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Soap Bars & Shampoo Bars

Updated: Jan 25, 2023

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Photo: Wix


Does bar soap dry out the skin?




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.




 


 

Is bar soap more or less irritating than liquid soap?



Liquid soaps tend to have a pH in the 8 range. We need the pH of our cleansers to be a little higher than the pH of our skin to allow for a cleansing effect. However, the pH of liquid soaps is not generally as high as bar soaps making them less irritating.


Are hands-and-soap really better than a loofah in your opinion?


There are several risks associated with the use of loofahs, washcloths, and body brushes. The combined effect of physical exfoliation along with a product that can harbor microorganisms can set up a scenario where we can expose our skin to microorganisms unnecessarily.



Are hand and liquid soaps that contain granules better to use?

If someone is looking for a little exfoliation, soaps with granules are a nice way to get a ‘clean’ exfoliation- one that makes it less likely to result in the spreading of bacteria and yeast from the devices.


 



 




What are shampoo bars?


Shampoo bars may seem like a novelty but they’ve actually been around for quite some time. The story behind them is quite similar to a bar of soap. By having a product that is made in its concentrated form without the addition of water, one can save on the preservatives required to keep a product in its liquefied form as well as the plastic bottles and other waste that can build up from packaging and manufacturing. Shampoo bars are considered an eco-friendly option for shampoos. The reality is that in the context of use for a bar of soap or shampoo bar there is plenty of water around for the product once in use, there is no need to pre-package it in the liquefied state.


In using a shampoo bar, also consider the fact that how you use this might be a little different than your regular shampoo. With a liquefied shampoo, one can take a dollop of the shampoo and evenly spread it throughout the hair while the water helps evenly distribute it. With a bar of shampoo, it can take a little bit to get it ‘sudsy’ and you may need to rub it across your hair while water rinses over. However, the cleansing effect is the same. Also, keep in mind that keeping a dish close by to place the bar on so that it does not dissolve away in the shower would be helpful to get its full usage potential out of the bar.


The main concerns patients have brought to my attention as far as shampoo bars are similar to why some people choose liquid soap over bar soap.


The first is that because you are applying the shampoo directly to your hair, some people are concerned about sharing the shampoo bar with others. This is not necessarily a big concern within the context of a family or household. The reality is soap is clean by definition. There is no need to worry about transferring disease across a bar of soap however some people just don’t like the thought of it.


The other is that sometimes bars of soap and shampoo can leave a bit of a residue if not completely rinsed out. Please be sure to rinse with plenty of water given this concern.


And the last concern is with different hair types such as curly or wavy hair, sometimes by rubbing the bar of shampoo over their hair it can feel as though the hair gets tangled a bit easier. For this issue, it may take a little getting used to, and may help to find a pattern of application that works best- such as applying in one direction and not rubbing the shampoo bar back and forth over the hair.


I often get asked if conditioner is necessary if using a shampoo bar. Most shampoo bars have conditioning agents within them to make them two in one.









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