Photo credit: mfrietsch
What are syndet bars? Syndet is short for “synthetic detergent.” These cleansers typically contain less than 10% soap and are beneficial for those who have rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, sensitive skin, or dry skin (xerosis). Syndet bar cleansers have also been recommended by dermatologists for other skin conditions such as acne since regular soap can irritate the skin.
True Soap vs. Syndet Bars
So what is the difference between soap and syndet bars? Soap is extremely effective in cleansing the skin. It strips away everything, including our skin’s natural oils. Soaps are known to be harsh and its use can damage skin layers that regulate the hydration of our skin. Those are at least two of the reasons why soaps have a drying effect. Soap bars also have a pH ranging from 9 to 10, making it more alkaline in comparison to our skin which has a slightly acidic pH from 5 to 6. Washing your face with regular soap can increase the pH of your skin which will lead to more water loss. The increase in pH of your skin also creates a more favorable environment for microorganisms, such as the dreaded P. acnes that is linked to acne.
Syndet bars are mild and cause less damage to our skin. The pH of syndet bars are usually around 5.5, which is very similar to the natural pH of our skin. These bars are effective cleansers, cause minimal damage to skin layers, and do not have the harsh stripping effects of regular soap. This leads to less dryness, less skin irritation, and better control of acne.
Finding Syndet Bars
People always ask me which products are syndet bars since it is never stated in the product name. If you are not sure, look at the ingredients. Sodium cocoyl isethionate (SCI) is the most common synthetic detergent found in popular brands such as CetaphilÂ® and EucerinÂ®. Other synthetic detergent ingredients include the sulfoccinates and betaines. Another hint that a product may be a syndet bar? You will never see the word “soap” on these products, they are often referred to as “beauty bars” or “cleansing bars” since they are not considered real soap.
Here is a list of popular syndet bars that have had great reviews:
- CetaphilÂ® Gentle Cleansing Bar
- DoveÂ® White Beauty Bar
- DoveÂ® Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar
- EucerinÂ® pH5 Soap-free Bar
- La Roche Posay Lipikar Surgras Cleansing BarÂ®
Can’t find any syndet bars in your area? If you are crafty you could consider making your very own syndet bar!
ugh. PH has nothing to do with whether or not something is good for sensitive skin.
i fell for that garbage for many many years.
until i tried a natural soap
that was the first shower I ever had where I was not itchy after.
i have the most sensitive skin. even just water bothers my skin.
and same with my dog. every time i gave her a bath, trying all different kinds of dog and people shampoos, she would be so itchy she would try to scratch all her skin off for days after. nothing worked.
until I tried a natural bar of soap on her. that was her first bath where she was not itchy after, and her vet was amazed at how healthy and shiny her fur was and how good her skin was. and i didnt even tell him what i had used.
PH IS NOT WHAT YOU NEED TO WATCH OUT FOR FOR SENSITIVE SKIN.
DOVE IS HORRIBLE.
CETAPHIL BURNS MY SKIN OFF
you want a well made all natrual SOAP. a super mild one with goatsmilk oatmeal and honey makes a great bar. thats what works best on me and my dogs skin.
ITS NASTY DETERGENTS AND CHEMICALS that irritate sensitive skin.
there are plenty of soaps labeled as natural that have nasty stuff in them
“natural” is not a regulated term, so anyone can use it whether its true or not. so read the labels and research!
and there are plenty of people who make sub-par soaps that are harsh on the skin, but that is NOT from PH, that is usually from things like too much coconut oil (too highly cleansing), clays, fragrance or EO that is irritating, not enough superfats, or other additives that can cause irritations.
i used to use Oil of Olay soap cause it was the least irritating to my skin (dove is horrible).
still made me itchy after every shower…just less itchy than other bars
and i would only soap up my torso…if i soaped my legs they would get insanely itchy.
when i started using natural soap i now lather up my whole body because that makes me less itchy than if i use very little soap. why? because the natural soap has oils in it that protect my skin from the chlorine in the water. so if I dont lather up my legs, they get a little dry and itchy from the chlorine. if i lather up my legs with my all natural soap, my legs dont get itchy.
i started making soap because everything i bought in stores was horrific on my body. it went so well i started selling my soaps. and now i have many customers with horrific skin problems like eczema and they love it.
DONT FALL FOR THE PH LIES! our skin has NO problem handling a PH of 9-10 in a soap. it is built to adjust to things like that.
why do corporations use inferior products? because they care about profits, not about quality. chemicals are so much cheaper than quality oils. and they are easier to manufacture. and they last longer in poor conditions. tho a well made bar of natural soap should last at least a year, if not MANY years (stored, not being used).
as you can tell i am passionate about this subject. i spent 34 years falling for the lies having skin problems. NO LONGER!
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Histocalamine syndet bar
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