Whether you prefer old-fashioned bar soap or the liquid variety, you’ve likely tried lots of body washes over your lifetime. All-over cleansers are a dime a dozen — there are seemingly endless options at drug stores, grocery stores, and even beauty stores like Sephora and Ulta. Do you ever feel like whichever bar or liquid option you’ve picked just isn’t quite cutting it? Have you switched among many but never found one that you love? Do you feel like the skin on your body is extra dry? Or maybe just sort of dull and difficult to hydrate? Or, are you one of the millions of people that have to battle not-so-fun breakouts on their back, chest, legs, arms, or even butt?
If you’ve ever second-guessed your body wash (or maybe you haven’t, but you’ve got one or all of the symptoms above!), we’re here to convince you: A medicated body wash is worth a shot!
The term “medicated body wash” sounds sort of scary, but we promise it’s not. Body washes that are infused with treatment ingredients — aka exfoliants — can be amazing shower buddies if you want to get the skin on your bod into tip-top shape.
How do I know if I need a medicated body wash?
There are two main conditions that can really benefit from a medicated body wash: Body acne and dry skin.
If you deal with acne on your face, chances are you’ve had to address breakouts on your body at some point as well. In fact, nearly 50% of people with acne have experienced pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, or even cysts on or around their neck, chest, back, butt, and other areas.
Did you know that when it comes to washing your skin, one of the most important functions of a body wash is to get rid of any dry or dead skin cells that collect on the surface of our skin? This is commonly referred to as exfoliating, but a lot of people associate exfoliating with harsh beads or scrubbers to get the job done. We’re here to teach you otherwise! Acids (like salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and lactic acid) are excellent — and gentle! — ways to get rid of all the dead skin and gunk that’s clogging up your pores. Why? Because excess dead cells don’t just lead to dry, flaky skin — they’re also the culprits behind unwanted breakouts.
That said, everyone should be gently exfoliating the skin on their body regularly. Chances are, you remember to exfoliate that beautiful face of yours, but you’re leaving your body hanging. You’re not alone, but it’s time to help out the skin below your chin!
Here are five questions you should ask yourself if you’re considering switching body washes…
1. Do you sometimes notice small bumps, clogged pores, or blemishes on your body?
Body acne isn’t always giant, painful pimples — it can be small blackheads or whiteheads, and it can appear as tiny red bumps, too. Sadly, these types of noninflammatory acne are not limited to our faces. There are some common spots — like your back, chest, shoulders, butt, and thighs — that body breakouts crop up, but they can also appear anywhere on your skin. If you have acne on your face and need a medicated treatment for the skin above your neck, chances are, you’ll need one to treat areas below as well.
2. Do you work up a good sweat on a regular basis?
A great workout can work wonders for the mind and body, and your skin can greatly benefit from your sweat sesh as well! However, when you have acne-prone skin, bacteria and sweat that gets trapped in your workout clothes can block your pores or even combine with clogged pores to create acne. Post workout, you’ll need to get out of those sweaty clothes and cleanse your skin ASAP. Using a medicated wash, like SLMD’s Salicylic Acid Body Wash, is a great way to cleanse skin and ensure pores stay clog free.
3. Does your skin feel super dry or flaky, or just look dull or scaly?
Despite what most bodycare companies (and maybe your nagging mother) might want you to believe, unless you’re getting head-to-toe filthy every single day, you don’t need to bubble up with a ton of suds each time you step in the shower. Excess suds = excessive amounts of detergents, which can strip the skin of natural oils that are necessary to protect and moisturize your skin.
Two things can happen when too much oil is washed away: If you’re naturally oily or acne-prone, your body may double down to make up for the loss of its natural moisture, which can often result in more acne. Ugh, we know. If your skin is dried out but you still struggle with breakouts, your body wash probably isn’t working to meet your specific skincare needs. The other thing that can happen if you’re using the wrong body wash is that your skin feels dry, itchy, and tight — or just looks dull and scaly. This means you need a more hydrating formula with less detergent, plus an exfoliant to wash away all those dead skin cells. In either case, try using SLMD’s Salicylic Acid Body Wash — it’s gentle enough for daily use, and great for exfoliating plus getting rid of breakouts.
4. Does your skin feel super oily or congested?
On the other end of the spectrum, sometimes the formulas that we use — like those that contain mineral oils, lanolin, or other emollients — can leave us feeling extra oily, which is a symptom synonymous with acne-prone skin. Much like the skin on your face, sometimes the skin on our bodies can be a combination of oily and dry, and should be treated accordingly… likely with a medicated body wash.
5. Have you been battling body acne but can’t seem to get it under control?
If you know you have body acne and have been treating it for a while with no relief, consider treating yourself to body-specific formulas created with your skin, and skincare concerns, in mind. There’s no sense in wasting any more time to get the results you want.
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you might save yourself, and your skin, a lot of time, money, and frustration by swapping out the standard body wash for a medicated formula designed to treat acne.
Well, I should definitely switch out my body wash! But what do I look for in a new formula?!
When searching for the right medicated body wash, it’s important to keep a few key things in mind.
The first thing to familiarize yourself with are the different types of exfoliants out there. Exfoliants can be classified in two camps: physical, and chemical. Physical exfoliants rely on scrubbing beads or other sandy, gritty ingredients to physically exfoliate the surface of the skin. While this may make for a satisfying experience for some, anyone with painful pimples or blemishes can tell you that those gritty grains can really hurt an already inflamed area. Not only do they hurt, but they can also add to the inflammation of your breakouts. Plus, they can spread the bacteria from your acne across other parts of your body, leading to, you guessed it, more breakouts.
Chemical exfoliants rely on acid ingredients to penetrate the top layer of dry and dead skin cells to break them down before they become washed away. Our favorite pore-degunker is salicylic acid, but glycolic acid and lactic acid are equally effective.
A formula that combines both chemical exfoliants and gentle moisturizers is the best option for dry and acne prone skin. That’s part of the reason we love the SLMD Salicylic Acid Body Wash so much. It uses 2% salicylic acid (maximum strength in over the counter formulas) which will work to unclog pores and exfoliate the skin in a way that won’t irritate, but it also contains lactic acid as an additional exfoliant plus hydrating allantoin and soothing aloe vera.
It may all sound overwhelming at first, but when you can recognize your specific symptoms and swap out what’s not working for what your skin needs, you’re already on your way toward prevention and treatment — and just a handful of showers away from washing your skincare worries down the drain!