It is a pain to have pain. Treating it often requires a variety of approaches. Kim McCarthy’s own back pain galvanized her on a path to bring relief to herself and to others. Her fledgling business, South Bay Soapworks, offers an amazing anti-inflammatory balm in the form of cream or a serum. Her products are made with organic, fair-trade ingredients and they contain no synthetics. Both products add to her line of handcrafted soaps.

McCarthy lives with scoliosis. Ordinarily, the spine runs straight down the middle. With scoliosis, the backbone runs to the side. A fall from a truck two years ago resulted in increased back pain and inflammation for McCarthy. Two of her discs protrude and there are annular tears (rips in the exterior of the intervertebral disc) and she wanted a topical to rub into her skin for relief.

South Bay Soap
Small batches of soap are created with essential oils and set in wooden frames by South Bay Soapworks owner, Kim McCarthy.

Being health-minded, Kim hoped to find something free from toxic chemicals and artificial ingredients. Unfortunately, many common household cleaners and skin products have neurotoxins. “I wanted to create something beneficial,” explained Kim. Her own products would be free of harmful ingredients and additives.

Striving for optimal health and quality, Kim went to work on making her own balm. After developing and experimenting with a variety of materials, Kim has perfected an anti-inflammatory cream with forty-one ingredients and twenty-three essential oils. It also comes in a serum, which is travel friendly and shelf stable. This means it lasts quite nicely in your cabinet. The cream is best kept refrigerated.

I was introduced to South Bay Soapworks’ anti-inflammatory cream at Susan Rosen and Associates. Owner Susan Rosen, who has been helping me keep my body in tip-top shape for years, used the anti-inflammatory cream during one of my treatments. I tend to get tight and sore in my neck and upper back. The balm was an excellent addition to my typical regimen. I knew that Susan was particular about everything she used on her clients.

Kim McCarthy
The coffee cake soap looks good enough to eat. Feed it to your skin!

We hear a lot about inflammation these days and it all sounds bad. Actually, inflammation is the body’s immune system response to heal after injuries, to repair damaged tissue and to protect against invaders such as viruses and bacteria. This is definitely a good thing. The challenges come when the underlying causes are not addressed and when the inflammation becomes chronic.

Our skin is our largest organ, making it a perfect conduit for delivering relief to underlying pain and swelling. The question then becomes, “What is safe and effective?” South Bay Soapworks gives you an option. “I’ve always wanted to help people,” said McCarthy. And, she wants that help to be affordable. Her customers have found relief for joint and muscle pain, age-related stiffness and headaches, to name a few.

The anti-inflammatory creams are an addition to her line of soaps, which are also made with organic, fair-trade ingredients. A year ago, Kim started giving her soaps away as gifts. Friends encouraged her to expand production in order for others to use them. The dozen or so varieties alternate throughout the year, reflecting the season. This fall, you will find scents like orange spice and coffee. The peppermint sea salt is great for shaving. Her soaps are moisturizing and some are also exfoliating.

Southbay Soapworks
South Bay Soapworks’ products are available at the Eastside Urban Farm & Garden Center.

Soon she will be launching a cucumber face tonic that I was lucky enough to test. It is refreshing and toning. Bring the Northwest into your bathroom with Aaron’s Evergreen Soap that contains Douglas fir, blue spruce and Leland cyprus. Products often carry the name of a family member. The Cami Peach Carrot soap is named after her mom. Her favorite soap is the Red King Carrot because, as she says, “It feels so amazing on my skin.” One moisturizing ingredient is aloe vera.

McCarthy lives with her husband and daughter in the South Bay area. Their family includes a dog Barley, a cat Gizzy and a few backyard chickens. At this time, Kim is the CEO, CFO, developer, marketer, producer, shipper, public relations officer and janitor of her business. “I am growing the business penny by penny,” said Kim. Her dedication to bringing healthful relief is our good fortune. The cream supports your healing injuries or eases chronic conditions like rheumatism or arthritis.

It took me a while to realize I wanted to select my skin care the same way I choose the food I eat. I prefer to eat real, whole food as much as possible. I like organic, free trade and local when possible. I am also environmentally concerned. I love it when I can get what I want made by someone right here in town.

You can send Kim a message on her Facebook page if you have questions or want to place an order or call her at 360-790-4525. You can also find some of South Bay Soapworks products at the South Bay Market, the Eastside Urban Farm & Garden Center and at Susan Rosen and Associates.

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