There are a lot of opinions about handmade soap and natural products which, in turn, may cause a lot of confusion. Claims about neutral pH, triple milled soap, unnatural vs . natural and more, all seem to be rampantly spread and accepted as "truth". In the end, I suppose it is my|healthcare professional|personal|my own, personal|search terms|my own , personal|medical professional|published|health care provider|my business|all of my|of my|excellent|my own personal|keyword phrases|a|offered|economical|day-to-day|web page} turn to spread my opinion about handmade soap, in an attempt to "balance the teeter-totter of public opinion".
So what is good about handmade (cold process) soap? Handmade cold process soap, when made properly, is one of the great blessings to the skin. Even the cheapest of base oil ingredients can make a wonderful soap that will pamper your skin. This is mostly because of the glycerine content and the absence of free alkali (talked about later). There is also "melt and pour soap" which is a commercially made soap base which usually contains much less of the "good stuff" and often synthetic chemicals and preservatives. Also, melt and pour soap soap is made in a similar way common manufactured soaps, so their benefit is minimalized. Therefore , always look for the keywords "handmade cold process soap" to be sure you are getting the good stuff.
Before I continue I should define glycerine which was mentioned before. Glycerine is a natural bi-product of oil when it is transformed into soap. Glycerine is a common ingredient in lotion and is a humectant (draws moisture to itself and helps to soften skin). Many commercial soap makers extract this glycerine from the soap (logically, since it interferes with their soap process) and adds some back in later. With handmade soap (cold process that is), all the glycerine remains in the soap, since their is no need to remove it. Therefore the glycerine content is high and your skin benefits.
Alkali (aka Sodium Hydroxide/ Lye) is the chemical needed to make soap. Without getting to complicated, this is an extreme "base" (oposite of acid) which, when added to oil, makes soap. The more alkali that is used, the higher the pH. Generally the pH of soap is between 8 and 10, which is safe. The problem with many soaps on the grocery store shelves isn't the pH, as many would suggest, it is the free alkali in the soap. This is why grandma's soap was so harsh, and one reason why most commercial soaps are so harsh. When cold process soap is made properly, there are no free alkali left in the soap, thus a mild soap.
Go to the sabunparas.com for further detail about Soap.