Shower Gel vs. Body Wash: Which One is Better for Your Skin?

Shower Gel vs. Body Wash: Which One is Better for Your Skin?

Showering is a daily ritual for many people. It’s a quick and effective way to rid the body of dirt and odors while reinvigorating the senses. You probably shower every day, but did you know that some cleansers are better for your skin than others? Body wash is best for dry, sensitive skin, as it helps to replenish any moisture lost during cleansing. Shower gel isn’t so moisturizing, so is better suited to oily skin.

In this Article:

Shower Gel Vs Body Wash: The Pros and Cons

Shower gel and body wash are liquid cleansers for the body. Shower gel has a relatively firm, gel-like texture and often has a high concentration of fragrance. Body wash is thinner in consistency and usually gentler on the skin. Both products typically contain surfactants to create a luscious, foamy lather.

Before you reach for your washcloth, let’s compare the good and not-so-good points of each product. Here’s our handy guide to shower gel vs body wash:

Shower Gel

√ Cleanses oily and acne-prone skin

X Can be too harsh on dry, sensitive skin

√ Ideal for use in warm, humid climates

X Doesn’t infuse skin with moisture

√ Scent lasts longer on your skin

Body Wash

√ Moisturizing for normal-dry skin

X Not ideal for use on oily skin

√ Keeps skin hydrated in cold weather

X Rich formulas may make acne worse

√ Mild and gentle on sensitive skin

The Difference Between Shower Gel and Body Wash

At first glance, the main difference between shower gel and body wash is the texture of the liquid. But it’s more complex than that; the different textures have different effects on your skin. Shower gel and body wash differ in their formulas, properties, ability to hydrate the skin, and suitability for various skin types.

If you have oily, pimple-prone skin (hello, acne) then shower gel is the product to use. There are several benefits of shower gel for oily skin:

  • Cleanses away the dirt and grime that can cause breakouts
  • Rids the skin of excess oil thanks to its clarifying properties
  • Leaves the skin clean and pure with a pleasant, lasting scent
  • Not as moisturizing as body wash, so it doesn’t make the skin greasy
  • The best choice if you live in a hot, humid country as it leaves the skin feeling fresh

If you have normal-dry skin or sensitive skin that’s prone to irritation, a gentle body wash is your BFF. The benefits of body wash include:

  • Highly emollient formula moisturizes and hydrates dry skin
  • Gently cleanses without stripping away the skin’s natural oils
  • Actively restores moisture lost during the cleansing process
  • Only mildly fragranced, so it doesn’t irritate sensitive skin
  • Great for use in cold weather, as it prevents the skin from drying out further

In short, the battle of shower gel vs body wash comes down to your skin type. Shower gel is the winner for oily skin, but for dry skin types, body wash triumphs. With the right product, your skin will be flawless, and your showers will be epic! We know you’re in the shower now; we can hear you singing.

Is Shower Gel Safe to Use?

There’s a lot of conflicting information online about the safety of shower gel. Some of the claims are enough to scare you into quitting showers and wallowing in your own dirt for the rest of your days. That’s not a good look, so here’s what we know.

Shower gel, like many grooming products, contains chemicals. One such chemical is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), which is added to create frothy lather. Although there’s no evidence to suggest SLS can harm your long-term health, it is known to irritate the skin and eyes. If you have sensitive skin, eczema, or psoriasis, you should choose an SLS-free shower gel.

Parabens are another chemical with a bad reputation. Added to bath and beauty products as a preservative, parabens are believed by some to affect hormone function and even cause cancer. However, there’s no concrete evidence to support these claims. If you have concerns about parabens, you could choose an all-natural, paraben-free shower gel.

Can Shower Gel be Used Daily?

Since shower gel isn’t super-moisturizing, using it every day can dry out your skin over time. If you can’t break your shower gel habit, consider alternating with a hydrating body wash or a shower gel with a moisturizing formula. You could also apply body lotion after your shower to replenish lost moisture.

Should I Use Shower Gel, Body Wash, or Soap?

We’ve compared shower gel vs body wash, so now let’s throw bar soap into the mix. Hey, it’s good to have choices!

If you’ve been paying attention, you should know the difference between shower gel and body wash. If you’re a TL;DR kind of person, let’s recap. Shower gel is better for oily skin, while body wash is better for dry skin.

But what the heck is bar soap all about? Bar soap is a solid cleansing bar that dissolves dirt on the skin’s surface. Since it doesn’t come in a throwaway plastic bottle, bar soap is better for the environment than shower gel or body wash. No bottle also means no chemical preservatives, so bye-bye parabens. Bar soap also typically lasts longer than liquid cleansers, so it’s an economical product too.

However, bar soap can make your skin feel uncomfortably dry and tight, so it’s not the ideal choice for dry, sensitive skin. If you choose to shower with bar soap, you may need to go wild with the body lotion afterward.

Back to blog