Do I Use Soap OR Body Wash For Dry Skin?


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A close-up of soap or body wash on skin the was dry

In A Beautiful YouFreshen Up

Body Wash vs Soap – Who Wins the Shower Arm Wrestle?

Is your skin as dry as the Gobi Desert? Does it have less inherent moisture then found on a car hood in a Miami parking lot? Is it as sensitive as that friend you learned to avoid because every other thing you do or say hurts their feelings? Dry & sensitive – that’s my skin. Is it yours too? We have soap issues! We all don’t want to do something that makes our body’s outer layers even more devoid of anything supple. There may be areas of personal grooming that we are OK with scaling back on, but not if it results in recurrence of scaly dry skin. What’s a woman to do? Here’s some soft whispers of advice.

Your Grandmother Used Bar Soap

Body wash – what’s THAT?” Your Granny would certainly pose that question! The bar of white soap sitting on the shower rack was the go-to clean up method for her and everyone in the family way back then. There were no other options. And today, in the people-scrubbing industry, bath bar soaps are still selling in very similar amounts to the new-fangled body washes. But that is trending – there is a new body wash trend. Here’s why…

Remember your 9th grade chemistry class? Alkaline and Acidic? Two kinda opposite friends. Well if your high school memory serves you well – you might revisit the sound of your teacher saying that soap was generally alkaline. The process of making it within the parameters of the pH of the needed surfactants results in a product living in an alkaline world, one that can negatively impact the oils in your skin. Our bodies are acidic on the outside and that helps diminish bacteria growth, and the heavily alkaline bar soaps remove some of that acid. Our body replaces it as part of a cycle, but the effects are often dryer skin.

Oily things can be squeezed into the bar of soap during the manufacturing process in an attempt to try to counteract this alkaline property – and that’s why better bar soap products include things like avocado, olive, coconut oils, shea butter, and other things to help grease you up.

The Exciting World of Body Wash Technology

Body washes incorporate a newer technology and chemical process, and the ingredients put in do not have live within a limited pH range. They can reside in a more acidic zip code. A more mild type of surfactant can be used – and that is ultimately better for you!

A couple of soap related sidebars – body washes can be made to be more foamy than bar soaps, but though the foaminess can feel yummy, it does not necessarily enhance the actually cleaning capabilities. Also, a liquid formula allows for going over the top with fragrance, and that may not always be desirable.

So take your pick – bar or body wash. I find myself often switching between the two.