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October 1947

ACTION OF SOAP ON THE SKIN: IV. Action of a Soap Containing Little or No Lauric or Oleic Acid

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, and the Massachusetts General Hospital.

Arch Derm Syphilol. 1947;56(4):419-424. doi:10.1001/archderm.1947.01520100015002

IN THE manufacture of soap, fats are chosen which contain either lauric acid or oleic and other unsaturated fatty acids in order that the final soap have satisfactory lathering, cleansing and physical properties. The fatty acid fraction of an average toilet soap usually contains from 11 to 12 per cent lauric acid and 38 to 40 per cent oleic acid and other acids of one double bond.1 A satisfactory soap may be prepared which has more lauric and less oleic acid, such as coconut oil soap, or one which has less lauric and more oleic acid, such as olive oil soap. Gardiner2 and Goldman3 have stated that coconut oil soaps are more irritating to the skin than other soaps, and this is not an uncommon clinical observation. Soaps made from only olive oil have been thought to be relatively nonirritating to the skin. There has been little

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