Q: “When I use regular soap in the shower my skin feels dry and itchy. How can I get clean without getting itchy skin?”
A: Most soap, especially bar soaps dry the skin out. Dr. Oz says that “soap can remove the natural oils produced by glands as natural protection for your skin and can leave it feeling dry and itchy.” The protective layer of outer skin is held together by lipids, fatty compounds that naturally moisturize the skin.
The main ingredient in most soap is lye, a product derived from burned wood ash and combined with other products in a process called sapponation. In it’s natural state lye is a toxic cleaner used for metal cleaning . When it is made into soap for human use it must be aged to let the toxins escape and morph into the product we know.
The soap itself has no cleaning properties as such, it is the soapy lather that removes contaminates from the skin and traps bacteria and debris.
The general recommendation for the use of soap is, when you are not sweaty or dirty, apply a mild cleanser to armpits, genitals, hands and feet only. Avoid using abrasive, drying or irritating soaps, since they might lead to breakouts or dry, flaky skin. The American Academy of Family Physicians suggest switching to hypoallergenic, unscented bath soaps and laundry detergents and if you use a deodorant soap us it only on body parts that can develop odor, such as armpits, genitals and feet.
Studies have shown that emollient rich cleansers dry the skin out the least and add moisture to the skin. Limit showers to under 15 minutes and use warm water, not hot. Hot water dissolves the lipids faster hastening the drying process. Towel dry gently, not vigorously with a soft towel and use a water based moisturizer to capture the moisture in the skin. Avoid any products with petrolatum or petroleum as they seal the skin but do not moisturize it.
The skin on your face is particularly sensitive to irritants and ordinary soap can leave it looking dull, dry and old. The normal pH of the skin is between 5.0 and 5.6, making it between the acidic and neutral range. The alkaline nature of soap is not good for the face, drying it out and producing wrinkles. The proper pH of the skin protects it, killing bacteria and keeping it healthy. Dryness and dehydration causes the development of fine lines which will turn into wrinkles.
Bottom line, use a liquid moisturizing cleanser or soap with glycerin. Wash with soap no more than once a day, and only the parts that need it, with warm, not hot water. Pat dry with a soft towel or air dry, and follow up with a good moisturizer that doesn’t clog the pores.
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- Saturday, 11 August 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Ask Madalyn