I am going to reiterate firmly that a well made soap contains NO lye! Yes, that is so. What it does contain is whatever fragrance a maker chooses, any other additives, nice sodium salts formed from the reaction of the NaOH (lye) with the choice of fatty acids used, a trace amount of unsaponified fatty acids, some water more or less depending on the amount used initially, and some good glycerin! So what else is lye used for? How about hair relaxers and bio diesel? Pretzel and bagel washes? Mmmm. I love bagels! I especially loved the bagel I ate at Sully Steamers in Greenville SC. Lye is also used to chemically peel certain vegetables, and in the making of hominy. I despise nasty whole hominy, but I do love grits. This is just a list of a few things that good old NaOH takes part in. Oh yes, it has been maligned and abused as well. It has been used in vicious attacks on innocent human beings, and in the manufacturing of unsavory illegal substances. It is not something to be handled without caution. If NaOH is mixed with the wrong things, it can result in nasty things.
I have occasionally been a trifle incautious and have some shirts with itty bitty holes due to tiny droplets of very raw soap mixture splashing! I usually try to remember my apron, and I NEVER forget my gloves and eye protection.
Here is some cool stuff: _