Thank you for a successful crowdfunding effort!

Thanks for all the support for the crowdfunding effort that ended February 29, 2012! I will be working on a scientific paper and a book for  I will soon be putting up a newsletter capability on the blog to send out progress notes.

In the crowdfunding goals, I didn’t promise the medical paper in addition to the book, because time to publishing a scientific paper can be unpredictable (especially since I am outside traditional academic circles), but I believe publishing in a more traditional outlet and getting the discussion going in medical circles will do a lot to move this work forward.  I have to do the research anyway for the book, so I plan to finish both.

Although the Indiegogo crowdfunding project is ended, further donations will go to good use, to support the work, website costs and improvements. 


4 thoughts on “Thank you for a successful crowdfunding effort!”

  1. Hello. Sorry if my question is not related to the content of your post but… I noticed that you recommend Tom’s of Maine’s natural deodorant bar as one of the better non drying soaps (i agree with you about the moisturizing version being very drying).

    I used to use Toms soap a few years ago (the lavendar glycerin bars) and that was the best soap i ever used.

    The ingredients list was:

    Sodium Palmate Sodium Cocoate, Water, Glycerin, Sorbitol (Corn Syrup), Sodium Dilinoleate (Pine & Other Tree Oils), Stearic Acid (Vegetable Oil), Lavender Oil & Other Natural Oils, Sodium Gluconate (Cornstarch), Potassium Cocoate, Potassium Stearate

    They discontinued this a couple of years ago and seemed to make a formula change (and packaging change) across many of their soaps as well at that time. They all seem to now contain olive oil and jojoba oil in addition to the other ingredients.

    I tried the moisturizing version recently and found it very drying and I assumed it was because of the olive oil and jojoba oils which the toms lavender glycerin bars did not contain. However after reading of your experience with it, I’m thinking it might be something else in the formula because the deodorant bar also contains olive oil and jojoba oil (though i still may be sensitive to one of those ingredients).

    My question is, is the toms of maines deodorant bar formula that you recommend like this (from the current website):

    Sodium palmate
    Sodium cocoate
    Sodium Palm Kernelate
    Sage extract
    Sodium chloride
    Sodium gluconate
    Olive oil
    Jojoba oil
    Tocopheryl acetate
    Cymbopogon schoenanthus (Lemongrass Oil)

    Thanks for your help and thanks for a great site!

    1. Hi Tom,
      Thanks for the kind words about the site. I’m glad you brought this to my attention. I still have a box from the Tom’s I used with my bar soap experiments, and it has a shorter list of ingredients. I don’t see olive oil, jojoba oil, or vitamin E, nor the salt/sodium gluconate. (I don’t know much about sodium gluconate – it seems to be a softening agent/chelator, so PROBABLY it’s not an issue for the eczema, in fact, it may help make the soap more effective in hard water which would probably help, but I don’t know for sure.) Unfortunately, there isn’t a traditional ingredients list on my package, it has one of those explanatory charts they tend to use, with the source and purpose of the main ingredients, but I’m not sure if it covers all of the ingredients in the product (I’m sure if Tom’s listed all the ingredients that way, it does, but I can’t remember if that was their practice).

      Products can change over time. It’s happened to many of my favorites, and with washing products, often not to the benefit. However, I haven’t heard anything bad about the Tom’s deodorant bar of late, and over time I’ve heard from many people who use it, so hopefully the reformulation hasn’t hurt it. With eczema, dryness is almost a separate issue. You won’t hear that from anyone else, because the accepted view is that dryness causes the eczema, which I have found in my experience of actually eliminating eczema is not the case. I say “almost”, because dryness is a modulator that can make people more susceptible with lower levels of detergent exposure, as described on the site. I hear (more than I care to think about) from people who use products I find unacceptably drying, who are nevertheless happy because they get rid of the eczema.

      I’m going to write more about the dryness issue in my book – which, thanks to the crowdfunding, I can describe as “upcoming”! My bar soap experiments ended up bringing me to an entirely different idea about dry skin and how products cause it than I expected. Perhaps given the experience with detergent, I shouldn’t have been so surprised.

      Again, I believe dryness alone isn’t the reason for the eczema. After seriously experimenting with over a hundred different bar soaps, I also eventually came to the conclusion that dryness associated with the use of the products was not the result of stripping the skin of oils. I don’t know if you saw my previous post on this issue, but I came up with a general rule and gave it a name (with some apologies for the presumption, but in hopes of making it more memorable):
      Lumsdaine’s Law: For most people, under most conditions, eczema and dry skin are more the result of what is left on the skin than what is stripped from the skin by washing.

      Adding too many moisturizing ingredients to soaps seems to backfire. We all think – as I thought before I did these experiments – that skin is dry after washing because oils are removed, so adding moisturizing ingredients should help, right? What I found is that immediately after washing with a “moisturizing” product, the skin feels soft – just as it feels soft right after washing with water or moisturizing with a creamy, absorbed moisturizer – but if I only used that product (which I was fastidious about doing while I tried each soap), over time, my hands became horribly dry. It happened over and over again with different “moisturizing” products, the opposite of what I expected. The surprise came when I got fed up with how dry my hands were from one product and just went back to my regular soap before my “trial” was over. My hands went back to normal almost immediately, far faster than could be explained by the typical view of how they became dry and how they might have normalized. I was able to repeat this with other products – which led to the lightbulb moment.

