Standing in the skin and beauty aisle at the drugstore store can seem overwhelming. Bar soaps, body washes, and shower gels all compete for your attention and your dollars. How can you find the best soap for your skin?

What you buy is largely a matter of which type of product you like best — with a few exceptions, says Jami Miller, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the department of dermatology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.

Dr. Miller cautions against falling for the advertising that surrounds body washes, bar soaps, and shower gels. Most of the messages in these ads are misleading. Instead, you should consider your skin type, specifically whether your skin tends to besensitive and dry, or oily. Your bathing habits may actually be more important than the product that you choose: it’s best to use warm instead of hot water when taking a bath and to moisturize immediately after toweling off.

Whether you choose a bar or a bottle, many body cleansers may all have the same effect. These products remove dirt, bacteria, and — unfortunately — some or all of your natural body oils.