Face/Acne Soap and Superfat Levels

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BrewerGeorge

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Right around my 40th birthday, the acne fairy finally decided to visit me. (Which is better than during high school, I suppose...) So for three years now I've been searching for products to get it and my oily skin under control.

I made a soap with charcoal and tea tree as a first attempt at doing something myself. It's a very nice soap, but it doesn't seem to be doing anything special for the breakouts. As I began to think about tweaking the recipe for a better result, I thought about the superfat level. This was essentially my baseline body soap recipe with 5% superfat - about 50% tallow/lard (I switched about this time and don't remember exactly which this was off the top of my head - I'll check my notebook and update tonight.) 20% OO, 20% CO and 5% each Castor and Avocado.

In retrospect now, it seems ill-advised to have that much superfat in a soap that is intended to fight oily skin. So I'm thinking that for the next batch, I might increase the CO and decrease the superfat. What do you think of that idea?

How far down would you recommend in the superfat? Two percent, maybe? One? (I'd like to leave at least one if only to help prevent getting accidentally lye-heavy due to a measuring error.) The avocado should help with this due to it's relatively high percentage of unsaponifiable fractions, right?

I was thinking 30% for the CO to increase cleansing. I made my first body soaps at that level and found them slightly tightening, which seems like it should be a good thing for this purpose. Of course, any other opinions on this are most welcome.

Finally, what about the tea tree itself? I used 1 oz in a 40 oz batch of oils (plus an ounce of ginger-lime to soften the tea tree smell a bit) Is that enough? Is there something else recommended to combat acne? Would something like willow bark extract, for example, survive the lye in CP? Or maybe if it was HP'd?
 

traderbren

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One big thing to keep in mind about any facial product is that if you strip too much of your natural oils, your skin will respond by creating more. I personally would not increase your CO as it will strip the natural moisture.

You will get tons of ideas and differing opinions. For me personally, the only way I got a handle on my acne was to switch to the oil cleansing method at night, and a very gentle face soap in the morning. I have been OCM for over 10 years, and only get occasional spots. And I'm right around your age, with combination skin.
 

BrewerGeorge

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one big thing to keep in mind about any facial product is that if you strip too much of your natural oils, your skin will respond by creating more. I personally would not increase your co as it will strip the natural moisture.

You will get tons of ideas and differing opinions. For me personally, the only way i got a handle on my acne was to switch to the oil cleansing method at night, and a very gentle face soap in the morning. I have been ocm for over 10 years, and only get occasional spots. And i'm right around your age, with combination skin.
ocm?

Edit: Weird. I can't get OCM to be capitalized...
 

kumudini

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Its a very common misconception that oily skin needs more cleansing. Actually oily skin needs the same kind of gentle care like a dry skin would. Stripping it off all the natural oils by using harsh cleansers like CO soaps or frequent cleansing would only serve to stimulate the already hyperactive sebaceous glands and produce more of the oil. Can't tell if your AC soap was doing that, as I've read that AC could be drying although I myself have yet to use it myself to know for sure.
A low SF bar with fairly low cleansing oils and with gentle clays like kaolin might help your skin. Also, look at the fats you are using, your skin may not be tolerating some of them. My husband's skin doesn't take Shea butter very well.
Then, there are salt bars, pine tar soaps or neem oil soap you could try and see if your skin likes them better.
 

Obsidian

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ocm= oil cleansing method. I've had acne most of my adult life, the last few years I also had red, dry flaky skin from being too aggressive in trying to get rid of. Switching to handmade soap has mostly cleared it up and I use a high SF, most of my bath bars are 8% but some are even higher.

I really like salt bars for my face but at times, they are too drying so I use a gentler wash or the ocm. I just recently made a 100% safflower LS for face washing but I haven't started using it yet.

Most acne if actually caused by bacteria, not your oily skin. Ingredients that fight bacteria might help, thats why I believe the salt bars really help, salt kills a lot of things.
 

Seawolfe

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+1 for salt bars, and for not stripping your skin. Clay is nice too - I like french green clay, or morroccan red clay, but some of my friends prefer charcoal.

Personally I think that cleansing 2-3 times per day with a GENTLE cleanser is the most help.
 

mymy

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George. Right now I'm using my handmade cocoa butter soap which has 3% SF and cleansing value below 5, moisturizing value around 50. I find it very good as it does not introduce further breakouts. Now I'm trying to formulate a milder bar with even lower cleansing value.
 

