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  • Your dermatology provider prescribes your formula

  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

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The best men’s body washes, according to experts

Proper skincare means taking care of your whole body! Here’s what that should look like.

Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Dec 4, 2023 • 10 min read
Medically reviewed by Erin Pate, NP-C
Man Using Body Wash
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Dec 4, 2023 • 10 min read
Medically reviewed by Erin Pate, NP-C
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

In this article

Should men use bar soap or body wash?
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There’s no one-size-fits-all in skincare. What works for one person may not necessarily have the same results for someone else. But it’s only natural to want the best, so our team of licensed dermatology providers reviews and assesses countless products on the market to offer a few recommendations. So here, you’ll find the products that hold up to our rigorous standards.

Choosing the right body wash involves more than just picking a pleasant scent. While many offer an enticing fragrance, not all body washes are created equal. How well a body wash works for your skin often hinges on its ingredients, with some being markedly better for men’s skin health than others. 

Whether you’re looking to swap out your traditional bar soap or are on the hunt for the best men’s body wash to suit your unique skin needs, we’ve got you covered. From moisturizing ingredients to those that combat acne, there are plenty of body wash formulas that stand out above the rest—and we’re here to share them. 

Should men use bar soap or body wash?

For many men, the decision between using bar soap or body wash comes down to personal preference. Some might appreciate the age-old tradition of rubbing a soap bar, while others might lean towards the contemporary appeal of a body wash. However, beyond preference, there are some factors to consider when it comes to skin health.

Many regular bar soaps often contain ingredients that can be harsh on the skin.¹ This is particularly concerning for those who already struggle with dry skin. The formulations in these soaps can strip away natural oils, leaving the skin feeling parched and tight. So, if you’re someone who often grapples with dryness, it might be wise to reconsider your choice of bar soap or at least opt for one specifically designed for sensitive skin.

Acne is another common skin concern among men. If you’re prone to breakouts, the products you use can either exacerbate or mitigate this issue. When choosing between bar soap and body wash, look for labels that mention “oil-free” or “non-comedogenic.” These products are generally formulated to ensure they don’t clog your pores, reducing the chance of acne flare-ups.²

Speaking of labels: Those with sensitive skin should be extra cautious. It’s best to use products labeled as “fragrance-free.”³ This is because products with fragrances, even if they smell heavenly, may irritate sensitive skin, leaving it dry and uncomfortable. But here's a tip: don’t confuse “fragrance-free” with “unscented.” The latter might still contain masking fragrances which can be just as irritating as overt fragrances.⁴

Whether you should go for a bar soap or a body wash depends on your skin type, concerns, and personal liking. Paying attention to product labels and understanding your skin’s needs can guide you to the right choice. Whatever you choose, ensure it complements your skin, keeping it healthy and refreshed.

Body wash ingredients to watch for

When you’re looking for a body wash, understanding the ingredients listed on the label can make a difference in the health and appearance of your skin. Here’s a breakdown of some common ingredients found in body washes and what they mean for your skin:

Salicylic acid: This ingredient may be beneficial for those with acne-prone skin. Salicylic acid works by exfoliating dead skin cells that can clog pores. Additionally, it can enhance the penetration of other topical agents, making them more effective.⁵ So, if you’re battling with frequent breakouts or simply want a deeper cleanse, a body wash with salicylic acid might be a good choice.

AloeKnown for its soothing properties, aloe is excellent for hydrating the skin. It not only moisturizes but also offers anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.⁶ If your skin often feels irritated or inflamed after a shower, considering a body wash with aloe might bring some relief.

Hyaluronic acid: This is a stellar ingredient for dry skin. Hyaluronic acid acts as a humectant, meaning it attracts and binds moisture to the skin.⁷ If you find your skin feeling parched post-shower, a body wash enriched with hyaluronic acid may provide the hydration boost you need.

