Image Management

The Best Cleanser? Plain Soap

BY: Judith Rasband • Oct 13, 2019

Thorough cleansing is vital to a clear and cool looking complexion.  The ideal skin cleanser removes the accumulated outer layer of dead skin cells, the film of stale oil, perspiration and bacteria, along with soil accumulated during the day.  It should be non-irritating, easily removed and economically priced. 

The ongoing controversy over what works best can be solved with a splash of common sense.  The best cleanser, “the one that gets skin really clean, much cleaner than any cleanser or cream,” says an Expert, “is soap.”  It is virtually unsurpassed as the most effective skin cleanser, a point on which countless dermatologists, skin care and cosmetic experts agree.

Vidal Sassoon recommends soap and water for regular skin care.  Erno Lazlo Institute, states, “It all starts with soap and water.”

At this point, I’m sure many of you may be saying, “No way.  Soap is too harsh and drying.”  But the problems of redness, itching and that tight, drawn feeling after washing are not the fault of the soap itself.  They’re the result of its misuse or overuse.

Let’s face it, the problems occur when you use a harsh soap or detergent rather than a mild, pure soap.  They occur when you have scrubbed too vigorously for too long and have scoured yourself raw.  They occur because you have failed to rinse away all the soap and have left a soap and soil residue on your skin.  Problems also result from the failure to apply a film of moisture-retaining lotion after rinsing.

 The very purpose of soap dictates a drying effect since it purposely strips away the oily film on your face.  Ordinarily it’s not a problem since your body replenishes the oil, but even if the replacement is slow, which it can become with age, soap is still the best product to successfully remove dirt and oil.  Just make sure you rinse well and apply a moisturizer afterward.

Depending on the brand, additives to soap may include coloring, perfumes, deodorant or antibacterial agents, medications, extra oils, herbs, fruits and vegetables.  Without exception, the latter group of ingredients contributes nothing to the cleansing value of the soap.  They are included for advertising effect only and are quickly rinsed down the drain.

Additives increase the cost and the risk of skin irritations, and can result in itchy red eyes and sneezing.  If you have sensitive skin or are allergy prone, select pure soaps only.  And that’s a good advice for everyone.

“Super fatted” soaps and detergents are so-called because they contain extra lanolin, cocoa butter, cold cream and other “exotic” oils and waxes intended to moisturize the skin and prevent drying during washing.

The different Medical Associations have indicated that a product cannot truly cleanse and moisturize at the same time, as one takes away oil and the other adds oil.  Any oil left or deposited during washing could be considered “contaminated.”  These oils do nothing to increase the cleansing value of soap and are to blame for many allergic reactions.

Rarely do you need to change your soap or other skin care products for summer, only the amounts and frequency of use along with the way you use them.  Less frequent and less lengthy washing may be required during the cold outdoor weather.  More frequent and slightly more vigorous washing may be needed in the summer to cope with increased oiliness.

Whatever the time of the year, use a mild soap, rinse well and follow with a light film of moisturizer for a clear, clean and cool-looking complexion.

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