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Matt J C

Is washing your face more than twice daily bad???

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ive heard that can be bad, but sometimes my face just gets so oily its unbearable to go from morning until night, any one else have this problem?

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It's not bad. It's also varies from person to person and their skin how it handles it.

I personally wash my face twice a day. Morning and night.

I have oily skin too but nothing major.

I read in one of your threads Matt J C that you have a very bad oil problem. :(

I can give you a suggestion. You can wash in the morning then in the early evening wash your face with warm or cold water. You won't be getting rid of all the oil, cause water doesn't wash oil away fully, but you will be removing much of that excess. Then before you go to bed, you can wash the face with the cleanser you use.

If your cleanser/washer is not strong and gentle, you can get away with washing your face 3 times instead of only water and not worry about irritation etc

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It's not bad. It's also varies from person to person and their skin how it handles it.

I think that's true. Sometimes if you cleanse too much you'll end up stripping all the oils (the good and the bad) from your skin.

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Depends on the person. Personally, I have dry skin, so I can go days without washing, at least during winter, and never have a problem with oil or anything. Excessive washing can be detrimental if it's causing irritation or unnecessary dryness, I believe.

If you have oily skin and you feel "icky" midday just splash water on your face after school/work/whatever and be on your way. I used to do this back in highschool when my skin was going crazy pumping out oil.

As long as your cleanser, or water for that fact, isn't causing irritation then you should be fine 2-3 washes a day.

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I myself have extremely oily skin, I actually shower @ least twice a day and during my bad breakouts I up it to around 5 and sometimes even 6 showers a day, seriously.

Goes like this

wake up shower

do misc bs shower

workout shower

tan shower

shower for good luck

before bed shower

Btw im self employed so kinda explains where I get the time to do that.

I even use Ivory soap through all of it and my skin doesnt even care, never dries out.

Now on the other hand lets say im lazy

I shower once a day, ok u know what let me give a better TRUE example.

So I go to this xmas thing with the ol lady, its at her brothers.

i didnt bring my soap (DOH)

She brings hers, IMO its the total OPPISIT of mine, yep DOVE YUCK.

So I use it and of course for obvious reasons I only take 1 shower a day while im there. Im only there 1 day.

I use the Dove and feel like a nice little greaseball all day.

Next day BAM worst breakout ive had in weeks, hell next day didnt even need to come, by the time mid day hit I was already breaking out.

Some people r just different I guess.

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I myself have extremely oily skin, I actually shower @ least twice a day and during my bad breakouts I up it to around 5 and sometimes even 6 showers a day, seriously.

Why do you increase it during breakouts? Do you actually think that washing helps acne? That idea should have gone out with tail-fins on cars! :)

Bryan

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I don't think its reccommended because your skin needs it's natural oils in order to remain moisturized. I wouldn't wash it more than 2 times a day b/c of irritation, but you could get some of those oil blotting things that alot of girls use when they have makeup on and stuff. They work really well for guys or girls to get off that excess oil that is just unbearable.

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i wouldn't use a cleanser to wash more than 2 times a day. but if you feel you need to wash in between, just wash with water.

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Over washing makes your skin prone to infections especially from staph infections. The resulting pustular lesions are often confused with acne. Unlike p acne's, staph survives in air, so BP doesn't totally kill it. If BP could kill it they'd use it in hospitals to fight MRSA, a deadly strain of staph.

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ive heard that can be bad, but sometimes my face just gets so oily its unbearable to go from morning until night, any one else have this problem?

I personally like when my face gets oily.When my face was clear it was oily. Its usally not recommended to wash more then twice. It will dry you up and strip your face of its natural oils.

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Washing the skin not only removes sebum, but epidermal lipids as well. Overwashing can cause irritation and aggervate acne. Not because it causes your skin to produce more oil (this theroy has been debunked already), but because it removes the skins epidermal lipids. These lipids are what make up the skin's lipid bilayers in between cells in the stratum corneum (top layer of skin) and are responsible for the skin's barrier functuion. Without proper barrier function water can evaporate from the skin (trans-epidermal water loss, or TEWL). This is what causes that tight feeling right after washing your face.

Wasing with surfactants temporarly disrupts these lipid bilayers. Gentle surfactants (something like Cetephil Gentle clenser) don't disrupt the barrier as much, so they are less drying and less irritating. Soaps (like Ivory soap) are particually harsh, because in addition to being relatively strong surfactants, they are also alkaline (ph 8.5-10.5) and they disrupt the skins acid mantle. The skin's pH should be 4.2-5.6. Increasing the pH of the skin turns the fatty acids of the starum corenum into soap (literally....fatty acid + base= salt of a fatty acid also known as soap). This seriously increases irritation and TEWL.

