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Bar Soaps or Shower Gels?

Decisions, decisions...

Many people believe that a simple bar soap is the best body cleanser. However, bar soaps may be fairly harsh on your skin.

Soaps are obtained by treating vegetable or animal oils and fats with a strong alkaline solution (lye).  The end product tends to have a high pH, which may irritate the normal conditions of the outmost layer of the skin, which typically is slightly acidic at 5.5 pH levels.

If you use a fairly strong soap, chances are your skin will become dry, hence you may need to moisturise to compensate for the soap.

Non-bar products are a relatively recent occurrence in supermarkets, pharmacies, etc.  Only until recent times, it was only bar soaps and perhaps baking soda as an alternative for cleansing.  Bar soaps of all sorts of scents, shapes and sizes, but bar soaps nevertheless.  Bar cleansers were joined by liquid products, which were first used primarily for hand washing. The market eventually came to know shower gels, also known as body washes, which quickly became a popular alternative to bar soap.

So which one is better?

There is an overwhelming amount of options now-a-days. Like so many health and beauty products, there are advantages and disadvantages to both bar soap and liquid soap.

The Bar Soap Argument

Liquid soaps are known to lead to more waste.  Due to their liquid nature, overuse can be a common occurrence.  However, the use of a simple sponge has proven to counter act the overuse of liquid gels dramatically. 

On the positive side, a lot of the bar soaps contain glycerine, which is a known compound useful for people with dermatological problems like eczema. Also, for people who are allergic to fragrances, bar soaps can be the most convenient option; there are many bar soaps on the market that are fragrance-free. Fragrance-free liquid soaps, on the other hand, are not as popular.

The Liquid Soap Argument

Typically, bar soaps have a higher pH level than liquid soaps. Because of this, some bar soaps can be more drying to the skin.   There are however many different soaps with a low or neutral pH level, which are less drying to the skin.

Unlike their bar-driven counterparts, you never get that pile of slimy soap accumulated in the soap tray that often occurs when bar soap is left in prolonged contact with water, and this can be a source of emotional distress.  In addition, liquid soap tends to create more foam, which people may prefer over thinner bar soap lathers.

Strong bar soaps, can be too harsh for some people, stripping away important oils and giving you discomfort. Many liquid soaps and body washes contain moisturisers, which can leave a very pleasant after bath sensation and provide long-term wellness to your skin.


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