Our largest organ is actually our skin, and it’s a pretty important one too as it plays an integral role in keeping us healthy. Our skin shields us from bacteria and viruses that cause diseases and also regulate our body temperature to keep our other organs working well.
So, it goes without saying that keeping our skin in top condition is absolutely vital in maintaining our overall health.
Now, keeping our skin healthy is pretty straight forward – all we need to do is to wash away the dirt and keep our skin clean and fresh. You might think that a bar of soap is all that you need, but what if I told you that soap might actually be doing you more harm than good?
Destroying Skin’s Natural Oil Barrier & pH Level
While soaps are great at cleaning dirt and oil off your skin, its just too good at it. This is why over the years, we have moved away from washing our sensitive facial skin with bar soap to specialised facial cleansers that are milder and maybe even soap free.
Conventional body washes and soaps are made by mixing fat or oil with a strong alkali such as lye. And this can really affect our skin’s pH. Normal skin pH levels are around 5.5, but conventional soaps have a pH value of around 9 to 11. When the skin’s pH level is too high, it will cause the skin to produce excess sebum in an attempt to restore its natural pH levels. Your skin may then end up becoming too oily.
Besides that, soap residue can also strip the skin’s protective layer of oils and beneficial bacteria, causing the outer skin layer to be damaged and unable to retain moisture efficiently. This will cause dryness, itching, irritation, inflammation and can worsen skin conditions such as acne, eczema and dermatitis.
Artificial Fragrances & Other Harsh Chemicals
Another issue with conventional soap is the heavy used of artificial fragrances and other harsh chemicals in its formulation. From green tea to roses, you can just about find any fragrance of soap you want at your local supermarket, but while it might leave you smelling nice, is it really good for your skin?
Most of these artificial fragrances are made with harmful chemicals that often have pretty bad side effects when used in the long-term. Conventional soaps may also include other harsh chemicals like steroids, parabens, preservatives, SLS, colourants, fragrances and mineral oils, just to improve its consistency, lather and shelf life.
Some experts have weighed in and say that water is all we really need to keep clean. If you haven’t been in touch with dirt, grease or sweating heavily, water can be sufficient to wash away a day’s accumulation of dirt. However, going completely away from cleansers can be very hard to do, especially since we’re all so used to feeling of fresh skin.
If you find it hard to just use water to keep yourself clean, we would recommend the use of milder cleansers like decyl glucoside.
Most commonly used in baby shampoos and washes, decyl glucoside is an all-natural plant-derived cleansing agent that is able to provide your skin a great wash while ensure maximum gentleness on the skin.
Another alternative to conventional soaps is oil cleansing. While it might seem strange to use oil to clean your skin, this type of product is fast gaining popularity as a facial cleanser as it is able to trap dirt and dead skin cells without disrupting your skin’s natural oil barrier. And newer oil-based cleansers are also formulated to produce some lather when it gets wet so it can easily rinse off without damaging your skin or leaving an oily residue.