Soap is a throwback cleansing product that's now understood to harm skin. Once a staple product in any home, soap should now be relegated to the bathroom bin.
Soap is a sink staple that's always on hand for a quick wash. Soap is fast and easy to use. It's cheap, and it gets the job done.
Soap doubles as a hand and face wash. But there's one big reason why you might not want to take advantage of this dual function.
Why soap makes a bad face cleanser
First, you need to learn a little skin biology. Skin is a vital organ, and just as you couldn't survive without a heart or lungs, you couldn't survive without skin.
Here are some of the things that would happen if your skin malfunctioned:
- Viruses and bacteria would enter your body with minimal effort.
- You'd contract infections easily.
- Your body's hydration levels would decrease, and your biological processes would become impaired—similar to the effects of a hangover.
- Skin would be sensitive to everything you touched, sat on, or wore. Life would hurt!
Thankfully, skin is very good at its job.
Skin has multiple layers and features. One of its most protective features is a protective barrier called the 'acid mantle'. If you haven't heard of the acid mantle before, the concept may sound wacky. Acids, which are associated with burns, sound like the last thing you'd want near your skin.
In fact, skin is acidic. The acidity of a substance is measured on a scale of 0 to 14.
- 0 to 6.9 = acidic
- 7 = neutral
- 7.1 to 14 = alkaline
The skin's acid mantle sits firmly within the acidic bracket at an average measure between 4.2 and 5.5. When skin's pH stays within this bracket, your complexion is healthy, robust, and protected.
When skin's pH is teased towards neutral, skin becomes dry, irritated, and sensitive. This is why taking a long shower or swimming dehydrates skin.
So what does this have to do with using soap?
Why should you use a face cleanser instead of soap?
Soap is alkaline, with a pH often between 9 and 10. When skin is washed with soap, the acid mantle is temporarily disrupted.
It's not just soap that's to blame. Several other personal care products with pH levels unmatched to skin have the same effect.
Over time, skin's pH levels will restore on their own. Healthy skin can re-acidify within a few hours after use of alkaline treatments such as soap. However, this ability to repair is slowed with regular use of soaps, eventually leading to dryness and irritation.
You should use a face cleanser in place of soap, as cleansers work just as effectively but within a pH range similar to that of your skin.
Switch your soap for one of our Adore Beauty favourite facial cleansers:
- PRIORI Facial Cleanser With Idebenone, perfect for mature skin
- ClarinsMen Exfoliating Cleanser 2 in 1, ideal for younger skin
- Aesop Fabulous Face Cleanser, great for reversing soap damage and balancing pH
If you've been using bar soap for years and have recently experienced irritation, you may find our Ultimate Guide to Sensitive Skin helpful. Our trained team of skincare experts are also available to help you find effective products that relieve sensitive skin. Contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 03 9486 7179.