Wash Your Face
Just Don't Use Soap
Soap isn’t the best way to cleanse your skin. It can dry out your skin and cause acne, and it also often contains harmful ingredients. We aren't just talking about traditional bar soap, but also gels and foaming soaps. To find the right cleanser to wash your face, you need to consider the ingredients, PH level, form and what the product was formulated to cleanse (i.e., body wash probably isn’t the best choice for your face).
Many soaps include harmful ingredients known as either a carcinogen or as disruptors of internal body functions such as hormones. Some of the most common dangerous ingredients in soaps include Parabens (preservatives often used in soaps, common types include methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) a synthetic detergent and surfactant and Triclosan which is a pesticide with antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Retire Soap to Wash Your Face
- Many soaps are made with a very high PH level which can destroy skin’s natural outer protective layer, leaving skin exposed, inflamed and unprotected. A lack of the protective layer means skin has no barrier protecting it against many of the things it is exposed to regularly including bacteria and pollution.
- Soap is super drying. According to Dr. Mona Gohara's Good Housekeeping article, “The Worst Thing You Can Do to Your Skin”:
[Soaps] "strip away our natural oils leading to rough, flaky, and itchy skin," says Dr. Roopal Kundu, associate professor of dermatology at Northwestern University School of Medicine.
Overdrying skin with soap is problematic if your skin is already dry or you have a skin condition such as eczema because soap can make it worse. Most cleansers formulated for the face are creamier or softer, gentle and more moisturizing. Over dry skin causes wrinkles, fine lines and pores to stand out and skin to become flaky and dull, exaggerating an aged look.
Good Housekeeping goes on to give some sage advice when selecting a cleanser:
“Remember not all soaps are bars, and not all bars are soaps. When scoping out a new cleanser, look for key phrases such as "non-soap" or "neutral pH." And avoid any product with the word "soap" in it.”
For more on cleansers made to wash your facial skin and to determine what is best for your skin type, read our article, "101 Cleansers Defined."