Bath time can be miserable for little ones with eczema – stinging skin combined with freedom to have a good old scratch before being dried can make it plain uncomfortable.
The chemicals in shop-bought soap can irritate and inflame eczema rashes and the usual go to “make bath time fun” additives like bubble bath and colour changing salts are a complete no no.
Here at ScratchSleeves we like to give eczema children choices, just because they have sore skin doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have fun PJs, hence consulting with Max, Zoe and Finn to create the Superhero range. In the same way, bathtime should be fun for everyone and what better way to encourage them into the water than with their own handmade soap. Using good quality aromatherapy oils – available from most health food shops and of course online – can soothe your child’s skin rather than making it worse. If opting for essential oils like lavender, rose or juniper you only need to use about 15ml. In this post though we are going to give you the recipe for coconut soap. Please note we do not recommend the use of synthetic food colouring to make your soap pretty as it could contain irritants for sensitive skin.
Ingredients for coconut soap
- 930ml of coconut oil
- 14 ml of optional essential oils
- 350 ml of water
- 167 ml of lye (caustic soda and sodium hydroxide, readily available online)
- Dried soy milk (optional)
- Finely ground oats (only if you want a mild, exfoliating soap)
- PH test strip
- Stick blender
- Small glass bowls
- Rubber spatula
- Sink or bowl filled with vinegar and soap mixture (to clean anything that comes into contact with lye)
- Soap mould (if you haven’t got one of these, a bread pan will be fine)
- Parchment paper to line the mould
- Slow cooker
- Plastic spoon with a long handle
Making the eczema soap
Firstly, weigh all the ingredients and set the slow cooker to low. Then add the water to a medium-sized glass or ceramic bowl and take it outside. Wear rubber gloves and pour the lye into the water carefully, while taking care not to breathe in the vapours. The mixture will heat up and turn cloudy. Wait for it to turn clear and then bring it back inside the house.
Leave the lye and water to cool for 10 minutes while you heat the saucepan to 50°C and use your thermometer to check the temperature. Put all the coconut oil into the slow cooker and add the lye mixture. Use the stick blender to make a thick yoghurt consistency. Cover the mixture and cook on low for around 45 minutes to one hour. The oils will rise up and fold back into the mixture, but make sure you keep a close eye on it.
The soap is ready when it looks a bit like Vaseline with no gloopy oily bits. With your PH test strip, dip it into the mixture and wait a few minutes. If it is between 7 and 10 it’s done, but if it’s higher than 10 it’s not done. If you don’t have a PH strip then rub a bit of the soap between your fingers. If it feels waxy then that’s good, but if you put it on your tongue and it feels zingy then it’s not done!
***WARNING: Be very careful – make sure all the lye is converted into the mixture otherwise the soap will burn.
If you want to add essential oils then wait for the mixture to cool and add them, otherwise they will lose their scent.
Spoon the mixture into the mould and let it cool by placing in the fridge. However, coconut soap bars are hard to cut, so cut it as soon as it’s cool and firm. Place the soap bars on a rack in a room with good ventilation. Make sure they have about an inch of space between them and let them harden for a few days. You will get the best results if you let them sit for 2 to 3 weeks, but you can use them beforehand!
If stored in a cool dry place the bars will last up to a year. We hope you enjoy!!