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Does all soap contain lye?

 

No! A well-made, superfatted soap does not contain lye (sodium hydroxide).

This "old wives tale" started because the alkali, sodium hydroxide, is used in the manufacturing of soap. It is necessary to use a strong alkali as a reagent during saponification -- the chemical reaction that changes fats and oils into soap and glycerin. Once saponification is complete, however, you are left only with soap, glycerin and a bit of skin-loving superfat.
 

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Last updated: 11/02/06