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THE VOLT GROOMING BLOG

Post date: June 4, 2024 | Blog

The Bar Soap Mystery: Why Bar Soaps Make Skin Dry

Bar soaps have ruled the roost for the last few thousands of years in regards to popularity and accessibility. But, are they still a relevant option in the bathing and grooming space even though they have a tendency to dry out the skin? Let’s find out.

How Were Bar Soaps Created

Bar Soap

To answer the question about why bar soaps dry out skin, and what some better alternatives are, we need to first learn how they came about in the first place. This way, we can describe why newer body soap options are better!

The first recorded recipe for bar soap came from an ancient Babylonian tablet dated at 2200bc and contained only three ingredients: water, the oil of cassia (for aroma), and an alkaline substance that does the cleaning.

Most of the time, bar soaps throughout the years have been created from the same three substances or substitutes of them. Fats and oils, lye, and water.

But how do these substances come together to create an effective, albeit too effective, cleaner that dries out skin? It all has to do with just how high of a PH balance bar soaps have.

Why Bar Soap Dries Out Skin

Mens Body Wash

Bar soaps, due to their composition, have an extremely high PH balance that heavily leans towards the alkaline side of the spectrum (PH7+).

Our bodies, on the other hand, tend to keep an oily layer above the surface of our skin that is slightly acidic (PH-). This oily layer is meant to help retain moisture and prevent damage to the skin.

A strong base, like an alkaline cleaner, is very effective at breaking down and stripping away acids, such as the oil barrier on our skin. Therefore breaking down the bodies ability to withhold moisture, causing our skin to feel dry.

So, why don’t body washes dry out our skin?

Body washes aren’t exactly “soap” per se, but instead, are synthetic or natural detergents that are dissolved in water. Soap is usually far more alkaline (higher PH) than detergents tend to be, therefore causing more damage to acidic compounds and oils.

Keep in mind that liquid soaps can absolutely dry out the skin, however, due to the liquid nature of body washes, it’s also easier to add protectors like glycerin which help to preserve the oils layer on skin while cleaning.

All of this is to say that most modern body washes out there are simply more natural and safe cleaners that don’t strip away protective oils as harshly as bar soaps do.

What Are Some Alternatives to Bar Soaps?

Volt Body Wash Advantage

If you’ve used bar soaps for a while and gotten used to that dryness feeling, then it might be time to look for a change. Personally, I find that feeling a bit uncomfortable.

Luckily, modern advances in soaps and body washes have led to far more gentle and protective cleaning. Let’s explore some of the alternatives to bar soap:

  • Clay Bars: Clay is renowned as an effective way to rid your skin from dirt, debris, and impurities. Similar to activated charcoal, clay does this lightly exfoliating, lifting, and encapsulating the debris.
  • Body Wash: Body washes are similar to the water and detergent solution I mentioned earlier. They are lower in PH and often contain additives that help fight dryness and re-moisturize the skin during cleaning. Try out some of Volt’s Body Wash for the most natural and hydrating wash out there.
  • Natural Oils: Certain oils can be used as surfactants to clean the skin by providing a barrier that makes it easier for dirt and debris to wash off. For example, coconut oil contains these properties.

Ultimately, the war on bar soaps is far from over, and they are improving all the time. However, due to the ingredients, harsh PH, and skin-drying effects of bar soaps, we’d always recommend a body wash like Volt’s body wash instead.

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