Obsidian

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Wow, that sounds...scary. ;)

Thanks for the info.
It really isn't and its surprising how clean and soft your skin feels afterwards. I use very little castor though, it can be a bit rough on my skin. Olive oil is a bit thick, I like thinner oils like avocado, almond or sunflower.
 

Arimara

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To be honest, I tend to use all of my soaps, whether given to me or ones I made, on my face. They helped me out tremendously, especially my own bars, which have not gone over 25% CO. I also use coconut oil on my face immediately after I pat my face dry since I don't have a facial moisturizer (besides water). I like to seal what moisture I have that way. Since I stopped using many commercial lotions for my face, I get far less breakouts save for any that comes about from "natural" products like what Trader Joe's sells.

The trouble with acne is you don't want an overly cleansing soap if the risk is drier skin. That tends to make it worse. But since everyone's skin is different and admittedly my face is sensitive to a lot of products, probably best to play around and see what works for you.

One more thing- have you tried tea tree EO, lavender EO and some witch hazel?
 

kumudini

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Most acne if actually caused by bacteria, not your oily skin. Ingredients that fight bacteria might help, thats why I believe the salt bars really help, salt kills a lot of things.
Oily skin doesn't by itself cause acne, but it attracts dust, leads to clogged pores which then become breeding ground for bacteria and cause breaking out. Mild cleansing and even lightly moisturising with few drops of olive oil or sweet almond oil is a good routine for oily skin.
 

Susie

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I am not going to make suggestions about your soap. (I really can't, as I have clear skin and use bath soap to clean my face.) I am going to suggest you go to a physician and find out WHY you are developing acne at this age. It can be a symptom of an underlying condition that needs treating.
 

cgpeanut

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One thing to look at is the essential oils that you use. I have a bar that i partition in to 3 parts. The first part I add dead sea mud to about 2 tbl per 32 oz oils. The second one I use Kaolin clay in 1 tbl per 32 oz oil. The third I leave alone . I do a swirl wtih these parts. I use .70 percent combination of Rosemary, Tea Tree and Spearmint EO. I sell alot of it and most people who buy it come back for more and bring a friend. It seems to work. the oils I use are OO, PKO, RB, Sweet Almond, babassu Oil, a tad of Shea butter and castor. additives are colloidal oatmeal and goat milk powder added to oils and then oil taken to emulsion.

Hope this helps.
 
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cmzaha

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I am not going to make suggestions about your soap. (I really can't, as I have clear skin and use bath soap to clean my face.) I am going to suggest you go to a physician and find out WHY you are developing acne at this age. It can be a symptom of an underlying condition that needs treating.
I have to agree with Susie, first place to start is with a doctor visit. That being said, not everyone can use handmade soaps without surfactants. My 37 yr old daughter cannot use any product other than very mild surfactant base m&p or Cetaphil on her upper body including her face. She fights Cystic acne which will almost instantly flare when she tries a bar soap. For awhile pine tar soap seemed to do well but that was for a short time. Everyone can give you different suggestions but it is all trial and error. Just do not get the idea that handmade soap is the answer for everyone.
 

mymy

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Carolyn - is your daughter using the liquid Cetaphil cleanser or bar ones? I was an avid user of Cetaphil because it was and is still amazing. I love it. A 473ml bottle could last for 6months. Now I'm opt out to try handmade soaps.
 

shunt2011

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Another Salt Bar fan here. I've suffered with acne and adult breakouts forever. Once I started using my salt bars my face is the best it's ever been. Also, if I do get a break out it clears up much quicker. I have many family members and customers who swear by it as well.

As stated, you don't want to over cleanse ad removing too much oil only produces more.
 

BrewerGeorge

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When you all say "salt bar," in this context do you mean the typical 100% CO/20% SF salt bar? Or is it something with less CO to avoid over-cleansing the face?
 

shunt2011

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When you all say "salt bar," in this context do you mean the typical 100% CO/20% SF salt bar? Or is it something with less CO to avoid over-cleansing the face?
I personally do 80% CO, 15% Avocado & 5% Castor. 20% SF I use 25-30% Salt.

I also use either some Coconut Milk or some other Milk as a 1/3-1/2 my liquid. I've been playing around with that and haven't settled yet.
 

kumudini

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My salt bar is 80 CO, 20 OO and 15% lye discount and 65% salt PPO. 50% of my liquid is coconut milk with highest fat content I could find at that moment. They are awesome.
 

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