from the same basic ingredients that the ancient Romans discovered while washing their clothes in the Tiber River. Soap is made when water, fat and lye are mixed during a process called saponification. However, making soap with sulfur adds a medicinal value. “Sulfur is used in various medicines and is considered helpful in certain skin diseases,” according to an article by G.L. Bu in The World Book Encyclopedia.
To pinpoint when sulfur was first used as medicine is difficult. Pre-Roman civilizations used sulfur as medicine. The Chinese have been using sulfur for medicinal purposes since around the third century B.C. As soap-making evolved, people saw the benefit of adding sulfur to soap to fight skin diseases.
When you think of making handmade soap, your first choice of ingredients may not be sulfur. You may be planning to search soap-making recipes that invite you to use additives such as avocado, coconut or the fragrant oils of lavender, rosemary and jasmine. Sulfur may not sound as romantic as other ingredients, but this element can do more than produce gun powder, matches, fertilizer and insecticides. Handmade sulfur soap, if used properly, can treat acne. According to Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, who specializes in alternative medicine, “other forms of sulfur applied to the skin, seem to benefit psoriasis, eczema, dandruff, folliculitis (infected hair follicles), warts, and pityriasis versicolor.”
If you plan to use sulfur soap for medicinal purposes, heed these cautions:
1. Do not use sulfur soap if you are allergic to sulfur.
2. Begin using sulfur soap once daily as needed. Overuse will dry and irritate the skin.
3. Consult your doctor before using sulfur soap in conjunction with other products on affected areas.
4. Be patient. You may not see results overnight.
“To this day in parts of rural America soap is being made much as it was in ancient Rome: out of potash [lye], rainwater, and animal tallow [fat],” according to “Back To Basics: How To Learn and Enjoy Traditional American Skills.” One of two processes can be used to make soap: the cold process or the hot process. The cold process makes hard and soft soaps. The hot process makes only hard soap.