Soap has always had a bad rap. The main criticisms of it are that it dries out the skin and strips your natural oils.
In many cases that’s true, especially those of the more synthetic variety – and it’s fair to say I would never ever use one on my face!
But for the body, an all-natural soap would always be my preference over shower gels. 99% of these liquid soaps contain detergents such as SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) and are also jam-packed with artificial fragrance.
I’ve had to give them a wide berth for much of my adult life. Heat tends to bring out my urticaria, so shower gel and hot showers are a particularly miserable combination.
Instead, I use a classic Savon de Marseilles and have done for about eight years now. I buy the hefty 600g blocks which are like a never-ending gobstopper!
For those unfamiliar with them, Marseille soaps are made from very high concentrations of olive oil (usually minimum 70%) and are as synonymous with France as berets and brioche.
The high vegetable oil content means they don’t dry out your skin like normal soaps do. They are also completely fragrance-free. I use mine with a body puff, which massively boosts the lather so you hardly need any at all.
If you have sensitive or allergy prone skin it could be a good alternative for you. Chronic eczema sufferers may still need to use with caution, and like any new product, test it on a small area of the body before lathering with reckless abandon!