You may have come across the term Syndet or `Lipid Free Cleanser’ when researching mild cleansers. What are they, and am I missing something by not having them in my daily regime?
What is a Syndet?
Well the term means `Synthetic Detergent’ and is an attempt to create a cleanser that is suitable for the most sensitive of skins. These surfactants (they break the surface of dirt and grime) are made from oils, fats or petroleum, but are not processed by saponification like regular soaps.
What about a Lipid Free Cleanser?
Lipid-free cleansers are soapless liquids that cleanse without water. These products often contain glycerin, cetyl alcohol, and propylene glycol, but they do not contain oils or fats. They leave a thin moisturizing film, and are especially useful for people with sensitive or irritated skin.
Why are Soaps not recommended?
In general a pure soap is not recommended for rosacea sufferers.
A true soap is created by saponification, a process where long-chain fatty acids are combined with an alkali, resulting in fatty acid salts – what we know as soap.
A true soap is `basic’ on the pH scale which means a value of around 9 to 10, which is far greater than the skin’s pH of 4.5 to 6.5. This means that a soap will change the acid/alkali balance of the skin.
What does skin pH mean?
The pH of the skin is generally in the range 4.5 to 6.5.
pH numbers refer to the acid, neutral or alkaline nature of the skin. The number is a range from 1 to 14, where 1 is highly acidic and 14 is highly basic (or alkali).
Hopefully it is clear from the above picture that it is not a good start to use a product in the 9-10/blue range on skin that is more in the 4-6/orange range.
What will Pure Soap Do to your Skin?
As we are told by Patricia K. Farris MD in `Skin Care Based on Science: Improving Outcomes in Rosacea’ (Cosmetic Dermatology Feb 2012 Vol 23 No. 2), continued use of alkali soaps or cleansers will increase the pH of the skin and cause functional changes such as a disruption of skin lipids, alter the skin flora and could also compromise the skin barrier function.
Thus the aim is to use a cleanser that is slightly acidic or neutral pH.
Also harsh surfactants can damage proteins and disrupt lipids in the stratum corneum and thus contribute to epidermal barrier dysfunction.
What about Combars?
A combination bar is a combination of a true soap and a synthetic detergent. Again they are general pH of 9-10 so are a poor choice for rosacea sufferers.
So what should rosacea sufferers use?
Milder cleansing alternatives that are recommended for rosacea sufferers fall into 2 camps – syndets and lipid-free cleansers.
What is a Syndet made of?
Syndets generally contain less than 10% soap, so can provide a more favourable pH.
Syndets are available as bars or liquids and can commonly contain sodium cocoyl isethionate as well as sulfosuccinates , alpha olefin sulfonates, alkyl glyceryl ether sulfonate, sodium cocoyl monoglyceride sulfate, betaines.
What are Lipid Free Cleansers?
Lipid free cleansers are able to cleans without containing any fat, and like a syndet have a slightly acidic or neutral pH. In general these cleansers do not lather and leave a thin moisturising layer on the skin.
What, No Lather?
Yes that’s right, don’t expect a soothing fluffy lather from these lipid free and syndet liquid cleansers. Say goodbye to that face full of bubbles you used to see in the mirror. You don’t need it, and it may be indicative of a harsh soap.
Cosmet Dermatol. 2012;25:72-78.
Patients with rosacea have compromised skin barrier function and are more prone to dryness, irritation, and skin sensitivity.
With an understanding of the pathogenesis and inherent skin problems that rosacea patients experience, it is essential for dermatologists to provide specific recommendations for skin care.
Cleansers and moisturizers must be selected to improve skin barrier function and reduce inflammation.
Cosmeceuticals with anti-inflammatory actives may be helpful in mitigating the signs and symptoms of rosacea.
This article will review topical skin care products that may improve treatment outcomes in rosacea patients.
So What Now?
Are you currently using a pure soap every day? It may be worthwhile considering adding one of the following recommended cleansers to your daily cleansing regime.
The article recommends the following Syndets;
1. Aveeno Moisturizing Bar
Oat FlourAvena Sativa , Cetearyl Alcohol , Stearic Acid , Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate , Water , Disodium Lauryl Sulfosuccinate , Glycerin , Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil , Titanium Dioxide , Citric Acid , Sodium Trideceth Sulfate , Hydrogenated Castor Oil
2. Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar
Ingredients: Sodium cocoyl isethionate, stearic acid, sodium tallowate, water, sodium stearate, sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate, sodium cocoate, PEG-20, sodium chloride, masking fragrance, sodium isethionate, petrolatum, sodium isostearoyl lactylate, sucrose cocoate, titanium dioxide, pentasodium pentetate, tetrasodium etidronate. May also contain sodium palm kernelate.
3. Dove Sensitive Skin Unscented Beauty Bar
Ingredients: Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate, Stearic Acid, Sodium Tallowate, Sodium Palmitate, Lauric Acid, Sodium Isethionate, Water, Sodium Stearate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Chloride, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Maltol, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891)
4. Olay Ultra Moisture Bar
Ingredients: sodium cocoyl isethionate, paraffin, sodium cocoglyceryl ether sulfonate, glycerin, water, talc, magnesium stearate, sodium isethionate, stearic acid, magnesium cocoate, coconut acid, sodium stearate, sodium cocoate, fragrance, magnesium laurate, titanium dioxide, lauric acid, sodium laurate, tetrasodium edta, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), trisodium etidronate, peg-90m.
Recommended Lipid Free Cleansers
The article recommends the following lipid free cleansers;
1. Aquanil Cleanser (Aquanil Cleansing Lotion)
2. CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser
Ingredients: behentrimonium methosulfate and ceteayl alcohol, carbomer, ceramide 1, ceramide 3, ceramide 6-ii, cetyl alcohol, cholesterol, dipotassium phosphate, disodium edta, glycerin, glyceryl monostearate, hyaluronic acid, methylparaben» phytosphingosine, polyoxyl 40 stearate, polysorbate 20, potassium phosphate, propylparaben, purified water, sodium lauroyl lactylate, stearyl alcohol, xanthan gum
3. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
You may also like to investigate Vanicream because that is also a mild moisturizer – Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream User Reviews
Your Thoughts Please
A quick search reveals that we rosacea sufferers know very little about the following products. If you have tried them please do tell us what you thought of these;
- Olay Ultra Moisture Bar
- Dove Sensitive Skin Unscented Beauty Bar
- Aveeno Moisturizing Bar
- Aquanil Cleanser
- Cleansing and the Management of Rosacea
- Gentle Cleanser is Important
- CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser and CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion User Reviews
- AAD: How to Wash Your Face
- Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser User Reviews
- Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar User Reviews
- Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths, no rinsing needed