Are you looking for a replacement for your regular soap? Well, then it’s time to give your skin an amazing soap-free experience. While the term soap-free confuses a lot of people, it is gaining popularity among skin-conscious people.
A soap-free cleanser is far different from the usual soaps you use on a regular basis. Here in this article, we are going to discuss how soap and soap-free bars are different from each other and why soap-free is exactly what your skin needs!
What Our Expert Says
“Soap-free does not mean chemical-free. Even though soap-free products are milder than usual soaps, they also have chemical ingredients in them. While synthetic surfactants are used in soap-free products, their versatile nature allows adding a wide range of ingredients. In addition, doctors also recommend going soap-free for sensitive skinned people.”
Abhisikta Hati, Senior Product Executive, SkinKraft
What Is Soap-Free?
Soap-free technically means free of fats and alkaline ingredients. There are bars and cleansers available in the market that do not contain the usual soap ingredients. They use alternatives of the chemical surfactants such as plant-based ingredients that are safe for your skin.
As you know, soaps are used to remove dirt and pollutants from your skin. Soap-free cleansers and bars do that pretty much impressively. These soap-free cleansers usually have more humectants and moisturizers than your regular soaps. They work great for keeping your skin soft and healthy.
How Do Soap-Free Products Work?
Even though soap-free cleansers and bars are made with different ingredients, the process of cleaning the dirt from your skin remains the same. In order to clean all the impurities from your skin, such as dirt and oil, the cleanser needs to attract both fat and water.
Hence, the molecules of the products have a water-attracting component called hydrophilic and an oil-attracting component known as lipophilic. The combination of these two components creates a surfactant. The lipophilic side of the surfactants attracts the dirt in your skin and the hydrophilic part cleans it off.
Soap Vs Soap-Free
1. Soaps have always been the traditional choice for cleansing purposes. It’s been around for thousands of years now. The initial idea of soap came from Babylonians when they mixed animal fat and wood ashes to clean wool and use it in textile manufacturing. Later on, soaps were made of animal fats, vegetable oils and salts. Earlier, the primary use of soap was to clean utensils and goods. Soap bars for skin came into existence much later.
2. Non-soap or soap-free bars have also been around for a long time. These were made during world war I when there was a shortage of animal fats and oil supply. People produced synthetic surfactants for laundry and cleaning. Years later with plenty of modifications, non-soap bars became usable for human skin as well.
1. While the formulation procedure for soaps has evolved a lot, the ingredients remain pretty much similar. Typical soap is made of fat or oil and alkaline components. The fat or oil can be either animal-based or plant-derived.Most soap bars or cleansers in the market use sodium or potassium salts of fatty acids and other harsh ingredients in order to create a good amount of foam. These chemicals are not skin-friendly and tend to mess with your skin’s pH balance and make your skin super dry.
2. Soap-free cleansers are made of synthetic surfactants and plant-based ingredients. The synthetic surfactants are gentle on the skin.
3. Effects On Skin
1. Soaps strip off the natural moisturizing factor (NMF) of your skin. The NMF is responsible for maintaining your skin hydration but once it’s down, your skin starts feeling dry, rough and itchy. It can lead to skin conditions such as acne, rashes, dermatitis, eczema etc. Also, experts suggest that synthetic surfactants damage the lipid structure of your skin, which causes early ageing. 
2. Soap-free products are gentler on the skin. They contain sufficient moisturizing elements and a good amount of humectants to keep your skin hydrated and well moisturized.
SkinKraft’s senior product development executive, Abhisikta Hati says, “Soap-free does not mean chemical-free. Even though soap-free products are milder than usual soaps in the market, they also have chemical ingredients in them. While synthetic surfactants are used in soap-free products, their versatile nature allows adding a wide range of ingredients to them. In addition, doctors also recommend going soap-free for sensitive skinned people.”
What Are The Benefits Of Soap-Free Products?
1. Gentle On Skin
Soap-free bars are gentler on your skin than regular soaps. It does not rub off the natural oil from your skin and prevents your skin from drying out. It reduces the risk of skin rashes and irritations, redness etc.
2. Moisturizes Your Skin
As mentioned before, soap-free products are made with a lot of moisturizing components. It retains the moisture in your skin after a shower. So, while a hot shower takes away moisture from your skin, using a soap-free moisturizing cleanser helps a lot in retaining the moisture.
3. Mix Well With Hard Water
When water contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium, it is considered to be hard water. Regular soaps do not go well with hard water. When the two mix, it leaves behind a thin layer of residue on your skin and the bucket or tub you use. But soap-free bars resist such incidents.
4. Good For Sensitive Skin
Being gentle and moisturizing in nature, a soap-free cleanser or bar is a perfect option for sensitive skin. Since most soap-free cleansers are free of harmful chemicals, it reduces the risk of skin irritation, just what sensitive skin needs.
5. Long Shelf Life
Unlike soaps, a soap-free cleanser does not melt away when it comes into contact with water. It will stay until it has reached the expiration date. One can use the entire product without worrying about wastage.
How To Identify A Soap-Free Product?
Almost every product has the details on the packet itself. If you are buying a bar or a cleanser, check the label first. The label should mention if it’s soap-free or not. In case, the label has not mentioned this specifically, you can always read the ingredient list.
Regular soaps are made with anionic surfactants .For example- sodium olivate. Here the surfactant is created with sodium hydroxide and olive oil. These anionic surfactants are powerful cleansers and form a high amount of lather. If your product has such surfactants, then it is definitely not a soap-free product.
Soap and soap-free cleansers both work in removing dirt and oil from the skin. But soap takes away a lot more than required. It strips off the natural oil from the skin and dries it out. However, it is completely a personal choice to choose between soap or soap-free. It depends on your skin type and needs. With all the information given above, we hope to make your decision a little easier.
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