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What should men look for in body acne cleansers?

Types of Men's Body Acne Cleansers
If you have dry skin, you might want to find an alternative to soap.
If you have dry skin, you might want to find an alternative to soap.
Getty Images/Iconica/Dylan Ellis

Cleansers for body acne come in the same forms as other cleansers. Bars, liquids and gels are the most common. As far as effectiveness is concerned, ingredients count more than form. Consider your skin type, too. Many people find that bar soaps make dry skin worse, for instance.

Price and economy are another concern. A bar may be less expensive than a liquid on the store shelf, but it could cost more per use and leave a pool of unusable goo in the soap dish.

Then there are personal preferences and priorities. Some people think bar soaps are more environmentally friendly because they typically come in less packaging than liquids or gels. On the other hand, they can be harder to rinse off if you have access to hard water where you live.

You'll get more from any type of cleanser by following these tips:

  • The cost of clean skin is eternal vigilance. Use the cleanser regularly, not just when a breakout threatens. Twice a day is recommended.
  • If the timing works out, cleanse your skin after activities that leave you sweaty. The salt and dirt in sweat can be particularly irritating.
  • Wait at least a few minutes after washing to apply any acne medication. "Chasing" some medications with others can trigger an outbreak -- following a benzoyl peroxide cleanser with a retinoid-containing cream, for example, can irritate your skin.
  • Apply cleansers by hand using a gentle massaging action. Scrubbing with a washcloth or mesh pad can aggravate the skin.
  • If at first you don't succeed, try a different cleanser. Brands vary in their formulation, and some might be better suited to your skin type than others.

One last word of advice: Be patient. It may be six weeks before you start to see an improvement. As Albert Einstein said, "It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer."