Can you use hand soap as a body wash?
Soap is a basic commodity in every household. We all rely on soap to keep our bodies and environment clean and free from germs. And because a pandemic is here with us, personal hygiene is in the spotlight now.
Considering how hard the pandemic has hit the economy, some people may get to the store and wonder if their budget is large enough to afford both hand soap and body wash.
While in the store, I noticed I could purchase hand soap in a larger size and at a more reasonable price. And I asked myself, can I use my hand soap for washing my body too?
The simple truth is that all soaps basically do the same thing: dislodge dirt from our skin surface. The difference between hand soap and body wash comes in the ingredients and mechanism for stain removal.
How is body wash different from hand soap?
Body wash, in some cases, is gentler on our skin than some hand soaps whose ingredients can be harsh on our skin. Body wash is considered more hygienic than a bar of soap that sits stagnant and prone to bacteria growth.
With body wash, we won’t get that much pile of soap that often happens with the bar soap when it is wet. We also can’t really drop the body wash bottle in the drain, unlike the hand wash, which just slips away from our wet hands into the drain.
Body wash also creates a richer lather than hand soaps due to having different ingredients.
Bar soap ingredients
Basic soaps are made from:
- Fats and oils that determine how soft or hard the bar of soap is
- Lye/sodium hydroxide to control how strong the soap feels on our skin
- Additives that provide soap with color, fragrance, texture, etc.
- Stabilizers and preservatives
Liquid hand soap ingredients
Liquid soaps contain:
- Sodium hydroxide
- Glycerin made from liquid fats such as soya bean oil
- Antibacterial ingredients that help kill bacteria
Body wash ingredients
They are made using the same process as a liquid hand soap but without sodium hydroxide as their active ingredient. They contain surfactants such as sodium laureth sulfate and lauryl sulfate, which help produce more of a lather.
Does body wash remove germs?
Body wash is meant to clear dirt and the oils the body excretes or those we use to apply on our skin. It does effectively kills germs if we wash following the correct process.
The advantage of using body wash is that it lacks antibacterial chemicals.
Also, be aware that not all bacteria on our skin are unhealthy. The lack of antibacterial chemicals in most body wash helps our skin maintain the healthy bacteria on our skin surface. Vegan soap is a good example of one chemical-free option if you’d like to avoid them.
What makes up an antibacterial hand soap?
It is a soap that contains chemical ingredients that assist in killing germs. The most comm
on antibacterial ingredients used are triclosan and triclocarban.
Although recent research has raised concern about the excessive use of antibacterial soaps because they destroy the healthy bacteria on our skin, leading to antibiotic resistance.
Can you use your body wash to wash your hands?
The Covid-19 pandemic is still with us, so the regular washing of our hands is apparent. And with the rising demand for hand soap, it can run low on us.
All soaps contain surfactants essential for removing dirt and germs on our skin. The short answer is that yes, you can use your body wash to wash your hands.
How to choose a good body wash
For the best skincare and to avoid irritating or drying out your skin, choose a body wash with moisturizing and nourishing ingredients. Also, try to avoid heavy perfumes or added coloring when you can. The simple truth is that if you’re very health-conscious, avoiding chemical substances like those is best.
Perfumes also add an unnecessary amount of chemicals that don’t even last all that long anyway, so why risk it?
A good body wash to buy will have:
- Recommended ingredients that best clean perspiration and other body odors.
- Avoid heavy perfumes or unnatural synthetic color chemicals.
- Doesn’t dry out your skin or adds natural moisturizing ingredients.
- Is eco-friendly (environmentally friendly) to a degree.
- Can work for washing your hair in addition to your body.
- Is non-allergenic to avoid allergy symptoms or having a breakout.