9 Reasons Why Your Soap Is Causing Dry Skin

August 13, 2021

Dry skin is caused by several reasons, including not washing your skin enough, not using moisturizer often enough, or using the wrong type of soap. One leading cause of dry skin is the soap you use to clean your body every day. While many soaps, especially commercialized brands, claim to have moisturizing effects, it is not always the case due to the use of certain ingredients or how the soaps are made into their final products. 

There are several possibilities why your soap is causing dry skin. If you notice that your skin feels rough, tight, or flaky, then there is a problem with the soap and its compatibility with your skin type. Each individual has a unique skin type which determines how they react to different soaps. Those with sensitive skin tend to experience dry skin due to the harsh chemicals present in most popular over-the-counter brands. These soaps are made with chemically refined ingredients or preservatives, making them more likely to cause dry skin, leaving it irritated and unhealthy when used daily. 


As a practical alternative that most individuals can easily use at home, using soaps made by using the cold process method is one of the best ways to prevent dry skin and nourish the protective barrier. Cold processed soaps are made by using saponification as the main ingredient instead of chemicals. This means that the soap is free of harmful chemicals and preservatives. It also means that the soap has a milder cleansing effect on the skin, which makes it suitable for daily use. As a general rule, cold processed soaps should be used at least twice a day to fully moisturize the skin.  

Those with oily or combination skin types may experience a greasy or 'oily' feeling when they wash with conventional soaps. This is because the soap tends to draw moisture from the oils in the sebaceous glands on the surface of the skin. This causes the skin to appear shiny and greasy. Using cold processed natural soap will not leave your skin feeling greasy because the cleansing properties of the soap bar are gentler and it does not strip the oils from the surface of the skin. Those with oily or combination skin types can use cold processed soap once a day to prevent drying out their skin.  If you have extremely dry skin or skin that is very sensitive, then you may want to use a bar of soap that contains moisturizing ingredients. 

Why Most Soaps Cause Your Skin To Become Dry

Traditional bar soap that you can find over the counter is often made with key ingredients such as refined vegetable oil, fragrance, and preservatives which can cause dry skin and irritation. These are the leading causes we will go through in this article so you can better understand why these soaps are causing your skin to dry out.

1. Refined Palm Oil

Refine oil, which can be made from palm oil, soybean oil, or sunflower seed oil, is added to most commercial soaps in trace amounts as a softening agent and a popular way to keep soaps from drying out too quickly on store shelves. Skincare products with these ingredients are often highly refined and cost-effective.

While these ingredients are harmless to the skin when used in moderation, using soap with too much refined oil can easily cause dry skin over time. This is due to the fact that your skin must naturally exfoliate itself to stay healthy. This process is essential for a smooth, soft appearance. When soap with too much refined oil is used regularly, it can prevent this natural exfoliation process. As a result, you may notice that your skin becomes rough and flaky over time. checking the ingredients list will tell you if your preferred beauty product contains high amounts of refined oils. 

2. Addition of Synthetic Fragrances

Some of the most popular skin care products use synthetic fragrances and irritating ingredients to make their products more appealing and unique. Fragrances are commonly used in most cleaning products as a way to make your home smell fresh and clean. However, some synthetic fragrances can cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction due to the chemical compounds used to create them.

According to the Skin Deep Database, over 5,000 pure chemicals can be added to commercial fragrance formulas. Due to this high number of options, it can be difficult for companies to produce a soap without ingredients that could irritate your skin after prolonged use. This is especially true when considering some of the chemical compounds commonly found in fragrances.

While the fragrance of soap may not seem like it is harming your skin, there is a possibility that it is causing dry and irritated patches. This is usually most noticeable on your hands after using hand soap for a long period of time. Fragrances are often added to soap in large amounts because they can easily evaporate during the production process. This means that a large amount is needed for the scent to remain present on your skin and in your home after using a product.

3. The Use of Preservatives

Some of the most common preservatives used in soap include DMDM hydantoin, Diazolidinyl urea, or methylparaben. These preservatives are a type of cleansing agent used in most soaps due to the chemical compounds they provide and their ability to prevent bacteria.

While these preservatives do not have a negative effect on your skin when used in recommended amounts, they can cause dry skin after prolonged use. This is due to the fact that these chemicals are often highly refined and pure. These compounds are unable to provide moisture that is otherwise naturally provided by organic ingredients such as glycerin.

4. Presence of Sodium lauryl sulfate

Sodium lauryl sulfate is a common chemical compound used in many commercial soaps. This chemical compound, which is derived from mixing sodium and lauric acid, can effectively remove bacteria from your skin and make it appear clean. The main ingredient in most commercial soaps with SLS has refined corn syrup which has the same properties as corn syrup.

SLS is a highly effective cleaner, but it can dry out the skin when used consistently over time due to its preservative effects. This will result in a rough appearance on your skin, especially on your hands, as well as dry patches on your shoulders, legs, elbows, or feet. Gentle cleansing bar soaps refrain from using this ingredient altogether.

5. Issues with pH levels

The pH level of soap is an essential element that determines how it reacts to your skin. The more acidic a soap, the harsher its effects on your skin will be. A soap that is highly acidic can cause irritation as well as dry patches and other effects on your skin.

Soaps with too much SLS are highly likely to have a low pH level, leading to dry and irritated skin. One of the simplest ways to avoid this problem is by selecting soaps that have high amounts of glycerin present in their formula.

