Mild Cleanser HOME
Mild Cleanser - Your Source for Complete Skin Cleansing Information.
Skin Care Guide Canada
Mild Cleanser About Us Skin Care Guide Network Mild Cleanser .CA Site Map

 

Dermatology Glossary

 

The Disadvantages of Soap

Soap is the simplest type of surface-active agent - surfactant - and works by making fat and oil water-soluble and easily removed by wiping or washing. Made from fatty acid salts, soaps clean by reducing the surface tension of your skin with anionic agents such as carboxylate, sulfonate and sulfate ions which are potenial irritants.

At one time, it was thought soaps caused irritation by removing only fat from the outermost layer of the skin, but research indicates that soaps damage affects both the fat and protein structures of this top layer. This can cause unpleasant skin reactions and lead to a rougher skin texture. More bad news: the soap salts that emulsify dirt and oil are by nature alkaline and will raise the skinís acidic pH as well as provoke swelling of the skin surface. Some studies have shown long-term use of a neutral or alkaline surfactant, such as soap, can increase the amount of bacteria on the skin, while swelling can lead to cellular damage or even breakage. Soap salts can also remove natural moisturizing factors and disrupt the skinís protective barrier. The fatty acids in soap can have harmful effects too, by plugging follicles (pores) and causing acne.

Soaps may also contain fragrance (often to mask the strong odours of surfactants) and sometimes dyes or pigments. These ingredients can be irritating for people with sensitive skin.