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When you’re taking a quick shower and sudsing up that delicious smelling body wash, have you ever been tempted to use it on your face, not to mention the time and money it would save. We get it, those enticing fragrances and creamy lather can be hard to resist. Can you use body wash on your face? Well we use it on every other inch of our skin, so why wouldn’t we be able to use it on our face? Before you start using that body wash on your face there are a few things you should know.
With so many affordable drugstore body washes from Dove, Olay and Aveeno, just to name a few, it makes sense to want to use one product for everything. But is this okay to do or is it bad to put body wash on your face?
Bar Soap Vs Body Wash Vs Shower Gel
All soaps (bar soaps, body washes, shower gels, etc) all do basically the same thing: they cleanse your skin by removing dirt, oil, sweat and bacteria. When impurities like dirt and oil build up on the skin, it can lead to skin infections, body odor, fungal acne and other skin conditions, which is why it’s important to keep the skin clean.
While many people use bar soap, body wash and shower gel interchangeably, there are some key differences.
Bar soap is a type of soap that is typically made from fats and oils that are combined with an alkali, such as lye. The resulting bar of soap can be used for cleaning the body, hands, or face. Although bar soap is usually safe for most people to use, some people may find that it dries out their skin.
In addition, bar soap tends to have a high pH, thanks to the alkali.
Typical pH of bar soaps: 9-10
Typical pH of skin: 4.7
This means that it can disrupt the natural pH of the skin and the acid mantle of the skin, which can lead to irritation, acne and other skin issues.
Both of these are pretty big issues, especially when it comes to using bar soap on your face, but more on that later.
Body washes come in liquid form and can be anywhere from a thinner liquid all the way to a thick, rich cream (almost like a lotion). The big difference between body washes and other types of soaps is that body washes tend to be more moisturizing.
This is because body washes generally contain more emollients (substances that help keep your skin hydrated) and less surfactants. They also tend to be more pH balanced (meaning the pH of the body wash tends to be closer to that of the skin) which is ideal and exactly what you want in a body wash!
Shower gel is basically a less emollient (moisturizing) body wash. They tend to be thinner, lighter and better for those with oily or acne-prone skin. Shower gels also tend to be more pH balanced and do still contain some great hydrating and nourishing ingredients, but won’t feel as heavy on the skin.
Is It Ok To Use Body Wash On Your Face
Now that we know all about the different types of body soaps, should you wash your face with body wash?
The short answer is: no, you should not wash your face with body wash.
While it’s not the end of the world if you use body wash on your face when you’re in a pinch, you shouldn’t make it a habit. This is because most body washes (and shower gels) have a high pH and can disrupt the natural pH balance of the skin.
Not to mention body washes usually have different ingredients than facial cleansers that can cause breakouts or irritation.
Full disclaimer that most body washes and soap are not formulated for the delicate facial skin, there are some really great body washes out there that are pH balanced and formulated for both the face and body. So if you’re going to use a body wash on your face, make sure you pick out the right one.
Can You Use Bar Soap On Your Face
Bar soap can be a bit more tricky to use on the face than body wash or shower gel. This is because, as we mentioned before, bar soap can have a high pH, which can disrupt the delicate pH balance of the skin.
Not to mention that bar soap can be harsh and stripping, leaving the skin feeling dry.
Bar soap is one of the worst body products to use on the face. Even bar soaps that are formulated for the face are not great because they still tend to have a very high pH, which is because the way soaps are made (the alkali agent).
Can You Use Shower Gel On Your Face
Shower gels, while not the best alternatives to face wash, are generally well-formulated and tend to have a more balanced pH than bar soap or body wash.
But because shower gels can still be a bit drying and harsh on the skin (many of them still contain SLS, fragrance, essential oils, etc.), it’s best to avoid using them on your face if you can.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Body Wash On Your Face
So if you’re still wanting to use body soap on your face, let’s dig in a little more as to why this might not be the best idea.
As we talked about before, one of the main reasons you shouldn’t use body wash on your face is because it can cause a pH imbalance.
The skin on our face is much more delicate than the skin on the rest of our bodies and has a very specific, slightly acidic pH level that needs to be maintained in order for it to stay healthy.
The pH scale goes from 0-14, with 0 being the most acidic, 14 being the most alkaline and 7 being neutral.
The natural pH of our skin is around 4.7, which is on the more acidic side. This slightly acidic pH is important because it helps to protect the skin from bacteria, viruses and other environmental stressors.
