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

Updated on September 22, 2017

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:


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.


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.





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.



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 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.

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


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    • profile image

      Atmaram 2 years ago

      Here I am telling you about ancient secret by which people used to clean there skin from the vedic periods.

      For Oily Skin - Take 2 tbsp besan (gram flour) 2 tbsp multani mitti, 1 tbsp turmeric mix it with some rose water or normal water the paste should be semi thick and smooth mix it till there are no lumps now apply it on your face in circular motion. pat it dry for 15 - 20 mins wash your face and your skin will feel lighter with the natural glow. You can use this for cleaning your body also. use twice a week for best results.

      For Dry Skin - Take 2 tbsp besan (gram flour) 2 tbsp multani mitti, with 1 tsp of malai (cream of milk) should be semi thick and smooth mix it till there are no lumps now apply it on your face in circular motion. pat it dry for 15 - 20 mins wash your face and your skin will feel silky and smooth. You can use this for cleaning your body also. use twice a week for best results.

      For Tip Toe Skin - Take 2 tbsp besan (gram flour) 2 tbsp multani mitti, 1 tbsp turmeric and some lemon water the paste should be smooth mix it till there are no lumps now apply it on your face in circular motion. pat it dry for 15 - 20 mins wash your face and your skin will feel lighter and tighter the natural glow. Use this once in a week and regularly wash your face with water.

      For all skin types take a pinch of turmeric ( haldi ) 1 tbsp of multani mitti powder mix it in water bucket now take bath with this after bathing your skin will fresh and beautiful.

    • dwaynedsmith25 profile image

      dwaynedsmith25 2 years ago from Cincinnati, Ohio

      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

    • profile image

      Jacobb9205 3 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Natasha 3 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Mpho 3 years ago

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

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      jia 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Gibby 6 years ago

      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 profile image

      chaselane 6 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      Accutane Lawsuits 7 years ago

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

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Dexter 7 years ago

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

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 7 years ago

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

    • chim4real_2006 profile image

      chim4real_2006 7 years ago

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

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 7 years ago

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

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 7 years ago

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

    • The Jet profile image

      The Jet 7 years ago from The Bay

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

    • Rooskaya profile image

      Rooskaya 7 years ago from Russia

      Thanks for the skin care oriented hub.

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 7 years ago

      Glad that it helps, avnishnair.

    • profile image

      avnishnair 7 years ago

      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 profile image

      Ingenira 7 years ago

      Appreciate your comment, toknowinfo. :)

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 7 years ago

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

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 7 years ago

      Thank you, rolisha. Glad to see you here.

    • rolisha profile image

      rolisha 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Very helpful information!

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 7 years ago

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

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 7 years ago

      Thank you, mysisters, appreciate your very kind comment.

    • mysisters profile image

      mysisters 7 years ago

      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 profile image

      Loren's Gem 7 years ago from Istanbul, Turkey

      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 profile image

      Ingenira 7 years ago

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

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      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 profile image

      Ingenira 7 years ago

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

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 7 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      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 profile image

      Ingenira 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      3cardmonte 7 years ago

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

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 7 years ago

      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.

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 7 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      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.