NoahJenda says…I’m reading a lot of conflicting information about what is kinder to my face: cleaners or facial soaps. I understand that facial cleansers are detergents and contain ingredients like Disodium laureth sulfosuccinate, Cocamidopropyl betaine and Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate. Soaps, particularly the artisan soaps I’ve been considering, often appear to be a blend of various oils such as avocado or olive oil, as well as moisturizers like cocoa butter and shea butter. Some also contain saponified tallow or lanolin. Do mild facial cleaners really strip out too much of my skin’s natural oils, as some soap makers claim? Can facial soaps be more drying to the skin, as the makers of some facial cleansers claim? Is there any advantage to using one type of product or the other?
The Beauty Brains respond:
We found a study published in the journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists (“Forearm wash test to evaluate the clinical mildness of cleansing products,” 1988, Vol 39.) which answers this very question.
Study shows soap is more drying
Researchers tested a series of cleansing bars made with a blend of synthetic detergents and soap, pure coconut soap bars, and superfatted coconut soap bars. They washed volunteers forearms with the various soaps over a two week period and then measured the three effects: smoothness of skin, redness of skin, and dryness of skin.
The results showed that a pure coconut soap bar was the worse overall. The synthetic-soap bar (made of Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate) was the best. The superfatted soaps were somewhere in between. Basically, the synthetic detergents make the soaps MORE mild! So unless the artisan soapmakers have different data from a similar study in another peer reviewed journal, we say the answer is pure soap is more irritating.
Why are detergents better than soap?
Smoothness, dryness, and irritation are not simply determined by how much oil is stripped from your skin. These skin properties are also determined by how the surfactants penetrate the superficial layers of skin, how they interact with skin proteins, and how well they rinse irritating. This study shows that synthetic detergents are superior to soap in this regard.
Image credit: http://www.wallpapervortex.com/
What do YOU think? Do you prefer artisan soap bars or liquid cleansers? Leave a comment and share your thoughts with the rest of the Beauty Brains community.