Squeaky clean… great for windows and floors, not so much for your skin. Squeaky clean skin is generally the outcome of using a cleanser that is highly alkaline or formulated with harsh or abrasive cleansing ingredients.
So, which body cleanser to choose when looking at myriad possibilities in the store aisle? Selecting a shower gel or a soap isn’t exactly rocket science, but the right formula can mean the difference between super soft, balanced skin and skin that’s less-than-stellar. It really comes down to personal preference and your skin type.
Whether you choose a bar or a bottle, many body cleansers may all have the same effect. These products remove dirt, bacteria, but some are worse at stripping the moisture and oils from your skin. The skin is acidic by nature, sitting between 4.5 and 6.0 on the pH scale; therefore, the pH of a cleanser should also be slightly acidic. When a cleanser is too alkaline, or above 7.0 on the pH scale, natural oils are stripped from your skin, leaving it feeling tight and dry.
Choose a cleanser that is pH balanced for the skin and formulated with mild cleansing agents. Additional support ingredients may include low percentage alpha hydroxy acids to encourage cellular turnover, nourishing essential oils, free radical-quenching antioxidants or antibacterial components, depending upon your skin condition and/or issues. Many body washes leave a layer of moisturizer on the skin that helps to replenish the oils removed.
If your skin is super delicate, dry, or eczema-prone, shower gels may be the better choice, one filled with vitamins, lecithin, and amino acids to keep the skin hydrated. Since shower gels are water-based, it’s easier to get those good-for-you moisturizers in them. They’re often enriched with extra calming and soothing ingredients. The National Eczema Association recommends non-soap cleansers, like Cetaphil Restoraderm Body Wash, for itchy-skin sufferers, and also suggests skipping cleansers altogether during a severe flare, to avoid possible irritation.
You might not want to limit yourself to using one or the other, especially if you live in a climate with weather extremes. In North America, people do tend to have significantly drier skin during the winter. So if you have exceptionally dry and sensitive skin when it’s cold, but oilier skin when it’s hot, you may prefer shower gel during the winter months and bar soap during summer.
All skin types can benefit from these tips:
• Choose a mild cleanser that does not contain lye.
• Use cool or warm water when bathing or showering, never hot.
• Use a moisturizer immediately after drying off.
• Don’t over-cleanse — this can lead to dryness.
• Watch out for signs of dryness, including redness, itching, and flaking.
Now for your face! We make it easy to keep it glowing with our June offer: Buy a Signature Spa Facial, receive 1 free service. Choose: Shampoo Service, Cut w/ Style, or Color Service. Must be Full-Priced Signature Spa Facial. Color Service value not to exceed $25. No Substitutions. May not be combined w/ other offers. Expires 6/30/14.