What many of us often overlook is the kind of soap or shower gel that we use on a daily basis. It is a good practice to be informed about soaps which are made by mixing animal or vegetable fat. Choosing the right bath soap is especially important since it regularly comes into contact with your skin.
The skin’s pH level is a major factor contributing to skin problems. We have to keep in mind that ordinary commercial soaps have pH levels between 9 to 11, which increases the skin pH level leading to problems, says dermatologist Dr Nivedita Dadu. She adds that soaps and cleansers shouldn’t be used frequently on the face as they can make the skin dry and irritable.
There are range of soaps available in the market like bar soaps, shower gels, anti-bacterial soaps, herbal soaps and aromatherapy soaps. Let’s understand these to be able to make the right choice.
These soaps have an added anti-bacterial agent like triclosan or trichlocarbon. The pH is in the range of 9-10 and these are available in liquid or solid bar forms. They form the first line of defence against micro-organisms and harmful agents. However, excessive use of these soaps can cause dryness and irritation of the skin. Most of the deodorant soaps contain anti-bacterial agents. There is a myth that one should use anti-bacterial soaps for bathing but some germs are good for the body too.
Many soaps with anti-bacterial, exfoliating and comedolytic properties are now available. Anti-acne soaps are used mainly on the face, chest and back where acne is more prevalent. It may be necessary to use such soaps twice a day. However, overuse can cause red flaky patches on the skin.
These contain gentle herbs and plants like chamomile, lavender, peppermint, spearmint, oatmeal and avocado. Olive oil and shea butter can also be used in these soaps. Olive oil, known for its skin-regeneration and radiance properties, contains vitamins and antioxidants that keeps free radicals at bay.
Soaps that contains olive oil, shea butter, paraffin and glycerine are the best moisturising soaps. Olive oil also has an anti-ageing effect on your skin. Shea butter, also known as sheanut butter, contains vitamins and acts as a good moisturiser.
These soaps contain essential oils, jojoba and sunflower oil, extracts of chamomile, jasmine and ylang-ylang. They are said to promote a sense of well-being and relaxation.
You should always purchase the soap keeping in mind your skin type.
For dry skin – Soaps that contain aloe vera, cocoa butter, avocado or vegetable oils are the best.
For oily skin – Anti-bacterial soaps or specific face cleansers containing lavender, chamomile and thyme are very effective for oily skin.
For sensitive skin – If your skin is very sensitive and prone to infections then soaps containing Vitamin E and jojoba oil are good for diseases like ichthyosis, eczema and psoriasis.
For combination skin – Glycerin-based soaps suit people with a combination skin type.