Face Wash vs Soap

Face wash or soap? We can help. Here are the differences and when to use each

Here's why you shouldn't always use face wash and soap interchangeably

When it’s time to wash your face do you reach for a bar of soap—the same soap you use on your body—or do you squeeze out the best face wash you can find for your skin type? According to a recent survey, 43 percent of Americans admit to using their bar of body soap to wash their face, either in the shower or bath. Is it true that bar soap is bad for the skin on your face? Does that hold true for all bar soaps?

No. According to skin care experts, the tides are turning in the soap world. While for decades, those in the know have shunned the soap in favor of the best face wash trend of the day, now some experts are telling us that some bar soaps are not only okay for your skin, in some cases certain bar soaps can be better than some of the face wash brands we love.

Bar Soaps to Ban

According to dermatologists, some soaps should never be allowed on your face. Any soap that is antibacterial does not belong on your face. Antibacterial soaps are formulated mainly to be used on your hands, where the skin is much tougher and stronger than the fragile skin of your face. Antibacterial soaps are very drying. For this reason, some people believe they will help clear up acne. However, it’s never a good idea to use a bar of antibacterial soap on your face. While it’s true that acne is caused partly by a specific type of bacteria, it’s also caused by overactive sebaceous glands and abnormal shedding of dead skin cells. Stripping your face by washing it with an antibacterial soap, will cause your sebaceous glands to go into hyperdrive and over-produce sebum in self-defense. Instead, find a face wash formulated for acne.

Also, never use deodorant bar soaps on your face. Deodorant bar soaps are also antibacterial, as odors on the skin are caused by bacteria. Unfortunately, deodorant soaps also contain a hefty dose of artificial fragrance to mask odors. You should never want to subject the delicate skin of your face to harsh, oil-stripping soap mixed with perfume. Ouch. It’s likely to result in dry, itchy skin. You’d be much better off with any of the best face wash products on today’s store shelves.

Most of the old, popular brand name bar soaps—like the ones you probably grew up with—have a pH balance that is way off from what your face needs. Traditional bar soap is highly alkaline, meaning it will increase the pH of your skin. When skin is too alkaline, it becomes dry and itchy and feels tight. You might not notice this as much on the tougher skin of your body, but the skin on the face is thin and fragile—and the last place you want to dry out.

Best Face Wash Choices

Instead of using a harsh one-size-fits-all bar soap, you can shop the aisles of your favorite department store, drug store, or even supermarket and find a face wash that’s perfect for your skin type. Unlike most bar soaps, the best face wash formulas are specific to different skin types. If you have oily skin, there is a face wash for you. If you struggle with dry skin, you will find a plenitude of face wash products aimed at delivering a powerful punch of moisturizers to soothe your skin. There are also options for combination skin, normal skin, and sensitive skin.

Unlike the popular bar soap brands, face wash is designed to specifically address the delicate skin of your face, so most of the best face wash products today contain no alcohol or artificial fragrance. While popular bar soaps don’t contain alcohol, they do contain artificial fragrances to cover up the naturally unpleasant scent of soap.

Some Better Bar Soaps

Before you ban all bar soaps from your bath, you should consider some of the latest trends in bar soaps. While most of the popular name-brand soaps that have been around since we—and even our parents—were kids shouldn’t be used on the face, some newer bars are giving the best face wash products some competition for the first time in years. Many newer bar soaps have natural, minimal ingredient lists and contain many beneficial properties for the skin. Many contain gentle, exfoliating ingredients and skin soothing botanicals. Activated charcoal bar soaps have gained in popularity for their skin clarifying properties.

If you are looking for a natural bar soap with beneficial qualities for your skin, be sure you are shopping for a facial bar soap. Bar soaps made for the face have a lower pH than bar soaps for the body.

While most of the best face wash products today are fragrance-free and formulated to be beneficial to specific skin types, it’s important to read ingredients lists, and not assume that all face washes are better for your skin than all bar soaps. Some face wash products may contain ingredients that you don’t need on your face, such as the chemical preservatives that are necessary in liquid soaps. Whereas some bar soaps are better for those who prefer a minimal ingredients list, and plant-based benefits

If you do choose a facial bar soap, don’t rub it directly on your face. Instead, work up a lather in your hands and use the later to wash your face.

Resources— MBGLifestyle, WishTrend, AvailDermatology.com

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