If you grew up in a household with men, chances are you would have heard about head-to-toe washing using only a bar of soap. Wait, what? I mean, ugh, I know right! For those of us who are accustomed to facial cleansers, that practice of washing with soap sounds sacrilegious…almost neanderthal even.
But does that bar of soap really deserve all the bad reputation it has been getting over the years? Is this nothing more than a smear campaign by beauty companies to make you splurge your money on luxurious facial cleansers?
Is it okay to wash your face with a bar of soap? That is the million dollar question.
The answer is…
Well, if we are allowed to generalise, the answer would be a BIG FAT NO.
First up, you need to understand this simple science…
In general, many skin types are in the pH range of 5.5. The general pH ranges of soap meanwhile, is in the range between 8 and 10. Washing your face with a soap bar will eventually put your skin in an alkaline state, stripping it of moisture and hydration.
An immediate after effect is that sense of tightness after you wash your face.
Also, it is worth noting that the higher the pH content, the drier your skin feels. In the long term, the dryness and dehydration caused is extremely detrimental to your skin’s overall health and texture.
What are some common detrimental effects?
It has been clinically proven that using bar soap to wash your face can damage the outer protective layer of the skin. This in turn leads to problems such as wrinkles and enlarged pores formation. In more severe cases, it can also cause breakout and skin inflammation. For those with pre-existing acne, it might even aggravate your pimples further!
‘My dad says he has been using a soap bar for years and his skin is just fine’
You know what might change your dad’s mind? Getting him to actually convert to using a proper facial cleanser. The thing about humans is that we can often easily adapt to any situation. If your dad or brother has been washing their face with soap bar since time immemorial, chances are they are too accustomed to that tight sensation. Once they start using a proper cleanser, they might discover a whole new world (where tightness is not a norm)!
What is the best cleanser to use to wash our face then?
Stick to a facial cleanser with a sulphate-free and low-foaming formulation. That would be the most ideal for your skin. Sulphate-based ingredients are drying surfactants that can further worsen that tight sensation after cleansing.
That said, are all bar soaps bad?
There has been an influx of bar soaps with great formulation. These new variety are gentler with some skin-improving benefits such as hydration, soothing and anti-ageing. So to answer the question, not all bar soaps are bad these days. For those with sensitive skin, there’s the Drunk Elephant Juju Bar. Get rid of dead skin with the Fresh Seaberry Exfoliating Soap and L’Occitane Shea Butter Extra Gentle Soap is good for hydration.