Bar soap is one of the most basic and universal of hygiene items. It is something that just about all of us has at home, and yet many of us are completely unaware that there are different varieties of bar soap on offer, let alone what it is that makes each type different and suited for a different purpose.
Even if you have never considered your soap to be an issue, it is worth understanding what the different options available are so that you can tailor your personal grooming routine in order to ensure it is as effective for you as it can be.
“Bar soap is something that just about
all of us has at home, and yet many of us are
completely unaware that there are different
varieties of bar soap on offer.”
Why Bar Soap?
Some people view the bar soap as being somehow antiquated now that there are a variety of fancy gels and liquids available that claim to accomplish the same thing more efficiently. However, there are certain characteristics of bar soap that you just can’t replicate. For one thing, you can buy soaps which are made through a variety of processes, but some of these processes lead to soaps that contain various chemicals that the end user might be unaware of. These can themselves cause irritation to the user’s skin and can exacerbate problems they may have anyway. These kinds of chemicals are also more prevalent in the shower gels that some people now use.
Of course, not all chemicals are bad; many of the unpronounceable substances that are put in cosmetic products these days are there for a good reason, but some people will always prefer traditional methods and an organic, environmentally friendly production process. For these people, a good old fashioned bar soap is the answer.
Types of Soap
There are five types of soap bars that you are likely to encounter:
- Common Bar Soaps: these are your basic, bog standard, run of the mill bars of soap. They contain many surfactants which act aggressively. This is fine for most people’s skin, but it can provoke a reaction in sensitive skin types. They are effective at removing dirt and grime from the skin, but when washed, they will not be washed away completely. Most standard bar soaps also have a relatively high PH which can also disturb sensitive skin.
- Superfatted Soap Bars: by leaving a crucial process in the soap making process, saponification, incomplete, a manufacturer is able to produce bars of soap that contain more fats than ordinary bar soaps. By increasing the amount of fat in the soap, in a process known as superfatting, it improves the soap’s ability to moisturize and is thus less irritating.
- Transparent Soap Bars: these are created by the addition of glycerin to an ordinary bar of soap. This results in a transparent soap which is milder than standard common bar soaps. Transparent soaps are still more irritating than superfatted ones.
- Syndet Soap Bars: this type of soap bar is made using, oils, fats, and petroleum products, just like other soaps, but puts them through a different chemical process to saponification. Syndet bars often make use of synthetic surfactants which are used with the goal of making the soap milder. The ubiquitous ‘Dove’ soap bar was the first syndet soap bar, although there are now a variety of different ones on the market and a number of different approaches to their manufacture.
- Organic Soap Bars: these are made through different processes and with different ingredients. Organic soaps can be tailored to an individual’s needs, but are harder to come by and are generally more expensive, reflecting the more labor-intensive production processes.
Soaps for Different Skin Types
The best soap for you will mostly come down to your skin type, and while not everyone will fit neatly into the definitions we use for the different skin types, they will describe all the conditions you are likely to see on your skin. If you’re ready to start looking for soaps, the 7 best bar soaps for men have been outlined at https://www.baldingbeards.com/best-bar-soap/, but which is best for your skin type?
If, for example, you have patches of skin that are oily and others that are dry then you should use both treatments, however be mindful of using an aggressive treatment for dry skin on oily skin and vice versa as they may adversely impact the other type of skin.
If you have sensitive skin which is prone to allergic reactions, then you should be looking at mainly organic soaps as these will consist of ingredients far less likely to trigger an allergic response.
Those with dry skin should look at superfatted soaps as these are effective at moisturizing the skin as they come into contact with it. Other ingredients to look out for include aloe vera, and cocoa butter, both of which can be helpful as moisturizing agents.
For oily, skin you want to be on the lookout for soaps that contain glycerin, and frankly the more the better! If you have sensitive skin as well, then be careful and start with the mildest soap you can find.
Choosing the right bar of soap can make a huge difference in the health of your skin, and maintaining healthy skin is a great way to improve your self-confidence,
Do you use bar soaps?
What types of bar soaps do you use?
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