If you use soap then you are a lye user, therefore a LYER, but hey, everyone needs to be clean! For those companies that claim to sell lye free soap, they are LIARS! There is no such thing as lye free soap. First, what exactly is lye? A caustic soda also known as sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide that is actually natural. Sodium hydroxide is used to make bars of soap and potassium hydroxide is used to make liquid soap.
Lye can be naturally derived by leaching alkalis from hardwood ashes. For the full process you can visit http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Lye. This process has been around since 2800 B.C when Babylonians boiled wood ash and fat together making soap for cleaning and medicinal purposes. Most lye used today is man made, however does have the same properties as the natural version. Man made lye comes in many varieties such as pellets, granules or powder, but all are dangerous and when mixed with a liquid become extremely hot and create noxious fumes.
To make soap, lye is used in either a cold process or hot process using lye water and fats. When combined, the saponification process begins, breaking the bonds of the triglycerides, forcing the fatty acid and glycerin in the fats apart in order for the alkali in the lye to form a new bond. Once saponification is complete and the soap is fully cured there is no active lye left that would cause skin irritation.
The most common soap that claims to be lye free is glycerin, but that is a LYE LIE. Glycerin is a by-product of the cold or hot soap making process which uses lye, therefore glycerin is not lye free.
So basically being a lyer is a good thing and lye itself has many benefits in our daily lives to stay clean and healthy so stop worrying!
FUN FACT: Lye is used in the Meal Ready to Eat (MRE) packs for our soldiers. For their food to be nice and hot on the go they place a food pouch into the provided plastic bag with a lye infused pad, pour water to the fill line and set aside. Within minutes the meal is hot and ready to eat!