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How do I Choose the Best Exfoliating Bar Soap?

Diane Goettel
Updated May 17, 2024
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The best exfoliating bar soap is a kind of soap that will address specific skin issues and will deliver the right level of exfoliation. Products for the face, for example, may be used to fight acne and, as such, should have other acne-fighting ingredients as well. On the other hand, soap that will be used on the bands, should be able to slough away rough skin and clear away dirt, even if it is deeply embedded in the skin and under the fingernails. The roughness of the exfoliant on the soap for the hands, however, should be much more intense than that which is used on the face. If the soaps were swapped, you could have hands that required additional exfoliation and an incredibly raw face.

In addition to options for the face and the skin, there are also kinds that are formulated for the entire body. This can be a useful skin care product for people who want to keep the skin all over their bodies healthy and glowing. This kind of exfoliating bar soap may also be used for body acne, such as acne that occurs on the back, shoulders, and sometimes the upper arms. Like the soap that is formulated for the face, there are some types for the body that are made with ingredients that, in addition to the exfoliant, help to fight acne.

For some people, it is important to use products that are natural, organic, or both. There are a number of kinds of exfoliating soaps that meet the needs of these individuals. While some exfoliating products include synthetic exfoliant, there are a number of soaps and cleansers that use materials like salt, sugar, or crushed stone fruit pits to exfoliate the skin. There are even soaps that use products from the sea as exfoliants. The most common examples include soaps that are made with loofah fibers or seaweed.

After identifying the area that requires exfoliation, choosing a level of exfoliation — light for the face, medium for the body, and intense for the hands and feet — and deciding whether natural or not natural products are a requirement, it is important to find an exfoliating bar soap that will also deliver the right level of hydration. Some soaps do not hydrate the skin at all, which is fine with the exfoliation process will be followed by the application of moisturizer. Others hydrate the skin while exfoliating.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Diane Goettel
By Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount Vernon, New York with her husband, Noah. They are the proud parents of a Doberman Pinscher named Spoon. Specialties: book editing, book marketing, book publishing, freelance writing, magazine publishing, magazine writing, copywriting,"
Discussion Comments
By gravois — On Apr 14, 2012

Smell is the most important thing for me when buying a soap. I have tried several different exfoliating soaps and all of them have worked. My skin was visibly smoother and more healthy after just a few weeks.

I still use one that I just love. It is a coconut soap with this amazing, natural and subtle coconut smell. It makes me feel like I am bathing in the ocean.

By truman12 — On Apr 14, 2012

I always use organic bar soap so this is the most important consideration for me when buying exfoliating soap. I think of all the things that you are going to buy organically, soap is one of the most important. You are literally going to coat your body in a layer of it ever single day. I want to know that only the best things possible are soaking in to my pores.

By backdraft — On Apr 13, 2012
If you can try the soap out before you buy, there is really no other way to know how abrasive it is and if it will meet your needs.

I have encountered soaps that fall on both ends of the spectrum. Sometimes the soap is too rough and ends up irritating your skin. Other times the soap is not rough enough and you wonder what the point of spending your money on exfoliating soap was.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount...
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