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By Cynthia Bailey MD.

Body, scalp and hand skin cleansers, washes and bar soaps are personal care products that are important for hygiene. They can also be used to treat skin problems.

As a dermatologist, I have observed that many people give less emphasis to body cleansing than they do to facial cleansing. I encourage you to think carefully about what soap or cleanser you use in the shower or bath.

Why is it important to choose the best body cleanser or soap for your skin type?

First, your body cleansing product is exposed to a large expanse of your skin. You want to think carefully about what’s in it and avoid unnecessary allergens that can create a lifetime of allergic reactions if your skin becomes sensitized. The classic example is fragrance ingredients. These are often potent allergens. Even natural fragrance ingredients such as botanical essences can be allergens, especially at high concentrations. I recommend hypoallergenic body care cleansers for you and your entire family.

Second, body soaps and cleansers can over-dry your skin. Pick a product that gets you clean but not so clean that you've stripped precious body oils. Also, some people only need to soap and lather cleanser on the oily and body odor sites of the chest, back, armpits, groin, buttocks and feet. Unless you've gotten really dirty or sweaty, the skin of your arms and legs may get clean enough just by the lather from these areas running and rinsing over the skin. If your skin feels really dry after bathing, consider applying a moisturizer.

How do you pick the best body cleanser or soap for your skin?

If you are wanting just a nice, safe cleanser for general bathing, chose from my hypoallergenic Naturally Best Bar Soap or one of my Natural Shower Gels, either Ultra-hypoallergenic or Invigorating. For a classic hypoallergenic dermatologic body cleanser, consider the VaniCream Cleansing Bar. These products are all great for sensitive skin and dry skin. 

If you are looking to treat acne, keratosis pilaris, rough skin or age spots, find my professional treatment cleansers below including my popular Triple Action Exfoliating Cleanser.

Is it good to use an exfoliating shower cloth, luffa, gloves or mitt?

I think so - at least for most people. I'm not a fan of porous exfoliating products because they don't dry well and can harbor germs. I like the Salux Shower Cloth. Let it dry well after use and don't share, everyone should have their own. When you add the Salux Shower Cloth  to your body cleansing routine it will exfoliate and polish your skin so that it's soft and has a more youthful appearance.

For scalp cleansing, use my Scalp Scrubber to help shampoo lather lift any scale and oil for a really clean scalp.

Fight body acne with medicated body cleansers.

My Body Acne Kit uses the best medicated cleansers and the exfoliating Salux Cloth to get rid of body acne fast and prevent acne scarring. I developed it for the acne patients in my dermatology practice. It also helped my own teenagers keep their back and chest skin free from acne.

Find the best hand cleansers to prevent hand dryness.

Hand washing is an important personal hygiene step to help stop the spread of germs. It can lead to chapped and painful hands though. Prevent hand chapping with a hypoallergenic foaming hand cleanser that washes germs down the drain but is easy on your skin. My Natural Liquid Hand Soaps are made with organic ingredients and good for the entire family. Choose from my Ultra-hypoallergenic and my Lavender options. Keep one at every sink and say goodbye to germs, and all the allergens and chemicals in most hand soaps.