There has been research that found that often acne suffers already have an impared water barrier and are missing some of the epidermal lipids (mainly ceramides). This may play a role in comedo formation. In my opinion overwashing (more than 1-2 times a day or using alkaline soaps) further aggervates the condition. I'm not saying don't wash your face at all. Just be aware of what washing the skin does, and avoid overwashing.

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Washing the skin not only removes sebum, but epidermal lipids as well. Overwashing can cause irritation and aggervate acne. Not because it causes your skin to produce more oil (this theroy has been debunked already), but because it removes the skins epidermal lipids. These lipids are what make up the skin's lipid bilayers in between cells in the stratum corneum (top layer of skin) and are responsible for the skin's barrier functuion. Without proper barrier function water can evaporate from the skin (trans-epidermal water loss, or TEWL). This is what causes that tight feeling right after washing your face.

Wasing with surfactants temporarly disrupts these lipid bilayers. Gentle surfactants (something like Cetephil Gentle clenser) don't disrupt the barrier as much, so they are less drying and less irritating.

LabGirl, since you're a professional in this area, I'm very curious to get your take on some of the following issues:

Wouldn't the degree to which the barrier is disrupted depend not only on the intrinsic strength or potency of the cleanser, but also on other obvious things like how vigorously you scrub, and the duration of the cleansing? Are there any specific cleansers that actually target sebum more than they do epidermal lipids? It always seems rather odd to me when posters go on and on about THIS cleanser and THAT cleanser, which one is best to use for acne, which ones are LESS irritating, which ones are MORE irritating, etc. etc. My own natural inclination is to think that if you're getting irritation from using the "normal to oily" version of Cetaphil (this is just an example off the top of my head), I don't really see any reason to necessarily switch to the "gentle" version of Cetaphil, just because of that. Why not continue to use the stronger version, but simply use it less vigorously, or do your washing for a shorter period of time? Wouldn't the results be essentially the same?

Soaps (like Ivory soap) are particually harsh, because in addition to being relatively strong surfactants, they are also alkaline (ph 8.5-10.5) and they disrupt the skins acid mantle. The skin's pH should be 4.2-5.6. Increasing the pH of the skin turns the fatty acids of the starum corenum into soap (literally....fatty acid + base= salt of a fatty acid also known as soap). This seriously increases irritation and TEWL.

You remind me of my own recent experience, in which I got some noticeable irritation and pain by washing with Ivory soap 5-6 times a day, as part of my Sebutape testing. But WHY exactly would water loss in the skin result in irritation, pain, and redness? I could imagine a dry, scaly appearance, but pain and redness? How exactly does that work? I tend to think that my own symptoms were due to something else, not water loss per se.

Also, would washing with a pure soap like Ivory really cause the saponification of fats and fatty acids in the stratum corneum? How exactly would that work, since the metal ions in Ivory soap (I assume it's sodium) are already associated with its own fatty acids? Can you describe the actual chemical process going on in that case?

Bryan

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Washing the skin not only removes sebum, but epidermal lipids as well. Overwashing can cause irritation and aggervate acne. Not because it causes your skin to produce more oil (this theroy has been debunked already), but because it removes the skins epidermal lipids. These lipids are what make up the skin's lipid bilayers in between cells in the stratum corneum (top layer of skin) and are responsible for the skin's barrier functuion. Without proper barrier function water can evaporate from the skin (trans-epidermal water loss, or TEWL). This is what causes that tight feeling right after washing your face.

Wasing with surfactants temporarly disrupts these lipid bilayers. Gentle surfactants (something like Cetephil Gentle clenser) don't disrupt the barrier as much, so they are less drying and less irritating.

LabGirl, since you're a professional in this area, I'm very curious to get your take on some of the following issues:

Wouldn't the degree to which the barrier is disrupted depend not only on the intrinsic strength or potency of the cleanser, but also on other obvious things like how vigorously you scrub, and the duration of the cleansing? Are there any specific cleansers that actually target sebum more than they do epidermal lipids? It always seems rather odd to me when posters go on and on about THIS cleanser and THAT cleanser, which one is best to use for acne, which ones are LESS irritating, which ones are MORE irritating, etc. etc. My own natural inclination is to think that if you're getting irritation from using the "normal to oily" version of Cetaphil (this is just an example off the top of my head), I don't really see any reason to necessarily switch to the "gentle" version of Cetaphil, just because of that. Why not continue to use the stronger version, but simply use it less vigorously, or do your washing for a shorter period of time? Wouldn't the results be essentially the same?

