Bathing and showering is a basic hygienic need. Since this is a daily or a regular routine, it is important to be mindful of the products you use for your skin. Soaps are made from fats and oils from animals and vegetables, which react with lye. These may come in traditional bar forms or liquids such as body wash or shower gel. Bar soaps are typical and were used by most people, while liquid bath soaps were mostly used by those with needs for better hydration. However, things are changing, and a lot of people are both using bar and liquid both soaps due to different needs and preferences.
There is a wide variety of bath soaps available in the market now, so let’s get more informed about them a little more. Here are the different types of bath soaps, which all come ina a bar or liquid forms:
1. Moisturizing soaps
Regular soap has a tendency to dry skin, but moisturizing soaps tend to counter this effect. These type of soaps aim to bring moisture to the skin, leaving it softer, smoother and healthier. These also help prevent and treat dryness, improve texture and protect sensitivities in the skin while it is being cleansed. Liquid moisturizing soaps work better than bar soaps in locking in moisture, leaving your skin soft enough so you can skip post-shower lotion.
Moisturizing soaps are more likely made of vegetable fats. The most popular ingredient in moisturizing soap is probably shea butter, which is known for its superior moisturizing properties. Olive oil is also one, which also has an anti-aging effect. Other moisturizing agents include petrolatum, lightweight oils, silicon-derived ingredients, as well as organic and natural ingredients like coconut extracts, honey, buttermilk, aloe vera, apricot, and almond oil.
2. Exfoliating soaps
All soaps can remove dead skin cells, but no other type of soap can remove them more effectively than exfoliating soaps. Exfoliating soaps primarily remove dead skin cells and helps deep-clean the skin. It also works to unclog pores to help reduce acne breakouts and allow moisturizers to penetrate deeper into the skin. Removing dead cells stimulates new cell growth for fresher, healthier skin.
Exfoliating soaps typically have rough ingredients that help scrub skin better. There are soaps with plastic microbeads that effectively scrubs away dirt and dead skin, but they may also harm the environment because they are non-biodegradable. Don’t worry, these types of soaps are already banned in the US. The soap’s exfoliating effect can be made by natural ingredients such as soy beads, oatmeal, fruit seeds, jojoba wax and beads, salts and sugars. Some exfoliating soaps have built-in nubs to also increase blood circulation under the skin.
3. Anti-bacterial soaps
Let’s face it, germs are anywhere and everywhere you touch, and these microbes must be killed to avoid catching diseases. All soaps work to remove excess dirt and germs, but anti-bacterial soaps do the extra killing of bacteria to serve as protection against colds, flu, and other infections. Some brands even claim to remove 99.9% of germs.
Anti-bacterial soaps do this through agents like triclosan, triclocarban, chloroxylenol and other chemicals. However, many studies have found that antibacterial soaps are not any better than plain soap at preventing infectious diseases and bacterial levels on hands. There are also questions as to how the body would benefit on long-term use of anti-bacterial soaps. Studies also show that the widespread use of anti-bacterial soaps may lead to the evolution of bacteria resistant to germ-killing agents. Some chemicals in anti-bacterial soaps have recently been banned by the FDA.
4. Medicated soaps
Medicated soaps are specialty soaps dedicated to help cure, treat or manage different skin problems and disorders. Before you use any product such as face masks, moisturizers, and ointments, the skin must be clean, right? Might as well use special medicated soaps that target your current skin problem to complement the other skin products you are using. For moderate to serious skin conditions, dermatologists really recommend using medicated soaps along with any topical or oral treatment. Sensitive skin conditions also need medicated soaps that are gentle enough not to irritate skin.
There are medicated soaps with special ingredients to help remove or alleviate skin conditions like blackheads, sagging, clogged pores, pimples and acne, itching, bacterial and fungal infections, allergies, and dermatitis. Here are some common examples of medicated soaps:
- Anti-acne soaps – has anti-bacterial, exfoliating and blemish-inhibiting properties to cure and prevent the breakout of acne and pimples. These usually come in the form of facial wash or scrub but can be used not only on the face, but also on the chest and back, in which acne is more prevalent.
