PONCE de LEON — At first Rob Carreiro, resident of Ponce de Leon, created his own soap to improve his quality of life but then it grew into a passion grew as he found out that he could not only help himself but he could help others.
“After a history of battling with skin care and trying to figure out ways to improve my skin’s condition, I formed a company in 2012 called Whiteoakorganics,” said Carreiro. “It’s my second time around after a successful 27-year career in the military and during my Air Force tenure, I had been issued every cream and steroid possible to clear uppsoriasis and eczema. Nothing worked and the more I read, the more intrigued I was over the health of my skin.”
During the course of his studies in skin care he said he came across a chimical called sodium lauryl sulfate that seemed to appear in the list of ingredients for most daily body products and hair care.
“I found that many of the commercial producers use this chemical as a lathering, foaming agent and this tricky chemical gives one the optical illusion that the product works wonders on your skin and hair because of its luxurious lather, however, it’s really stripping the skin of all natural moisture,” he said.
“Sodium lauryl sulfate is actually used as a degreaser, which shows you how strong and powerful this chemical can be. Many are fooled, as they think it leaves their skin squeaky clean but most of the natural glycerin is stripped from commercially produced soap and, thus the moisturizing is removed as well.”
He explained that for many people, dry skin can be a common problem and the soaps commonly used by the average consumer “may very well be the quiet culprit.”
After switching to natural and organic soap, he said his skin no longer requires a “bevy of prescription ointments and fancy creams.”
“I have switched all of my skin care to organic and natural items wherever possible and for me, it’s been a rewarding change with gratifying results,” said Carreiro.
The goal with White Oak Organics is to “rally people around a healthy change” in how they take care of their skin.
He said to imagine your skin and hair as a sponge and that “everything you put on your skin and scalp is absorbed right into your body.”
In the long run, using an inexpensive set of chemicals and fillers that hurt your skin rather than help it can become a long-term problem, he said.
“Some people might ask why anyone would pay extra money for natural or organic soap and the answer is simple: add up the cost of mass-produced soap and dry skin lotion and you’ll be surprised,” he said. “Switching to natural or handmade soap may not cure everyone’s skin problems but it will certainly improve the skin’s quality and texture over time. We’ve had children use our products with eczema and their parents talk accolades; the improvement is notable.”
After time he said he came up with “a winning recipe” for solid lotion body bars, starting specifically for one woman he met at a festival.
“This was one of the worst cases of psoriasis I had ever seen and embarrassed by her skin, she waited until everyone at the booth had walked away, came over and asked if there was anything we could do to help her,” said Carreiro. “At the time, I was producing only soap but I took her address, headed home and hand-crafted a new bar. The challenge put on the table was to help this woman and others with the same skin condition.”
The innovation he found was that most of the creams he used for his psoriasis contained citric acid in some form and he explained that most of the lotion bars he and his family make contain natural and organic shea, mango and horsetail butters with vitamin E and carrieroil.
“I could hardly wait to mail them to her,” he said. “It may not have cured the psoriasis, but the result was gratifying. The elasticity of her skin marked a big improvement and with a few applications, our lotion bar slowed down the stretching and cracking of her skin. She was happy to report that she finally had some relief.”
That was just one of the many usages he found for his soaps. He added that many costumers use their soaps as aromatherapy, placing the bars under the sheets at the foot of the bed for restless leg syndrome.
“Although I can’t make this claim to fame, if it works, why not lay back and enjoy the moment,” said Carreiro. “Feedback keeps pouring in on our Florida Sunrise Soap and the fight against acne. We can tout our Orange essential oil as the winning ingredient and we’re happy to report it never strips natural moisture from the skin.”
He said his main love with his line of products is that he loves to help people.
“Like shoemaker’s children, we create natural and organic solutions that make people happy with their skin,” said Carreiro. “Making soap lets me tune into a variety of oils and I get to work wonders with my hands every day. We’re passionate about our products. Handmade soap has been around for many years and many people have shared family stories and recipes with us and in turn, we get to share back.”
Carreiro has taken his passion on the road, visiting fairs and festivals as a vendor, with Bonifay’s Down Home Street Festival being his latest stop.
“We just finished the Bonifay Down Home Street Festival and met so many wonderful people,” he said. “Now that’s what I call the true labor of love, seeing new faces and some of our regulars join back at the booth for a bar of soap — and not just any soap, that of White Oak Organics.”
For more information visit his website at www.whiteoakorganics.com or visit his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/whiteoakorganics.