Drop the Soap!

I was a victim to soap.

Before attending aesthetician school I had NO IDEA what products were good and bad for my skin. All I knew was that my skin was oily and when I used soap it made my face feel the exact opposite…(for a couple hours.)  I never knew the damage I was causing my skin.  I still continued to use it during school, but when my teacher asked me what I used for for my face she was shocked!  That was a big “NO, NO!” she said.

But WHY?

litmus test

This is a litmus test strip. As you can see, it was put into something highly alkaline because it turned blue.

So, there’s this diagram called the pH scale and it goes from 0-14.  A pH of 7 means neutral.  Anything below 7 is acidic and anything above 7 is alkaline.  Our skin at a normal pH level should be 4.5-5.5, which means it is slightly acidic and close to neutral.  pH means “Potential of Hydrogen” and is used to measure the degree of acidity and alkalinity in the outer skin layers.   If you have acne, eczema, skin allergies, or easily irritated skin, chances are you pH balance is off.  The importance of skin pH will help better understand which skin care products are best for your face.  Commercial soaps and detergents have an alkaline pH level of 9.5-11.0!  Which means it is very drying and strips your skin of it’s protective acid mantle.

What is an acid mantle?

Your face has a protective layer over it, called an acid mantle. This protective layer is a mixture of sweat and sebum. The acid mantle plays a major role in protecting the skin against bacteria that causes acne and blemishes, viruses that may cause skin allergies and other harmful contaminants that may irritate our skin.   Most bacteria are alkaline(having a pH of 7 or higher), so our slightly acidic skin neutralize these bacteria and chemicals.

What breaks down the acid mantle?

Highly alkaline products cause disruptions to your acid mantle, which can lead to acne, dry skin, wrinkles, bacterial invasion and opens the skin to infections and irritability.  For instance if you have dry skin, your already not producing enough oil.  So if the acid mantle is disrupted, it cannot produce enough sebum to catch up to the additional loss of oil.  If you have oily skin, you are over-producing sebum.  When alkaline soaps strip this type of skin’s acid mantle it leads to an overdrive in sebum production, thus making skin oilier than before and can also exacerbate acne.  With dehydrated and sensitive skins, stripping away the protective layer allows wind, air, and chemicals to draw out even more moisture leading to irritation and wrinkles.  In order to protect your acid mantle, you need to maintain a proper pH balance.

Here are some tips when choosing the right cleansers for your skin:

  • Make sure it is soap and detergent free.
  • Dry skin should use a milky cream type cleanser because it contains emollients to help soften and smooth skin.  Avoid alcohol based cleansers!
  • Oily skin should be careful when using a foaming cleanser or mild soaps because it could be alkaline.  Pick one with a proper pH balance.
  • Sensitive skin types should swerve away from cleansers that have problematic chemicals and are heavily fragranced.
  • Non-comedogenic cleansers are good for problem skin because it doesn’t clog pores. 

If you don’t know your skin type or have any questions visit your local esthetician for a skin analysis.

Share! Have you ever used soap on your face?  How did it make your face feel?  What cleansers do you use on your face?

Alohi Aesthetics

Leave a comment