If your skin is easily irritable, you might need to try and switch to mild soap for sensitive skin. You might have difficulty getting along with different beauty products because you weren't hiyang. Unless you already have an underlying skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis, then you probably have sensitive skin.
Using a soap specifically formulated for sensitive skin means you can say goodbye to itching and redness your skin encounters when you use a product. With some advice from dermatologist Dr. Maria Elinor Grace "Meg" Sison, we have put together a guide to help you choose the best soaps that won't be a bother to your sensitive skin, as well as what you can do to lessen it.
Dr. Sison is a board-certified dermatologist who practices in the Philippines and sees both medical and cosmetic dermatological cases on skin, hair, and nails.
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Here are some key points to consider:
Before we get started on what your soap should contain, we must first decide on what form your soap is going to take. Perhaps you prefer the easy convenience a bar soap has, or maybe you are more partial to the portability of a body wash.
It goes without saying that bar soap is what we are more used to when it comes to soaps. It has an easy method of application that does not require the use of any tools such as loofahs or scrubs. You just lather it between your hands and rub it all over your face and body.
Bar soap is more environmentally friendly as you consume less packaging, and generally, it can last you for more extended periods of time, making it more cost-effective in the long run. Just make sure to keep your bar soap dry after use so it doesn't become a breeding ground for bacteria because of the moisture.
Bar soaps are convenient to use because they are not prone to spillage, unlike liquid soaps. They are classified according to the following types: true bar soaps, combar soaps, and synthetic detergents (syndets).
True bar soaps have alkaline pH of 9-10 and are made for excessively oily or dirty skin. Combar soaps are milder than true bar soaps and they are alkaline soaps to which surface-active agents have been added. They can be used for normal skin.
Syndets contain less than <10% soap and have a pH of 5.5 to 7 to prevent disruption of the skin's pH during cleansing. They are the least damaging to those with sensitive skin and impaired skin barrier.
On the other hand, body washes contain emollients, which seal in moisture and soften the skin, making it more hydrating and mild. Be aware that due to its creamy formula, it can sometimes leave a sticky film on the skin after use - this actually prevets your skin from being dry, so do not worry!
In addition, it is more travel friendly, as you can easily store it inside your bag without using a separate container. A body wash is also more hygienic, as you only dispense what you need, and you don't end up contaminating the entire product.
Body washes are formulated to minimize skin barrier disruption as a result of cleansing. They contain both hydrophilic (water-loving) and lipophilic (lipid-loving) ingredients emulsified in a single phase, which makes it possible to cleanse and at the same moisturize the body.
The ammonium laureth sulfate in body washes solubilizes oil-soluble dirt into the rinse water for removal during bathing while the occlusives and emollients are left behind during rinsing to slow down moisture loss from the skin and improve smoothness.
When buying your soap, be sure to check the ingredients list; keep an eye out for parabens, which are preservatives that can aggravate skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. Avoid soaps that contain fragrances and synthetic ingredients as these are potential skin irritants that could trigger an adverse reaction such as contact dermatitis.
Take note of the soap’s pH level; soaps that have a high pH level can cause the skin to dry out, as well as cause possible skin inflammation. Ideally, your soap's pH should range from 4-6, so it is not too harsh.
Syndet cleansers (bar or liquid) are ideal for sensitive skin since their pH is close to that of the skin, which ranges from 5.5-7 in order not to disrupt the skin's slightly acidic pH.
Lipid free cleansers can also be used for sensitive skin and impaired skin barrier because they are non-foaming and have low surfactant capabilities. These types of cleansers are also fragrance-free; thus, they have fewer chances of causing skin irritation.
If you have sensitive skin, you must look for ingredients that are not too harsh on your skin and will not strip it of its natural oils. You may look for products that contain natural plant oils such as coconut and jojoba oil as well as shea butter to soften and moisturize the skin.
Ingredients such as aloe vera soothe the skin and relieve itchiness while chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties. Oatmeal is beneficial if you want to remove dead skin cells without any harsh exfoliation. It also has skin healing and anti-inflammatory properties, which is great if you suffer from skin conditions such as eczema.
