You may be a practical kind of guy who simply grabs whichever bar of soap is in the shower stall every morning, but there are reasons not to use the same soap as a woman. For one thing, do you really want to smell like almonds, coconut, pomegranate or perfume? If you wear cologne, feminine soap fragrances may clash with it. Then there's the fact that men's and women's skin has different needs, so you may be getting too much or too little cleansing, moisturizing or exfoliating with a soap designed for the ladies. Also, you could be paying more than you have to by buying a body cleanser geared toward women.
First up is fragrance.
Call it shallow, but fragrance can be a big deal. You may not mind the way a woman smells, but you may be making yourself less attractive by using a woman's soap. Researchers found that women choose mates who are most different from them genetically, and they get their clues from a man's scent [source: Colenso]. Fragrances in soap and other skin-care products can alter your natural scent to such a degree that women may find you less desirable as a potential mate.
Not only this, but do you really want to smell like cherry blossoms or wild vanilla? The fragrances in soaps tend to stick with you throughout the day, and when you perspire, these scents become more pronounced, in combination with those produced by your hormones. Men's natural odor has been said to smell like cheese, and the smell of women's soap may not make for the best aromatic blend.
Glide to the next section to discover why a woman's soap may not be meeting your skin's needs.
Men's and women's skin has different needs, and this is another reason the fellas may be better off not using the same soap as a woman. Men's skin tends to be thicker, oilier, duller and rougher than women's. Men also have more hair on their bodies, and this creates more space for bacteria to linger. If you're a guy and you're using soap made for ladies, you may not be getting rid of the dirt and sweat as thoroughly as you want.
Women's soaps tend to have more moisturizing ingredients and milder cleansing properties than men's soaps. You may end up with some skin problems -- namely acne -- if you have oily skin and don't use the appropriate skin-care products. These days, hundreds of different soaps line the shelves, and this makes choosing the best soap for you more difficult than ever. Men's soaps are formulated to provide the proper moisturizing and cleansing power for male skin types, so find the men's section and start browsing.
Next up, learn about your skin's sensitivity.
As mentioned in the last section, men's and women's skin have different needs. Each type also has different sensitivities. Men's skin is thicker and tends to be less sensitive to detergents and abrasives. If you're a guy, you'll give yourself a better chance of achieving and maintaining healthy skin by using soap made for a man rather than for a woman.
One more thing to keep in mind is that as men mature, they have a tendency to develop seborrheic eczema. One way to keep this condition at bay is by cleansing, exfoliating and moisturizing with the appropriate products, and what works for your wife or girlfriend's skin may not work so well for yours. It may take trial and error, or even professional help, to come up with the most suitable skin-care regimen.
See what exfoliating has to do with soap and skin care in the next section.
Exfoliation for Thicker Skin
Since men's skin tends to be thicker and rougher than women's, soap with stronger exfoliating or scrubbing power is better suited for guys. As we learned earlier, men's skin also tends to be oilier than women's. Exfoliating soap or body cleanser can help keep that extra sebum from clogging pores. Otherwise, you could end up with acne on your back or other areas where sebaceous glands are running full throttle. When it comes to rough skin, you'll need to use a soap that can slough off the layers of dead skin responsible for the dull, scaly look and feel. Once you exfoliate, your skin will be softer, and your complexion should even improve. Products designed for women's thinner, more delicate skin may not do the job for guys because their skin is so much thicker and tougher.
Move to the next section to get the rub on how using men's soap may also make better financial sense.
Money in Your Pocket
If you browse the health and beauty aisles at your local grocery or drug store, you'll notice that the price of women's soap is slightly higher than men's. Women tend to pay more for everything from soap and other skin-care products to mortgages. One study found that goods advertised to women cost as much as 50 percent more than those marketed to men -- even when the products carry the same brand name [source: Dunleavy].
Why pay more if you don't have to? Being aware of gender-based pricing can help you spend less money on soap and other skin-care products like body wash, facial cleanser, moisturizer, shaving cream and even razors. Arguably, there's no significant benefit in women's soap that justifies the increased prices, and if you're a guy, you're paying more for a soap that may not be the best for your skin type.
Want to know more about men's soap? Check out the links on the next page.
After a certain age, a lot of men start growing hair in places they don't want it — and stop growing it where they do. HOwStuffWorks looks at why.
- Colenso, Maria. "How are men's body cleansers different from women's body cleanser?" HowStuffWorks.com. Dec. 7, 2010. (Feb. 25, 2011)https://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care-men/cleansing-tips/mens-body-cleansers-vs-womens-body-cleansers.htm
- Colenso, Maria. "Why do men smell different from women?" HowStuffWorks.com. Sep. 20, 2010. (Feb. 23, 2011)https://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/men/sweating-odor/men-smell-different-from-women.htm
- Dunleavy, M.P. "Women in Red: Why it costs more to be a woman." MSN Money. Dec. 15, 2009. (Feb. 23, 2011)http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/SavingandDebt/ConsumerActionGuide/dunleavey-why-it-costs-more-to-be-a-woman.aspx
- Lamb, Robert. "Do men and women need different cleansers?" HowStuffWorks.com. Dec. 22, 2009. (Feb. 28, 2011)https://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/cleansing/basics/men-women-cleansers.htm
- Persadsingh, Dr. Neil. "Do men and women have different skin types?" Jamaica Observer. March 29, 2010. (Feb. 27, 2011)http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/different-skin-types_7504868
- Robinson, Megan. "Come Clean." Thread. Feb. 27, 2011. (Feb. 27, 2011)http://www.thread.co.nz/news/5709/15/Come-clean/d.thread-article
- Siddons, Sara. "How Body Soap Works." HowStuffWorks.com. Aug. 20, 2009. (Feb. 23, 2011)https://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/cleansing/products/body-soap.htm
- Sprouse, Elizabeth. "5 Skin Care Tips for Men with Rough Skin." HowStuffWorks.com. Dec. 7, 2010 (Feb. 23, 2011)https://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/men/skin-care-tips/5-skin-care-tips-for-men-with-rough-skin.htm