Dry, itchy skin is something most of us experience at some point, especially when dealing with extreme temperatures or chronic skin conditions. The good news is adhering to a daily routine of showering with the right body wash can help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with dry skin.
With so many products, combinations of ingredients, and price ranges, it can be overwhelming to know which body wash will work best for your dry skin. That’s where we come in.
We scoured online reviews and talked with a few experts to get their suggestions on ingredients, brands, and best practices for using body wash.
Read on to learn more about the 16 best body washes for dry skin.
How we chose
We considered many criteria when choosing our top body washes for dry skin. Some key features include mothercareworld.com.
Types of ingredients. We examined the labels and looked for formulas that contain moisturizing ingredients as well as products without added fragrance and harsh chemicals.
Top choices from reputable organizations. For dry skin that’s also prone to eczema, we chose products with the National Eczema Association (NEA) seal.
Opinions of experts in the field. We spoke to two board certified dermatologists who regularly recommend body washes to patients. We asked for their input on what ingredients to look for and avoid.
User reviews and customer feedback. We considered user reviews and customer feedback from various websites that sell the products.
What to look for when choosing a body wash
When shopping for a body wash, Dr. Suzanne Friedler, a board certified dermatologist with Advanced Dermatology, says to look for a formula that contains natural oils and hyaluronic acid, which help replenish moisture.
She also stresses the importance of bathing with warm or lukewarm water and keeping your shower under 10 minutes. For dry, sensitive skin, use body washes only in areas that need extra cleaning and follow bathing immediately with heavy cream or ointment.
If you have sensitive skin or eczema, Dr. Charlotte Birnbaum, a board certified dermatologist with Spring Street Dermatology, recommends being careful about the body wash you choose.
“It’s important to choose a cleanser that is gentle and fragrance-free to avoid worsening eczema or causing an allergic reaction,” she explains.
How to use a body wash on dry skin
When it comes to best practices for using a body wash, Birnbaum says that unless you have visible dirt or you’re excessively sweating, it’s not necessary to wash your body with soap every day. She also says you don’t need to wash every part of your body with soap.
“The only parts of your body that need soap are your groin and underarms (again unless you have dirt on your skin or you have been sweating),” she explains.
To wash, Birnbaum recommends washing with your fingertips instead of a washcloth or loofah to be as gentle as possible on the skin. Then, after washing, she recommends patting yourself dry and applying moisturizer while you’re damp to lock that moisture in your skin.
A word about price
The price of beauty products can range from very affordable to outrageously expensive. We aimed for the middle range and chose body washes you can purchase online or in stores. With that in mind, here’s how we indicate cost:
Best moisturizing body wash
Key features: Dermatologist-recommended CeraVe Hydrating Body Wash is our top pick for the best moisturizing body wash. It’s also a favorite of Friedler’s since it’s packed full of ceramides, which help repair the skin’s protective barrier and hyaluronic acid to help retain your skin’s natural moisture. In addition to being free of parabens, soap, and fragrances, CeraVe also carries the NEA seal and is approved for use on eczema-prone skin.
Considerations: Some users are disappointed in the thickness of the wash and say it’s difficult to squeeze out of the bottle.
Best body wash for dry eczema-prone skin
Key features: CeraVe Soothing Body Wash carries the NEA seal of approval and is recommended by dermatologists for cleansing and calming eczema-prone skin. Safe and gentle enough for daily use, this formula contains three essential ceramides and omega oils, which help maintain and restore your skin’s protective barrier. It’s also free of parabens, soaps, fragrance, and sulfates.
Considerations: Some users are unhappy with the thin consistency of the body wash and lack of foaming ability. It’s also more expensive than other over-the-counter body washes for eczema.
Best foaming body wash for dry skin
Key features: If smooth, soft skin is what you’re after, then give this foaming body wash from Dove a try. Self-foaming and hydrating, this formula combines their NutriumMoisture technology with mild cleansers to deep-clean your skin without leaving a greasy layer. Users say the pump is easy to use and you can’t beat the affordable price.
Considerations: This wash has a fragrance, so avoid if you’re sensitive to smell. Plus, be aware that it takes several pumps to get a good lather on a washcloth.
Best fragrance-free body wash for dry skin
Key features: Fragrance-free and hypoallergenic, Cetaphil’s Ultra Gentle body wash is an excellent choice for anyone with dry, sensitive skin. It’s also formulated with aloe vera and vitamin B5, which helps keep skin soft and smooth. This hydrating formula will thoroughly clean your skin without leaving it feeling tight and dry. Plus, it’s paraben and phthalate-free.
Considerations: It does contain sulfates, which may irritate the skin, scalp, and eyes.
Key features: All of Aveeno’s products are known for their soothing and calming properties, but their Skin Relief body wash is a top pick to battle winter dry skin. This daily wash is strong enough to remove dirt, oil, and bacteria, yet gentle enough to avoid irritation. Formulated with colloidal oatmeal to help relieve dryness and emollients to replenish moisture, Aveeno Skin Relief body wash is another favorite of Friedler. It’s also fragrance-free, soap-free, and dye-free.
Considerations: Contains sulfates, which may cause irritation to the skin, scalp, and eyes. This formula also comes scented, so if you need fragrance-free, make sure to check the packaging before purchasing.
Best exfoliating body wash for dry skin
Key features: Removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin requires exfoliating with some heavy-duty body wash. But if you don’t want to cause dryness and irritation, it has to be the right formula. Aveeno Positively Radiant Exfoliating Body Wash consistently earns high ratings. This soap-free wash combines moisture-rich soy complex with crushed walnut shells and other natural exfoliants to rid your body of dry skin mothercareworld.com.
Considerations: Contains sulfates, which may cause irritation to the skin, scalp, and eyes. While it’s suitable for daily use, you may want to opt for an every-other-day routine with an exfoliating wash if you have sensitive skin.