Most people look after their skin with boring, plain old soap. This is probably because back then there were hardly any face-washes or face-scrubs so people used the only available skin product. That is soap.
The truth behind soaps
Generally, the process of making soaps includes the strongest alkaline substance known, Sodium Hydroxide. On a pH scale of 1 to 14, 1 is the most acidic and 14 is the most alkaline. Our skin typically has a pH value between 4.5 to 5.5 which is definitely on the acidic side of the pH scale. Soaps are fundamentally alkaline in nature.
Soap can damage the acidic mantle or the outer layer of your skin. The acidic mantle is meant to protect your skin from germs, bacteria, and dust which soaps can destroy. Soaps can temporarily shift your skin to become alkaline. The healthier your skin the faster it will revert back to its original pH i.e 4.5 to 5.5.
To help your skin revert back to its original pH use pH balancing and unscented soaps. These work the best on your skin. They remove bacteria, sweat, and dust from your skin and yet no alter the pH of your skin to a large extent.
Why are soaps bad for your skin?
Imagine your skin being a brick wall and the mortar of the wall is your natural oils. Water and soap remove these natural oils from your skin. Do you want to actually remove your body’s natural defenses which is what you are doing when you’re using soap and water?!
People find it gross not to shower and part of the reason is because of the advertisements and social norms. What you need to question is if it is really good for your health and if it can cause diseases.
Did you all know that showering every day makes you more susceptible to disease? In the olden days, your great parents used to shower probably once or twice a week and were still healthier than us! The skin barrier or the brick wall is associated with the dysfunction of your skin.
Coming back to how soaps can tamper with the pH of your skin is because some of these soaps have a pH as high as 11. If your skin’s pH becomes this skin then your body will fight back to restore its natural pH levels. However, soap residues ensure the disruptive pH is maintained. This can make your skin too oily.
Now let us talk about how long it takes to damage your skin’s acid mantle. The acid mantle is a protective layer of fatty acids, amino acids, and natural oils. This can vary from person to person and their skin type. The symptoms of skin damage include dryness, itching, inflammation, redness, swelling, and irritation. It could get worse with rosacea, dermatitis, acne, and eczema.
Natural oils and mild acids keep our skin moisturized and protects our skin from cracking and dryness.
Do not jeopardize your skin by using harsh soaps.
What chemicals to look out for?
When you are selecting your soap in the market make sure you look for these chemicals so that you can ditch these soaps and pick another one. The chemicals to look out for are:
- Sodium Lauryl Sulphate
- Sodium Laureth SUlphate
- Artificial scents or fragrance
- Synthetic Coloring agents
Ditch Conventional Soaps
If you feel you cannot shower without a soap then switch to a synthetic soap. You might be wondering if you can switch to body-washes or shower gels because they are made differently from surfactants and are closer to the pH of our skin. The truth is they all wash off the natural vital oils that your skin needs.
You do not have to use conventional soaps as a part of your everyday hygiene regime. You really just require water to cleanse yourself. Avoid long hot showers every day. Water alone is sufficient to wash away the dirt and it also doesn’t strip off the natural oils. The longer you shower the drier your skin gets.
A mild or synthetic cleanser to clean your armpits and groins will do. Wash in bits every day. This way you do not have to worry about your stench and it also helps you feel fresh.
One of the alternatives to using soaps is oil cleansing. It might seem counterintuitive but it is definitely a healthier alternative. These cleansers trap the dead skin cells and dirt on your skin that you can wash off without harming the acid mantle. These cleansers hardly form any lather or leave residue on your skin.
The next question that you might have is how to brush off dead skin cells. You can use the dry brushing technique. It promotes the production of healthy natural oils. This technique goes by its name. You will need a natural fiber brush and while it is dry you can brush your skin.
The bristles of the brush help exfoliate your skin and remove dead skin cells. Use a good quality natural brush. Be gentle on your skin. Don’t be harsh and rub the brush against your skin. Move the brush in a clockwise direction and with comfortable pressure. After you brush your entire body use lukewarm water to wash up.
You can switch to handmade soaps that contain good ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, and olive oil. They contain a large percentage of healthy oils and fats. Handmade soaps are the least harsh on your skin. This is an alternative in case you are not willing to give up on soaps.
Before you go buy expensive soaps and use them every day while showering, consider the negative impact it has on your skin. The earlier you realize the better because it is high time you ditch soaps.