What effect does soap have on skin?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
In addition to cleaning your skin, soap can also remove natural oils that provide protection. Regular use of lotion or moisturizer can help to prevent skin from becoming too dry. Watch the animation to learn more about dry skin.

Soap removes oil and dirt that can cause skin problems and even infections. However, some types of soap also remove natural skin oil, which protects and lubricates the skin. When you're not sweaty or dirty, apply a mild cleanser to the armpits, genitals, hands, and feet only. Avoid using abrasive, drying or irritating soaps, since they might lead to breakouts or dry, flaky skin. Try using a gentle, moisturizing beauty bar or body wash to help keep skin healthy.

Continue Learning about Skin Cleansing Soaps

You Don’t Need Antibacterial Soaps to Keep Your Hands Clean
You Don’t Need Antibacterial Soaps to Keep Your Hands Clean
Think antibacterial hand soap is the best way to lather up? You might want to think again—especially since handwashing is a key way to protect yoursel...
Read More
Do all soaps contain animal products?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
No, there are alternatives if you want to avoid cleansers that contain animal products. Look for soa...
More Answers
What is saponification?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Saponification is another name for the soap making process that occurs when a fat is broken down aft...
More Answers
Is washing with soap better than using hand sanitizer?
Univ. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family MedicineUniv. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family Medicine
A better way to look at this is when is soap and water better than hand sanitizer? Anytime there...
More Answers

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.