Bar Soap Vs. Body Wash: Is One Better Than The Other For Your Skin Health?

Face washes and hair products get a lot of hype. But when it comes to your shower routine, how much thought do you put into your body soap? Many of us don't think twice about the products we are using on our bodies and whether they're effective or not. Instead, we blindly go with the same products we have always used, whether that means bar soap or body wash. However, it may be worth spending some time analyzing both choices.


According to Spongelle, bar soap has been the norm for thousands of years, dating back to the times of Babylon and beyond. In the 1950s we tried to move away from using animal fats in our bar soaps, but it wasn't until the 1970s that liquid soaps became available on the market. And while both forms have changed radically since then, they still have individual pros and cons. As with any skincare product, the best option will depend on your skin type, needs, and preferences.

What to know about bar soap

While bar soap may not be as popular as it once was, it remains one of the primary options that you can use to clean your body. So who is a good match for bar soap? According to Scrubd, bar soaps tend to be more dehydrating for the skin, so they may be better suited to those with an oilier skin type. Bar soaps also require fewer chemicals and preservatives than body washes, and tend to be made with more natural ingredients than their liquid counterparts. So anyone looking for a greener option may have better luck with bar soap.


While bar soap lovers may enjoy having a more natural alternative, the fact is that bar soaps are also prone to more bacteria than body washes. Moody Sisters explains how bar soaps can be unsanitary if not stored or properly used. Kept in a place filled with moisture, such as in a puddle on the rim of your tub, bar soap can become an easy home for bacteria — which spells trouble for your skin. Bar soap fares best when placed somewhere dry and thoroughly rinsed before each use. So while bar soap can be a greener option, it depends on whether you are willing to take the extra step to keep it clean after each shower.

What to know about body wash

Body wash tends to be the most popular at the moment. However, like bar soaps, body washes have their fair share of pros and cons. While bar soaps can be moisture-stripping, Love Beauty and Planet explains that emollient-rich body washes can be much more hydrating. Depending on the ingredients, body washes can be the perfect solution for dry skin. The lather produced by body washes can also be highly relaxing, offering a perfect way to end a long day by stimulating all your senses.


However, body washes can also be harmful if not chosen carefully. Consumer Reports states that body washes have more preservatives, dyes, and fragrances, and can irritate those with eczema or other skin issues. This excess of chemicals can trigger sensitive skin types and sometimes cause allergic reactions.

While it seems like bar soaps are more natural and body washes are more moisturizing, the consensus is to use the one that works best for you. For those who want lather and hydration, body washes are the way to go. But if you want something compact and more natural, bar soap should be your go-to. Just make sure your product of choice uses ingredients that mesh well with your skin type!