Soaps (like Ivory soap) are particually harsh, because in addition to being relatively strong surfactants, they are also alkaline (ph 8.5-10.5) and they disrupt the skins acid mantle. The skin's pH should be 4.2-5.6. Increasing the pH of the skin turns the fatty acids of the starum corenum into soap (literally....fatty acid + base= salt of a fatty acid also known as soap). This seriously increases irritation and TEWL.

You remind me of my own recent experience, in which I got some noticeable irritation and pain by washing with Ivory soap 5-6 times a day, as part of my Sebutape testing. But WHY exactly would water loss in the skin result in irritation, pain, and redness? I could imagine a dry, scaly appearance, but pain and redness? How exactly does that work? I tend to think that my own symptoms were due to something else, not water loss per se.

Also, would washing with a pure soap like Ivory really cause the saponification of fats and fatty acids in the stratum corneum? How exactly would that work, since the metal ions in Ivory soap (I assume it's sodium) are already associated with its own fatty acids? Can you describe the actual chemical process going on in that case?

Bryan

I think the irritation occurs because of the heightening of the PH value of the skin. Bacteria also thrive in higher PH's. Interestingly the PH value of water alone can be high enough to cause problems with overwashing.

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I think the irritation occurs because of the heightening of the PH value of the skin.

Daz, can you be more specific? How does a higher pH actually CAUSE irritation?

Bryan

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Excellent these kind of scientific discussions remind me of my postgraduate days at Imperial College London (top 3 UK university specifically for science)

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[Wouldn't the degree to which the barrier is disrupted depend not only on the intrinsic strength or potency of the cleanser, but also on other obvious things like how vigorously you scrub, and the duration of the cleansing? Are there any specific cleansers that actually target sebum more than they do epidermal lipids? It always seems rather odd to me when posters go on and on about THIS cleanser and THAT cleanser, which one is best to use for acne, which ones are LESS irritating, which ones are MORE irritating, etc. etc. My own natural inclination is to think that if you're getting irritation from using the "normal to oily" version of Cetaphil (this is just an example off the top of my head), I don't really see any reason to necessarily switch to the "gentle" version of Cetaphil, just because of that. Why not continue to use the stronger version, but simply use it less vigorously, or do your washing for a shorter period of time? Wouldn't the results be essentially the same?

As far as I know there are no cleansers out there that specifically target sebum, and not epidermal lipids. There are cleansers that claim to "cleanse without drying," but that claim doesn't need to be substantiated by anything more than consumer evaluation data, the results only show the perception of dryness, and not the actual skin lipid content. If the clenser specifically claims that it's moisturizing, then they may test moisturization and TEWL, to substantiate that claim. Mostly these "gentle" clensers are non-soap cleansers containing petroleum derived surfactants, and fatty aclohols. They can have a lower pH than soap based systems....

Washing with a slightly stronger cleanser like Cetaphil Normal/Oily cleanser less frequently, for a shorter duration and less vigerously can reduce the the irritation and possible damage to skin's water barrier. Don't forget the temperature of the water matters too. You could simply just use cooler water, so that not as many lipids are removed. But using less isn't the same as using an entirely different cleanser. They are two very different formulas and contain different surfactants. I think the gentle one is a much less effective cleanser than the Normal/Oily one. I personally would rather use the Normal/Oily Cleanser rather than the gentle one, because it makes my face feel cleaner. I think the gentle one leves a film over my face and doesn't remove enough sebum. But that's just me. If there was a problem with severe dryness I'd opt for the gentle one. (I have both).

You remind me of my own recent experience, in which I got some noticeable irritation and pain by washing with Ivory soap 5-6 times a day, as part of my Sebutape testing. But WHY exactly would water loss in the skin result in irritation, pain, and redness? I could imagine a dry, scaly appearance, but pain and redness? How exactly does that work? I tend to think that my own symptoms were due to something else, not water loss per se.

Your right. water loss can cause tightness, flaking and cracking of the skin, but doesn't necessarly cause redness and irritation (although dry skin can be more prone to irritation, since the skin's barrier is damaged).

I'm guessing the irritation you experienced was caused by the soap's high pH (which is way higher than skin's pH). Ivory soap is a traditional soap, that uses vegetable oils and a strong base (they don't list their ingredients....how'd P&G get away with that one??) .....anyway Ivory soap is some strong stuff...

