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How is a non-soap bar different from soap?

Chemistry of a Non-Soap Bar

It might sound odd, but you don't have to use soap to get clean. That's right; you can use a non-soap cleanser, instead. Non-soap products work on your skin in the same way that soap products do. The chemical compound attaches to the dirt and excess oil on your skin so that you can easily wash them off with water, leaving your skin free of soils and suds.

One key difference between the two, however, is that non-soap bars are created using synthetic chemicals, either as part or all of the ingredients. Some of the more common key players include fatty acids, petrochemicals or oleochemicals for the hydrophobic end, and other chemicals such as sulfur trioxide or ethylene oxide provide the hydrophilic action. Also, as with soap, alkalis such as sodium hydroxide are added to the chemicals to react, eventually ending up with non-soap bars [sources: The Soap and Detergent Association, Oakley].

Now that you know about the behind-the-scenes magic of soap and non-soap products, keep reading to find out more about the main show. How are soap bars different from non-soaps in affecting your skin?