What is sodium cocoate and why is it in my skincare products?

Sodium Cocoate is a surfactant (cleanser) that is made by combining coconut oil with sodium hydroxide to create soap, other cleansers and surfactants. While it sounds like a confusing chemical, it’s a natural ingredient chosen for use in skincare for its safety because it is less irritating, non-toxic and natural.

  1. Does the coconut oil (sodium cocoate) in Truly Clear Cause Acne?

    When skincare enthusiasts hear the words coconut oil used in the same sentence as acne treatment the result is usually confusion.  Coconut oil is generally considered to be a comedogenic (causes acne) ingredient. Truly Clear's base is made with sodium cocoate which is not the same as coconut oil, MCT or other coconut based oils.  Sodium cocoate is formed by mixing coconut oil with sodium hydroxide (lye), which causes a chemical reaction called “saponifocation”, and voila you have the base of a soap. True soaps are made by combining a fat/oil and lye, the skin drying bars that have a bad reputation for your skin are actually closer to your laundry detergent than a real bar of soap. Truly Clear is a real bar of soap made with natural fats and botanical acne fighting ingredients and a few essential acne killers like salicylic acid. 

  2. How do I know if an ingredient is comedogenic?

    When evaluating ingredients to gauge if they're noncomedogenic or not, there are a few key factors to consider:

    The FDA does not define a list of ingredients that need to be excluded for a product to use the term “noncomedogenic.” In fact, this is not a defined or regulated term at all.  Therefore, any company can make the claim that its product is noncomedogenic and still comply with FDA guidelines.

    There is no definitive test for comedogenic reactions to ingredients.  The standard in testing has been the rabbit's ear test.  Where a compound is tested inside of the ear of a rabbit for reaction (Truly Clear IS NOT tested on animals nor are its ingredients) but there is no pass or fail, surefire way to label an ingredient as acne causing or not. 

    Whether an ingredient is comedogenic or not is defined by the skin its being applied to and not an existing authority.  While there are ingredients that are widely accepted as acne causing, not all skin responds the same.  Some skin is more sensitive to ingredients than others.  Some skin textures thrive on ingredients that can cause breakouts in others.  The key is to know your skin and learn what can trigger your own breakouts.