Also, would washing with a pure soap like Ivory really cause the saponification of fats and fatty acids in the stratum corneum? How exactly would that work, since the metal ions in Ivory soap (I assume it's sodium) are already associated with its own fatty acids? Can you describe the actual chemical process going on in that case?

It's not the same saponification that you would think of in the soap making process. As I described before a soap is a salt of a fatty acid. Your skin's lipids contain fatty acids (free fatty acids as well as triglycerides). This happens more to the free fatty acids. The triglycerides are pretty stable and harder to break apart. In the presence of a base (high pH) some of the carboxyl groups on the fatty acids loose their hydrogen ions, leaving behind an anion (-O), which can pick up free metal ions, like sodium or potassium (some of them do dissociate from the soap) and plus there are ions in tap water as well). This process doesn't need very high tepmerture to occur, like the saponification used to make soap (although a 105 dergee shower is pretty hot). Your skin lipids don't actually all turn into "soap", they way you would probably think of, but this does happen enough to cause irritation to the skin. Also, this condition isn't permanant, since rinsing the soap away removes those lipids.....further drying the skin....

This type of reaction is also what creates an emulsifer that is used commonly to make oil in water emulsions (creams and lotions). It's known to us chemists as a "soap system" and uses TEA (triethanolamine) as the base and a fatty acid (usually stearic acid) to form a soap that holds the water and oil together.

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Interestingly the PH value of water alone can be high enough to cause problems with overwashing.

The pH of tap water is usually around 6 (in my lab it's 5.7). This isn't really high enough to irritate the skin. Constant exposure to water for prolonged peroids of time can dry out and irritate the skin, but I don't think it's because the pH is too high. Significant water exposure can cause the loss of soluble moisturizing factors and even some of the epidermal lipids (to a much lesser degree).

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The pH of tap water is usually around 6 (in my lab it's 5.7). This isn't really high enough to irritate the skin. Constant exposure to water for prolonged peroids of time can dry out and irritate the skin, but I don't think it's because the pH is too high. Significant water exposure can cause the loss of soluble moisturizing factors...

Like Na-PCA? What's your opinion of Na-PCA as a topical moisturizer?

Bryan

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The pH of tap water is usually around 6 (in my lab it's 5.7). This isn't really high enough to irritate the skin. Constant exposure to water for prolonged peroids of time can dry out and irritate the skin, but I don't think it's because the pH is too high. Significant water exposure can cause the loss of soluble moisturizing factors...

Like Na-PCA? What's your opinion of Na-PCA as a topical moisturizer?

Bryan

Yup.....I think it's excellent for superficial moisturization, but because it's water soluble it has a somewhat difficult time penetrating the deeper layers of the stratum corneum (sometimes it's actually necessary to disrupt the barrier lipids, this is where cleansing comes in handy). I had a really bad case of the flakies and nasty cracked skin back when I tried out Dan's Regimen. The surface of my skin was so dehydrated. I had some in the lab at work (I think it's a 1% solution, but it's really a thick gel). I mixed it up with a sodium hyalouronate solution and applied it directly to my skin. It really helped hydrate it....the flakes were gone and eventually the cracks subsided. I quit the regimen after that.

I have some Na-PCA at home that I mix with my night moistuizer. It's great stuff but it's kinda on the expensive side, so companies are usually stingy with it and only use it at really low concentrations.

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Washing with a slightly stronger cleanser like Cetaphil Normal/Oily cleanser less frequently, for a shorter duration and less vigerously can reduce the the irritation and possible damage to skin's water barrier. Don't forget the temperature of the water matters too. You could simply just use cooler water, so that not as many lipids are removed. But using less isn't the same as using an entirely different cleanser. They are two very different formulas and contain different surfactants. I think the gentle one is a much less effective cleanser than the Normal/Oily one. I personally would rather use the Normal/Oily Cleanser rather than the gentle one, because it makes my face feel cleaner. I think the gentle one leves a film over my face and doesn't remove enough sebum. But that's just me. If there was a problem with severe dryness I'd opt for the gentle one. (I have both).

I'm getting somewhat mixed signals from that! :) Aside from the obvious case of a so-called "cleanser" like Cetaphil/Gentle which leaves a greasy film on your skin (why on earth would anyone choose a cleanser which doesn't actually CLEANSE?? :think: ), are you at least somewhat receptive to the general idea that you don't really have to carefully choose a cleanser with utmost care, as if the health of your skin depends on the precise choice that you make? That the mild use of a relatively strong cleanser is rather similar to the vigorous use of a relatively weak one?

