How dangerous is soap for our environment
Soap: how good is it for the skin?
Soap has become an indispensable part of daily personal hygiene: it is especially indispensable for washing hands. However, dermatologists warn against excessive use of soap, whether in liquid or solid form, especially for hair care or for showering. Because soap can disrupt the natural protective layer of the skin more than it benefits it.
The skin has a natural protective layer
Healthy skin protects itself. Its top layer consists of dead horny cells, stuck together with fat and protein. This robust natural protective wall allows foreign matter to ricochet off the outside and prevents moisture from being lost from inside the body. In addition, a fine layer of sweat, sebum and water floats on the skin, on which microorganisms thrive. Up to a million bacteria, viruses and mites live on just one square centimeter of skin. This microbiome helps fight harmful germs.
The alkaline pH value of the soap attacks the protective acid mantle
The natural protective acid mantle keeps the skin surface slightly acidic at a pH value of 4.8 to 5.3. Soap has a pH value of 8 to 11 and is therefore alkaline. When lathering the skin, the pH value of the skin also increases briefly to 8 to 11. This also kills some of the "good" skin bacteria. This is not a big problem with healthy skin, because the pH value of the skin returns to normal after a few hours.
But: If the protective acid mantle is destroyed by too frequent soaping, the protective barrier can become perforated. Allergens, chemicals and pathogens can penetrate faster from the outside. This results in eczema, contact allergies, irritation or itching more quickly.
Synthetic detergents as an alternative
Less is more is the motto. And this applies not only to industrially manufactured mass products, but also to handmade natural soaps. So-called synthetic detergents, or syndets for short, are an alternative. Their pH value is adapted to that of the skin so that they are less likely to attack the protective acid mantle. Most liquid soaps are syndets or mixtures of syndet and soap. If you want to be on the safe side, you should pay attention to terms such as soap-free, pH-neutral or pH 5.5.
Risk of allergy from dyes and perfumes
But not only soap, syndets also remove fat from the skin. They remove the body's own robust fats that the body produces. For this reason, moisturizing substances are added to many products. Additives such as colorings and perfume in soap or liquid soap are also a potential allergy risk.
Do not use soap, but wash your hands regularly
Dermatologists recommend not using soap or detergents, but only cleaning the skin with water. This is especially true for the skin of the face, because it is more sensitive than the rest of the body. When showering, however, it is completely sufficient to only lather critical areas such as armpits, buttocks and feet.
You shouldn't do without thorough hand washing before eating and after using the toilet, because a thorough lathering removes harmful bacteria and viruses.
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Know more - live better | 04/06/2020 | 3:15 p.m.
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