When it comes to personal care products like shower gel and body wash, it can be hard to distinguish the difference between certain products. Are they the same? Are they different? Does one offer more benefits than another?
Here’s everything you need to know about the difference between shower gel and body wash.
Shower gel and body washes are similar, but not identical. While both are liquid cleansers, shower gels tend to be thicker with a gel consistency while body washes can have various consistencies ranging from creamy to gel. Both formulations are typically made with emollients and gentle surfactants to cleanse and smooth the skin. They also usually create a nice, foamy lather. The main difference between these liquid soaps, according to dermatologists, is in their consistencies.
“Shower gel has a firmer, gel-like consistency, and typically has a higher concentration of fragrance,” says board-certified dermatologist Ilyse Lefkowicz, MD. “Body washes tend to be more hydrating and moisturizing, which makes it more useful in harsher, colder weather to help avoid stripping moisture away from the skin, which can open it up to damage.”
She adds that shower gels are best for oily skin types and those living in hot, humid climates because they’re less moisturizing than a body wash. While body washes are better for those with dry skin or sensitive skin as they’re typically more soothing and hydrating. That said, it always depends on the formula and its active ingredients. You can still find body washes infused with oil-sapping, acne-fighting ingredients that work great for oily and acne-prone skin.
Shower gel and body wash generally have the same function. However, there are a few differences between the two. While shower gel can be beneficial for oily and acne-prone skin types, it can also be dehydrating to the skin and usually contains more fragrance than body wash. Without a doubt, body washes are the most moisturizing out of the two.
Bar soap is great for being cost-effective and eco-friendly, but according to dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick, bar soaps are “known to have a high alkaline pH which is thought to disrupt the natural skin barrier and strip the skin of its natural oils.”
Overall, it’s best to look for a skincare product that works best for your skin type and concerns. And always try to look for products that have a lower ph level and are free of parabens, phthalates, and fragrances.
It all depends on your skin type and concerns. If you have dry skin or you’re prone to dryness, opt for a body cleanser that hydrates and retains moisture in the skin. Ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin are some of the best for hydrating skin.
If you have oily or acne-prone skin, choose a formula made with blemish-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. And if you have mature skin, pick a product infused with anti-aging ingredients such as retinol and vegan collagen, which help boost collagen production and restore elasticity.
One ingredient to avoid is microbeads in exfoliating washes, as they can be harmful to the environment. Choose natural, eco-friendly ingredients instead, like jojoba beads, sugar, and salt.
Whatever your skin type, here’s a body wash that’s perfect for you.
Cherry Jelly Body Cleanser
Best for: Oily + Acne-Prone Skin
A body cleanser designed to eradicate body acne. Cherry Jelly Body Cleanser contains a blend of bacteria-zapping salicylic acid and hydrating allantoin to buff away dead skin cells, diminish dryness, and leave skin feeling and looking both clearer and smoother. It also contains aloe vera to soothe skin and bring down any inflammation. Include this wash in your daily body care routine to keep your back, chest, and booty blemish-free.
For best results, use daily and follow up with a targeted moisturizer and spot treatment. You can even use it as your daily face wash to keep skin breakout-free on your face, too!
Moon Jelly Adaptogenic Body Cleanser
Best for: Dry Skin + Sensitive Skin
When you have dry or sensitive skin, you need to choose your cleansing products wisely to avoid dryness, redness, and irritation. This moisturizing body wash is pack full of de-stressing and moisturizing ingredients such as ashwagandha, chamomile, jojoba oil, and rosehip oil. All of which work together to ease irritated skin while drenching the body in long-lasting hydration. This product works for all skin types, and is even gentle enough for those with skin conditions like eczema.
For best results, use daily and follow up with a nourishing body lotion or butter to lock in the active ingredients and moisture for day-long smoothness.
24k Gold Black Soap Impurity Cleanser
Best for: Mature Skin
A 2-in-1 facial cleanser and body cleanser that works to gently exfoliate the skin, fading the appearance of blemishes, discoloration, and fine lines and wrinkles. Its key ingredient — 24k gold — enhances collagen production and restores elasticity, helping to prevent sagging skin and smooth out creases. Gold also boasts antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, meaning it can treat breakouts, redness, and irritation too. Featuring shea butter, it’s also extremely hydrating for the skin.
For best results, use 3-4 times a week and follow up with a nourishing body lotion or butter to seal in the active ingredients and moisture for youthful, radiant skin. You can even pair it with a soft washcloth to boost its exfoliating powers.
Shower gel and body wash are both bath products that most of us use in our daily personal care routine. It turns out, there’s really not much difference between the two. However, body cleansers are probably the better choice in that they can target specific skin types and concerns, depending on the formula you choose. If you aren’t using one already, choose one from the three above, and you’ll definitely notice an improvement in your skin over time.