Personal hygiene took a turn for the better throughout history with the invention of soap, which is a specific substance designed to remove dirt, sweat, sebum, and excess oils from the skin with the use of surfactants and chemical agents.
What Is Soap?
Soap is essentially a fatty acid’s salts, with each molecule consisting of a “water-loving” (hydrophilic) end and a “water-hating” (hydrophobic) end that arranges in spheres of about sixty or more when mixed with water.
“True” soaps are often made using a process that involves mixing animal or vegetable fats with a strong alkaline, and may or may not be suited to certain skin types depending on the chemicals listed in the ingredients.
The Different Types of Body Cleaning Products
Most body cleaning products you use are products of mixing surfactants that are derived from petroleum (e.g. sodium laurel sulfate). You can get different types of depending on the fat you use, such as:
• Hand/body wash – These soap types are often made with mild surfactants in mind to avoid drying out the skin too quickly. They are also much less foamy and more concentrated than shampoo.
• Shampoo – Shampoo consists of a surfactant and a co-surfactant mixed with water in order to form a thick liquid and is designed to be gentle on keratin (the proteins that make up hair).
• Bar soap – This is the “true” soap that’s mixed with animal and/or vegetable fats and a strong alkaline solution.
Considering Your Skin Type
There are at least four different skin types that exist: normal, dry, oily, and combination. While the first skin type is balanced in terms of moisture, dry skin loses moisture too quickly and appears flaky. Oily skin appears glossy on account of the excess oils and sebum being produced, and the last skin type is a combination of both dry and oily.
People with normal skin should best work with ordinary bar soap and avoid soaps formulated specifically for the other three skin types, as it can upset the balance of their skin and cause problems.
For people with dry skin, soap that contains moisturizing properties is the best bet when it comes to helping to lock in moisture. Soaps made with oils such as coconut oil, aloe vera, and jojoba can also work wonders.
Oily skin is oily because of overworked sebaceous glands, which leaves the skin more prone to acne breakouts. If you happen to have this skin type, it’s important that you wash your face frequently and go for soaps that have sea salt, oatmeal, or peach pits in the ingredients.
Combination skin is the trickiest, as there aren’t many soap types designed specifically for skin that’s both dry and oily at the same time. However, glycerine soaps could be a good start.