In part 1 we covered the main ingredients used in soap and how soaps in general function to cleanse your skin. In part 2, we will be weighing soaps in terms of its pros and cons to determine whether soap is the best option to go for when showering.
Benefits of soaps
The clear example of a main benefit of soap is definitely its ability to remove germs and bacteria from our body. Even better, soaps have the ability to fight off viruses, yes even the COVID-19 virus. In fact it is the best way to kill the virus as compared to other substances such as hand sanitisers or disinfectant sprays.
Soaps kill the virus almost the same way as it does by removing germs from our body.
One side of the soap molecule (the one that’s attracted to fat and repelled by water) buries its way into the virus’s fat and protein shell. Fortunately, the chemical bonds holding the virus together aren’t very strong, so this intrusion is enough to break the virus’s coat. You pull the virus apart, you make it soluble in water, and it disintegrates.
Then the harmless shards of virus get flushed down the drain. And even if the soap doesn’t destroy every virus, you’ll still rid them from your hands with soap and water, as well as any grease or dirt they may be clinging to. Soap will also wash away bacteria and other viruses that may be a bit tougher than coronavirus, and harder to disintegrate.
The whole process would only take 20 seconds as it takes time for soap to penetrate into all the tiny folds and demolish the viruses that lurk within. Then the soap needs a few moments to do its chemical work.
Disadvantages of Soaps
Firstly, soaps remove all bacteria which includes the essentials and good ones. There is good bacteria and bad bacteria. The good eliminates the bad and is important in protecting you from invading microbes.
There are a few various types of dangerous microbes, which you can learn about here, but the important point is that good bacteria helps fight off and filter out “bad” bacteria, including microbes that can cause infectious diseases. Soap actually kills the good bacteria because it’s pH is either far too acidic or dangerously neutral. This makes you way more vulnerable to potentially harmful microbes and pathogens.
Secondly, soaps remove fats in our skin.
Lipids (or fats) in your skin function in three primary ways:
1.They keep your skin soft. Your skin needs the moisture that lipids provide to keep it hydrated and protect your deeper skin layers from sun damage.
2.They help protect it from disease. Lipids are also naturally antimicrobial. They work with a peptide called cathelicidin to help regulate your immune system. When you use soap, it destroys lipids and disrupts the lipid-peptide symbiosis that allows your immune system to adequately protect your skin.
3.They’re a core building block in your skin barrier. Lipids crucially fill in the gaps between your epidermal cells, making them an indispensable part of your skin’s formulation. Because soap is so acidic, it strips away vital lipids in the stratum corneum, effectively pummeling your natural defense against pathogens by breaking down the very essence of your cellular structure.
Hence, when using soaps, it strips the lipids off our skin, resulting in our skin becoming extremely dry. Our skin will also become more vulnerable to diseases as a result of the strong chemicals in soaps.
Last but not least, soap contains other toxins and chemicals
A classic soap bar is usually made of a combination of lye and some type of fat and/or oil. But often, additional ingredients are included, many of which are considered to be dangerous chemicals. For example, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is known as a “mutagen” that can alter cellular materials. Others like Benzyl Acetate are carcinogens that have been linked to certain kinds of cancers, while Benzaldehyde and the like can depress the nervous system. These kinds of toxins are terrible for your body and only add to the above-mentioned dangers of classically-formulated soap.
Should we weigh the negative effects of soap over its benefits, the negative sides of soaps definitely outweigh the good. There is no doubt soap is effective and commercial to use for cleaning our body and ensuring we are germ-free. However we should also consider its side effects as well. Besides, there are many more soap-free body wash out there in the market which cleans as effectively as soap and at the same are not packaged with the harms that comes with soap. This is why many people have been switching from soap to soap-free body wash.