You know that itchy feeling you get after taking a shower? Sometimes it major sometimes it mild, but you know it. I remember the story that I got from a customer asking about using handmade soaps vs regular soap for her skin. Apparently using regular soaps made her skin itch so she had to purchase soap for sensitive skin. Soaps for sensitive skin can run anywhere from $30.00 - $12.00 per bar this became expensive for her and she still had that irritating feeling after a shower.
Can soap really make your skin itch? Yes apparently this is a real thing. However you must take a close look at a few things to really be sure. Not all the time its the soap that is making your skin itch. There are other factors involved in that irritation. Too often persons automatically default to their soap as the culprit of irritated skin or as we like to call it in the Bahamas, Sensitive skin.
How do you know if your soap is causing your irritation.
Does your skin turn red when you rub or scratch your skin. This is the easiest way to test your skin for sensitivity is to give it various levels of rubbing. A gentle rub on the thinner skin areas is the quickest way to see how you respond to external touch. Some of your most sensitive areas are the skin around the eyes (be careful of this area) The cheeks and the neck area. For this test however I suggest using your neck or a secondary location like the back of your hand.
Rubbing your skin within atleast 3 minute intervals check the overall response. first a light brush against your skin then apply a bit more pressure and lastly a harder rub. As you progress you are looking for any change in your skin. Does it turn red, does it itch or sting in any way. If the touch test does reveal anything then you can take note of other reasons.
Besides feeling itchy does your skin burn.
What type of irritation do you feel when you finish taking your shower or bath? Does your skin feel itchy all over as if you have to scratch it, or maybe just itchy in some areas. Does your skin give off a burning sensation mild to moderate? These two symptoms can be a sign of sensitivity to either the soap, water or even the towel or pressure you use while showering.
How dry is your skin.
When you are done taking a shower do you absolutely need to apply a moisturizer? I say absolutely because most often person are just programmed to apply a lotion or some sort of moisturizer to their skin. If however you skin is continually dry you may want to consider one thing in particular. Are you using hot water? If so it can dry even the most moist skin, if not then you can consider if you have hard water or finally it can be your soap.
How does your skin react to the weather.
Sensitive skin reacts to the weather automatically. Dry when its dry, dry when its wet, dry when its cold. You may just have dry skin, however dry skin is unhealthy skin and can cause micro cracking of the skin and hence your irritation. Dry skin can be treated but you have to search out within your routine, what is keeping your skin dry and what you can do about it.
If your skin is irritated after a shower there are also a few other things you should take a look at during the process of elimination.
Do you have hard water.
Hard water is the biggest cause of itchy irritated skin. Most hard water contains high levels of minerals that can definitely irritate your skin. The biggest amount of mineral is often insoluble calcium. Its this calcium that causes that build up of crust around your faucet or aids in soap scum in your tub and on your shower curtain. Sever cases of hard water will not only irritate your skin it will leave you with dry irritated and itchy skin. You should check for your levels of hard water either by a visible inspection or you can purchase a hard water test to find out how tough your water really is.
Are you using hot water.
This is often the easiest and most simplest way to avoid dry skin which in turn causes that irritation and itchiness. Like my friend many women tend to shower in what men call extremely hot water. Water so hot it fogs up the mirrors and leaves the bathroom feeling like a sauna. Often persons feel that the heat cleans their skin better when in fact its just causing far more damage. How water will negate pretty much any good soap, no matter how hydrating the soap may be hot water will completely work opposite to what it was intended. Instead of using super scolding hot water turn it down to a warm feeling and see if you have the same reaction after your shower.
How hard to you scrub your skin.
Different people wash their skin differently. Some prefer baths, soaks, showers or prefer to use a wash cloth, bare soap, a loofah or some sort of sponge. All these decision make a difference on your skin. For example a brush can be more irritating than a sponge on the skin just as using a loofah would be different from using bare soap on you skin. Besides the agent you use to wash your skin the pressure involved also makes a difference. Just as I explained above when testing your skin by rubbing it this also plays a part of finding out if you are causing any negative effects by using a particular technique of taking a bath.
To say that you have sensitive skin towards soap without looking deeper in to your habits and external factors may be a bit premature of a conclusion. On the other hand you may just have a skin condition that is causing chemicals in commercial soaps to irritate your skin. The only suggestion I can give as I gave my friend is to try handmade soaps and see if you still have the same symptoms or results after a shower. If not then it could simply just be the type of soap you were using.
It may take some time to really test and eliminate practices, products or techniques but its well worth it. Test and change as you learn new things at the end of all your testing you will come up with a fool proof way to wash your skin without feeling all itchy and irritated.