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How Body Soap Works

Bar Body Soap

Each type of body soap has pros and cons, which is why there are so many choices on the shelves. Your first job is to decide which properties you want in your soap -- specifically, whether you want it to be a bar or liquid.

One of the benefits of bar soap is that it's relatively cheap and easy to store in the bathroom. However, you have to be careful about ingredients. Some bar soaps are designed to really clean and strip away dirt and grime. These strong soaps might be great at removing dirt and grease after a day of working in the garden or under the hood of the car, but they aren't the best to use for repeated hand washings or for cleansing your face. Harsh bar soaps can be very drying to the skin, especially if they contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) [source: Bruno]. It's best to limit how often you scrub down your face and body with strong soaps that can dehydrate the skin.

The good news is that bar soaps come in a variety of formulas. Some are specifically designed to be mild and moisturizing, and they contain ingredients that won't strip away the oils your skin needs. Moisturizing bar soaps are ideal to use for your face and body. You can also find bar soaps that double as facial cleansers. These soaps have been formulated for the delicate skin on your face and may contain acne-fighting ingredients.

When you select a bar of soap at the store, however, read the label to check for ingredients that can cause skin irritation. If you have eczema or are sensitive to perfumes or dyes, choose mild soaps that are fragrance free to lessen your chances of itchy inflammation [source: Mayo Clinic].

Now that you've considered the scrubbing power of traditional bar soap, read on to find out what liquid body soap has to offer.