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Shower Gel vs Body Wash: What’s The Difference for Men?

We all have our favorite products we love using during our daily shower routine. But did you know there is a difference when it comes to shower gel vs. body wash? You may not have noticed, but your skin will.

Let’s break it down.

Table of Contents

What Is Shower Gel?

Shower gel is a liquid cleanser you use to clean your body. Its texture is much thicker and firmer than body wash, and it has different effects on your skin, too. And because of its texture, it can feel slick against your skin. But if your skin is naturally dry, it can be too harsh.

But shower gel is great for cleaning oily skin and even body acne because of its drying effects. Its ingredients can be a lot harsher, too. And it’s not heavy on fragrance either.

Unlike body wash, shower gel’s main goal is to get you clean, not pamper your skin.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Shower Gel?

There are pros and cons to using shower gel for your daily cleansing. If, like me, you have oily skin that’s prone to acne, shower gel is great for you:

  • It doesn’t infuse your skin with extra moisture that’ll trap dirt and oil.
  • Because of ingredients like sodium laureth sulfate, it’ll give you a superb cleaning.

But there are a couple cons, too.

  • It contains ingredients like sodium laureth sulfate.
  • Ingredients like SLS can be way too harsh for guys with dry, sensitive skin.
  • Sodium laureth sulfate is not healthy for your skin. It’s a carcinogen which is toxic. That’s definitely not good.

Is Shower Gel Bad for Your Skin?

I’m not a big fan of shower gel and I’ll tell you why. It’s much harsher for your skin than body wash and that’s a problem––especially with using it long-term. But with sodium laureth sulfate being a key ingredient in shower gel, I’d stay away from it. Sodium laureth sulfate tampers with your skin’s natural moisture by drying it out excessively. But when mixed with other chemicals it can create nitrosamines. That’s a carcinogen. And it’s definitely not good.

So, even though shower gel does get you clean and will work well on oily skin, I’d still recommend you go with an actual body wash.

Can You Use Shower Gel as Body Wash?

Shower gel can be used as body wash, but in my opinion, it’s when in a tight spot. Because most shower gels aren’t pH balanced (which we told you the importance of and gave you the best pH balanced body washes for men), they aren’t the best to use for an extended period of time. And not only that, the chemicals they use to make shower gel can be harmful to your skin, too. That’s why it’s so important to know the difference when it comes to shower gel vs. body wash.

What Is Body Wash?

Body wash is a liquid cleansing agent you use in the shower to rid your body of dirt, oil, grime, and bacteria.There are good body washes and there are bad body washes. 

The good body washes will clean you, but they’ll be pH balanced and they’ll treat most skin conditions. Yes, it’s a liquid cleanser like shower gel, but a lot of body washes come with ingredients like Salicylic Acid, Glycolic Acid, or all-natural essential oils and ingredients to treat skin conditions.

As a matter of fact, here’s a list of the best glycolic acid body washes for men in 2022 that’ll show you which body wash would be ideal for you if you do have issues with your skin.

But body wash isn’t only great for cleansing your skin, it makes you smell damn good, too.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Body Wash?

If you can’t already tell, I am a fan of body wash. There’s a ton of benefits to using them.

  • They’re great for hydrating your skin.
  • Some are made specifically for addressing skin conditions like KP and body acne and claim that you can see outstanding results in a short amount of time.
  • Some are made with ingredients like Salicylic Acid which does an amazing job at exfoliating your skin.
  • They come in amazing scents.

That’s exactly why we gave you a list of the best smelling body washes for men in 2022.

But body washes are super convenient and can have you smelling and feeling like the man, but like hand soap, they have a couple downsides, too.

  • They’re made with ingredients that focus on scent and moisturizing and can fall short of its purpose––cleansing.
  • Some of them won’t unclog your pores or kill built-up bacteria. That’s what leads to body acne and other skin conditions so you’ll need to get a body wash that’s specifically for treating those.  

Which Is Better for Dry Skin: Shower Gel or Body Wash?

If you’re one of the fellas with dry skin, you want to stay clear of shower gel. As I mentioned, shower gels dry your skin out (some of them excessively) and you should avoid them. And if you have dry skin, you already know how easily it can become irritated.

So, you should think of a good body wash as your soulmate. Body washes lock in moisture and some are made specifically for guys with overly dry skin.

Shower Gel vs Body Wash: Final Verdict

In the shower gel vs body wash debate, I have to give the win to body wash. Yes, they both have their pros and cons, but when it comes down to it, body washes are much better for your skin. And they come with a lot more benefits than shower gel.

Body wash also gets more points from me because they’re more pH Balanced than shower gel. I’m all about healthy skin and using a pH balanced body wash is vital to your skin’s health.

But for me, healthy skin is the base of your overall health. After all, it is your body’s biggest organ. You’ve got to treat it well if you want it to last.

Andrew Phillip Kennedy is a men's style & grooming specialist who has spent years testing his knowledge in the real world on himself to land jobs, get girls, and improve his life overall. Andrew's advice is regarded as the some of the most well-researched and well-grounded in the game. For the perfect combination of men's grooming theory and real world results, you'll want to follow Andrew.