When you are picking soap for your face there are many products to choose from. Now, it has become apparent that all kind of soap are not alike and that some are definitely more irritating than others. Not all products that a marked soap are soaps but in fact detergents. Some soap is marked for different skin types, dry skin, regular, acne, and baby formulas. You can have the same name product like Neutrogena but many soaps for different kinds of skin.
For cleaning your face I would start with a mild soap. If you have dry or sensitive skin just use your hands to wash your face. Now if you have normal to oily skin I would try a washcloth with the soap on it to clean your face. The washcloth will act as a scrub.
The confusing part when going to buy soap is that not all brands of soap list their ingredients on the label. Nor do they have to; a bar of soap is not considered a cosmetic. There are many fewer restrictions about the type of ingredients, including what type of colors can be included in the product.
To make matters worse soap technically becomes a cosmetic if it is marketed as a cosmetic. Making a clam to beautify as well as to clean or a clam such as “miniaturization or exfoliation is made, then the manufacturers has to list the ingredients.
With these restrictions, liquid soaps or cream soaps that are marked as personal cleansing products are considered cosmetics and have to follow the FDA’s regulations and list ingredients.
If a soap is marked as an anti-acne product, and it contains a legitimate ingredient in that category, then it is considered an over-the-counter drug, and the manufacturer has to fulfill all the regulations concerning over-the-counter drugs.
Now let’s get into the different choices of soap for your face.
Old School Soap: The basic soap is made by combining an alkali with a fat, often a vegetable oil, and water. One soap that we all grew up with is Ivory soap that falls into this category. But many of the products that we think of as soap are really synthetically produced detergents. Dove is an example of a familiar “soap” bar that is really a detergent bar.
Detergent soap: When you think of the word detergent you think of a household cleaner and that it is going to be harsher than ordinary soap. This is not the case. Many companies modify their effect by adding extra emollients to the formula, making the cleansing product milder. One advantage to using a detergent is cleaning your face is that it is easier to control the pH balance of your skin.
A little more on the subject of pH and your skin. pH is a scale that measures whether something is acid, alkaline, or neutral. The pH value of 7.0 represents the neutral point. Anything above 7.0 is considered alkaline. Anything below 7.0 is considered acidic.
When you use a soap that is highly alkaline or an acid-based toner or astringent, you can briefly alter the ph of your skin. This will make your skin feel dry or tight. Healthy skin will quickly return to its normal pH. Your skin’s pH will also change from season to season, time off day, and also on different parts of the body.
Glycerin Soap: Glycerin soap is a transparent and will often have on the label that is a glycerin soap. Glycerin is known as a humectant.
Castile Soap: Castile soap is said to be a pure soap but basic difference is that castile soap is made with olive oil as the form of fat.
Liquid Soap: You will find all kinds of liquid soaps. Most are for oily, acne-prone skin. Some will also be for sensitive skin. For the most part these kinds of soaps are modified detergents. My son Ben likes to use these kinds of soap for acne on his back and arms.
Back in 1979 a study was done by the University of Pennsylvania to find out which soaps have the most irritancy. From these testes here are the eighteen soaps in the order of mildest and ending with the harshest. Now this test was done in 1979 so keep in mind things may have changed. The soaps in order Dove, Aveenobar, Purpose, Dial, Alpha Keri, Fels Naphtha, Neutrogena, Ivory, Oilatum, Lowila, Jergens, Lubriderm, Cuticura, Basis, Irish Spring, Zest, Camay, and Lava.
I would say it is still safe to say that Dove would be a good place to start when we talk about mild soap. Also keep in mind that many of these soaps were close when tested.
Like I said in the beginning start with a mild soap and up the abrasive that you use with the soap.
These notes come from the book Take Care 0f Your Skin by Elaine Brumberg