How Body Soap Works

Specialty Body Soaps

Depending on whom you ask, you'll get a different definition for what makes something a specialty body soap. However, to make it easier, consider some points about other products that can be lumped into the "specialty" category.

Soaps made with glycerin or sugars are usually transparent and are designed to be less drying than soaps made without these products. If you've had issues with dry skin, you might consider a glycerin- or sugar-based soap.

Certain beauty bars might contain sodium lauryl isethionate instead of the more dehydrating sodium lauryl sulfate. Lactic or citric acid, which is often added to beauty bars, can lower the pH level from 9 to 10 down to a range of 5 to 7, which can also help protect the skin's natural moisture level [source: Draelos].

Botanical, natural or herbal soaps contain herbs, essential oils and plant extracts. Common examples of these kinds of ingredients include green tea, lemongrass, ginger, sea salts, lavender and peppermint. You can often find soaps that contain these natural ingredients in boutiques or on the Internet. If you have had reactions to ingredients in traditional soaps, you might find the natural ingredients more suited to your skin type, but know that even natural products can still cause irritation or allergic reactions.

Perfumed and colored soaps contain extra ingredients to rouse your senses, but they might leave you more than just smelling like a rose. One of the most common reasons people suffer from contact dermatitis or other similar skin problems is because of their soap [source: Mayo Clinic]. Look specifically for fragrance-free and dye-free soaps if you are having problems with skin breakouts or irritation.

If you're not completely overwhelmed with choices and ready to grab whichever soap is closest, you still have one last point to consider. Read on to find out whether antibacterial soaps are worth the money.