Also, would washing with a pure soap like Ivory really cause the saponification of fats and fatty acids in the stratum corneum? How exactly would that work, since the metal ions in Ivory soap (I assume it's sodium) are already associated with its own fatty acids? Can you describe the actual chemical process going on in that case?

It's not the same saponification that you would think of in the soap making process. As I described before a soap is a salt of a fatty acid. Your skin's lipids contain fatty acids (free fatty acids as well as triglycerides). This happens more to the free fatty acids. The triglycerides are pretty stable and harder to break apart. In the presence of a base (high pH) some of the carboxyl groups on the fatty acids loose their hydrogen ions, leaving behind an anion (-O), which can pick up free metal ions, like sodium or potassium (some of them do dissociate from the soap) and plus there are ions in tap water as well). This process doesn't need very high tepmerture to occur, like the saponification used to make soap (although a 105 dergee shower is pretty hot).

My understanding is that sebum, as it comes directly from the sebaceous glands, contains virtually no free fatty acids at all, but once it gets into the main duct of the hair follicle, some of those triglycerides are broken down by bacterial esterases (like from P acnes, obviously), and afterward free fatty acids are more prevalent in sebum. I assumed that THAT was the actual source of the free fatty acids that you were talking about, when you mentioned the formation of "soap" in the skin (yes, I imagine "saponification" was not the best term to use in this context! ;) )

BTW, I'm unclear about the relative occurrence of free fatty acids within lipids of purely epidermal origin. I've probably read about it at one time or another, but don't recall the details. I'd be curious to know what the relative contributions of free fatty acids are made to the skin surface from the two different sources (sebum and epidermal lipid). Any idea on that?

Your skin lipids don't actually all turn into "soap", they way you would probably think of, but this does happen enough to cause irritation to the skin. Also, this condition isn't permanant, since rinsing the soap away removes those lipids.....further drying the skin....

The main thing I was questioning is the degree to which free fatty acids in the skin (regardless of their origin) would turn into "soap" at all, just from the use of something external like Ivory soap. I can see that happening from soaking the skin with a (hopefully very dilute) solution of sodium hydroxide, but would it happen from washing with ordinary soap? I'm not clear how that would work.

Bryan

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Like Na-PCA? What's your opinion of Na-PCA as a topical moisturizer?

Bryan

Yup.....I think it's excellent for superficial moisturization, but because it's water soluble it has a somewhat difficult time penetrating the deeper layers of the stratum corneum (sometimes it's actually necessary to disrupt the barrier lipids, this is where cleansing comes in handy).

TwinLab sells an Na-PCA solution (at least, they did in the past...I assume they still do) in an 8-ounce spray bottle. I see that it also includes ethanol, which should help the penetration. It's rather ironic that they include that, which is normally drying to the skin. But if it helps the Na-PCA to get into the skin...sure, why not? :)

Bryan

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Interesting.

In some areas the water's PH is as high as 7.

Actually I haven't seen anything that confirms high PH causes irritation. PH balanced cleansers like alkali soaps cause irritation with continuous use due to the soap/detergent. Detergents are used in studies to deliberately create irritation.

Labgirl is right it takes a hell of a lot of water to do the same.

I think I'll wash twice a day with plain old luke warm water from now on to see difference.

What are your current regimens labgirl & Bryan and your acne conditions if you don't mind me asking?

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Interesting.

In some areas the water's PH is as high as 7.

Actually I haven't seen anything that confirms high PH causes irritation. PH balanced cleansers like alkali soaps cause irritation with continuous use due to the soap/detergent. Detergents are used in studies to deliberately create irritation.

Labgirl is right it takes a hell of a lot of water to do the same.

I think I'll wash twice a day with plain old luke warm water from now on to see difference.

What are your current regimens labgirl & Bryan and your acne conditions if you don't mind me asking?

It is true that the pH of tap water can vary depending on where you live and how the water's treated. I grew up with well water and the pH of my home tap water was 6.5 (I did an experiment on hard water in high school)....but I doubt that's high enough to aggervate acne or cause irritation. If you don't think high pH causes irritation, than try putting a sodium hydroxide solution with a pH of about 11 on your skin and see what happens (I actually have experienced this before, not intentionally though)....

I vary the temperture of the water I use to wash with, depending on how oily I feel. I usually use lukewarm water or cool water, unless I'm really oily, or I have makeup on. Then I use warm water.

