Why we don’t make goat’s milk soap April 24 2018, 0 Comments

A frequently asked question at the markets: “Do we sell ‘goat’s milk’ soap?”

Answer: “No.”…and the person hastily walks on without looking at our products, or waiting for any explanation. 

The reasons why we don’t make ‘goat’s milk’ soap are more complicated than a short answer, but here’s a quick summation:

  1. Our soaps address the needs of all those with skin sensitivities- so our soaps are vegan safe.
  2. The addition of an animal protein or fat requires the use of a preservative to prevent the growth of bacteria etc. Our products are chemical free.
  3. Animal fats have an inherent odour that generally requires fragrance compounds to conceal. Our products are fragrance free.
  4. There have been no clinical studies that I can find that prove the benefits of using ‘goat’s milk’ soap to treat skin problems. User claims over product benefits are insufficient evidence to satisfy the requirements of the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration, Division of the Australian Department of Health). User reviews and testimonials are unfounded evidence, and a tool used to support a product without the required evidence…’hearsay’ claimed by ‘external’ sources. 

Let’s begin with a long rant to explain my outlook. 

We only use selected organic plant oils in our soaps, to keep them vegan-safe and usable by all. We limit the oils used in each soap type to a bare minimum to limit potential allergens, and avoid any oils that are nut based particularly for this reason. Oils that we avoid are: (capitals indicate oils not to be consumed) almond, ANDIROBA, argan, brazil nut, hazelnut, JOJOBA, KUKUI, macadamia, marula, pine nut, pistachio, PRACAXI, shea, TAMANU, walnut. 

In consideration of the topic, I would never consider using ‘goat’s milk’ in our soaps, as both my daughter and I have dairy allergies. I appreciate that a dairy allergy does not necessarily apply to ‘goat’s milk’. I also have difficulty digesting animal fats…so I’m not about to rub my skin with a milk based soap…nor a tallow (animal fat) based soap. Not ever! 

Skin irritations are tagged with various names depending on the severity: eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis etc. The cause needs to be medically identified and treated. Any topical application will only manage the resultant symptoms. For more information on skin irritations, please refer back to an earlier BLOG titled “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe…” (https://iloorganics.com/blogs/news/15646424-eeny-meeny-miny-moe-or-how-to-spot-eczema

I am not a chemist- I have no medical training- but I do read a lot and process information. My logic says that it makes absolutely no sense to apply an animal protein or fat based product to a skin irritation of unidentified source. To do so is to further provide an environment in which associated bacteria will potentially happily multiply. I have yet to find any clinical studies that prove that ‘goat’s milk’ soap/creams provide any benefits or cures to skin problems. Yet ‘goat’s milk’ soap makers ‘claim’ many of the following: prevents oxidative stress of the skin; reduces wrinkles, fine lines and skin ageing; reduces dark spots; whitens the skin; cures acne; heals skin; repairs damaged skin…and so the ‘claims’ continue. 

What became very obvious upon searching various ‘goat’s milk’ soap websites was the repetition of ‘claims’ made…none of which were verified. When someone introduces a product that achieves financial success in the marketplace, others quickly jump on the dollar bandwagon to nab their own profit share. Products are copied... the problem with that is that most people are generally lazy. Instead of creating their own product, and doing their own research, and writing their own marketing material…they just copy. If the information provided by someone has already brought them success, it’s usually good enough for them to ride with too…right or wrong- and incorrect information spreads exponentially very quickly in today’s internet connected world. Lazy people don’t bother to validate the information they’re fed, and copy. 

I’ll digress to a story from my personal experience. I worked for a large architectural company as their senior interior designer many years ago during my career path. An experienced architect was assigned to document the service doors to a large hotel project. The required minimum height of doors by Australian Standards at the time was 2040mm minimum. However, he made a profound mistake and documented all doors to the service core of the building, cast in concrete, to a height of 1800mm. No-one along the line questioned/checked the dimension…it was a common knowledge requirement. That mistake cost the company a hefty penalty in damages! Again, people are lazy- the original drawing documents were never amended, and placed on file. In later years, a junior architect was assigned to document the service doors on a high-rise building. To save time, he referred to old drawings. You guessed it- out came those unamended drawings as a reference. He trusted the information as being correct and from more experienced/knowledgeable architects. He was also lazy. The mistake was repeated at a hefty penalty in damages to the company again. My take home message: never assume anything, and take responsibility for your own information sources! 

