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How to Choose the Right Soap for Your Skin Type - Which Soap is Best for Your Skin Type

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If you are pondering over whether to choose a cream cleanser or stick to soap bar for a soft and smooth skin, read on for the bare-skinned facts.

The soap is generally made up of animal or vegetable fat and caustic soda, with added perfume, colours and natural extracts. Although it is a very efficient formula to remove grease and dirt from the skin, it tends to also dry the skin. The problem with soap is its alkaline ingredient, while our skin tends to be slightly acidic. As a result, immediately after washing your skin with soap, the skin's protective acid mantle is disturbed and you may feel tautness and dryness on your skin.

Cream Cleanser, which is put on using cotton wool, is less harsh and dehydrating. Its formula gives a gentler feel. Since it is in liquid form, manufacturer could add other ingredients that help to moisturize the skin. The disadvantage is the skin tends not to feel as squeaky clean after wash when compare to washing with soap and water.

In between the two products mentioned above is facial wash or cleansing bar. Facial wash is a solid cleanser used exactly the same way as soap to give you the best of both worlds, a refreshing, water-rinsable product that is not too drying.

The question is which one is the best? The truth is there is no single, perfect soap. Some cream cleanser contain such a high proportion of detergents and other additives that they can be more irritating, dehydrating than a soap made to include moisturising oils which counteract the drying effects of the basic ingredient in the bar. For most people, it is a case of trial and error to find the right soap that suits you. Avoid cleansing products that leave your skin feeling uncomfortably tight, fry or flaky. If you have a great complexion and enjoy using soap, then there is no reason at all why you shouldn’t stick with it.




If you prefer soap and water, these simple guidelines below will help you find the best formulated soap that suits your skin type:

For Oily Skin


Oily skin has too much sebum - the skin's natural oil. It looks shiny and is prone to acne. It needs to be cleansed regularly. However, if you wash very often, avoid buying strong soap. Choose for milder formula to remove grime and oil so as to avoid skin damage. Look out for exfoliating bar soaps containing gentle ingredients, such as oatmeal, sea salt, peach pits and brown sugar. They are gentler on the skin and they are natural. Natural is always better for the skin instead of soap containing harsh chemicals such as glycolic acid that can damage or irritate your skin. Look for gentlest exfoliating bar soap that helps to remove blocked pores and scrub away dead skin cells. If your skin is not sensitive, you can exfoliate your skin with an exfoliating bar soap three or four times per week. Otherwise, for sensitive skin, exfoliating bar soap should be used once every two to three weeks.

Facial wash gel is another good choice.

If your skin feels oily during the day, wipe it off with a tissue.

For Dry Skin


Dry skin does not have enough sebum. For dry skin, you should choose a gentle soap packed full of moisturising ingredients such as glycerine soap. Glycerin, a colorless compound is known for its moisturizing properties. It dissolves in water easily. It is also a good solvent. It absorbs water from the air, naturally moisturizes your skin. They are can be enriched with coconut or jojoba oils, Aloe Vera, cocoa butter, avocado or vegetable oils which are best for dry skin.

Also check out creamy facial washes and cleansing bars. Avoid harsh soap.

If your skin is very dry, you can just wipe your face with toner or splash it with warm water in the morning, and use soap only at the end of the day.

Soap is more damaging for dry skin than oily skin.


For sensitive skin




There are many soaps and facial washes designed for sensitive skin. They are free from perfume and colourants, the normal irritants for the skin. These soaps are also pH-balanced, and match the acidity of the skin, less chance of upsetting the delicate balance of the skin.

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Germs combined with excess oil lead to spotty skin.  Medicated soaps with anti-bacterial ingredients are often used to solve this problematic skin. However, as you source for medicated soap, avoid the soap that is too harsh for the skin.  It may remove not only the bad bacteria, but also the good ones that keep the skin healthy. Again, try out the mild formula first, and don’t wash the face too often with this medicated soap, as it could do more harm than good.