Right now I use Aveeno Ultra Calming Cleanser, Duac Gel (I'm switiching to regular 2.5% BP soon), and Aveeno Ultra Calming SPF 15 moistrizer during the in the morning. At night I cleanse again, apply Retin-A micro 0.04%, and I moisturize with Aveeno Ultra Calming Cream. I currently have no active acne, I have one or two redmarks left.

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It is true that the pH of tap water can vary depending on where you live and how the water's treated. I grew up with well water and the pH of my home tap water was 6.5 (I did an experiment on hard water in high school)....but I doubt that's high enough to aggervate acne or cause irritation. If you don't think high pH causes irritation, than try putting a sodium hydroxide solution with a pH of about 11 on your skin and see what happens (I actually have experienced this before, not intentionally though)....

Yeah very high or low PH is caustic but I haven't seen any studies about differing skin disorders within acceptable skin care PH range. I'm sure Kligman must have done one whilst bored at an airport or summat!

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I'm getting somewhat mixed signals from that! :) Aside from the obvious case of a so-called "cleanser" like Cetaphil/Gentle which leaves a greasy film on your skin (why on earth would anyone choose a cleanser which doesn't actually CLEANSE?? :think: ), are you at least somewhat receptive to the general idea that you don't really have to carefully choose a cleanser with utmost care, as if the health of your skin depends on the precise choice that you make? That the mild use of a relatively strong cleanser is rather similar to the vigorous use of a relatively weak one?
.......sure, but as long as the stronger cleanser is not a soap based cleanser (like Ivory)....I think that would make a difference.....

I don't really spend too much time deciding which cleanser to buy, or to use. I have a bunch of cleansers. I kinda like the Cetaphil Normal/Oily Cleanser. I really don't like Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser. I think I try to wash off too much oil with it, and it leaves behing an icky film on my face and in my sink (maybe it has to do with my tap water or something). Rightr now I'm using Aveeno Ultra Calming Cleanser.

My understanding is that sebum, as it comes directly from the sebaceous glands, contains virtually no free fatty acids at all, but once it gets into the main duct of the hair follicle, some of those triglycerides are broken down by bacterial esterases (like from P acnes, obviously), and afterward free fatty acids are more prevalent in sebum. I assumed that THAT was the actual source of the free fatty acids that you were talking about, when you mentioned the formation of "soap" in the skin (yes, I imagine "saponification" was not the best term to use in this context! ;) )

You are right about sebum not containing many free fatty acids. Most of the fatty acids are part of triglycerides, and the free fatty acids come from the by products of the bacterial metabloism of the triglycerides. The fatty acids I was talking about are epidermal fatty acids. Free fatty acids are more prevalent in the epidermis. The sphingolipids that make up the skin's lipid barrier, also contain losley attacned linoleic acid. These are the lipids that make up the lipid builayers of the stratum corenum. In a high pH medium, the carboxyl group of these fatty acids looses a hydrogen (H+), leving behind an (O-).

BTW, I'm unclear about the relative occurrence of free fatty acids within lipids of purely epidermal origin. I've probably read about it at one time or another, but don't recall the details. I'd be curious to know what the relative contributions of free fatty acids are made to the skin surface from the two different sources (sebum and epidermal lipid). Any idea on that?
This is an intersting link that helps explain the copmpositions of different skin lipids:

Skin Lipids, the Lipid Barrier and Barrier Repairing Ingredients

It doesn't mention sebum composition....but sebum is mostly made up squalane, triglycerides, and wax esters. The compositions can vary from individual to individual. Oh and sebaceous lipids also mix with epidermal lipids, especially in areas that are rich in sebaceous glands...like the t-zone area....

The main thing I was questioning is the degree to which free fatty acids in the skin (regardless of their origin) would turn into "soap" at all, just from the use of something external like Ivory soap. I can see that happening from soaking the skin with a (hopefully very dilute) solution of sodium hydroxide, but would it happen from washing with ordinary soap? I'm not clear how that would work.

I use the tem "soap" loosely here. It's not a soap that you could somehow extract and use it to make a bar of soap. All it means is that the carboxyl groups on the fatty acids (weather it be fatty acid tails of phospholipids in the bilayers, or free fatty acids in epidermal lipids) loose a hydrogen and become ionized. This increases the solubility of these lipids, making it much easier to remove them then with a non-soap detergent. This is why soap removes a significantly larger amount of skin lipids than a "gentler" non-soap cleanser.

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