One of the ‘claims’ made by ‘goat’s milk’ soap manufacturers is that it ‘matches & maintains the pH value of the skin’. Automatically, my alarm bells rang. This would be an impossibility unless ‘goat’s milk’ itself had a highly acidic pH value…something in the order of pH 0-3 (pH0 = battery acid, pH3 = lemon juice, pH5 = human skin, pH7 = neutrality/water, pH14 = sodium hydroxide). It becomes a simple exercise in math and chemistry to do a quick evaluation. Soap is made by combining an oil/fat (slightly varying pH values) with a strong alkali (sodium hydroxide pH14) suspended in a liquid to create a solid soap salt…with a resultant pH 9-10. In ‘goat’s milk’ soap the water/liquid content pH7 is substituted with ‘goat’s milk’…which actually has a pH value of 7.4- NOT the same as human skin pH5 as claimed, and more alkali than water. Therefore, swapping the water content with ‘goat’s milk’ actually achieves a resultant pH more alkali & further away from skin pH5 (range pH4-5.5)…that’s just straight math that can’t be questioned. 

As a further example of the ‘goat’s milk’ soap pH claim being absolutely false, we make our ‘cofi’ soap using coffee for its benefits, but also because it naturally reduces the pH slightly. Coffee does indeed have the same pH value of human skin…both ph5. The only variable in the three examples is the liquid content essentially- water, ‘goat’s milk’, or brewed organic coffee. Our other organic soaps achieve a pH9…lower because of the unprocessed quality of the organic oils. Our cofi soap achieves pH8…so are you doing the math on the pH of ‘goat’s milk’ soap? It can only achieve a probable pH value of 10, without question…far removed from the claimed same pH5 as human skin! 

On the basis of this outcome, in reality, the ‘claims’ made that ‘goat’s milk’ soap help to resolve skin problems because of its lower pH value contradict their ‘claims’ that an acidic pH value provides a solution…it is indeed an alkaline environment being created. 

Now I’ll move on to the ingredients used, and why it is absolutely critical to read product ingredient labels. A check of two of Australia’s leading ‘goat’s milk’ soap manufacturers’ ingredient lists showed that both use a preservative in their soaps, because of the animal protein/fat content. This is to maintain shelf life, and prevent the growth of bacteria…back to my argument that I don’t believe applying a similar animal protein/fat can solve a problem on irritated skin! 

The preservative used by both- despite sprouting ‘natural, healthy ingredients’ is tetrasodium EDTA, or ETHYLENEDIAMINETETRAACETIC acid in full. Those words that can’t be pronounced automatically ring my alarm bells! Tetrasodium EDTA is made from formaldehyde and sodium cyanide. Resultantly, it then also contains dioxane as a by-product. All of the above are known or suspected carcinogens. Dioxane is also known to CAUSE eczema, and is a strongly rated eye irritant. No studies have been conducted to establish its long-term safety in use. 

My jaw hit the floor in shock…these products are being promoted for use on babies and children. Fast forward twenty years, and who will ever connect the dots back to developed cancer to the use of ‘goat’s milk’ soap for 20 years! Tetrasodium EDTA has been used extensively in the cosmetic industry as a preservative for many years, and continues to be used by manufacturers because it works effectively and is cost viable. There are natural alternatives that can be used, but at a significant increase in costs. Once again, a manufacturer’s profit margin takes precedence over our safety as a consumer. I’ve written endlessly about the unconscionable use of another preservative, METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE. Do not buy any products containing either preservative- send a very clear message to manufacturers! They are knowingly impacting on our health, whilst purely evaluating their profit margins- yet marketing products that we trust to be in our best interests…and safe. 

Also of interest to me is that both companies use cheap, low quality plant oils as their primary ingredients. Personally, I would not be paying the exorbitant charges being asked for such an inferior grade of product. Trust me when I say that their profit margins are high…most oils coming in at a small fraction of the cost of the organic oils we use- yet their soaps are priced 50% more than ours on weight ratio. 

My conclusion? I’m yet to be convinced that those claiming benefits from these soaps aren’t just experiencing the inherent benefits of using cold-processed soaps made with plant oils…instead of petrochemicals. Specialised skin products from the pharmacy are also made from petrochemicals. My daughter reacted to all, and many other handmade soaps; because of colouring and fragrance compounds used- both are known skin irritants. These ‘goat’s milk’ soap companies do offer colour and fragrance free options, but meet consumer demand for a pretty and smelly soap in the main part. 

Obviously, the power of marketing gets results for them…promote a product to mass media, and rely on people not questioning information- just blindly accepting and following. It’s a proven technique, and highlights a failure of human nature- place trust in the ‘experts’…we haven’t got time, or can’t be bothered checking information being handed to us. 

If you use ‘goat’s milk’ soap, and benefit from it, please continue to…but look for a healthier available option. Please take the time to read product ingredient labels. My very simple rule whilst shopping for products: if you can’t pronounce an ingredient name, there’s a clue to simply put it back on the shelf!