Combination skin is a combination of oily skin and dry skin. In this case, avoid using soaps that are specially designed to treat either dry skin or oily skin. Soaps for dry skin will make the oily areas even oilier while soaps for oily skin will make the dry areas drier. In this case, choose commercial soaps or even better, natural soaps for normal skin. Glycerin soap is acceptable for such kind of skin.  There are also rinse-off cleansers formulated specifically for combination skin, and these are fine too.


Normal skin is not too oily or too dry. Avoid choosing soaps that are specifically formulated for dry or oily skin, as you may get undesirable skin condition, worse than the current skin condition. Many commercial soaps and herbal soaps are designed for use on normal to oily or dry skin. These products are fine to use.



The following types of soaps may be damaging to the skin on the face and should be avoided:

· Soaps with high chemicals content

· Soaps with a high pH or acid-content

· Cheap commercial soaps

· Soaps formulated for a different type of skin type than the one you have

Natural Soap

Natural or Herbal Soap

Commercial soap contains high level of chemicals that may be harmful to skin. Natural or herbal soap is a better alternative since it contains natural products which are gentler and healthier to your skin and less likely to damage the skin. Natural soaps are also more able to retain the glycerin content while commercial soaps remove the glycerin from soap, resulting in drying effects on the skin. Glycerin is vital to keep the skin in good moisture.

For people with skin problems, natural soaps provide aromatherapy and herbal treatments for your skin as well as nourishing the skin. Before buying a natural soap, it is important to check the ingredients to ensure it contains genuine natural ingredients. Some soap may claim to be natural or herbal, but in actual fact contain chemicals and harmful substances. For example, some soap is claimed to contain lavender, but it contains lavender scented oil instead. Scented oil is different from essential oil. The effect will not be the same.

Make Your Own Soap

If you have the time and interest, you can also make your own herbal soaps by using a soap base and adding different herbs and oils. Making your own soap gives you the assurance of the actual ingredients contained in the soap.


1. To make your soap last longer, store it in a dry place. Drawer of clothes is a good place to keep clothes, since it is dry and it will keep the clothes fragrant at the same time.

2. Glycerine soaps absorb moisture from the atmosphere and hence become soft very easily. Therefore, keep them in a soap box and a dry place.

3. It is estimated that each person uses about 5kg of soap a year.

Looking Your Best :

How to Make Soap using Natural Ingredients

The text and all images on this page, unless otherwise indicated, are owned by Ingenira who hereby asserts her copyright on the material. Permission must be granted by the author in writing prior to copy or republish this article in print or online. However, please feel free to copy the first paragraph with a link back to this page. Thank you.

© Ingenira 2011


Abby Slutsky from America on July 18, 2020:

This is very informative. I am blessed with good skin, but I have to admit I don't put much thought into the soap I use.

Jessica Brown from San Diego CA on August 24, 2018:

thanks, love it! this is very informative! :)

About Me from India on November 26, 2017:

nice information

dwaynedsmith25 from Cincinnati, Ohio on July 19, 2015:

I have really dry skin and I cannot use soaps like Axe, etc., makes things worse.. I have had several female friends offer suggestions... One insisted that I try the original Caress Daily Silk bath bars... Even though the scent is not what I thought, my skin is so soft afterwards, sometimes I don't dry out after my showers... The other friend has me using the Deep Moisture body wash by Dove... I just started using it, so I am not sure yet on how the effects are

Jacobb9205 on February 12, 2015:

Wow great way to find out which soap to use! Thank you!

Natasha on December 15, 2014:

I used otentika soap and cream and it gave me sunburn, pimples, blackspots and strectch marks what can I use

Mpho on May 08, 2014:

There is a soap called New Age , its glycerine based and does wonders to any skin types including sensitive.

Ingenira (author) on January 18, 2013:

jia, you may want to consult a skin specialist for that matter.

jia on January 18, 2013:

i have a large pores on face.... what soap should i use? i do also have a dark spots.. please help...

