When it comes to a healthy microbiome (aka healthy SKIN), soap does WAY more harm than it does good. There are two ugly culprits causing most of the damage: Surfactants and pH values.
What an ugly word. Doesn’t roll off the tongue easily, does it? Go ahead, try it: SUR-FAC-TANT.
Blech. There’s a reason why it sounds so bad. That’s because, when it comes to SKIN, it is.
Surfactants are compounds used in soap and other cleaning products that allow detergents to mix with water and cling to dirt and grease, ultimately washing the dirt and grease away.
Sounds like a good thing, right? If we were covered in mud every day, MAYBE. But thanks to more conscious minds, scientists are studying how truly destructive surfactants can be on the skin microbiome.
Surfactants impact the outermost layer of the skin in a most negative way. It causes all sorts of problems ranging from dryness (by stripping the skin of its natural ability to moisturize), to redness and general irritation (and not just for sensitive skin). But that’s not the worst of it. These harsh compounds sabotage the skin’s ability to do its MAIN job of acting as a natural barrier. Compromised, your microbiome becomes less effective at keeping toxins and pathogens at bay. As a result, all those nasties can infiltrate deeper into your dermal layers. EEK!
The havoc they wreak isn’t pretty. Nor does it leave you with pretty skin.
The majority of soap-based cleansers have a pH of around 10. And the “mild” ones required a slew of buffer chemicals to adjust the pH that make the product equally as questionable.
Why is that a problem? Because the microbiome thrives at an acidic pH of approximately 5. By using products with an alkaline (or even neutral) pH, you’re not only creating an inhospitable environment for your good bacteria and other helpful organisms, but you’re encouraging harmful, destructive bacteria and other such potential pathogens to flourish. These baddies typically thrive at a neutral, and more so, alkaline pH, and they LOVE it when you weaken their enemy. You know, all those good microorganisms that help keep their numbers in check.
How did we get here?
It’s no secret we live in a society that is hyper-sensitive to antibacterial EVERYTHING. And this “demand” created an increased need to find stronger surfactants and preservatives to kill every last bacteria on our bodies. Our stance on this? CHILL.Enough with the outright killing of the good microorganisms on your hands and bodies. Antibacterial agents can’t discriminate between good and bad bacteria. And, as we’ve all heard in the news time and again, our excessive use of antibacterials is only working against us; creating armies of resistant, health-destroying bugs that our 21st century antibiotics cannot defeat. Cue the zombie apocalypse movies.
So a better option? SOAP-FREE CLEANSERS. Which is why we consciously created four different cleansers that do all the dissolving of dirt and oil WITHOUT destroying your microbiome. Go ahead, give 'em a try!