From making the skin clean, smooth and glowing to keeping dermal concerns at bay, picking the right soap can offer you a multitude of benefits. But how do you select the best one for your skin type?
Soaps can vary depending on their chemical formulation and effects on the skin. Thus, you should understand your skin type and need to find out the most suitable one.
In this article, we tell you everything you need to know before selecting the best soap for your skin type. Let’s begin.
How Soaps Work?
The primary purpose of soaps and cleansers are to remove dirt, sweat, oils from your skin. This happens with the use of surfactants that surround oil and dirt, dissolve them and make it easier for water to wash them away. They also help in exfoliating your skin by removing dead cells from the outermost layer of the skin.
The exposed areas in your body come in contact with dirt, grime everyday and the covered areas get dirty due to constant sweating and moisture. Your skin secretes a natural oil called sebum which mixes with the dirt on your skin, making it difficult to remove from your skin's surface. Using water merely helps in deep cleansing your skin. A suitable soap works great in thoroughly cleansing it.
A soap molecule has both salt and fat. The salty ends attract water and the fatty ends attract dirt and oil. When you apply soap on your skin with water, the molecules break up the bacteria, germs and dirt on your skin by forming a circle around each of them. These tiny soap circles around the bacteria and dirt are called a micelle. The dirt and germs dislodge from your skin’s surface as soon as micelles are formed. The oil molecules of your skin get washed away when they are surrounded by soap. 
Sonal Singh, Product Development Executive at SkinKraft Laboratories, says, “Most soap-based cleansers are about 9-10 on the pH scale and that is why they disturb the neutrality of the skin and damage it right to the cellular level, leading to altered NMF, TWEL (transepidermal water loss). On the other hand, soap-free cleansers have pH of around 5.5 - 6.5, which helps in maintaining the neutrality of the skin as they have the perfect balance of acids and bases as required by the skin.”
What Types Of Soaps Are Available In Market?
1. True Soaps
True soaps are those formulated in the traditional way, comprising alkali salts of fatty acids. Such soaps are still available in the market today. Many big and small brands make true soaps. True bar soaps have certain surfactants that minimize the surface tension between oil and water and perfectly cleanses dirt.
Initially, it was assumed that true soap disturbs the skin’s pH balance. However, recent research has shown that even after cleansing your skin with such soap, your skin’s pH balance returns to its normal pH quickly.
2. Syndet Bars
Syndet bars are soaps that are made of synthetic surfactants and other chemical ingredients. Syndet bars are different from vegetable oil soap bars. The surfactants used in syndet bars are derived from fats, oil and petroleum. Unlike true soaps, there is no natural saponification involved. The entire formulation is done by a chemical procedure. Most beauty bars you buy over the counter are usually syndet bars. A lot of people complain about skin dryness after using such soaps.
3. Superfatted Soaps
Superfatted soaps are basically true soap bars that contain extra oil that hasn’t been saponified. The superfatting property of the soap moisturizes your skin even better and makes it less irritating on your skin. However, you may find these soaps heavy and not cleansing enough.
4. Transparent Soaps
Transparent soaps can either be true bar soaps or syndet bar soaps with added moisturizing ingredients like glycerin that makes them milder. However , in some instances, such ingredients can still cause skin irritation. It entirely depends on the chemical formulation and the ingredients used in a particular product.
5. Combination Bars
As the name suggests, combination bars contain different types of cleansers that improve cleaning and reduce irritation or dryness on your skin. Such soaps usually contain combined ingredients of syndet bars and superfatted bars.
6. Medicated Soaps
Medicated soaps contain antibacterial properties with natural ingredients. They help you moisturize your skin, maintain your skin’s pH level, have antiseptic properties, prevent body odour, etc. If you have any type of skin allergy, your doctor may prescribe you medicated soaps. Medicated soaps are further divided into three types:
a) Antibacterial Soap:
Antibacterial soaps are specially formulated with ingredients that kill bacteria in your skin. Most antibacterial soaps contain triclosan and other additives.
b) Anti-fungal Soap:
Antifungal soaps are made with fungus fighting components miconazole and ketoconazole or natural ingredients like tea tree oil and olive oil.
c) Deodorant Soap:
It is a scented soap that keeps your body odour under control. Deodorant soap helps exfoliate the skin and keeps it moisturized. Some of these soaps can also prevent sweating.
7. Herbal Soaps
Herbal soaps contain natural herbs that are extremely beneficial for your skin. It does not cause any damage or side effects to your skin. Herbal soaps are gentle and soothing on your skin. Also, no artificial fragrances are used in herbal soaps. The aroma of herbal soaps comes from natural ingredients.
How To Choose The Best Type Of Soap For Your Skin?
A. Normal Skin
Normal skin indicates that your skin is neither too oily nor too dry. Thus your soap needs to be as neutral as your skin. Don’t go for a soap that is made for dry skin or oily skin. Using the wrong soap can clog your skin pores or make your skin extremely dry. It’s better to look for a soap that is gentle and maintains your skin pH balance. You can go for herbal soaps.
B. Oily Skin
People with oily skin have excess sebum production. Such skin types are more prone to acne breakouts. Make sure to wash your face frequently and avoid using strong soaps. Look for ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil and aloe vera, oatmeal, sea salt, etc. These are gentle on skin and help to remove excess oil from your skin. Also, make sure your soap is non-comedogenic.
C. Dry Skin
Lower sebum production leads to dry skin. People with dry skin often have itchiness, flaky skin, dry patches etc. That is why glycerin, cocoa butter, coconut oil shea butter, olive oil, jojoba oil, aloe vera are the best ingredients to look for in your soap. These ingredients are enriched with moisturizing properties.
D. Sensitive Skin
Sensitive skin is more likely to encounter skin irritation and allergic reactions. Therefore, you should choose gentle and soothing formulations. Your soap should not have artificial fragrances, alcohol and sulfates. Go for a soap that has natural ingredients and would not cause any harm to your skin.
E. Combination Skin
Combination skin has both dry and oily properties. If you have such a skin type, avoid soaps made specifically for oily or dry skin. Glycerin soaps can be a good choice for combination skin.
Tips For Choosing The Right Soap For Your Skin
1. Don’t use body soap on your face. Body soaps work fine for cleansing your body but they may dry out your face.
2. If your current soap is making your skin dry, itchy or uncomfortable then it is definitely not the right soap for your skin. Switch to a milder soap that has natural ingredients.
3. In case you are suffering from any skin disease, ask your dermatologist what kind of soap you need for your skin. A prescribed medicated soap could be your answer.
There are different types of soaps available in the market and each of them promises healthy skin. But not every soap is made for your skin type. Your choice of soap solely depends on your skin type and its current condition. Analyse your skin first to understand what it needs and then choose a soap that not only serves the purpose of cleansing but also gives you healthy, glowing skin.
Opt for soaps that contain natural ingredients as they are gentler on your skin. If you have any skin allergy or infection, consult with your doctor before using a soap.
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