Glycerin and hyaluronic acid are powerful humectants that work to draw moisture into the skin, so your skin doesn't feel parched when you step out of the shower.
Coconut oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and studies have shown its benefits in dry skin and eczema. Shea butter is also added to skin care products because of its ability to restore the skin barrier. It has also anti-inflammatory properties like coconut oil making it useful for dry skin and eczema as well.
Jojoba oil is a wax produced from the Jojoba plant and is added to skin care products because of its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Colloidal oatmeal has anti-inflammatory, anti-itch, antioxidant, antifungal, and barrier repair properties that make it suitable for those with atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, hand eczema, and skin dryness.
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Essence Skin-Saving Clear + Clean Body Soap
Homegrown Hypoallergenic Soap
Soothing Cleansing Gel
Mild Formulation That Is Formulated for Infants
Hydrating Body Wash
Moisturize Your Skin With Hyaluronic Acid and Ceramides
Skin Relief Body Wash
Soothe Itchiness With Colloidal Oatmeal
Deep Cleansing Bar
A Trusted Mild Soap for Face and Body
Sensitive Beauty Bar
Creamy and Moisturizing Soap for Perpetually Dry Skin
Shea Butter Extra Gentle Soap - Milk
All-Natural Gentle Soap for Everyday Use
Transparent Facial Bar
Prevent Breakouts With Serious Cleansing Power
Skin Calming Body Wash
Soybean and Castor Oil to Moisturize and Protect Skin
Gentle Cleansing Babies and Adults Can Enjoy
Don’t be fooled by its nondescript appearance, this bar soap can do a good job of cleansing and purifying skin without drying it out. Users have noted that this soap is really made for those with sensitive skin, as it did not cause them to experience any itching, redness, or irritation towards the product.
Their soap is formulated with glycerin, which is a gentle ingredient that softens skin as well as moisturizes it. In case you need any more convincing, homegrown brand VMV prides itself for having products that are proven hypoallergenic, so it’s not just a label they use, they also have their own rating system of a product’s safety.
Do you or your children have sensitive skin? Mustela’s cleansing gel is specifically formulated for those with very sensitive skin, as well as those who just got out of the newborn intensive care unit. It gently cleans babies' skin without causing rashes or producing any tingling sensation.
Their cleanser contains avocado Perseose, which protects the skin’s barrier as well as moisturizes it. It also contains schizandra, or 5-flavor berry, which soothes the skin and improves its appearance. Even if it is geared towards infants, this is also suitable for adults as the formulation is milder, so your skin will thank you for it.
Are you looking for a gentle body wash that can cleanse your skin while moisturizing it at the same time? CeraVe’s body wash has a refreshing foaming action that is sure to cleanse and refresh your skin without drying it out. It is formulated with 3 essential ceramides that will restore your skin’s natural barrier.
It also contains hyaluronic acid, a powerful humectant that draws hydration to your skin, so your skin doesn’t feel tight after showering. If you suffer from eczema, this is also an option for you as the product is accepted by the National Eczema Association, so you know you are in good hands.
Does your skin have a tendency to feel itchy sometimes? Try using this body wash from Aveeno. Its star ingredient is colloidal oatmeal, which is an emollient, meaning it softens skin and seals in moisture. It also has soothing properties that help moisturize dry skin and relieve itchiness.
It also contains coriander, which has antioxidant properties, to keep your skin soft and supple, as well as protect it from skin aging. Keep in mind that a little goes a long way, so you may want to squirt a little at a time when using, as their formulation has been noted to be quite rich.
Undoubtedly, one of the go-to brands because of their mild formulation, Cetaphil's bar soap is no different. This gentle soap is excellent if you are not used to the rather slippery lather of body washes. It deep cleans your skin and removes dirt and oil without stripping your skin of nutrients and leaves it soft and smooth.
Their soap is gentle enough to be used on both the face and the body and is suitable for all skin types, especially sensitive skin. This bar soap is great because it is something that can be utilized by the whole family. In case you run out of shaving cream, you can also use its rich and creamy lather as a substitute.
