Soap differences?

So my wife was suprised to see me washing my face with normal liquid soap for washing hands (she’d be even more suprised to see me using a bar of soap on my face in the shower). She asked me why I didn’t use special facial soap. According to her, the normal soap is too rough on my face, and will dry it out.

I disagree. I think the whole concept of facial soap is just a marketing ploy. Soap is soap - I fail to see why I would need a special soap for one part of my body. My skin has never been dry, and I fail to see how washing my face with normal soap could be harmful.

So anyone care to tell me the dope on soap?

Very simply, soap consists of two things: Fat and lye. It’s that simple. Now, many soaps are “synthetic” soaps, which means, of course, that we’re not talking about mixing lard and lye (which is how it USED to be done) but the concept is about the same. Chemicly speaking, the active ingredient in modern soap is generally sodium stearate (stearic acid being a fairly common saturated fatty acid. For more discussion on this, see the thread on “Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil”), though there ARE some more exotic detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate(often found in shampoos), but you ARE correct in saying that in many ways “soap is soap”.

Now, this is oversimplifying, because while the cleaning bit is very similar among various soaps, there can be differences. To simplify, consider a soap that is a mixture of simply lard and lye. Lye is horribly caustic, and the more that is in your soap, the more irritating and abbrasive that it is. So you generally want to have an excess of lard. However, the cleaning power of soap is also decreased if there is TOO MUCH lard. So, a balance must be struck: you want a soap that is strong enough to actually clean you, but not SO strong as to damage your skin.

Of course, we don’t actually make soap anymore by mixing lard and lye, but the basic principles of soap manufacture are the same: You want to create a soap that will clean the dirt off of yoru skin without stripping off TOO many natural oils. As I have a bit of a congenital acne problem, I can tell you that the TYPE of soap DOES make a difference with my skin type, though with many people it doesn’t. In general, if you don’t have any problems with acne or dry skin, good ol’ Dial or Ivory will do just fine. So, yes for most people it’s all just marketing, but some of us DO need special soaps, and appreciate that they are out there.

As an aside, if you’ve ever handled pure sodium hydroxide(lye) or pure potassium hydroxide(potash) (and no, it doesn’t kill you) you know that it makes your skin feel slimy. That is because it is LITERALLY turning the oils in your skin into soap.

Great Grandmother made lye soap whenever her son slaughtered a cow, since he only raised one cow every other year it wasn’t a full time job for her. I never got to watch the process but the soap had a great unique (to those of us raised on Ivory and Dial) smell - of course, warm and homey to me - and would keep your hands smooth all through Massachusetts winters, just as hers were. The last bar of soap was gone before I was old enough to realize the supply wasn’t going to last forever!

Now soap is “real” made with glycerine, olive oil, animal fats or synthetics. One difference I can see is that that “real” soaps are more likely to have a soap scum. (That was why women were supposed to brush their hair 100 times - remove the scum and let the hair shine.) Most of the synthetics and especially those used in shampoo have no scum and that’s one way shampoo is not the same as hand soap.

Dove and Zest are also scum free, you’d see the difference in the shower floor.

Shaving cream isn’t scum free, you’d see the difference in the sink.

Some soaps have anti-bacterials in them and you should check for previous posts on this board.

Some of the kids in college couldn’t be bothered fooling around with two or three kinds of bottles for the simple purpose of bathing and used shampoo for everything. Everything. Yikes! but I never thought there was anything odd about them in skin or odor.

Since the person most likely to care or know what’s what about your bathing habits is your wife, why not let her pick out what she thinks is nice?

Count me among the people who believe in a difference in soaps. I have to use facial soap on all of my skin because of dry skin problems.

Since we’ve broadened the discussion a bit, some soaps are formulated to clean a certain type of dirt/oil/etc. In addition to being scumless, shampoo is designed to be good at breaking up sebum, which is, well, head grease. This is why shampoo can be good at cleaning ring-around-the-collar.

Murphy’s Oil Soap is essentially vegetable oil and lye. Mix it together and you get something that is gentle (thanks to all that oil) but a cleaner (thanks to the lye). Safe for wood and dog fur!

is knowing about good soap. It’s simplistic to think that soap is soap… there’s all kinds of soaps with different fragrances and the level of moisturizers. But most important is that there are different soaps to clean different parts of your body; to keep it simple your face/neck and the rest of your body.

I use an Indian sandalwood soap for my body and I use cream moisturizers afterward.

I haven’t used soap persay on my face for years - I only wished I had started this before teen acne. I cleanse my skin with a deep facial cleanser followed by a toner and then moisturizers [one for the face and eyes and another for my neck] at night. In the morning I use water, water, water and a light moisterizer. Some folks say you should use milk for its lactic acid or pinapple, lemon or tomatoe as a toner before putting on the moisterizer. I prefer commerical products because they smell nicer. They needn’t be expensive either.

Do you want to know about moisturizing on the cheap? Check the label to see if there are lipids, essential fatty acids and sunscreen.

