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Moisturizing Hand Soap

Moisturizing and soap in the same name can seem like an oxymoron since soap is cleaning away buildup on the skin while moisturizing implies leaving behind hydration. The goal of moisturizing hand soap is to strip away oil, dirt, debris, and potentially microbes while not stripping the skin of natural oils or breaking it down directly. Read more...
 

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moisturizing hand soap

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Which ingredients should people look for in a moisturizing hand soap?


There are two classes of cleansers broadly speaking: soap-based and syndet-based. Soap-based cleansers tend to be harsh on the skin with an alkaline pH based on the surfactants or cleansing agents in the product. Although these tend to be natural, they can be particularly drying. Syndet-based cleansers have less soap in them and include synthetic cleansing agents that tend to be less harsh or irritating on the skin with a pH that is slightly more acidic, similar to the skin.


Moisturizing and soap in the same name can seem like an oxymoron since soap is cleaning away buildup on the skin while moisturizing implies leaving behind hydration. The goal of moisturizing hand soap is to strip away oil, dirt, debris, and potentially microbes while not stripping the skin of natural oils or breaking it down directly.


Many moisturizing hand soaps will include oils and hydrating agents designed to be left behind to hydrate the skin while cleansing to reduce the chances of irritation. Examples include coconut oil, glycerin, squalane, and other oils and known hydrating ingredients.




Are there ingredients to avoid in a moisturizing hand soap?



I hesitate to broadly state ingredients to avoid simply because the ones we hear about most often, such as sodium lauryl sulfate, are not necessarily “bad” they are just really good at what they do, which is removing oil, dirt, and debris. In doing so they may strip the skin of natural oils. For this reason, choose a cleanser with hydrating ingredients or follow your cleanser with moisturizer after washing to replace the lost hydration.



 

moisturizing hand soap

 



Is liquid soap more moisturizing than bar soap?



The pH of bar soap is higher than liquid soap. Our skin is somewhat acidic (pH of 5.4 ish) while bar soap can have higher pHs making them more alkaline. Many bar soaps have a pH in the 10-12 range. When these come into contact with our acidic skin, the result is a drying or dehydrating effect on the skin.



Should we look for antibacterial soaps?


Overall I do not tend to recommend antibacterial soaps for routine hand washing. Washing the hands with soap or hand cleansers works well to make the hands less hospitable for most microbes. Antibacterial soaps often have triclosan, an antibacterial agent that may have endocrine-disrupting abilities. Overwashing the hands or using harsh agents may breakdown the skin and ironically make it more welcoming to micro-organisms.



moisturizing hand soap

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