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Bar Soap vs. Body Wash: Stirring the Studs on the Cleansing Divide

Bar Soap vs. Body Wash: Stirring the Studs on the Cleansing Divide

Bar soap vs. body wash: which camp are you in? 

Most of us chalk it up to a matter of preference, sticking to what feels most comfortable or familiar. But what if there’s more to your choice than meets the eye, or err, skin?


At MD GLAM, we understand the distinct benefits and drawbacks of bar soap and body wash. And as it turns out, your tried-and-true pick may not deliver the best cleansing for skin


In today’s comprehensive cleansing guide, we’re scrubbing through the differences between bar soap and body wash—from the good to the bad and the ideal for your skin type


Ready to lather up? Keep reading. 

Bar Soap: Traditional, Effective, and Simplistic?

Ah… bar soap. It’s classic, comforting, and Americans’ staple cleansing method. Let’s see why. 


Here are the most notable bar soap advantages:

Easy application 

Using bar soap is as easy as working into a lather and rinsing. There’s no fussing with bottle caps or wringing out loofahs. Just use it till it disappears! 

Has fewer additives

Since bar soap is a solid, it doesn’t need preservatives and parabens to last as long as a body wash. Therefore, they tend to be cleaner and more hypoallergenic. 

More cost-effective

Fewer ingredients also mean lower costs. Since it’s cheaper to make, bar soap is more affordable to buy. And thanks to their longevity, you won’t need to repurchase as frequently, either.

Better for the planet

Got an affinity for eco-friendly skin cleansing? Compared to body wash, bar soap packaging is often more minimal. They’re also usually devoid of microplastics and other ecologically harmful ingredients.


As for the potential cons:

It can get messy

Bar soap can get gooey, leave soap scum residue, and even catch stray hairs. And if you’ve got sensory issues? The mushy sensation may not be the most relaxing experience.

Often more drying

Your skin’s pH typically clocks in around 5.5. However, the alkaline in most bar soaps often has a pH of 9 or 10. As a result, they can throw off your skin’s acidity, leaving it feeling tight and dehydrated.

Can breed bacteria

Bar soap itself isn’t unhygienic, but how you store it can be. If it stays moist, like in a watery soap dish, it becomes a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. 


So, how do these characteristics differ from body wash? Let’s talk about it.

Body Wash: A Modern Take on Luxurious Cleansing?

Body wash may not have bar soap's nostalgic charm and straightforwardness, but it makes up for it with an indulgent cleansing experience.


Some of the biggest body wash benefits include:

Moisturizes the skin

With bar soap, skin hydration and cleansing don’t always go hand-in-hand. Body washes, however, contain emollients that keep skin hydrated without stripping it of its natural oils. 

Gentler on your skin

Body wash can be tailored to match your natural pH of 5.5. It can also be formulated to support specific skin needs. This makes it not only gentler but also allows it to deliver customized solutions. 

More hygienic (sort of)

Because body wash doesn’t sit in a wet soap dish, it’s less likely to breed bacteria. However, if you use it with a loofah or washcloth, you’ll have to replace them regularly to avoid bacterial build-up.


Any drawbacks to body wash? A couple:

Can contain questionable ingredients

In contrast to bar soap’s simplicity, body wash usually contains more fragrances and often water-based formulas. Therefore, it needs preservatives to ensure a long shelf life and stay bacteria-free.

Not as eco-conscious as bar soap

Body wash typically comes packaged in plastic bottles, which isn’t as recyclable as the paper packaging bar soap usually comes in. Our two cents? Stick to body wash brands with eco-conscious commitments. 


Alright—we’ve laid out the good and the bad. Now, where do dermatologists stand on the cleansing debate?

A Derm’s Stance: Bar Soap vs. Body Wash

You’d think showering was a pretty straightforward task. And choosing between bar soap or body wash? It’s just not that serious. They both get you clean, after all. But most dermatologists agree that the real distinction lies in how they cleanse your skin.


As discussed, bar soaps can be a bit harsher on the skin. On the other hand, body wash can deliver a more nourishing skin cleansing. But they’re not without their perks and pitfalls. So, which do derms say is the superior choice? Short answer: it depends.


Body wash is better if you have normal to dry skin or are just looking for milder, hydrating formulas. On the other hand, if you have oily skin, live in a hot, humid climate, or just need a post-sweat-sesh refresh, bar soap delivers a swift and intense clean.


Another consideration? Many derms consider body wash the more sanitary option since you dispense it from the container without direct skin contact. As we’ve learned, bar soap might harbor bacteria that isn’t great for your skin’s health. Their work-around? Wash your bar after every use and store it somewhere dry. 


Now, let’s explore the gentle skin cleansing options MD GLAM offers.

MD GLAM’s Perspective: Nurturing Skin Beyond Preferences

We’re not here to try to settle the bar soap vs. body wash divide. Instead, our goal is to give you the rundown on which option might be better suited to your skin needs. But the final decision? That’s all you.


To help steer you in the right direction, here are the holy-grail MD GLAM cleansing products we can’t get enough of:

Exfoliating Enzyme Scrub

Meet your new staple for gentle exfoliation: our Exfoliating Enzyme Scrub. This light yet potent exfoliant uses tiny particles to dislodge acne-causing impurities and unclog pores. The end result? Smooth, velvety skin that’s prepped and primed to absorb your skincare. 

Deep Pore Foaming Cleanser

Worrying over bar soap and body wash can take its toll on your skin, but our Deep Pore Foaming Cleanser erases all your stress. This purifying formula delivers a powerful cleanse, but it goes a step further. Its blend of skin-loving vitamins and minerals wrap your skin in nourishment. 


You’ll never have to deal with that tight, parched feeling of over-cleansed skin again—just a beautifully balanced complexion that shines brighter day after day.


Pro tip: Experience the full spectrum of MD GLAM cleansing with Dr. Cat’s curated, complexion-cleansing kit.


One thing you can be sure of? We embrace a skin-first philosophy, ensuring every formula prioritizes the health and vitality of your skin above all else.

MD GLAM: Lather, Rinse, Rejuvenate

As far as the great bar soap vs. body wash debate, we’re happy to share that there’s simply no clear winner. You can count on both to cleanse your skin. And each can come enriched with skin-loving ingredients just the same as iffy ones. 


When it comes to choosing which is best for you, think more in terms of the product’s formula. Have dry skin? Choose a moisturizing body cleanser, which you’re more likely to find in a body wash. Have rough, oily skin? The pure, potent clean of a bar soap might be a better fit.


Our advice? Stick to clean, medically-backed formulas with ingredients you know your skin loves. When you let your skin lead the way, you’ll always be on the right track. 


And if you still can’t decide? Try both! And remember, when it comes to nurturing the skin above your décolletage—we’re on standby with luxurious, medical-grade skincare.

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