First thing I want to clarify is this, ALL soaps are drying to the skin!! It's science, due to the surface environments of your skin and soap being completely opposite. The challenging part is finding a soap bar that will not dry your skin out too much! Every soap bar is different and we all have different skin types, so there is no universal soap bar that will produce the same results for everyone. I know you have probably heard many different myths and theories about soap, what works and what doesn't work, so today let’s get a few things clear.
1. Surfactant..... the sebum killer!
What is a surfactant? Surfactant molecules contain a lipophilic(fat-loving) end that attaches grease, dirt, and a hydrophilic(water-loving) end which makes the molecule dissolve in water. The surfactant molecules attaches itself to the sebum on top of the skin, removing dirt from the surface. Well the surfactants do an awesome job of removing the dirt and oil from the skin, but the downside is... it strips the skin's natural oils as well. This is why "too much washing" can be just as damaging to the skin than not washing at all. You don't want to "over wash" your face, excessive washing can dry out the skin completely. You have to give your skin enough time to replenish its natural oils. This is really important because the sebum forms a barrier of protection around the skin and if that barrier is compromised, it can expose your body to harmful substances causing more serious damage.
2. Soap is more Alkaline!
Remember the surface environments? Most soaps usually have a pH level of 9-12, which is extremely higher than your skin's pH level. Healthy skin pH level should fall between 4.2-5.6. When skin is healthy it can effectively perform its function of protection. Skin with a healthy pH, can protect itself from bacteria, maintain hydration, and rapidly heal. But skin pH levels more neutral or alkaline causes skin to lose its abilities to be healthy. Our skin is slightly acidic due to the skin acid mantle that we have as a protection barrier to keep foreign objects from entering the body. So we definitely want to make sure that we're utilizing healthy skincare practices to help maintain optimal skin health!
Now that we understand the connection between soap and dry skin, how do you avoid it? First the most important task is finding the right bar for your skin, this may take some time so... BE PATIENT!!!! Once you have found the lucky bar use it as needed. And I say that lightly because too much washing can dry the skin out as well. So we want to make sure that the soap is causing the dryness and not excessive washing. Try using a castile soap bar or a pure olive oil bar. Olive oil is very moisturizing to the skin and will less likely cause dryness. Make sure that you're using a moisturizer on your face and body. Moisturizers help to keep the skin soft, hydrated, and protected.
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