How can men find the best body wash for them?

Even the manliest men want to be clean and fresh-smelling, but how do they choose the best body wash for the job? See more men's health pictures.
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In a previous era, if you'd asked your fellow cowboys for advice on a men's body wash -- should I go with a fragrance or something for my combination skin? -- you'd be lucky if the response was to remove you from your horse and order you to walk back to wherever it was you came from.

Thanks to everyone's growing fondness over the years for good men's hygiene, you no longer risk being run out of town for your queries into hygiene products that are available to women, but specially tailored for men.

Men's body washes are a 21st-century phenomenon, with major players like Gillette and Old Spice introducing them for the first time in 2003 and 2005, respectively. Body washes are closing in on being a $1 billion-a-year industry, so you're in good company using one. But they haven't made hundreds of millions of dollars by offering just one product, and men today are faced with many choices when searching for a body wash that's right for them.

That's not to say you should broach the subject on the factory floor, in the locker room or sitting around a campfire. But thanks to this article, you can get the answers you need regarding body wash without any risk of walking a plank, evading a posse or just being met with doubled-over laughter.

So what should you look for in a body wash? Are they all basically the same? Are there body washes that can't be smelled by nearby cowboys wearing black hats? Keep reading to find out.

Know Your Skin

Body washes -- like soaps -- began with a one-size-fits-all approach, but they're now available in a wide array of choices suited for nearly every preference and skin type.

Regular body wash can exacerbate dry skin symptoms, so if your skin is dry, tight or flaky, ingredients such as glycerin are key. Moisturizing body washes contain ingredients specially designed to combat these symptoms. Body washes are also available with exfoliating features, such as scrubbing beads. These tiny beads may initially feel gritty, but they'll knock dead or scaly skin loose, allowing for healthier, more attractive skin.

If you have excessively oily skin, there are body wash products designed specifically for your needs. Body washes with glycolic and salicylic acids will help strip away oil and clean your pores without drying out the skin.

With a growing variety of scents available, the best one for you when it comes to body wash may be none at all. For those with sensitive skin, certain additives -- such as ammonium chloride -- may cause irritation. Gentle body washes that are free of soaps, dyes, fragrances and other known irritants are best for calming sensitive skin conditions.

Why should you shampoo with one product, shave with another and scrub your body with yet another, when body washes are available that do all three? It's a lot more convenient and saves space to boot. This may not be a good option if you have sensitive or dry skin -- or if you have dandruff -- as such 3-in-1 combos won't be specifically tailored for your skin's unique needs.

Manufacturers of men's body washes know you're unlikely to purchase a pouf to help you work up a good lather. They've introduced a number of body-wash application products that don't look or sound like poufs -- such as The Detailer or The Deck Scrubber -- that feature tire-like, rubber grips for a manlier approach to sudsing up.

With a little trial and error -- and attention to a body wash's labeling and list of ingredients -- you'll find the right body wash for you. Who knows? You may like it so much you recommend it to all the cowboys around the campfire.

See the next page for lots more information.

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