So next time you are at the store, try purchasing one of these glycerin soaps instead of one with harsh chemicals or vegetable oil. With so many chemicals used in commercial soaps, finding a soap does not include the same harmful chemicals.

6. Harsh effects of soap

Commercial soaps are made for a specific purpose. They are able to effectively remove bacteria and dirt from your skin without doing much damage to your skin. However, some commercial formulas can be too harsh and dry out the skin after prolonged use. This is the result of using soap with too many chemicals and not enough organic ingredients.

Using a glycerin soap will provide you with all of the benefits you need to keep your skin free from bacteria while simultaneously locking in skin moisture. Glycerin is one of the most commonly used organic compounds in soap due to its ability to work effectively without harming your skin with harsh chemicals or vegetable oil.

using bar soap with lots of harsh chemicals will damage your skin

7. Skin Type

It is important to note that soap with harsh chemicals is not suitable for everyone and usually makes skin dry with prolonged use. As much as soap is capable of removing bacteria, it can also remove natural oils and moisture from your skin if you are using it incorrectly. Therefore, it is essential that you try to find a glycerin soap, which most handmade soap contains, that your skin reacts well to instead of just blindly purchasing one. Many commercial soaps with high amounts of glycerin will be perfectly suited for your skin.

Handmade soap will also have a great balance of ingredients like coconut butter, vitamin E, and vitamin B5 that nourish the protective skin barrier and prevent it from unwanted skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. With that, you get lasting hydration and a natural moisture barrier that does not damage skin at all. 

8. Alchohol

Alcohol can also cause dry skin and other chronic skin conditions, especially if you are using a hand soap that contains a high percentage of it. Alcohol is used for multiple reasons in commercial soaps, but it is commonly used as an antibacterial agent to kill germs. It is also sometimes included in soaps to reduce the amount of glycerin needed for production by up to 75%.

When using soap with too much alcohol, you may notice that your skin becomes irritated on your hands. This usually occurs after prolonged use and can be easily corrected by switching brands or reducing the amount you use each time.

9. Synthetic Dyes

Synthetic dyes can also cause dry skin. At times, synthetic dyes are not as harmful as other chemicals used in soap, but they can still cause dry skin on your hands and the rest of your body.

Synthetic dyes are commonly added to soaps to make them more appealing and colorful, but they can also cause your skin to become irritated when used for prolonged periods. As most commercial soap brands use synthetic dyes, it is essential that you try to find a glycerin bar of soap without it if you have sensitive skin.

Dry skin is often caused by a lack of moisture in your skin. This can result from too much exposure to the sun or even a particularly dry winter season where the weather has been extremely dry. It can also result from using products that contain harsh chemicals like dyes, preservatives, or perfumes, which can dry out your skin over time.

Most commercial soaps commonly contain synthetic chemicals that cannot create the same naturally moisturizing effects as cold processed soaps. This soap is different from others available on the market due to its natural ingredients, which are organic and not harmful to the skin. Cold processed soaps are also very effective in removing bacteria and dead skin cells as they work much better than other types of commercial soaps.

It is difficult to find a natural product without harsh chemicals that do not irritate the skin. Using a suitable soap with a glycerin content is the best way to prevent dry skin as it will not cause flare-ups commonly caused by harsh soap types.

How Do I Know If I Have Dry Skin?

Dry skin often feels tight, looks flaky, patchy, or ashy. You might also see dry patches on your skin and experience a tightening sensation after you towel off from a shower. It's typically not caused by allergies or an inner health problem but is only a symptom of skin dehydration (or lack of moisture). Dry skin often looks dull and feels rough, but that's not always the case. Some people have very dry skin that still looks somewhat glossy.

Dry skin usually affects your whole body, but in a few cases, it will be limited to areas including the hands or feet, or chest. If you have dry skin all over your body, regardless of whether or not it also affects other areas, it may be time to consider your soap as the reason for dry skin.

Commercialized bars of soap strip your skin of natural oils without replacing them, and this causes your skin to overcompensate by producing even more oil. Over time, this results in an oily complexion, which is the opposite of what you want. This is why many of our customers have found success using our Glycerin Soap for sensitive skin.

How To Prevent Dry Skin Caused By Soap

Most soaps are harmless and can provide a healthy clean. However, if you notice that your skin is feeling dry or is becoming irritated, there could be a problem with the soap's ingredients. Some of the most common types of soap that can cause dry skin include antibacterial hand soap and body wash. The main reasons these soaps are causing dry skin include the use of harsh chemicals and the fact that they do not contain enough glycerin to provide moisture.


Many people use a balanced bar of soap, like handmade soaps, primarily to avoid the effects of harsh chemicals found in most commercial soaps.

One benefit of using this soap is that it does not produce any harmful side effects on your skin. Balanced soaps that use natural ingredients works to naturally moisturize the skin while effectively removing all bacterial and dirt. Furthermore, handmade soaps have an extremely low pH level, protecting the skin from irritating reactions such as dryness and flakiness.

These soaps can remove dirt, bacteria, and excessive oils from your skin while providing moisture. Citrus ingredients can be added to a soap that offers a refreshing sensation with its cooling effects on your skin after a shower.

The most common types of glycerin soaps are bar soaps, liquid soaps, and shampoos. All three of these products can provide you with the moisturizing benefits of glycerin and other ingredients used in their products, such as essential oils and vitamins.

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