Gibby on October 23, 2011:

Superb hub.This hub really helped me for choosing right soap for my skin.Earlier i was not caring much about my skin soap.This hub really proved the difference for me.Now I choose the soap that would really suit my skin.Thanks a lot..:)


chaselane on May 18, 2011:

I have dry skin and tried so many soaps to make it softer and moisturized but other soaps just promises things that are never real. Shame on the makers!

Accutane Lawsuits on April 07, 2011:

I used this soap everyday twice a day. And my skin is so fare and my acne is no were to see.

Ingenira (author) on April 07, 2011:

Dexter, thanks for your visit. Looks like you have sensitive skin. So you have to be careful with the soap you choose.

Dexter on April 07, 2011:

Thanks for the information I have mild acne and most soaps that I used irritated my skin.

Ingenira (author) on April 07, 2011:

Thank you so much, chim4real, glad to see you here.

chim4real_2006 on April 07, 2011:

This is a nice article and well shared. Keep it up. I will give it a trial.

Ingenira (author) on April 07, 2011:

Glad that you discovered the reasons, Jet. Thanks for the visit.

Ingenira (author) on April 07, 2011:

Thank you for reading, Rooskaya. :) Nice to see you here.

The Jet from The Bay on April 07, 2011:

No wonder my skin itches at times. Time to put away the Dial soap and Fight Club soap.

Rooskaya from USA on April 06, 2011:

Thanks for the skin care oriented hub.

Ingenira (author) on April 06, 2011:

Glad that it helps, avnishnair.

avnishnair on April 06, 2011:

next time when i take bath at least i'll be sure that my soap is right for my i have dry skin and this hub has solved my problem.thank you.

Ingenira (author) on March 19, 2011:

Appreciate your comment, toknowinfo. :)

toknowinfo on March 19, 2011:

Excellent hub. You covered a lot of information in this article. There is something for everyone, which makes this very useful reading.

Ingenira (author) on March 08, 2011:

Thank you, rolisha. Glad to see you here.

rolisha from North Carolina on March 05, 2011:

Very helpful information!

Ingenira (author) on February 06, 2011:

Thanks, Loren's Gem, for your comment. Glad you found out what's best for you.

Ingenira (author) on February 03, 2011:

Thank you, mysisters, appreciate your very kind comment.

mysisters on February 03, 2011:

Great Hub! I love how you laid out soap suggestions for each skin type. I am considering trying to make my own soap after viewing your Hub. Thank you!

Loren's Gem from Istanbul, Turkey on January 25, 2011:

Great share! I've got a sensitive skin type and fragrant-free soaps made with pure olive oils seem to work best for me. Thanks for sharing this great info! :-)

Ingenira (author) on January 20, 2011:

Thanks, prasetio, I still remember the hub about "bath" you wrote. It does show how nice it is to enjoy a good bath.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on January 20, 2011:

Good information from you. I love spend my time in bathrooms, especially for taking bath. So I choose the best soap to clean my body. You have valuable tips of soap and I really enjoy to read this hub. I learn much from you. Good work, my friend. Vote up. Have a good day!


Ingenira (author) on January 18, 2011:

Thank you for your comment, CMHyno and recommending Aqueous cream. :)

CMHypno from Other Side of the Sun on January 18, 2011:

Great info on what type of soap to use for what skin type Ingenira. Aqueous cream is also great to use for cleansing your skin, especially if it is very sensitive and dry

Ingenira (author) on January 17, 2011:

thanks, 3cardmonte. Hope you have found soap that suits your skin.

3cardmonte on January 17, 2011:

Great tips. My skin is soo oily but very sensitive!

Ingenira (author) on January 16, 2011:

You gave me a good start of the day with your comment, Lilly. :) Thanks for your kindness, vote and sharing.

Clinique soap, liquid or bar, have very good customers' review. Some found it the only soap that can solve their skin problem. Thanks for mentioning it.

Lori J Latimer from Central Oregon on January 16, 2011:

Wow! This is a very good Hub. It is impressive that you have kindly considered each skin type, and most problems. excellent. I noticed the Clinique, a friend who was having chemo was recommended to use that soap. Voted up and shared.

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