Shower gel is a cleansing liquid soap that is used in the shower for hygiene and skin care. There are shower gels marketed specifically for men or women, as well as those marketed for use by either gender.
Shower gels come in various scents and can be used as an alternative to body wash, another cleansing soap. In addition to cleansing, many shower gels promise to moisturize, tone, soften, brighten or exfoliate the skin.
Surfactants such as sodium laureth sulfate are usually the cleansing agents found in shower gel. As of 2010, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel has not determined these sulfates to be toxic when used safely in cosmetic products, but they can be drying and irritating. Some shower gels are specially formulated to be gentler for sensitive skin. Other ingredients in shower gel include glycerin for moisturizing, lactose for softening and parabens for preservation.