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Bar Soap vs Body Wash: Which is the Better One for You?

Bar Soap vs Body Wash
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Bar Soap vs Body Wash is a hot debate in many families. Everyone has their pick. We take a more in-depth look here at which is best.

Bar Soap vs Body Wash
Bar Soap vs Body Wash

Bar Soap vs Body Wash: Which is Better?

Maybe you love the sensation of cleansing your body with the same smooth, scented bar soap you’ve used since you were a kid. Or maybe you can’t feel fully clean without lathering up with a loofah paired with body wash gel.

But when was the last time you questioned where your shower soap loyalties lie?

Each way of washing has its advantages and disadvantages. This article will help you figure out if it’s time to switch sides in the war between the suds.

See Also: Shaving with Soap: The Best How To Guide on The Web

Bar Soap vs Body Wash: Key Points

  • Using bar soap vs body wash has advantages and disadvantages.
  • For very dry skin it’s typically better but not always to use body wash.
  • True bar soap can actually be more gentle on the skin than body wash.
  • Many times body wash contains harsh chemicals SLS.

What’s the difference between body wash, bar soap and shower gel?

All types of mild soaps basically do the same thing — dislodge dirt from your skin’s surface. The differences come in the ingredients and mechanism for dirt removal.

Bar soap works by dissolving the dirt on the surface of your skin.

As sweat and dirt mix with your body’s natural oils, it can settle on your skin and breed bacteria. Bar soaps break this oily layer apart and lift pathogens away from your skin.

Body wash uses the same cleansing mechanism to get dirt off your skin, but often contains a mixture of ingredients meant to help treat common skin conditions.

Dryness, clogging pores, and skin flaking can all be reduced with a body wash. Body wash usually contains ingredients meant to restore skin moisture that can be stripped by the cleansing process.

Shower gel is basically a thinner, less hydrating body wash formula. It doesn’t cling to your skin the same way, and tends to simply cleanse your skin without infusing it with moisturizing ingredients.

Read More From Us: Soap Made in USA: You Will Love it or Your Money Back

Bar Soap vs Body Wash: When it’s better to use body wash or shower gel

There are certainly instances when body wash or shower gel are the better cleansing choice.

Bar Soap vs Body Wash: When you have dry skin

It’s better to use body wash or shower gel if you typically notice that your skin feels dry, stripped, or flaky after a shower. Body wash, in particular, contains hydrating ingredients meant to coat your skin and seal in moisture.

When you have a chronic skin condition

If you have a chronic skin condition like rosacea, psoriasis, or acne, you may want to speak to a dermatologist about the cleanser you use in the shower. Chances are, there is a shower gel or body wash recommended just for you.

A dermatologist can also tell you ingredients to look out for and avoid when you shop for a body cleanser.

When you need to exfoliate your skin

Cleansing agents often contain natural or synthetic exfoliant ingredients. These are in bar soap. They are less finely ground in body wash.

When you use body wash, we recommend that you use a loofah, washcloth, or sea sponge to apply and rinse the product off your skin. The use of these tools offers an additional level of exfoliation during your shower.

Bar Soap vs Body Wash: When it’s better to use bar soap

For those with die-hard bar soap devotion, there are also times when bar soap is the clear winner.

When you’re concerned about the environment

The truth is that bar soap is a lot more eco-friendly than using a shower gel or body wash.

Bar soap tends to come packaged in a recyclable box. Simply toss it when done using it.

Microbeads in body washes are also controversial (and, in some cases, completely banned) because of their impact on the environment. Bar soap doesn’t typically contain these types of ingredients.

When you have certain allergies

Bar soap tends to contain fewer ingredients than body soaps and gels. They don’t typically need preservatives to keep them shelf-stable, which means they are typically free of parabens.

It’s also easier to make bar soap hypoallergenic. There are plenty of herbal, all-natural bar soap options that are hypoallergenic.

When you’re concerned about bacteria

There was some concern at one point that harmful bacterias breed on the surface of bar soap.

It’s certainly true that you probably shouldn’t share bar soap with other members of your household. But studies going back to 1988 have shown that there’s very little risk in bacterial contamination from a used bar of soap.

What ingredients to look for and avoid in soap

Whatever type of soap you decide to use in the shower, there are some ingredients that should always throw up a red flag. There are also some common ingredients that make soap effective, gentle, and moisturizing on your skin.

Good ingredients

Glycerine is a plant-based cleanser that can seal moisture into your skin barrier without stripping your skin of oils.

Natural exfoliants, such as finely milled black walnut shells, oatmeal, or ground apricot pits, can work to naturally remove dead skin cells.

Some essential oils are popular in scented soaps:

  • lemon oil
  • rose oil
  • lavender oil
  • cedarwood oil
  • Moisturizing oils, such as coconut oil and sweet almond oil, have additional skin-softening properties.

Shea butter and coconut butter are frequently found in certain hypoallergenic soap formulas. They are safe and shelf-stable for people to use on skin.

Check Out Our Natural Soap Shop Today!

Ingredients to avoid

Avoid powerful antibacterial agents in your bar soap.

Triclosan is a powerful antibacterial that was banned by the FDA in 2016.

That doesn’t mean that you won’t sometimes encounter this ingredient in products manufactured overseas, so read labels carefully. In addition to triclosan, the FDA banned 18 more ingredients that contain antibacterial microbeads.

Parabens are chemical preservatives that are for preserving the shelf life of cosmetic products. There is some concern over whether parabens have links to certain health conditions and endocrine system dysfunction, so avoid parabens whenever you can.

If you have allergies, you may want to avoid products with “fragrance” or “parfum” on ingredient labels.

The FDA doesn’t require soaps, body wash, or other cleansers to disclose what, exactly, the fragrance in their products is made from. This means that allergen triggers may be hidden in the products you use.

Read More: Is Triclosan Soap Actually Safe? Old Research Revisited Now

Read More: Is Antibacterial Soap Bad? A Genuine Look into Myths

Bar Soap vs Body Wash: Takeaway

Your preference for shower gel, body wash, or bar soap should depend on what your priorities are for cleansing.

If you’re looking for something eco-friendly and sustainably made to cleanse dirt from your body, basic bar soap is your shower soulmate.

If you need skin hydration, serious exfoliation, or acne treatment during your shower, a body wash or shower gel might be the better choice.

Bar Soap vs Body Wash: Skin Care Takeaways

  • Using bar soap vs body wash has advantages and disadvantages.
  • For very dry skin it’s typically better but not always to use body wash.
  • True bar soap can actually be more gentle on the skin than body wash.
  • Many times body wash contains harsh chemicals SLS.

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