The Benefits of NO SOAP™

Commonly advertised soaps describe themselves well, some say they leave you squeaky clean even when they have added moisturizers.: Google your favorite soap or this commonly available product. Example: [Reference]

A 2006 study looking for a mild cleansing alternatives makes this statement, “Soap is a relatively harsh and drying surfactant. Soap-based wash products often dry and irritate the skin, leading to erythema and itchiness, which together often exacerbate the inflammation and dryness of Atopic Dermatitis”. [Reference]

Researchers evaluating soaps used on infants concluded: “Each cleansing agent, even normal tap water, influences the skin surface. “The composition of the cutaneous bacterial flora and the activity of enzymes in the upper epidermis, which have and acid pH optimum. The dissolution of fat from skin surface may influence the hydration status leading to a dry and squamous (scaly) skin.” [Reference]

One 2006 article mentions importance of skin washing both for preventing death and, on the other hand, setting you up for more allergies and definitely more skin problems. In summary this E coli research expert concludes, “I just wash my hands with plain water, except for once or twice a day. I avoid soap because I don’t want my hands to dry out.” [Reference]

Why Cleanse?

Washing with water alone will rinse some of the dirt and debris away, alone it’s not quite enough. Plain tap water will only remove about 65 percent of the oil and dirt on your skin, and will not effectively remove makeup.


  • The most commonly used cleanser
  • Made from a combination of fats (of animal or vegetable origin), oils and salt
  • Can plug hair follicles (pores)
  • Can cause dryness and irritation due to anionic surfactants
  • Disturbs the skin’s natural pH
  • May leave a residue on skin

The Disadvantages of Soap

Soap is the simplest type of surface-active agent - surfactant - and works by making fat and oil water-soluble and easily removed by wiping or washing. Made from fatty acid salts, soaps clean by reducing the surface tension of your skin with anionic agents such as carboxylate, sulfonate and sulfate ions which are potential irritants.

At one time, it was thought soaps caused irritation by removing only fat from the outermost layer of the skin, but research indicates that soaps damage affects both the fat and protein structures of this top layer. This can cause unpleasant skin reactions and lead to a rougher skin texture. More bad news: the soap salts that emulsify dirt and oil are by nature alkaline and will raise the skin’s acidic pH as well as provoke swelling of the skin surface. Some studies have shown long-term use of a neutral or alkaline surfactant, such as soap, can increase the amount of bacteria on the skin, while swelling can lead to cellular damage or even breakage. Soap salts can also remove natural moisturizing factors and disrupt the skin’s protective barrier. The fatty acids in soap can have harmful effects too, by plugging follicles (pores) and causing acne.

Partial quotes from [Reference]

Using the FCAT measure in a research study, Irritation Potential of Personal Cleansers, Ertal et al (J.Soc.Cosmet.Chem, 46, 67-76(March/April 1995) showed that although there were differences even in mild products, each product was irritating. The amount of irritation was directly related to how much soap was in each product.

He also documented what we each observe, irritation is directly related to low humidity, which is experienced in the winter months. Soap is usually the main contributor to development of winter itch, dry skin eczema.

From a study done in nursing homes: [Reference]

“… a no-rinse cleanser may reduce the incidence of incontinence associated pressure ulcers when compared with soap and water.”

2012 International Exhibition of Surfactants and Detergents” was held in Shanghai on April 14 - April 16, 2012. Here are a sample of some of the additives, the number is increasing. Time will tell if newest are even as safe as the earlier chemicals.
☆ Silicone surfactants, bio-surfactants, fluorinated surfactants and other special surfactants: large and wide green anionic surfactants, cationic surfactants, nonionic surfactants, zwitterion surfactants: new and green surfactants, such as Fatty Acid Methyl Ester Ethoxylates (FMEE), Fatty Acid Methyl Ester Sulfonate (MES), Alkyl Polyglycosides (APG) and monoethanolamine succinylosuccinic ester;
☆ Alkyl benzene (AB), Ethylene Oxide (EO), Propylene Oxide (PO), Nonyl phenol (NP), Octyl phenol (OP), Ethylene Glycol (EG), Ethanolamine, Polyethylene Glycol (PEG), Ethylene Amine (EA), Fatty Acids, Fatty Alcohols, Fatty Amines, Fatty Acid Methyl Ester;
☆ Detergents: sodium tripolyphosphate, sodium silicate, sodium carbonate, sodium sulphate, brightener, enzyme-based agents, raw materials of wash & chemistry and its intermediate product;
☆ Personal and home care products: (perfumed) soap, washing powder, liquid detergent, shower gel, hand sanitizer, cleanser essence, detergents, industrial, commercial, residential washing equipments;
☆ Packaging technology, materials and mechanical equipment of daily chemical products;
☆ Other compound surfactants, detergents and research and patented technology of various surfactants and detergents;

2012 Another Soap Myth is Struck Down by The Dermatology Unit, Kaplan Medical Center, Israel and the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology, Jefferson Medical College USA in a non-systematic review.

 Conclusion: Alcohol-based hand rubs The new, ubiquitous cleansing gels now common in supermarkets, churches and hospitals (alcohol-based hand rubs) are not as irritating, drying or damaging of skin (and it's barrier), as washing hands with soap.

 Many dermatologists were surprised that the sudden arrival of these infection fighting products did not cause severe problems with patients with eczema and other sensitive skin problems.

Online the Lanacane Dry Itchy Skin Index™ map of the USA was once kept up to date. It used climactic data and expertise from the University of Delaware’s Center for Climatic Research. If you see a benefit to having it maintained, contact Lanacane® Itch Information Center.

                                                                                                                                           Lanacane Dry Itchy Skin Index

How to use NO SOAP™

Any time you would even think of using soap on your skin, take another look at NO SOAP™ instead. The only exceptions the developers and producers emphasize, are in washing the scalp and the axilla (underarm) where NO SOAP™ used alone, has not proved satisfactory for the North American taste.


Selected, well dried hardwoods are favored for their durability. The standard bar is made using red oak. Ongoing long term evaluations of several other types of wood are being done. We think that the natural grain comes out of this oak when it is wet. It does float.

Following the technical drawings provided by Everett Mattson, inventor and engineer, a University of Minnesota Medical School – Duluth pharmacology professor and colleague shapes the wood.


Next, Darryl Weaver (at Laser-Sharp, 1093 3rd Avenue SW, Carmel, IN 46032) engraves the two sides of the block.

Locally we imprint the registered number of your bar. Fine sanding normally completes the item. If requested – “please oil”, we will use Lemon Oil to bring out the grain and color of the wood.

Once we receive the receipt of your donation and your complete mailing address, we will forward your package by US Mail. Faster or overnight delivery are not covered or available.

We do not buy insurance for mailing. We do not make any charge for postage and handling, that is our donation to speed your donation to a dermatology cause.


Patients have asked for a liquid formulation, unfortunately the cellulose component rapidly separates and floats to the surface, thus creating an unpleasant looking product.

Although it would seem reasonable to provide this product in a powder (ie. fine sawdust) formulation, to date non-block formulations have been the cause of a specific and tediously irritating, damage, by any other name, a rash. Inventiveness has its limits.

Thus far, no modification has improved this cosmetically elegant, natural alternative to soap. Rediscover your baby smooth, natural and healthy skin with NO SOAP™. Give a bar to a loved one.

Please drop us a photo or note about your NO SOAP™ experience:

Dr. Bamford’s NO SOAP™
Virtual Factory
PO Box 3247
Duluth, MN 55803-3247


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Eugene Barnes

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