Gym Soap: Friend or Foe?
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Gym Soap: Friend or Foe?

Be advised: Not all soaps are meant to be used everywhere on your body, namely your face. NYC dermatologist Brad Katchen, MD, tells you why it's best to carry your own personal facial cleanser when going to the gym.

Question: "Is it okay to use the soap at my gym to wash my face or should I carry around the same cleanser I use at home?"

Answer: Unfortunately, even products that rinse off can irritate your skin. "I usually recommend that clients carry their own cleanser for the simple reason that they know it works for their skin type," says Brad Katchen, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. Stock your gym bag with a mini bottle of your favorite formula, or pour some into a tiny travel bottle -- most drugstores sell clear plastic containers for this purpose. If you're stuck in a bind without your cleanser, dilute the stuff in your gym's shower with lots of water (to help cut potential irritants) before washing up, and be sure to rinse well after cleansing.

Originally published in Fitness magazine, May 2006.