Can soaps harm our skin?« Back to Questions List

The human skin is surprisingly the largest part of the human body. The word ‘Derma’ means skin. The terms dermis and epidermis that are quite commonly heard are nothing but the inner and outer layers of the skin respectively. Exploring further we see that the outermost layer epidermis could still be divided into 5 layers. Of them, the outermost layer is called the stratum corneum. Thus stratum corneum becomes the outermost layer of our skin protecting us from infection and injuries.


The Stratum corneum is actually a barrier made of dead skin cells. This hardened layer acts as a protector of the healthy living cells beneath it. The structure of this layer resembles how bricks are arranged while building a wall. Every brick in our case is a corneocyte. Corneocytes are proteins made of tiny threads of keratin in a regular pattern. This keratin holds large amounts of water between the threads. The stratum corneum consists of many such layers of corneocytes with a thickness of 1 micrometer.

The layers are held together by lipids that maintain the moisture in our skin. Lipids are actually fatty substances which can get dissolved when we take a hot shower.  The more frequent showers we take using soaps, more is the damage that we cause to these lipids damaging the texture of our skin. A skin scrubber only aids this process of damage and the skin does not get much time to repair itself through natural oil production. Thus it is evident that too frequent showers can result in dry and cracked skin depending on the nature of skin as each person’s skin is different.

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