Benzoyl peroxide: Another ingredient that’s great for acne-prone skin, benzoyl peroxide is an antibacterial agent. It combats C. acnes bacteria by releasing free oxygen radicals and also has mild comedolytic properties, which means it can help minimize pore clogging.⁸ 

Fragrance: While you might love a body wash that leaves you smelling divine, those with sensitive skin should be cautious. Fragrance can often irritate sensitive skin, so if you find yourself itching or feeling uncomfortable after a shower, consider switching to a fragrance-free product.⁹

Lastly, always be on the lookout for pore-clogging ingredients, especially if you’re prone to breakouts. While choosing a body wash, you’ll want to select one that complements your skin type and addresses any specific concerns you might have. Remember, the right ingredients can transform your shower experience and the health of your skin.

Our picks for the best men’s body washes

Looking for some new suds? Here are our picks for the best body washes for men in 2023.

General body washes

These all-purpose body washes will help fight odor and help your skin feel moisturized and smell great.

Method Body Hydrating Body Wash

What we like about it:

  • Creamy texture

  • Contains aloe extract and coconut milk for moisturizing skin

  • Certified cruelty-free and made from 65% recycled plastic

Blu Atlas Body Wash 

What we like about it:

  • Formulated with green tea, sugarcane, and aloe vera to soothe and lock in moisture

  • Contains emollients that help calm skin

  • A gel that quickly turns into a luxurious foam

American Crew 24-hour Deodorizing Body Wash 

What we like about it:

  • Formulated to help fight body odor for up to 24 hours

  • Contains silver citrate and tea tree oil to fight bacteria

  • Contains peppermint oil to soothe and refresh skin

Unscented/fragrance-free body washes

These next few body wash picks are unscented or fragrance-free, making them a good choice if you have sensitive skin.

Native Body Wash Unscented

What we like about it:

  • Free of dyes and fragrances making it a good choice for sensitive skin

  • Certified vegan and cruelty-free

  • Provides a rich lather

SEEN Body Wash, Fragrance-Free

What we like about it:

  • Mild and non-comedogenic formula for sensitive or acne-prone skin

  • Certified cruelty-free and vegan

  • Contains glycerin to moisturize skin

Acne body washes

Help banish body acne with one of these next few picks. And if you want to learn more about using acne body washes correctly, check out our acne body wash guide

Curology Acne Body Wash

What we like about it:

  • Contains 2% salicylic acid to help fight body acne

  • Fragrance-free for sensitive skin

  • Also contains zinc pyrithione and tea tree oil as acne-fighting antimicrobials 

Murad Acne Control Body Wash 

What we like about it:

  • Contains salicylic acid to help treat and prevent breakouts

  • Combines physical and chemical exfoliants to help smooth skin and unclog pores

  • Good for oily or combination skin

Peter Thomas Roth Acne Clearing Wash

What we like about it:

  • Formulated with 2% salicylic acid to help with acne breakouts

  • Good for oily and combination skin 

  • Alcohol and dye-free formula (though it does contain fragrance)

Neutrogena Body Clear Oil-Free Body Acne Wash with Salicylic Acid 

What we like about it:

  • Designed with 2% salicylic acid to help fight acne

  • Oil-free formula makes it a good choice for oily skin

  • Also contains aloe and German chamomile to moisturize and soothe skin

Help clear up acne with Curology 

Looking for more acne-fighting skincare products? We’ve got you. In addition to body wash, we offer a specially formulated Acne Cleanser and Emergency Spot Patch. We also create prescription-strength formulas customized to your skin’s needs.

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

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Getting started with Curology* is simple. Just fill out a quick skin quiz and snap a few photos. If Curology is right for you, a licensed dermatology provider will prescribe your Custom FormulaRX for acne with up to 3 key ingredients proven to help unclog pores and clear acne. 

FAQs

What do guys use to wash their body?

