What are synthetic detergents?

Dr. Ellen Marmur, MD

Often referred to as "syndet bars" or "soap-free" soaps, these use synthetic - and usually milder - surfactants such as sodium cocyl isethionate (which is derived from coconuts) or sodium palmitate. Since they utilize less alkaline salts in their surfactants, these have a much lower pH, which makes them less irritating. Dove, the very first syndet bar introduced in 1955, is made primarily from sodium lauroyl isethionate but contains sodium tallowate and palmitate too. Many liquid facial cleansers use only synthetic surfactants (such as sodium laureth sulfate, the prime detergent in Clinique Liquid Facial Soap).

Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

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Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

What if a leading dermatologist just happened to be your best friend and you could ask her anything? DR. ELLEN MARMUR, a world-renowned New York City dermatologist, answers all your questions with...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.