Surfactants, skin cleansing protagonists


  • Conflicts of interest
    None declared.

*Correspondence: MM Lauriola.


The correct choice of cosmetic products and cleansers is very important to improve skin hydration, to provide moisturizing benefits and to minimize cutaneous damage caused by surfactants. In fact, surfactants may damage protein structures and solubilize lipids. Soaps, defined as the alkali salts of fatty acids, are the oldest surfactants and are quite aggressive. Syndets (synthetic detergents) vary in composition and surfactant types (anionic, cationic, amphotheric, non-ionic). These new skin cleansing products also contain preservatives, fragrances, and sometimes emollients, humectants and skin nutrients. We present a revision of the literature and discuss recent findings regarding skin cleansers.