Why soap is bad for your skin and why you should avoid using it on your face

The skin has a protective surface barrier called the Acid Mantle. It is made up of skin natural oils, sweat and dead cells. In healthy skin, this barrier will protect the skin from bacterial and fungal infection, and excessive moisture loss. The healthy pH balance for the human skin barrier is between 4.5-6.5, ideally around 5pH.

Soap is VERY alkaline, so when you wash your face with it, it upsets/unbalances the pH and the acid mantle, and therefore the skin's natural barrier. When the skin is cleansed with soap, it's stripped of its natural oils. The natural acidity of the acid mantle is unbalanced which can increase the chances of the skin becoming open to various diseases and disorders including increased sensitivity, redness, itching, burning, allergies, excessive dryness, premature aging, blackheads, clogging, congestion and acne. Whatever problems the skin has, cleansing with soap will just make the skin conditions worse.

For correct hygiene and long-term health of the skin, the skin should be cleansed twice a day with an appropriate cleanser suited for your skin type and condition to properly care for it and maintain it in excellent condition. 

I am not a fan of gel/foamy cleansers unless they are used on VERY oily skin, which is mainly in teenage, male skin. Foamy, gel cleansers may feel nice to use but can be very stripping because they often contain alcohol and damaging detergents. If it foams, lathers or bubbles, then it most certainly contains detergents or even alcohol. Even if they are from a natural source, these can be detrimental to the health of the skin if used long-term, or even short-term if used on the wrong skin.

I am also not a fan of high percentage AHA/BHA cleansers used daily and/or long-term. I recommend AHA/BHA cleansers for certain skin conditions that will benefit in the short term to improve such conditions as thickened skin, sun damage, pigmentation, clogging, congestion or acne-prone skin. Where people go wrong is they tend to use the cleansers as a long-term preventative, and ultimately will excessively thin and dry the skin. This will cause damage to the barrier of their skin, predisposing them to allergies, heightened sensitivity to UV, increasing pigmentation, excessive moisture loss, flaking and premature aging. 

The first step in your daily skincare routine is to use the correct cleanser prescribed by a qualified beauty professional for optimum skin health and balance. As your skin's needs change seasonally, have your beauty therapist check your skin every 3 months and adapt the best cleanser for you at that time. 

One last note. As a beauty professional, some clients tell me that they do not have the time to cleanse their skin. Properly caring for the skin takes only seconds, at most one minute every day. I'm sorry to be so blunt, but not making the effort is just plain laziness. It is like telling your dentist you don't have the time to clean and floss your teeth daily. It's like saying you don't have the time to shower daily. Cleansers can be kept in the shower and used while showering, it is as easy as using shampoo on the hair or shower gel on the body. There are no excuses. Your skin will thank you for it in the years to come. 

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The Essential Skincare Guide by Jana Elston

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