- Anti-fungal soaps – soaps that work to eliminate fungi on skin conditions like ringworm, athlete’s foot, jock itch and candidiasis. These are made of ingredients like glycerin, sulfur and zinc oxide, tea tree oil, aloe vera, vitamin E and essential oils.
- Anti-cellulite soaps – soaps specially designed to reduce cellulite dimpled the on skin such as thighs, hips and buttocks caused by fat. This type of soap can be made of seaweeds alone or in combination with coffee bean extract, ivy extract, fennel seed extract, aloe, gingko biloba, juniper, horse chestnut and bentonite.
- Anti-aging soap – soaps that help slow down signs of aging by fighting wrinkles and sagging, dark spots and dullness of skin. Common ingredients of anti-aging soaps are collagen, retinol, essential oils, and vitamin A and E.
5. Herbal soaps
Herbal soaps are considered as healthier and less-harsh alternatives to usual soaps. These are found to have beneficial effects on the skin with less damaging effects. Benefits of herbal soaps can differ, depending on the main ingredient used, and it could range to moisturizing, whitening, strengthening, nourishment, aromatherapy, detoxification and healing. Herbal soaps can be found anywhere from grocery aisles, drugstores, flea markets, organic markets and even from small entrepreneurs selling their homemade soaps made of natural ingredients.
This type of soap is made up of natural herbs, essential oils, food-grade vegetable oils, and other natural ingredients. Just make sure that you carefully check the ingredients before buying to make sure that the soap would produce the desired effect. Some soaps may claim to use certain ingredients when for instance, they actually used a scented oil of the ingredient, which is not the same thing.
The ingredients of herbal soaps might include natural extracts of the following: lavender, chamomile, rosemary, jasmine, ylang-ylang mint, eucalyptus, plantain, hyssop, oats, wheat, sandalwood, seaweed, lemongrass, ginger, green tea, milk, honey, coffee, citrus, cocoa butter, shea butter, aloe vera, as well as oils such as coconut, sunflower, palm, castor, soybean, almond, jojoba and olive.
Since there are so many varieties of soaps, the number one factor that must guide you in buying soap is your skin type. Good thing there are soap brands that indicate what type of skin it is best used at, but it is better to be in the know.
1. Dry skin
If your skin produces lower than normal amounts of sebum, which is the skin’s natural oil, then you have dry skin. You may be experiencing dry skin if your skin feels tight after bathing or swimming. You may also see and feel roughness, itching, fine lines, cracks, peeling, scaling and redness. Glycerin- and aqua-based soaps are great for dry skin. You can also choose from soaps with vegetable oils, shea butter, cocoa butter, aloe vera, coconut extracts, milk extracts, jojoba oil or avocado oil.
2. Oily skin
If you have overactive sebaceous glands, then your skin produces more oil than normal, giving you oily skin. These types are more prone to acne, so if you have oily skin, you need to wash your face more frequently. Avoid using strong soaps and prefer those face cleansers with anti-bacterial properties. Try those that contain sea salts, oatmeal, brown sugar, thyme, lavender and chamomile.
3. Combination skin
A person with oily skin parts and dry skin parts have a combination skin type. If you have this condition, avoid those products meant for oily skin only or dry skin only. Consider using soaps based on glycerin.
4. Sensitive skin
Having a sensitive skin may be a curse – being prone to rashes, allergic reactions and experiencing stings when handling bath products can be irritating. But the market is now offering a lot of bath soaps for sensitive skin with balanced pH levels, little to no perfume and colorants. Stick to those mild formulas, simple cleansers, organic and natural products. Some even use baby formulas because they are extremely gentle to the skin. Soap made from goat’s milk can be friendly to allergic skin, and those that contain jojoba oil and vitamin E works well for dry skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis. Of course, medicated soaps meant for skin disorders also work great.
5. Normal skin
If your skin is oh so normal, then you are very lucky. This means your skin is not too dry nor not too oily, not sensitive nor allergic. You have a greater range of choices on the soap to use, but just avoid those for dry and oily skin. Keep away from those harsh soaps with too many chemicals and those with overpowering fragrance. The best bet would be herbal soaps – and you are free to choose the variant you like!