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Savon : ennemi des peaux sensibles ?

Soap: An enemy of sensitive skin?

It is widely known that clean skin equates to healthy skin. However, cleansing can sometimes do more harm than good. If you wash your face too frequently, too harshly, or using soaps with aggressive 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 characterized 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, aging, diet, hormonal imbalance, stress, pollution, certain medical treatments (such as radiotherapy), UV rays, and more.

When soaps and sensitive skin do not mix well.

To fulfill their cleansing functions, soaps contain cleaning agents: the famous surfactants. True soap is already a type of surfactant. It results from a chemical reaction called 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 sulfated 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 and/or have severe environmental consequences (water pollution, over-packaging...).

Those with sensitive skin should prioritize using a superfatted soap that has undergone cold saponification.

A super-fatted soap is achieved 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, thus 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 + Glycerin (naturally present in oils/butters) + Excess of superfatting oils and/or butters.

Thus, a "superfatted" soap is a cleansing care product enriched with nourishing superfatting agents and has a soft texture. The cold-processed soaps are rich in glycerin, a natural emollient that hydrates and softens the skin. These cleansing products 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 of stripping products and fragrance, and contains more hydrating and nourishing agents than a caustic soap. Even the delicate skin of a baby is allowed to use a superfatted soap (if it does not contain essential oils). Moreover, 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 glycerin.


  • 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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