My soaps have acne

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Hello everyone, a couple of questions if anyone would be kind enough to opine. I just returned to soaping after 7+ years and am having a little bit of a bumpy ride (no pun intended.)

Can anyone offer insights on these dots on my soap? I’ve tried tried burping my stick blender, pouring batter over spatula, thumping mold, still getting them. The oil mix is the one I generally used for 80+ batches before, roughly 65% lard/5% castor/15% coconut/15% avocado.

Additives: SL (1 tspn/ppo), Sorbitol(1%/ppo), rice flour (1%/ppo), EDTA (.5% batch weight), soaping at RT with masterbatched lye at 33% lye concentration and CPOP'd. I don’t think it is (eg) silicone rash, when I plane surfaces there is still dotting underneath, and it happens with different molds. Not sure if they are bubbles or some kind of precipitate. Attaching a picture below.

Does Walmart still offer Great Value Shortening? I can’t find it anywhere relatively local (San Diego) or online. But when I called customer service there was no information about it being phased out. The next cheapest source is Soapers Choice, but there is a minimum 7lb order, too much for my needs (and space limits) right now.

Thanks in advance, you guys.
 

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Hi there, very pretty soap! Looks like you've still got it. ;)

The spots look to me like a combination of stearic spots and wire cutting rash (from air bubbles in the soap batter).

To reduce or eliminate the white stearic spots, be sure to heat your lard to at least 150F or higher to fully melt the stearic acid component. Then add in your other oils to bring everything down closer to room temp, and wait if needed for it to come down to your preferred temp. You would do the same with tallow and other high-stearic fats.

As for the air bubbles, besides burping your SB, try pouring in your lye solution very slowly down the shaft of the SB or a spatula to avoid creating more bubbles. Also pour your batter into the mold slowly, and bang it down well.
 
Thank you, AliOop and Carolyn! I never thought about stearic spots, I guess because it was never an issue before. I know I did not use to heat my lard up so high (I just put all the oils in a pot and heated them until they melted, usually at 110-115F, but didn't go much higher because I didn't want to wait for them to cool down.) I am using a different brand of lard, now, it is interesting to think that could be the culprit. Is it sad to be so geeky that I am actually excited (a) to have a new experiment to try and (b) itching to try it so I can see if the bumps go away? Off to read about stearic in lard.
 
I tend to heat ALL of my oils & butters together to avoid issues like this & have found it works quite well. I discovered this accidentally when I simply did not want to have another dish to wash during one soap making session.

So I melted / combined everything together at once, then let the mixture drop to room temperature, despite the fact that I was told long ago to never do this. My oils / butters tend to get somewhere around 185-195 degrees or so by the time they're all nicely melted.

The result has been much smoother soap overall with every batch. I have since run across someone else's comment in the forums stating they do the same thing with good results. I can't remember who it was, unfortunately.

Might be worth a try :)
 
I still use only one bowl: the one used to melt the lard and any other hard oils or butters. :) Once melted, I live dangerously and measure my liquid oils directly into that same bowl. That helps cool down the melted hard oils and also saves me from dirtying another dish.

Have I ever added a few grams too many of this oil or that? Of course, But grams are so small that a few extra makes very little difference in a 1500g batch (my typical batch size). Many folks leave that much or more on the sides of their mixing bowl.

I do like to SB my combined oils, along with the EO, FO, any clays or colorants being used through the entire soap, etc. As QQ noted, that saves on having to SB as much after the lye solution is added.
 
I use lard, although more in the 40-45% range. I melt it with coconut oil and cocoa butter just until melted and clear, and don’t have problems with steric spots. I also add my liquid oils to the hard oils once they are melted.

You certainly could be experiencing steric spots. Like @KiwiMoose I wonder about the additives. Did you dissolve your sorbitol before adding to the oils, or in the batch water before adding the lye? I can’t comment on the rice flour as I have never used it. Sadly, it could also be your stick blender creating tiny air bubbles, even if it is new. I had one that did it right out of the box. After a few batches, it got traded for the one in my kitchen.
 
Does Walmart still offer Great Value Shortening? I can’t find it anywhere relatively local (San Diego) or online.
Walmart GV Shortening is available here (Denver) and online. I've had good experiences with their Delivery system. Minimum order is $35. Their Aloe Vera Juice is a good buy for soap and any other B & B products you make. The gallon jug is a nice size and shape for repurposing. It's fairly easy to reach that $35 minimum.

If you can't find GV Shortening locally, Crisco is a good sub. I use the one with pie crust on the label. :thumbs:
 
Thanks for your input, you guys. I didn't respond because I had to put my sweet girl Patsy to sleep two days ago. She and her brother Fred have been the best things in my life for the past ten years, it is hard. They traveled with me to India, got me through seven years and my dad's death and Covid there. Her face was the last one I saw before I went to sleep, and the first I saw in the morning. Patsy, you were the best, funniest, smartest, most lovable baby your mama could have had and I will miss you always, my little love,
 
Sadly, it could also be your stick blender creating tiny air bubbles, even if it is new. I had one that did it right out of the box. After a few batches, it got traded for the one in my kitchen.
@dibbles - I thought I was crazy, but thank you for saying this. My brand new SB creates bubbles no matter what I do! I don’t understand how this is possible. Do you think it’s just faulty?
 
I still use only one bowl: the one used to melt the lard and any other hard oils or butters. :) Once melted, I live dangerously and measure my liquid oils directly into that same bowl. That helps cool down the melted hard oils and also saves me from dirtying another dish.

I don't do this because my soaping pot maxes out my scale long before I even add my lye solution to the pot :) I also don't like putting anything hot on my scale as this can affect its accuracy and / or damage it, which concerns me.

https://www.inscale-scales.co.uk/blog/does-temperature-affect-digital-weighing-scale-readings
https://www.arlynscales.com/scale-knowledge/factors-can-affect-scales-accuracy/
I don't work in a lab, but I still don't want my scale to crap out on me mid-batch 😁
 
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Thanks for your input, you guys. I didn't respond because I had to put my sweet girl Patsy to sleep two days ago. She and her brother Fred have been the best things in my life for the past ten years, it is hard. They traveled with me to India, got me through seven years and my dad's death and Covid there. Her face was the last one I saw before I went to sleep, and the first I saw in the morning. Patsy, you were the best, funniest, smartest, most lovable baby your mama could have had and I will miss you always, my little love,

My little boy died a couple of years ago, exactly a year after I left my husband, and I still have moments where missing him feels like a massive punch in the heart 😭 I still talk to him, I still sleep with his babies, his sheepskin & his blanket. He is still very much loved ❤️ and he still makes it known that he is very much here with me, as well as elsewhere at the same time.

Animals bring things into our lives that which we never even realized we needed or were missing before they come to us. They are healers, teachers, protectors, companions & life guides, in all seriousness.

Know that she is still with you, and always will be. There is a very strong soul connection between animals & their humans, even once they have transformed into another energy form.

Much healing, many blessings & love to you ❤️
 
Animals bring things into our lives that which we never even realized we needed or were missing before they come to us
What @Savage Daughter has said is truer than she can imagine. Our "pets" can help us become better humans if we give them the chance. Sadly, few of us are up to the task. But at least there's quite many of us willing to love them more than enough.
The sadness we feel when they die is only more proof of our love for them. Hugs. 💜
 
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