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Dermatology Glossary


Cleansing History

Today many people use the term “soap” to refer to any cleaning agent regardless of its chemistry.

Traditionally soap is a simple combination of fats, oils and salt with a history stretching back to the ancient Romans. In fact, the word “detergent” is derived from “to wipe off” in Latin.

Soaps as we know them were first used about 600 BC by the Phoenicians who combined goat fat, water and potassium carbonate ash to form a solid soap.

More recently, in 1878, Harley Procter developed a new type of soap in collaboration with his cousin, James Gamble. They whipped air into a solution and created Ivory Soap, a product still sold today.