Soap is soap, and it can be irritating to sensitive skin


April 21, 1994|By Paula Begoun | Paula Begoun,Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service

Q: I have been using Clinique products and am wondering if I am doing the best for my very sensitive skin. I don't break out when I use them, but I'm not sure if the soap is harmful. I asked the sales woman, and she said it was fine because it was a superfatted soap. Is their Clarifying toner important for exfoliation? I find it rather strong, so I purchased the alcohol-free one, but I'm told it doesn't exfoliate the skin. Any advice?

A: "Superfatted" does not mean a soap is free from irritating ingredients; soap is soap and it is generally lard and lye, which are drying and can cause skin irritation. If you are not having an allergic reaction there is no reason to change (although if your skin feels dry after washing there is every reason to change).

There are many ways to exfoliate the skin that are more gentle than a toner that contains alcohol. An alcohol-free toner is more soothing, but it does not exfoliate the skin. Exfoliation is best handled by an AHA product or a gentle face scrub. There is no reason to use alcohol on the skin.

Paula Begoun publishes the Cosmetics Counter Update, a newsletter that comes out every other month.

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