Health Life Hacks

Why Does Bar Soap Make Your Skin Feel Sticky?

person in white crew neck t shirt holding bar soap
Photo by cottonbro on

If you are picky about cleanliness, you must constantly wonder why does bar soap makes your skin feel sticky even after all the rinsing. Well, you are not alone.

Soap is no doubt a vital facet in humans’ day-to-day lives, including the shower. However, if you end up with dry skin that tends to leave residue on the towel, something isn’t right. It could be the soap’s fault, but have you considered your water quality?

Check out why bar soap makes you feel sticky and what you can do about it.

Why Does My Skin Feel Sticky?

• High pH Levels In Your Bar Soap

One of the reasons your skin feels weirdly sticky after a shower could be that you are using soap with a high PH level. Most shop-bought soaps contain high pH levels or lack moisturizing ingredients, causing your skin to feel sticky after a shower.

• You Are Using Hard Water

Your water filtration or the softening system may fail to effectively remove mineral ions (contaminants) such as calcium, iron, and magnesium from your tap water, which leaves you with hard water for your daily use.

Stickiness can result when the mineral ions in the hard water react with the soap’s chemical substances producing a thick, slimy, white scale buildup that latches on the skin.

• Medical Emergency

Check out for medical issues like panic attacks, alcohol withdrawal syndrome, low blood sugar, hypotension, menopause, or excessive sweating after the shower, which can also cause skin stickiness.

Why Does Bar Soap Make Your Skin Feel Tight?

Image by silviarita from Pixabay

1.    The Soap Is Drying Out Your Skin

Some bar soaps are too harsh for the skin, such that they tend to scrub away excess protective natural oils off the skin, leaving it exposed, bare, and dehydrated. It makes the skin less supple, feeling like it’s pulling or almost cracking into pieces whenever you talk, smile, or move.

2.    High pH Levels in the Soap

Another reason is that the soap’s high pH content could be throwing off your skin’s PH balance, causing the outermost skin layer or the stratum corneum to swell, triggering the sensation of tightness.

3.    Skin Irritation

If soap irritates your skin, it may become red, itch, or swell, causing the feeling of tightness just like any other allergic reaction.

4.    Left-Over Soap Residue in the Skin

If you don’t wash off the soap thoroughly and leave behind a thin film of soap on the skin, it’ll dry and feel like the skin is tight.

Does Bar Soap Leave Residue?

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Bar soaps require extra time to rinse off, especially if you are using hard water. The reason is that the soap may not clean well in such water, leaving behind a soap residue.

Soap residue or scum is the noticeable film-like substance that builds in your bathroom surface, especially a glass shower door, over time. As gross as it looks, this hard-to-rinse substance can also stick to your body and make it appear sticky.

The soap residue contains calcium and magnesium stearates and alkali metal derived from the fatty acid and moisturizers present in the soap. If you have hard water, the water’s calcium and magnesium molecules will react with the soap’s chemistry to form the sticky residue on the skin and bathroom surfaces.

The residue does not dissolve in the hard water, making it tricky to wash off and nearly impossible to prevent if hard water runs through your taps.

How Do You Make Soap Less Sticky?

• Ensure It’s A Low pH Soap

Use a soap with a balanced pH or PH level of lower than 9. Unfortunately, most cold processed soaps have a PH of around 9-10, which is relatively high, making soaps sticky and harsh.

• Use Soap with Glycerin or Moisturizer

Although soaps with glycerin and other moisturizers keep the skin soft and hydrated, most brands remove these ingredients from their soaps to use them in lotions and creams instead.

• Add A Chelator to the Soap

A chelating agent such as EDTA can help resolve the sticky feeling in your homemade soap. This agent combines with the hard water’s mineral ions, reducing scum, and improving the soap’s efficiency.

• Adjust the Soap’s Recipe

If you use homemade soap and it comes out sticky, you could be using excess oil during production. Cut on the fat amount and use coconut oil instead of palm oil to reduce the soap’s stickiness.

What Happens If You Leave Soap On Your Skin?

person holding brown and white cake
Photo by Meruyert Gonullu on

If you understand how soap works, you’ll realize that leaving soap residue on your skin great for your health besides being an unpleasant feeling.

When your skin gets dirty, oils develop, leaving you to feel unclean. But water alone can’t get the oily dirt off, so you’ll need soap. Soap dislodges the oils and breaks them into tiny-sized drops that water can wash away easily.

However, when you leave soap on you after showering, you stall the process of going from dirty to clean.

The reason is, soap is an alkaline-the reason it cuts into oils easily. On the other hand, your skin is slightly acidic, which means exposing it to an opposite pH for an extended period can negatively affect your skin.

For instance, it can eat away at the skin’s natural barrier, causing skin dryness, triggering skin conditions like eczema, harming your complexion, and causing itching and swelling symptoms common in contact dermatitis.

Does Bar Soap Dry Out Skin?

First off, conventional bar soaps contain a fatty acid alkali additive with a pH level of 9-10. These levels are pretty harsh on the naturally acidic skin, with a pH of 5-6. When you use these bar soaps, you can elevate your skin’s pH levels and change the skin’s texture.

Most body washes and soaps remove the natural oils from the skin when washing. However, while body washes replace a moisturizer layer on the skin to replenish the extracted oils, traditional bar soap scrapes off the oils without replacing them.

And, as the harsh soap eats into the skin’s natural protective layer, it ends up leaving it dried out. This effect can be more adverse on a person with naturally dry skin because the soap may extra-dehydrate an already dry skin.

Similarly, some bar soaps may contain contact allergens like artificial fragrances, usually chock-full of toxic ingredients that cause skin dryness.

Is Bar Soap Bad For Your Skin?

Image by Nadeem Ahmed from Pixabay

While bar soaps tend to cause the skin to be dry, tight, and sticky, these soaps’ active ingredients are just what you need as long as a clean and natural manufacturer formulates them.

Bar soaps have a water-less formula, which means they don’t typically require preservatives to promote their self-lives. This leaves them with a high concentration of pure ingredients and paraben-free, suitable body cleansers if you have skin sensitivity. However, it doesn’t refute the chances of bar soaps damaging your skin, especially if you have typically dry skin.

The good thing is that you can find high-end handmade bar soaps that are just as hydrating as body washes. Handmade soaps allow soap makers to add glycerin, natural oils, and butter that moisturize the skin. Often, using handmade soaps leaves the skin soft and supple, not dry and tight, as is the case after using commercial bar soaps.

1 comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: