Because soapless cleansers moisturize the skin and strengthen the stratum corneum, they're a good choice for people with sensitive skin. But soapless skin cleansers can also benefit people with dry or oily skin. If your skin is oily, a soapless cleanser with a low pH will clean your skin without drying it out -- removing too much oil can actually cause oil glands to go into overdrive [source: Bouchez]. And because people with dry skin have little oil to protect their skin, soapless cleansers are also a good choice -- the added moisturizers will help the skin retain water instead of drying it like bar soap [source: Mayo Clinic].
These cleansers are also less likely to produce soap scum. The combination of soap and hard water -- water that's high in calcium -- can create a soap scum that leaves a residue on your skin. Soapless cleansers also have a longer shelf life than soap -- soap deteriorates easily when it comes in contact with water, but soapless cleansers can last for years.
One of the greatest benefits of soapless skin cleansers is that they keep your skin moisturized. You can help your body retain that moisture by taking warm, short showers instead of hot, lengthy ones -- too much heat can dry out your skin. Applying a moisturizer within three minutes of bathing or showering can also help you retain the moisture that the water and cleanser added to your skin [source: American Academy of Dermatology].
For more information on soapless skin cleansers, see the links on the following page.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- American Academy of Dermatology. "Dry Skin and Keratosis Pilaris." (Accessed 09/01/09).http://www.aad.org/public/publications/pamphlets/skin_dry.html
- Bouchez, Collette. "Oily Skin: Solutions That Work -- No Matter What Your Age." (Accessed 9/29/09).http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/features/oily-skin-solutions-that-work
- Bruno, Karen. "Women's Skin Care for a Soft Body." WebMD. August 6, 2009. (Accessed 09/01/09).http://www.webmd.com/skin-beauty/advances-skin-care-9/moisturizer-toning-cream?page=2
- Draelos, Zoe Diana. "Skin and Hair Cleansers." eMedicine. 5/14/09. (Accessed 9/28/09).http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1067572-overview
- Elias, Peter M. "Integrated Functions of the Stratum Corneum: Implications for an Optimal Skin Care Regimen." Skin and Allergy News. March 2005. (Accessed 09/01/09).http://www.skinandallergynews.com/webfiles/images/journals/sanews/aqa01032s30pdf.pdf
- Food and Drug Administration. "Is It a Cosmetic, a Drug, or Both? (Or Is It Soap?)." July 8, 2002. (Accessed 09/01/09).
- Glaser, Dee Anna. "The Role of Cleansing and Moisturizing Regimens in the Management of Patient Skin." Skin and Allergy News. March 2005. (Accessed 09/01/09).http://www.skinandallergynews.com/webfiles/images/journals/sanews/aqa01032s30pdf.pdf
- MayoClinic. "Acne." April 30, 2008. (Accessed 09/01/09).http://mayoclinic.com/health/acne/DS00169
- MayoClinic. "Dry Skin." (Accessed 9/29/09).http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dry-skin/DS00560/DSECTION=lifestyle-and-home-remedies
- MayoClinic. "Moisturizers: Options for Softer Skin." December 16, 2008. (Accessed 09/01/09).http://mayoclinic.com/health/moisturizers/SN00042
- New Zealand Dermatological Society. "Soaps and Cleansers." DermNetNZ. June 15, 2009. (Accessed 09/01/09).http://dermnetnz.org/treatments/cleansers.html
- Scirrotto, Julia. "Soothing Solutions for Sensitive Skin." (Accessed 9/29/09).http://www.webmd.com/skin-beauty/features/soothing-solutions-sensitive-skin
- WebMD. "Eczema." February 7, 2009. (Accessed 08/06/09).http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/eczema
- Zamonsky, Lisa. "The Sensitive Skin Myth." (Accessed 9/28/09).http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/the-sensitive-skin-myth