It also helps to maintain the moisture levels in the skin and keeps the skin barrier nice and strong.
When the pH of our skin gets out of balance (either too acidic or too alkaline), it can lead to all sorts of problems like dryness, irritation and acne.
One of the main reasons you don’t want to use body wash on your face is because most body washes have a pH that’s much too high for the delicate facial skin.
While the exact pH can vary depending on the product, most bar soaps and some shower gels/body washes have a pH that’s around 9-10, which is much too alkaline for the face.
Your skin will eventually get back to its normal pH, but that can take several hours.
So if you’re going to use a body wash on your face, make sure it’s one that’s pH balanced, which many are not.
Another reason you shouldn’t use body wash on your face is because most are just too harsh for the delicate facial skin.
While body washes can be great for the rest of your body, they’re usually not formulated for the more delicate skin on your face.
While this can be true of many facial cleansers as well, it’s almost always true with body washes, unless you pick the right brand.
Many body washes and bar soaps contain sulfates like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), which can be harsh on the skin, strip it of its natural oils and lead to dryness, irritation and weaken your skin’s protective moisture barrier.
Sulfates are not the only harsh, irritating ingredients that can be found in body washes.
Many also contain other ingredients like parabens and preservatives, as well as fragrances and essential oils that can cause irritation, redness and breakouts, especially in those with sensitive skin.
While you can certainly find some great, natural body washes, most are not going to be as gentle as a facial cleanser, which is something to keep in mind.
Pore Clogging Ingredients
While not all body washes contain pore clogging ingredients, many do, which can be a problem if you’re using them on your face.
Ingredients like silicones, oils and butters can all lead to clogged pores and breakouts, especially for those with oily or acne-prone skin.
The skin on the body is not as prone to acne and breakouts as facial skin, which is why many body washes contain a ton of pore-clogging ingredients like coconut oil, soy bean oil and lauric acid.
These ingredients are generally fine to use on your body, but have a high likelihood of clogging pores and causing breakouts when used on the face.
What Happens If You Use Body Wash On Your Face
So, can you use body wash on your face?
While there are some pros to using body wash on your face (it’s usually cheaper and can be more convenient), there are far more cons.
Most body washes are too alkaline, too harsh and contain irritating and pore-clogging ingredients that can cause dryness, irritation, breakouts and other skin problems.
So if you do use body wash on your face what will happen? Maybe nothing. Maybe irritation or breakouts. Maybe even a damaged skin barrier.
Since everyone’s skin is different, it’s hard to say what will happen if you use body wash on your face, but generally, it’s not a good idea and you could be in for some skin problems down the road.
Do yourself a favor and stick to using a facial cleanser that’s specifically formulated for your face. Your skin will thank you for it!
What Is The Difference Between Body Wash And Face Wash
So what’s the difference between body wash vs face wash?
The main difference is that facial cleansers are usually more gentle, have a lower pH and don’t contain as many harsh, pore-clogging ingredients as body washes.
Facial cleansers are also designed specifically for the face, while body washes can be used on the whole body.
Most face washes are pH balanced, meaning they’re around the same pH of the skin. A well-formulated face wash does not contain any irritating ingredients like sulfates, fragrance or essential oils.
While some facial cleansers can be drying, irritating and damaging, a good face wash will cleanse the skin without stripping it of its natural oils, leaving your skin feeling soft, smooth and healthy.
In short, the main difference between body wash vs face wash is that facial cleansers are designed specifically for the face and are usually much gentler and more effective at cleansing the skin without causing irritation.
What can I use instead of soap for my face?
If you’re looking for an alternative to body soap for your face, there are a few options.
Facial cleansers are a great option, as they’re specifically designed for the face and are usually much gentler than soap.
What Should I Wash My Face With Instead?
The bottom line is that you should wash your face with a gentle, non-irritating facial cleanser that’s designed specifically for your skin type.
Facial cleansers are usually much gentle than soap, more effective at cleansing the skin and don’t strip away the natural oils that keep your skin healthy.
Can You Use Body Wash On Your Face Wrap Up
So is it okay to use body wash on your face? While the idea of using one product for both your body and face can be appealing, it’s not a good idea. Body washes are usually too alkaline, too harsh and can contain irritating and pore-clogging ingredients that can cause dryness, irritation, breakouts and other skin problems. It’s best to stick with a cleanser specifically formulated for the delicate facial skin and your skin type.