Is your skin always dry? Perhaps you need something a little more nourishing for your skin. Dove’s iconic beauty bar is made with ¼ moisturizing cream, so it won’t strip your skin of its natural oils, but leave it softer and moisturized instead, so you can say goodbye to cracked heels or dry elbows.
Their soap is gentle enough for everyday use, and you can use it for both your face and body every day. You can also use it in the most sensitive areas on your body without causing any irritation. If you want a bar soap that won’t dry out your skin, then this one is for you.
L’Occitane’s gentle soap is perfect if you are on the lookout for an all-natural soap. Their product is formulated from 100% vegetable base and has a very short ingredients list - it only contains three! Their soap contains shea butter, which contains a high concentration of fatty acids and vitamins.
This makes it excellent for softening skin due to its moisturizing properties. Another ingredient they use is sweet almond milk, which contains powerful antioxidants to protect your cells from dying and free radicals. As a brand, they work together with African women to promote sustainable and fair trade practices.
Neutrogena’s facial bar is handy if you want to seriously clean the day’s worth of dirt, oil, and grime without being harsh on your skin. Their soap is formulated with glycerin that acts like a sponge and draws moisture into your skin, so you are not left feeling dry after cleansing.
It may be a facial bar, but the good thing is, if a product is good enough to be used for your face, then it is safe to be used on your body as well. This is because the skin on your face is thinner, so it is more sensitive than your body. To use it, simply lather it between your hands and massage in a gentle circular motion.
Calm down itching and redness with Eucerin’s body wash. It has a soap-free formulation, which means it is pH balanced; therefore, you are less likely to strip your skin of its natural oils, and less likely to cause irritation. This way, you can avoid that itchy feeling you experience right after showering.
Despite its gentle formula, it can cleanse well and soothe dry, itchy skin, as it is enriched with omega oils and other natural lipids such as soybean oil, which contains vitamin E that protects your skin against inflammation, as well as castor oil, which has moisturizing properties and promotes overall skin health.
This soap has been loved by many Filipino moms, so growing up, you have probably used it at some point and got to revel in its mild formula with just a hint of fragrance to make you smell oh-so-fresh. It gently cleanses babies' skin without irritating it, which makes it suitable for those with sensitive skin as well.
Johnson's soap contains mild moisturizers to ensure you get baby-soft skin afterward. When used, it produces a rich and creamy lather that gently cleanses skin and does not leave a sticky residue. Their product is clinically proven mild, so you can use it on your face too.
Are you always replacing your beauty and skin care products? Here is what you can do to make sure you don't have an allergic reaction to the products you're using.
The gold standard in determining if one has an allergy to a certain ingredient is through patch testing done at a dermatologist's clinic. This is done by applying a set of allergens (about 25 to 150 depending on the availability of the materials) to the patient's back and determining if there are any reactions after a series of readings (usually after 48 and 96 hours).
Common allergens found in personal care products like cleansers include fragrances, formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, Methyldibromoglutaronitrile/Phenoxyethanol (MDGN/PE), among others. It is also recommended to avoid harsh surfactants in soaps to prevent skin dryness and irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Avoid rubbing your skin with a towel after showering to prevent irritation. Make sure to apply moisturizer within 3 minutes after bathing to lock in the moisture in your skin's outermost layer.
Below are some of the most asked questions on the web answered by Dr. Meg Sison.
Causes of skin irritation are due to a number of factors such as underlying skin conditions characterized by an impaired skin barrier (e.g., atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, rosacea, ichthyosis, etc.), or it can also be due to external causes like fragrances, detergents, alcohols and solvents, low humidity, among others.
If your skin is sensitive, it is best to limit bathing to once a day and to keep baths short between 5 to 10 minutes to prevent the skin from becoming dry.
It is recommended to apply moisturizers within 3 minutes after bathing to prevent moisture from evaporating from our skin and reapply as often as needed throughout the day.
Nobody wants to feel grimy after a long day, but you must ensure that you use gentle products that won't be too harsh on your skin. Check out these other picks that ensures your skin gets some tender loving.
Author: Justine Cuizon
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