Exfoliate once a week [oatmeal paste] and use a followup mask depending upon your skin type:

clay [believe it or not you can use 100% natural clay in cheap kitty litter…hhuumm?] for detoxing your face
mashed lentils with honey to revitalize and nourish
crushed cucumbers for toning up

The best moisturizer for your body is extra virgin olive oil. I buy cheap body moisturizers and add olive oil to boost its effectiveness. For special occasions I wear matching perfum and body moisterizers with my red patent leather spike heel boots and black braided leather whip.
Just checking to see if you read the rest of this silly, but true posting.

A hundred years ago, people didn’t have liquid detergent-based shampoos. They used ordinary bar soap on their hair, or a bar of soap made with added herb infusions that they called “shampoo soap”. I follow their lead, suing ordinary soap. I haven’t noticed that it works any less well than liquid shampoo.

Jeepers! Where were all you clever folks when I posted this?

I haven’t used any soap on my face in 25
years. Before I go to bed, I use a scrub
on it. Twice a week, I use a foot scrub
with pumice in it.

I don’t put anything else on it ever. And
people guess my age about 10 years younger
than my 45 years.

Since somwone mentioned Dove Soap—

I believe Dove is not soap. Remember the slogan “It’s nt a soap, it’s a bath bar.” I believe Dove is all or mostly oil. You can clean yourself with oil. The romans used to use olive oil.

::promptly puts Inky on her laminated list after reading that hilarious Columbo thing

See, this is what I object to. Deep cleaning? What is that? What does it mean? Milk? Pineapple? I eat through my mouth, thank you, not my facial pores. Of course, no one expects men to do all of this, or to have really great skin either…

From the earlier posts, the message I seem to get is “there is a difference between soaps, but ordinary soap is OK if your skin doesn’t mind”. So I think I can survive without anything the slightest bit expensive.

Nice thread, Inky!

You asked the question under “General Questions” correct? One would have assumed that you were seeking information. Therefore I responded with my experience. However, you turn around and say: “this is what I object to…”. Given the fact that you were not interested in information, but rather wanted justification, it would have been better if you had posted either in IMHO or MPSIMS.

In response to additional comments:

It’s called a deep cleanser because it goes into the pores - especially important if you have Grand Canyon pores like I do. Heavy cleansing creams and soaps don’t do the job as well as a deep cleanser; soaps tend to be harsh and heavy creams plug up my pores. Milk and pineapple have natural acidic action which cleanse the skin by taking off the dirty oils. Moisturizer puts clean moisture into the skin. I need to take care of my skin to avoid ugly pimples due to dirt, dryness and wrinkles. All of this is based on experience. None of this stuff has to be expensive. You can use the stuff in your kitchen easily…

There are folks, however, who rave about Crisco as a good cleanser…

As for men having great skin; think again. Healthy, glowing skin is much more sexy on a man or woman than dull, pimply, waxy or ashy skin. Mr kiffa puts on moisturizer [body and not facial] which brings out his full color.

Kiffa - I am indeed interested in information. I’m not objecting to your factual information, but I just naturally distrust beauty marketing. I think for good reason too…

For example, why does deep cleanser go into pores but others don’t? Is that good? Once the soap is in your pores does it come out? I’m not saying you are wrong, but there is a lot to understand before I’m willing to believe in the animated soap commercials that shows little soap particles penetrating and dislodging deeply lodged in oil.

That soap could be harsh I can believe, from the informative posts above.

You write that milk and pineapple have natural acidic action that cleans the skin by taking off the dirty oils - that’s what any soap will do. Soap is good for cleaning, and food is good for eating. Fruits are too expensive to be used reguarly for non-eating purposes.

As for men having great skin - I agree that any man could look much better with great skin. But it’s not perceived as being important.

Tyler Durden says: “Use soap.”

Looking good [ie healthy] has always been important to both men and women. Knowing how to look good with great looking healthy skin has been limited to women primarily by the comestic business.

You can bypass the commercial businesses and you can keep your skin in good condition by:

a. Drinking lots and lots of water, water, water.

b. Cleaning the dirt out and leaving a clean moisturizing agent in. Soap is too drying. Some creamy agents are very thick and hard to get off which means the dirt won’t get off either. If you use a harsh soap, you will take off the protective, natural oils that your body produces. The oil glands will begin pumping out more which can lead to clogged pores. Your face’s surface will be dry, dull, dry, ashen which doesn’t make you the picture of health.

c. This cleansing can be done with many of the items you already have in your kitchen. The cost is nothing to you except to remember to save that lemon peal or one slice of tomatoe. The milk you might use could equal the amount that you or the kids spill while pouring the jug over their morning cereal. Make your own yoghurt and save 1 tbs for cleansing.

I am not saying that everyone should go out and buy the most expensive products. I’m advocating that folks determine what their skin type is and use what is appropriate for that.

Wood fur?