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Shower gel vs soap - what's best for your skin?

15/10/2018 by Hannah

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Are you in a lather over whether soap or shower gel is best for your skin? Here we explore how each cleanse the skin, and reveal the best way to care for your skin in the shower.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOAP AND SHOWER GEL?

Soap and shower gels are both designed to cleanse the skin, but more often than not that’s where their similarities end.

Soaps are often sold as solid blocks and are made with either animal or vegetable fats. They can be unscented or contain essential oils or synthetic fragrancei. Used for thousands of yearsii, soap sales started to slump when liquid soaps and shower gels entered the market.

Unlike traditional soaps, shower gels have a liquid consistency. Designed to foam when applied to the skin, many also contain foaming agents such as Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) and Sodium Coco Sulphate (SCS). Both these ingredients produce a lather when they are applied to the skin and come into contact with water, but have very different molecular structures so can affect the skin in different ways.

SLS is a foaming agent, and because it has a much smaller molecule size, it can aggravate delicate skin and skin prone to dryness, eczema and psoriasis.  SCS is coconut based and has a much larger molecular structure. This means that it has a much gentler interaction with the skin as it cannot penetrate so deeply.  

IS SOAP GOOD FOR YOUR SKIN?

After years of being side-lined for shower gels, soap’s popularity is on the rise. Like shampoo bars, soap bars are often plastic-free and this makes them a great alternative for those wanting to cut down their use of plastic bottles. But packaging aside, are soap bars good for the skin?

The effect that a soap bar has on your skin will vary depending on its formulation. Many are very drying and the advice from the Eczema Society is that those prone to eczema should avoid washing with soap barsiii.

Traditional soap bars tend to be made with harsh, skin-drying ingredients, and whilst plant-based formulations are available, soap bars usually have a high pHiv. As most of us will have slightly acidic skin, this isn’t conducive to healthy skin.

All Green People products are pH balanced and have a pH level that ranges between 4 and 6 depending on the area the product is designed for, which helps support a healthy skin structure.

SHOWER GEL BENEFITS

Unlike slippery soap bars, shower gels have a liquid format that many find more convenient to wash with. Their quick-foaming formulations are also highly effective at cleaning the body, without stripping the skin of its protective barrier.

However, like with soap bars, the skin benefits of a shower gel will vary depending on the formulation.

SLS is known to irritate and dry out the skin, so those prone to dry skin or eczema should avoid using shower gels or soaps containing SLS. Instead it is best to care for sensitive skin with an SLS-free shower gel that is designed to gently cleanse the skin.

ARE SHOWER GELS ECO-FRIENDLY?

Want to make your shower regime more eco-friendly?

Minimising the impact our showering has on the planet is incredibly important to us and that’s why all Green People shower products are packaged in tubes that are 100% recyclable.

As a cruelty-free brand, animal welfare is equally important to us. That’s why our vegan shower gel range is approved by both the Vegan Society and PETA, and unlike some high-street soaps, our range does not contain animal fats.

All Green People shower gels are also packed full of natural plant actives that are completely biodegradable and have such incredibly gentle ingredients that they can even be used in environmentally sensitive areas outside of the home, such as when camping.  

ECO-FRIENDLY, SLS-FREE SHOWER GELS


Do you use soap or shower gel? Join the conversation at  @GreenPeopleUK or by commenting in the section below.


[i] https://www.soapguild.org/consumers/how-soap-made.php

[ii] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/11453642/Why-the-traditional-bar-of-soap-is-in-hot-water.html

[iii] http://www.eczema.org/emollients

[iv] https://www.glamour.com/story/bar-soap-benefits-versus-body-wash

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