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  5. Are Syndets Better Than Regular Soaps?

You may be wary of using regular soaps in the shower, especially if you have sensitive skin. So, why not try syndets?

Syndets might just be the alternative you have been looking for so long. They are gentle on your skin, skin-friendly and effective for cleansing sensitive skin.

In this article, we tell you what syndets are, their benefits for your skin, and if they are better than your regular soap.

What Expert Says

“When you see ingredients that contain words like sodium palmate (a soap surfactant) along with Sodium cocoyl isethionate (a synthetic surfactant), we are really looking at a combar,”

- Sonal Singh, Chief DermatologisProduct Development Executive, SkinKraft Laboratories

What Are Syndets?

The term ‘Syndet’ is formed by shortening two words - ‘synthetic’ and ‘detergent’. As the name suggests, these cleansers are synthesised by binding two or more detergent components. Syndets are excellent surfactants or tensioactive agents- that is they work at the surface to reduce the surface tension.[1]

Tensioactive agents are not only used to make cleansers, they are also utilized for emulsification- a process of forming solution of a compound that is normally insoluble in water. [2] By the action of syndets, the oil and dirt from the surface of your skin is loosened and can be easily washed away with water. Thus, syndets make good cleansers.

Sonal Singh, Product Development Executive at SkinKraft Laboratories, says, “There is another type of cleanser called a combar or combination bar. Although this word is not used much, it is basically part soap and part syndet. When you see ingredients that contain words like sodium palmate (a soap surfactant) along with Sodium cocoyl isethionate (a synthetic surfactant), we are really looking at a combar. Many of the bars that are called syndets are really combars.

Is Syndet Good For Skin?

Syndets are good for your skin as they are either neutral or on the acidic side of the pH scale. Thus they do not alter the pH balance of your skin. The natural pH of your skin tends to be on the acidic side, somewhere between 5.5 to 4.5 for normal skin type.[3]

Maintenance of this natural pH on the skin-surface is crucial to having a healthy skin in more than one way. The ‘acid mantle’ on your skin not only supports the beneficial resident microbes (bacteria, fungi, etc.) on your skin, but also keeps the harmful germs at bay.

Also syndets used in cleansers being mild in nature, do not strip the natural oils from your skin.[4] Thus your skin does not become dry or irritated.

Benefits Of Syndets

The syndet cleansers available in the market are not only mild in nature but also have shown a number of other skin benefits. Although syndets can be beneficial for all skin types, they are especially useful if you have the following skin issues.

  • If you have excessively dry or sensitive skin, syndets are the best choice of cleansers for you. Syndets improve the barrier function of your skin, as well as help lock in the moisture in your skin.
  • Syndets can even be used in cleansers intended to be used for infants and babies whose skin is very tender and gets affected easily.
  • People with irritable skin conditions such as eczema or atopic dermatitis benefit significantly from using syndets. Studies have shown that regular usage of syndets significantly improved itchiness, redness and dryness issues of eczema.[5]
  • Syndets also help improve conditions such as acne and rosacea.
  • Research has shown that if you have photodamaged skin, cleaning with a mild syndet cleanser daily improves the tone, texture, brightness and clarity of your skin.[6]
  • Last but not the least, syndets help reduce signs of aging such as lines and wrinkles on your skin.

Adorable bath baby boy with soap

Common Ingredients In Syndets

Syndets are manufactured by combining different surfactants, which can either be derived from oils and fats or petroleum based products. Here is a list of common ingredients used for making syndets.

  • Sodium cocoyl isethionate
  • Alpha olefin categories
  • Sulfosuccinates
  • Ether sulphonates of alkyl glycerol
  • Monoglyceride sulphate of sodium cocoyl
  • Betaines

What Is The Difference Between Soap And Syndet?

  • First and most importantly, syndets are skin-friendly and gentler than ordinary alkali based soaps. Alkali-based soaps tend to increase the pH of your skin and thus disrupt the acid mantle on your skin.
  • Although syndets give nice foaming, unlike soaps they do not dehydrate or irritate your skin. Upon contact with water regular soaps leave an alkaline residue on the skin, which is responsible for the itching sensation, especially if you have sensitive skin.
  • On the other hand syndets are usually stable in water and only leave a layer of oily film containing the dirt and grime , which can be easily washed off with water.
  • Because of their pH neutral nature, beneficial additives can be incorporated into syndet products.
  • Syndets are usually on the costlier side when compared to traditional soaps, as their production involves complex industrial processes which result in a stable product in the end.

Wrapping Up

Even though we may not be aware of them until recently, syndets have been in the market for quite some time now. Several scientific studies have shown the marked benefits of syndets over traditional alkaline soaps. It goes without saying that syndets are the best choice as cleansers for you especially if you have certain special skin conditions or sensitive skin.

But keep in mind that certain syndets or the additives added to them may have contraindications for some people. Read the labels carefully and consult your dermatologist before using a syndet if you have any doubts.

Begin By Knowing Your Skin

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