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Savon : ennemi des peaux sensibles ?

Soap: An enemy of sensitive skin?

It is widely acknowledged that clean skin equates to healthy skin. However, cleansing can sometimes do more harm than good. If you wash your face too frequently, too vigorously, or using soaps with harsh ingredients, you risk damaging your skin. The irritants found in traditional soaps can cause dryness, contact dermatitis, inflammatory acne, and disrupt the delicate balance of the skin's pH.

Reminder: How is sensitive skin defined?

Skin sensitivity varies from one individual to another. An overactive skin is characterised by feelings of tightness, tingling, itching, irritation, heat and sometimes redness. These discomforting sensations appear in an exacerbated manner in response to stimuli. These symptoms can manifest on the face or on certain parts of the body. Several factors are responsible for heightened skin sensitivity: heredity, ageing, diet, hormonal imbalance, stress, pollution, certain medical treatments (such as radiotherapy), UV rays, and so on.

When soaps and sensitive skin do not mix well.

To fulfil their cleansing functions, soaps contain washing agents: the well-known surfactants. True soap is already a type of surfactant. It is the result of a chemical reaction known as saponification between a fat (a triglyceride) and a base or alkaline substance.

Surfactants can be natural, synthetic, gentle but also foaming, irritating... The surfactants to avoid when choosing a soap, especially if you have sensitive skin, are the sulphated detergents such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and its cousin, Sodium Laureth Sulfate. Extremely detergent, these surfactants are also drying, even irritating to the skin, mucous membranes, and can cause quite intense tingling if they come into contact with the eyes.

As a reminder, we have decided to apply the precautionary principle and not to introduce sulfates into our cleansing products for the face and hair. Find here the blacklist of ingredients. In all our Typology cleansing products for the scalp, face or body, we exclusively use gentle and skin-friendly surfactants.

Furthermore, in the composition of soaps, other ingredients are sometimes added to the previously mentioned surfactants, such as preservatives, fragrances, dyes, etc., in synthetic or natural form.These substances can be irritating for the most sensitive skin types and/or have serious environmental consequences (water pollution, over-packaging...).

Sensitive skin should prioritise using a superfatted cold process soap.

A super-fatted soap is produced by adding an excess of vegetable oils to the lye at the end of the cold saponification process. This allows not all of the fatty acids to react, thereby preserving a high percentage of oils or butters at the heart of the soap.

Excess Fats (of animal or plant origin) + Lye (sodium hydroxide) = Solid Soap + Glycerine (naturally present in oils/butters) + Surplus of oils and/or superfatting butters.

Thus, a "superfatted" soap is a cleansing care enriched with nourishing superfatting agents and has a soft texture. The cold saponified soaps are rich in glycerine, a natural emollient that hydrates and softens the skin. These cleansing treatments are thereforesuitable for all skin types, even sensitive, reactive or allergy-prone skin can use superfatted soap all year round. Indeed, this soap is free from stripping products and fragrance, and contains more hydrating and nourishing agents than a caustic soap. Even the delicate skin of a baby is also allowed to use a superfatted soap (if it does not contain essential oils). In addition, superfatted soap can be used for thecleansing of the body and face.

At Typology, oursolid soapscontain between 7 and 8% of "superfat". This means that the cleansing products are composed of7 - 8% of fatty substances not transformed into soap and glycerine.


  • Agner T. Susceptibility of atopicdermatitis patients to irritant dermatitiscaused by sodium laurylsulphate. Acta DermVenereol. (1991)

  • HAPPLE R. & al. Profile of irritant patch testing with detergents: sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate and alkyl polyglucoside. Contact Dermatitis (2003).


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