shower gel vs soap
  • Sensitive skin
  • Skin care

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

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.

By Hannah Mepham

4 Minute read

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

Just want a nice shower gel that looks after your skin? Check out our range of natural, SLS-free shower gels now. 

What is the difference between shower gel and soap?

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.

SCS has a much larger molecular structure than SLS and is a gentler option for sensitive skin. 

Is soap good or bad 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 usually have a high pHiv. As most of us will have slightly acidic skin, this pH mismatch can cause problems for those with dry or sensitive 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.

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The benefits of shower gel

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 so always check the label. 

Our ethical choices   

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 plastic tubes derived from sugar cane and which are also 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.

Skin-friendly natural shower gels 

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.

We use certified organic ingredients wherever possible as sustainability is as important to us as it is to you. 

Do you use soap or shower gel? Join the conversation at @GreenPeopleUK or get help finding your perfect natural shower gel with our UK customer care team on 01403 740350.

If you wish to republish this content, please credit Green People as the original creator with a link to "Shower gel vs soap - what's best for your skin?". Please do not use an affiliate link.

[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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