Soap vs. Surfactant
Many cleansing products contain detergents called surfactants. Sometimes surfactants gets a bad rep due to it being synthetic and sometimes causing sensitivities with skin. A common surfactant used in bubble bars, bath bombs, and shampoo bars is called sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (SLSa). It is a natural mild cleanser derived from coconut. It can remove dirt, produces bubbles, and create foam. In my products this is one of few I use to incorporate. Another is sodium cocoyl isethionate (SCI). This surfactant also is derived from coconuts and is very mild leaving the skin and hair soft and clean. This surfactant is common in hair products. But if you not interested in surfactant based cleansers soaps are another way to cleanse the skin. Soap by definition by FDA is alkali salt of fatty acids which can be the only material that results in the product’s cleaning action. The difference between soap and surfactants is the chemical make up. While both help cleanse the skin one contains foaming agents, alcohols, and fragrances that are better at removing heavy oils and grease. They also do better in hard water where soap can produce scum. If you are looking for something gentler on the skin and eco friendly soap is the way to go.