Bar soaps are one of the most familiar sights in the personal care section of every store. Grocery stores, pharmacies, and even neighborhood mom & pop shops carry different brands, all promising thorough body cleanliness. It’s one of the biggest personal care staples out there, and used pretty much every day. You probably have one or two in your bathroom right now!
Despite their near-constant presence on store shelves and their general effectiveness when it comes to getting rid of dirt, they’re not considered the best choice for our skin.
Below, we get into why you should ditch ordinary bar soap, and what you can use instead:
WHAT’S IN TRADITIONAL BAR SOAPS?
Traditional bar soaps are formulated with surfactants, and not much else; these work to remove dirt and oil from our skin, and are fairly effective in that regard. However, the ingredients that go into a common bar of soap can actually cause skin dehydration.
You know that squeaky-clean and tight feeling your skin gets after washing? We’re all so used to it, and typically attribute it to us “just being clean”... however, that’s actually the extremely drying result of using an alkaline product! Common bar soaps have a high pH level (pH 9 is fairly common), while the natural pH level of our skin is in the neutral-to-acid range (pH 5.5).
Using something that caustic daily strips your skin of natural moisture and can lead to redness, breakouts, and skin irritation. Some surfactants used in common bar soaps also weaken the skin’s natural barrier, thereby making it more vulnerable to bacteria and irritants.
TRADITIONAL SOAP BARS VS. SPECIALTY SOAP BARS
Thanks to science, soap bars have evolved; common squeaky-clean soaps are still around, of course, but there are now options that are better for the skin!
Specialty soap bars are formulated to cater to different skin skin types and skin needs. Made with gentler surfactants and formulated to match the skin’s pH, they effectively remove dirt without the alkaline skin damage. These new soap bars are specially formulated to help the skin retain moisture while exfoliating, or to boost the skin barrier’s moisture levels to support skin healing for various conditions.
If you have sensitive or dry skin, you may want to make the switch and experience the positive results for yourself — if your skin could talk, it’ll probably thank you!
CARING FOR YOUR NEW SOAP BARS
Finally scored your new skin-friendly soap? Awesome! However, your outstanding new bar WILL melt away in record time if you don’t keep it properly.
Here are some simple tips to prevent that:
• Keep it dry. Yes, soap obviously gets wet when we use it. What we mean here is proper storage. Place it away from the water or shower stream as much as you can, and use a soap dish with holes to drain water after use.
• Use a washcloth. You’re bound to use less soap than usual with the help of a washcloth or loofah, as it will help the product lather up better. Much more effective than your hands, trust us!
• Cut it into pieces. Use the segment you trimmed off, and set aside the rest! This helps you avoid wetting the entire full-sized bar, which can result in it melting much faster than it otherwise would. Cutting it into halves or thirds should do the trick.
Just because something’s been used practically forever, doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for your skin. Knowing better is always the first step to treating your skin the way it deserves!