If you have already been in a'apothecary, you have certainly touched / felt / used a soap. You know this little rectangular thing that foams and smells good. Have you ever asked yourself, "What is a soap?" If you have already gone to a pharmacy, you have probably traveled the department body cleanser... where there are more 1000 choices of liquid, creamy, bar, wipe, gel cleaners. Have you ever asked yourself "What's the difference?" If you sometimes read beauty blogs and keep yourself up to date on trends, you've certainly heard about Soap without soap.
Indeed, it is very complex all this ... and that is why we will simplify everything for you! What is important to understand is that the primary purpose of a cleanser is to remove sebum residues, bacteria and dirt. No matter its shape, smell or price. It seems obvious, but in this complicated cosmetic world, it is better to remember. Cleaners are built for the majority on the same basis. What changes, these are the ingredients used to constitute this base.
The crucial component is the surfactant used. In addition to cleaning, it is mainly him who is responsible for the softness of the product. Some surfactants are softer than others and should therefore be preferred. The soap in bar (or bread) is super nice, it makes vintage, it foams, it generally smells good, but it is the majority of the time, too irritating. The problem is that its content is very alkaline. Its pH is generally between 8 and 10 (while the skin has a pH of about 5.5) and its use increases that of the skin and irritates its protective barrier.
The cleaning bars wanted to solve the problem by removing from their product the ingredients that made the soap too alkaline and by changing the manufacturing process. It was a great idea! The problem is that the majority uses to keep the cleanser in the form of bar, ingredients that are irritating, in addition to being difficult to flush. Personally, I stay away from bar soaps, except to decorate or leave a good smell in the bathroom. However, it is a choice that I make, and I respect certain members of my family who persist in using them!
There are finally the cleaners that are not in bars. Whether in gel, liquid, cream, foam, their principle is the same. Although some use highly irritating surfactants, their manufacturing process does not directly lead to a high pH, which is ideal for the skin. After all, it's all about taste. It should be borne in mind, however, that foaming agents are generally irritating and fragrances also. Again, I personally use a facial cleanser that is very soft and fragrance free. As for the body cleanser, let me take one that contains a slight fragrance ... everything is a matter of balance!
- Baumann, Leslie. Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients. McGraw-Hill Education. Kindle edition.
- Corazza M, Lauriola MM, Zappaterra M, et al. Surfactants, skin cleansing protagonists. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2010; 24: 1.