Body Wash vs Shower Gel vs Bar Soap: What is the Difference?

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Most people consider taking a shower to be a relatively straightforward task. However, dermatologists around the world have spoken out about how the various soaps available to the public can have a massive effect on skin health.

With this being said, it is recommended that we pay a little extra attention to the type of cleaning products that we use. Three stand-out options that most households rely on for their sanitary needs include body wash, shower gel, and bar soap.

Which of these three products work best, and what are the differences between them? Below, we will be discussing the answers to these questions and help you decide which option will best suit your needs based on your skin type and budget. So let’s get to it!

Body Wash

The definition of body wash is quite self-explanatory – this cleansing product is formulated to be used when cleaning the body. In other words, manufacturers use ingredients that will keep the skin of your body healthy and clean. Unlike standard soaps, body wash usually contains moisturizers, meaning that it will not be as harsh on your skin.

Also, body wash has a consistency and texture similar to that of dishwashing liquids or other liquid soaps. This is very different when compared to the texture of shower gel (which resembles a paste) and bar soaps.

Shower Gel

Similar to body wash, shower gel is a liquid soap that is designed to clean the body. While there are a few similarities between these two products, they are definitely not the same. Shower gel also has some moisturizing qualities (especially the more expensive options) and can leave your skin feeling clean, fresh, and rejuvenated.

Bar Soap

Bar soap is very different when compared to shower gel and body wash. The most obvious difference is the appearance and form, as bar soap is not a liquid cleanser. Instead, manufacturers compact the ingredients into a solid bar shape, which can then be lathered onto a cloth, sponge, or hand.

This soap works by dissolving the dirt and oils that can be found on your skin. With that being said, these products are much harsher on your skin than the previous soaps mentioned. While they eliminate unwanted oils, they can also remove essential proteins and lipids, leaving you with dry and irritated skin.

What are the Main Differences?

While all three are used to clean and refresh you skin, there are some variations. Here are the primary differences between these three options.

Form and Smell

Both body wash and shower gel come in a liquid form. Also, both products are normally made with emollients that create a rich and foamy lather. However, even though the form of these two soaps is similar, you will notice that shower gel has a much stronger scent. This is because shower gel has a much higher concentration of ingredients, allowing for a stronger fragrance. On the other hand, bar soap comes in a solid form and generally has a relatively weak scent.

Texture and Consistency

The biggest difference between shower gel, body wash, and bar soap is the texture and consistency.

As we have already mentioned, shower gel has a much higher concentration of ingredients than body wash and bar soap. Because of this, it also has a much thicker and firmer consistency. These products can be described as gel-like or paste-like. Body wash has a much thinner texture and consistency than shower gel.

Moisturizing Qualities

It is important to note that both body wash and shower gel are only designed to be used on the body. However, dermatologists admit that certain facial bar soaps can be used on the face, as well as the rest of the body. This is because these soaps have a lower pH value.

When ranked, body wash has the best moisturizing qualities. On the other end of the scale, bar soaps can leave your skin dry and damaged when used too frequently. For this reason, it is recommended that you look for a bar soap that is formulated to protect and hydrate your skin.

Which Soap Should I Use?

Your skin type and age significantly affect which soap will work best for you. For example, dermatologists have stated that younger skin responds adequately to bar soaps. On the other hand, older and more fragile skin tends to become dried out when bar soap is used too often.

If you are unsure as to which soap you should use, it is always a good idea to visit your dermatologist. They will be able to tell you exactly which soap will suit your skin type.

However, as a general rule, bar soaps are suitable for younger people, while body wash works best with older skin. Shower gel is a great compromise for older people who struggle with oily skin.

More so, the climate in which you live can greatly impact the type of soap needed by your skin. If you live in a dry area, you should ensure that your skin remains as hydrated as possible. In other words, using a moisturizing soap, such as body wash, is the best option. If you live in a warm and humid area, bar soap can be used to prevent your pores from becoming blocked with excess oil and grime.

Final Thoughts

There are a few major differences between body wash, shower gel, and bar soap. The biggest difference between the three options is texture and consistency. While bar soap comes in a solid form, shower gel and body wash are both liquids.

More so, shower gel is thicker than body wash, as it has a higher ingredient concentration. All three products also have different moisturizing qualities. Body wash will leave your skin feeling hydrated, while bar soap is slightly harsher on the skin. These different properties mean that each soap is better suited for specific skin types.

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