Many guys use regular bar soap for their daily cleansing routine. However, it’s worth noting that these soaps may contain harsh ingredients that can dry out your skin.¹⁰ For those with acne-prone skin, products labeled “oil-free” or “non-comedogenic” are recommended, as they’re less likely to clog pores.¹¹

Additionally, if you have sensitive skin, it’s best to opt for mild, “fragrance-free” products. This is because products with added fragrances can irritate your skin, leaving it dry and uncomfortable.¹² Overall, it’s important to choose body-washing products tailored to your specific skin needs.

How often should men use body wash?

Most men can comfortably use body wash each time they shower. However, it’s important to listen to your skin. If you find that daily use of a body wash leaves your skin feeling dry or irritated, consider reducing the frequency. 

Alternatively, you can switch to a body wash that’s more moisturizing. The key is to strike a balance between cleanliness and maintaining your skin’s natural moisture. Adjusting your routine based on how your skin responds ensures you get the best results from your body wash.

Does it matter what body wash you use?

Yes! The body wash you choose plays a role in your skin health. Using a body wash with ingredients not suited for your skin type can lead to irritation, dryness, or even make acne worse. If you have acne-prone skin, pick products labeled ‘oil-free’ or ‘non-comedogenic’ to prevent pore-clogging.¹³ 

Meanwhile, if you have sensitive skin, you’d benefit from mild, “fragrance-free” products, as fragrances can irritate and dry out your skin.¹⁴ Selecting the right body wash tailored to your skin’s needs is key for maintaining its health and comfort.

Which body wash is best for extremely dry skin?

If you’re battling extremely dry skin, choosing a body wash with hydrating ingredients is essential. Products containing aloe are excellent choices, as aloe not only hydrates but also offers anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, protecting and soothing the skin.¹⁵ Another key ingredient to look for is hyaluronic acid. As a humectant, it draws and binds moisture to the skin, ensuring deep hydration.¹⁶ If your dry skin is also sensitive, it's wise to choose body washes labeled “fragrance-free” to prevent potential irritations.¹⁷ 

Why you shouldn't use body wash every day?

While most body washes are formulated for daily use, not all skin types react the same way. For some, using body wash every day can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness or irritation. 

If you notice your skin feeling tight, itchy, or uncomfortable after showering, it might be a sign that daily use is too much. In that case, consider reducing the frequency of your body wash use or opt for a more moisturizing formula. It’s always best to listen to your skin’s needs and adjust your routine accordingly to maintain its health and comfort.

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Skin Care Tips For Men. (n.d.).

  2. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Skin Care Tips For Men. Ibid.

  3. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Skin Care Tips For Men. Ibid.

  4. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Skin Care Tips For Men. Ibid.

  5. Arif T. Salicylic acid as a peeling agent: a comprehensive review. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology. (August 2015).

  6. Rahmani, A.H., et al. Aloe vera: Potential candidate in health management via modulation of biological activities. Pharmacognosy Reviews. (July-December 2015).

  7. Harwood, A., et al. Moisturizers. StatPearls. (2022, August 21).

  8. Zaenglein, A.L., et al. Guidelines of care for the management of acne vulgaris. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. (May 2016).

  9. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Skin Care Tips For Men. Ibid.

  10. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Skin Care Tips For Men. Ibid.

  11. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Skin Care Tips For Men. Ibid.

  12. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Skin Care Tips For Men. Ibid.

  13. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Skin Care Tips For Men. Ibid.

  14. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Skin Care Tips For Men. Ibid.

  15. Rahmani, A.H., et al. Aloe vera: Potential candidate in health management via modulation of biological activities. Pharmacognosy Reviews. Ibid.

  16. Harwood, A., et al. Moisturizers. StatPearls. Ibid.

  17. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Skin Care Tips For Men. Ibid.

Erin Pate is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner at Curology. She earned her Masters of Science in Nursing at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL.

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• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Erin Pate Nurse Practitioner, NP-C

Erin Pate, NP-C

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