If you have a tattoo or body piercing, you have most likely encountered green soap. Named for its naturally occurring yellowish-green hue, it effectively cleans blood and tattoo ink, but is not irritating to the skin. It is strong enough to clean the instruments and tools used during the tattooing process, yet mild enough to be used as a common liquid hand soap.
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Officially known as "tincture of green soap," it is a natural, mild liquid soap made from vegetable oils, glycerine and alcohol. According to The Merriam Webster Dictionary, a tincture is a solution of a medicinal substance in an alcoholic solvent, with the medicinal substance here being the vegetable oils and glycerine. Although it is dye-free, it has a naturally occurring translucent yellowish-green hue and thus has earned the name green soap. It states clearly on its label that it is biodegradable and 100 per cent safe for the environment.
Green soap is very effective in removing and disinfecting fresh or dried blood and tattoo ink from the skin as well as any surgical instruments or tools used during the tatooing process. This soap is also used in the treatment of skin disorders because it is all natural and non-irritating. According to Sanitek.com, it is a 65 per cent soap blend (vegetable oils and glycerine) and 35 per cent isopropanol (alcohol) at 99 per cent strength. The alcohol and oils cleanse the skin and the glycerine acts as an emollient.
The glycerine in green soap has a soothing effect on recently tattooed skin as glycerine acts as an emollient which pulls moisture into the skin. This also counters the drying effect of the alcohol in the soap. Because of green soap's purity and gentleness there is less chance of having a skin reaction after use which is especially beneficial after the irritating and painful effects of tattooing. Green soap is gaining popularity as a general household liquid soap because of these benefits.
Green soap can easily be purchased on-line or at most medical supply companies in concentrated or diluted form. Most tattoo companies buy their green soap in bulk, but it can be purchased in pint and gallon sizes for use in schools and homes. Carefully read the bottle's instructions on whether to dilute or keep in concentrated form and for guidance on storage.
As with any soap, green soap should never be ingested or used internally in any way. It should always be kept out of reach of children and pets. If accidentally ingested, immediately call your local poison control number or 911 for further instructions.
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