Is Soap Really Bad For Your Skin?

The long time debatable question is whether bar soap is actually bad for the skin. Unfortunately, the answer is both yes and no.

Bar soap or liquid soap, it actually doesn’t matter much. Over the years bar soap has gotten a bad reputation for all sorts of things while liquid soap hasn’t fared much better when it comes to skincare. Perhaps the most popular one is the (now debunked) myth that bar soap harbors harmful bacteria. There are however several variables that do matter a lot and determine whether or not your soap is only cleaning your skin or destroying it.

The first factor to consider is your skin type. Some people have oily skin while others have dry skin, sensitive skin, “normal” skin or a hybrid. The type of skin someone has is a huge factor in determining whether their soap of choice is beneficial or harmful to their skin. It is very much possible to use a quality soap that is detrimental to your skin simply because of your skin type.

The second factor is the soap itself (duh!). The acidic level of the soap (its pH) is the number one determinant of the quality of the soap. If the soap has a higher pH then it will damage the protective outer layers of the skin and induce inflammation. Lower quality soap can also strip away the highly protective natural skin oils to the point where the skin becomes thoroughly dry and flaky. This extensive drying will trigger excessive oil production in the skin which then leads to acne breakouts. To make matters worse, removing those important skin oils can worsen wrinkles!

But not all soaps are bad. There are a couple things to consider when selecting one and it comes down to the ingredient composition relative to skin type & the soap having a neutral pH.  If you have normal skin, then the best soap of choice would be one containing glycerin. For those with dry skin it is important to look for moisturizing soaps. Sensitive skin fares the best with natural ingredients (rather than artificial chemicals) and responds quite well to vitamin E.

So in conclusion, there isn't a black and white answer (as is usually the case). Identifying the right soap for your skin type is the difference between productive skincare and destructive skincare. 

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