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Soap vs Body Wash: Which one is better for you?

Soap vs Body Wash: Which one is better for you? | SCRUBD

There are a lot of types of body cleanser out there: bar soap, shower gel, liquid cleanser, body wash - it can be overwhelming!

There seems to be a lot of confusion out there about the difference between soap and body wash. *

Some guys think they're pretty much the same thing, while others are convinced that one is better than the other.

So, what's the truth? How are they different, and if so, which one is better for you? Let's take a closer look at both options and break it down.

* We're including shower gels in the body wash category to prevent things from getting too murky (couldn't resist!) They're essentially the same with the main difference being the thicker gel like consistency you get with shower gels.

Table of Contents

1. Soap has been around for centuries, while body wash is a more recent invention.

2. Bar Soap is made from oils and lye while body washes are detergent-based.

3. Bar soap is made of natural ingredients, while most body washes are full of chemicals.

4. Wash off: A quick fire round of benefits. 

5. The verdict is in. 

1. Soap has been around for centuries, while body wash is a more recent invention.

soap making

Soap dates back to at least 2800 BC, when the ancient Babylonians made soap from ashes and fats. The first recorded mention of soap is in a cuneiform tablet from the third millennium BC.

On the other hand, the history of body wash can be traced back to the late 1800s when liquid soap was patented by William Shepphard in 1898. As science progressed and further experiments were made, liquid soap was swapped for body wash in 1989.

2. Bar soap is made from oils and lye while body washes are detergent-based.

soap making

Bar soap is made from fats or oils that are mixed with lye, which is a caustic substance. This chemical reaction creates soap molecules, which have a long, linear structure that allows them to bind to dirt and oil molecules, helping to lift them away from the skin.

Body washes, on the other hand, is a detergent-based product that contains surfactants. These molecules have a head that is attracted to water and a tail that is attracted to oil. When you add body wash to water, the surfactants help to create a cleansing foam that can effectively remove dirt and oil from the skin.

3. Bar soap is made of natural ingredients, while a lot of most body washes are full of chemicals.

artificial vs natural

A lot of body washes are typically formulated with not so skin friendly ingredients such as chemical preservatives and harsh chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulfate. These are harmful to your skin health and explain why many body washes tend to irritate sensitive skin.

Bar soaps, unlike body washes, usually have a smaller list of ingredients. They don't need preservatives to keep them shelf-stable, so they're generally free of parabens.

Soaps can absolutely host their own party of chemicals so it's important to check the ingredients list. If they contain foaming agents such as SLS or SLES then it's best to avoid. Unfortunately some common and traditional soaps strip skin of their natural oils so keep look out for soaps containing all natural ingredients and are sls free.

And take a sprint in the opposite direction when you see antibacterial soaps because they scream or stripping the body's natural oils.

All natural ingredients mean that there is less chance of irritating the skin and so the bar soap is suitable for any skin type. Whether that be oily skin, dry or sensitive skin.

Wash off: A quick fire round of benefits. 

body wash

The better cleanser?

Bar soap is equally effective as body wash in removing any dirt, oil, and germs that may have built up on your skin during your most recent sweat session.

That being said, soap bars are given a lot of stick for dehydrating the skin because they have a high alkaline nature. The skin's natural ph level is between 4.2 - 5.5 where as soap ranges from 8-10!

This means that the skin is shoved out of it's health ph zone and starts to lose hydration quickly, airgo dry skin!

To combat the possibility of the bar soap drying out your skin, look out for moisturising ingredients such as shea butter or aloe vera. These soaps produce a moisturizing body wash and are gentler on the skin than your standard body wash.

Having said this, a body wash specifically made for certain skin conditions may be the better option for you. Especially if you need skin hydration, extensive exfoliation, or acne treatment during your shower. It's really up to your personal preference.

Which is better for the environment?

Bar soaps typically come in less packaging unlike a body wash bottle. Plus body wash is packaged in plastic, made from petroleum-based materials that can take centuries to decompose.

Bar soap, on the other hand, is often packaged in recycled paper or cardboard, which breaks down much more quickly.

With a soap bar you also tend to get more value for your money because a body wash can run out pretty quickly and you're continually buying more plastic bottles. Bar soaps aren's just good for your wallet but are also kinder to the environment.

Which is more hygienic?

Bar soaps often get a bad rap for being unsanitary and their ability to breed bacteria. But is this true? The reality is, it's not the bar soap itself that is dirty; it's how you store the bar.

We're not saying that leaving your soap in a watery soap dish is hygienic - because it's not - but storing your bar soap in a dry area and washing it before each use will prevent bacteria being transferred onto your skin. If you're looking to eliminate all risk of bacteria then a body wash is right for you.

The verdict is in.

It'a a clear winner for us - the humble bar soap is the no.1 choice every time. 

There are no doubt some body wash pros - less likely to dry the skin's surface and if you're suffering with acne prone or oily skin, then products that target these issues are effective.

Honestly, is there really a comparison? The soap bar has been around for centuries and has a proven track record. It's more affordable, it lasts longer, and it does a better job of cleaning you up without harsh chemicals.

But all soaps weren't made equal, especially in the case of SCRUBD's triple milled and organic soaps. SCRUBD soap bars contain essential oils and all natural ingredients for a hydrating and exfoliating wash. Its creamy lather is thanks to shea butter that can seal moisture into the skin, making it suitable for even sensitive skin and dry skin.

So, ditch the body wash and make the switch today!

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