      I describe this in my talk – water, alone, a small layer of water on the skin, increases the permeability. Not enough to create eczema, but enough that if one, say, doesn’t dry the skin well enough after washing in the winter (with all the dry air), the hands chap. Increased permeability leads to water loss, leads to dry skin. I warn about absorbed, creamy (what I call “emollient”) moisturizers in my site, in part because they seem to create these same conditions. The skin feels more hydrated immediately after applying – just as it does with small amounts of water, right in the moment – but over time, the skin loses water (among other things). I think this is what is happening with very “moisturizing” soaps. (By the way, this is also why I recommend drying well, with a soap-washed towel, after a shower, NOT patting lightly and moisturizing over too much water – the opposite of the traditional recommendation.)

      I’m not saying some moisturizing ingredients aren’t good or are always going to create these conditions. One of the most lovely soaps I have ever used is the Luxo Banho Creme, which has sweet almond oil in it. But overusing the ingredients – which results in the kinds of products that make the hands feel very moisturized immediately following usage, perhaps to the point that they don’t even feel clean – seems to create the conditions that lead to water loss over time and dry skin. The Luxo Banho – and every soap I have used that I consider the best – leaves the skin feeling clean and normal, not overly moisturized. That’s what I got out of the Tom’s Deodorant, I hope it is still the same. (On the other end of the spectrum, I think soaps can be drying if they saponify too completely and are too alkaline – there’s a couple of products where I believe that’s the case – but that’s just a guess.)

      Sadly, people with dry skin buy the “moisturizing” products which are in turn going to make their dryness worse, and assume it’s about their skin, not the products they are using!

  2. Thanks for such a thorough and detailed reply!

    I think that Toms generally from what I recall does list all their ingredients in the product in that breakdown way where they list each ingredient and then the source/purpose. The deodorant soap probably has changed (seems like they added olive oil and jojoba oil to all their soaps which didn’t have them before).. though perhaps that won’t matter to someone with eczema like you said which is more of a detergent issue i think. I know in the past I have always reacted poorly to olive oil based soaps (very dry and sore skin) and sometimes to coconut (if it is dominant) so I’m thinking that I’ll probably skip the deodorant one cause it gets expensive buying all these soaps. I don’t have eczema, or at least i don’t think i do, though i do occasionally do get small dry skin rashes usually in the winter that come and go. My problem is more of the dry skin variety.

    I have been trying to find something that won’t make my skin so dry and tight. Dove is just terrible for me, the worse, all the versions but especially the sensitive one (that’s how I found your site). I think dove has always been like this for me. I tried Cetaphil bar soap recently and the effect was very dove-like. Very instantly drying. Other very drying ones for me include all the Basis soaps (I notice the vitamin version will give a good effect for a day or two but then get super drying), dial hypoallergenic soap, some seaweed ones, and the few new formula toms of maines ones I’ve tried (which all have the jojoba/olive oil combo). I notice that sodium palmate as the main soap and glycerin seems to work for me but I think I’m sensitive to a lot of the oils or maybe something else in the soap (residual lye?). Perhaps it is some over emollient moisturizing effect as I think you suggest.

    I alternate between a few soaps that seem to be the least drying to me but they all can dry. Those are lever 2000 (this has vaseline in it) and Dial white tea and vitamin e glycerin soap. I picked up the south of france shea butter soap you recommend as an A soap today and it wasn’t bad… very lathering, most lathering soap I have tried. I am going to look into a few of the others that that you recommend that I have easy access to (I have seen the clearly natural ones in a health food store).

    I think I read something earlier on your blog/site about being careful with “hypoallergenic” products and I can relate to this.. I usually use gain laundry detergent which has a heavy fragrance but generally doesn’t seem to bother me much (compared to Tide which would give me rashes and itchy skin). A friend of mine suggested I should try All free and clear which is hypoallergenic (sans dyes and fragrance). So I got it and it was just terrible. I was getting rashes and itchy skin but I didn’t suspect it right away because of the whole hypoallergenic label. Drove me crazy at first. One thing it does have in common with tide is the presence of “stainlifters” which I think may be extra enzymes. Maybe that is the difference in the irritation. I’m back to gain now and the rashes and irritation have settled but I may try something detergent free as you suggest.

    Thanks again for a great site and all the information. I’m going to look over it some more to get up to speed on the detergent and moisturizer topics.


  3. Actually, regarding the two irritating detergents, another similarity they share is that that both of them are “HE” detergents. I’ve been reading some sites were many people are complaining about the HE versions of detergents, with really bad reactions requiring emergency room visits and serious skin problems using very small amounts. I wonder how they make a detergent HE. Is it a weaker detergent or do they add a chemical to chemically lessen suds for the high efficiency machines? On both products the HE symbol is very small and easy to miss or not understand.

    Be nice if these detergent manufacturers could list all the ingredients they use in their products by chemical name instead of vague generic things like enzymes and brighteners etc.

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