Sunday, May 20, 2007

Long gone are the days of using bar soap to clean every inch of our skin. Body washes, cleansers, shampoos, and scrubs hit the market several years ago and are now available in every type and fragrance imaginable. But, before hitting the shower or bath with just any old product, it’s a good idea to learn as much as you can.

Body Washes
Body washes, also known as body shampoos and body cleansers, are aptly named, as they are essentially detergents for the body. These solutions are good for any skin type and are much better than bar soaps, which can be irritating to the skin. Body washes are just as effective, but are much less drying, because they actually have moisturizing properties. In fact, most body washes contain oils that stay on your skin, providing an emollient benefit. Other ingredients, such as vitamins, amino acids, and proteins may also be incorporated into these cleansers. Though these ingredients often get washed down the drain before they have a chance to work on your skin, they don’t hurt. However, many people do not like the moisturizing film that these products leave behind. If you are one of those people, you can use a regular body wash and follow-up with a gentle moisturizer.

Body Scrubs
Exfoliating the skin on your body unclogs pores, helps the skin to absorb moisture, and removes dead skin cells, allowing healthier skin cells to emerge. When exfoliating your skin, you can use various methods, such as loofahs and specially formulated AHA or BHA products. Before using loofahs, however, you should be aware of the dangers they pose. Because they hang in the shower or bath without being cleaned, they provide the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Scrubbing a blemish or another skin injury with a loofah could be dangerous to your health. To avoid loofahs, you can use a clean, soft washcloth and a body scrub. Washcloths are gentle and can be washed after every use. There are also many different body scrubs on the market to choose from. Most contain oils and other water-binding agents to help moisture the skin while removing dead cells. When choosing a body scrub, look for these ingredients. Most importantly, be gentle while you are exfoliating. Though the skin on the body is can handle an occasional scouring, you can damage your skin by being too rough.

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