Friday, April 19, 2013

Soap

So this started from a notification on Facebook, one of those omnipresent status updates; this time about Dove. This especially caught my eye, because earlier today I was having a discussion about Dove itself with someone, and it's 'moisturizing' properties.
"Dove ain't all that :P'Dove is not actually soap, that's why they have to call it a "bath bar". I used Dove for years until I realized it was actually a detergent, that's why they brag about adding "1/4" moisturizing cream". '"

So -- after all this time, it's BAD? I decided to do some digging.

First stop, Wikipedia:

Dove is primarily made from synthetic surfactants, soaps (derived from vegetable oils such as palm kernel) and salts of animal fats (tallow). In some countries, but not UK, Dove is derived from tallow (like many soaps) and for this reason it is not considered vegan, unlike vegetable oil based soaps. Dove is formulated to be pH neutral, a pH that is usually between 6.5 and 7.5.

Um. Okay then. So I don't know about you, but this word "surfactant" is blinking at me like a neon sign. I click the link to find out more....


Surfactants are compounds that lower the surface tension of a liquid, the interfacial tension between two liquids, or that between a liquid and a solid. Surfactants may act as detergents, wetting agents, emulsifiers, foaming agents, and dispersants.

I do some fast skimming of the very in-depth chemistry write up on surfactants, then I slow down when I find this:


Prolonged exposure of skin to surfactants can cause chaffing because surfactants (e.g., soap) disrupts the lipid coating that protects skin (and other) cells.

Hmmm.

So, basically, Dove soap is a detergent, a surfactant that may cause chaffing by disrupting the skin surface.

Then, why all these years, has Dove been lauded for it's awesome moisturizing qualities, among others? Think, think, think...

Well, going back to the original Facebook notification, it links to an Etsy page where homemade soap makers discuss Dove. The thread is called "Is the DOVE commercial correct when it implies that you don't want any of that 'soapy residue' left on your skin?"

The person who opens this thread remarks that most of the soaps she uses have awesome natural butters that she would actually hope remain on her skin. Makes sense.

Further discussion highlights the distinction of soap vs. detergent (i.e. real soap vs. dove soap):


Dove's 1/4 moisturizing cream is doing exactly what the soap is doing; leaving a film on your skin (that's what moisturizer is).

There's a difference between soap and detergent and how they react with water. A detergent washes away with water, while a soap reacts with water in such a way that not all of it can be rinsed off, hence the film (this is because of the fatty acids that comprise soap, and how they react with water). Detergents are often considered better cleansers than soaps because they don't leave a film. They are organic acids rather than fatty acids and they bind differently with water.
But the Dove commercial, they're trying to weasel word you. They want you to think that a film of moisturizer is better than a film of fatty acid. Maybe it is, but it's still all filmy.

I've gone through most of the comments there, and it would be an interesting read for those of you who have sensitive or dry skin. I'm now considering doing some investing and experimentation regarding 'homemade soap' or the like.

What I believe might be the breakaway from the "Dove is bad" credo is the actual soap bar vs. body wash.
Because I use the body wash (Jasmine+Vanilla Cream Oil Body Wash ♥). I used to use the soap when I wasn't the one buying my own soap, and I will admit in retrospect, yes, Dove soap bars did leave my skin feeling tight and dry. I did once buy the special scented Dove GoFresh bars, both cucumber and lemon, and I don't remember how they reacted with my skin, but I DO remember that they smelled awesome, and actually left the bars in my clothes drawers just for the scent.

For soap bar, I use Olay Moisture Bar, and it always leave me feeling soft and sexy. (er) :P

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