Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can the soap you use affect your complexion?"
I'm having some dryness and flaky skin on my face. Should I change the soap I use? Can soap affect your skin or is that just made up by the companies that make soap?
I am sorry that you are experiencing dryness of your skin, but yes, soap can affect your skin. You should see your primary care physician to evaluate your skin to ensure there are no other etiologies for the dryness. Different soaps can have varying ingredients that affect skin in different manners. Some soaps, especially ones that are anti-acne, can have drying effects. This is often due to alcohols and other chemicals in the soap that are added for the purpose of decreasing facial oil and acne. However, if you do not have acne, these soaps can be extremely drying. You can even experience drying and flaking if you have acne. If this is happening, you can try using the acne soap less often (once a day instead of twice a day, or every other day) and using a milder soap in between. Fragrances in soaps can also cause skin irritation in some people, especially if they have sensitive skin. There are some soap brands like Dove and Cetaphil that are made for sensitive skin without fragrances, less drying ingredients, and fewer chemicals. You should consider changing to a less drying, more mild soap and follow up with our primary care physician to ensure there are no other worrisome symptoms or findings.
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