With the dry winter months comes dry winter skin, and for those who already have this type of skin, it can sometimes feel unbearable. While lotions do help, they won’t work their best if your soap is leaving your skin drier than before you showered. That’s why it’s important to use a moisturizing body wash that hydrates your skin and can help soothe other issues that can irritate dry skin even further.
We've researched the best body washes for dry skin available and chose Hydrating Body Wash by The Seaweed Bath Co. as our favorite. It's suitable for all skin types, rejuvenates your skin, and is free of any harsh chemicals. We've also chosen our best 10 body washes for dry skin and have a buying guide to help you make your choice.
When choosing a body wash for dry skin, you should take note of some specific ingredients that can do wonders for your skin. It's important to make sure that the product works for your skin type, too.
An effective moisturizing body wash should be formulated with ingredients that can retain moisture within your skin and minimize moisture loss. In this section, we'll list out some great ingredients that can keep your skin hydrated for a long time.
A good moisturizing body wash should contain a lot of humectants. Technically, they are moisturizing agents that can draw moisture into the top layer of the skin, whether through the air or the lower layers of your skin.
Some humectants that you're likely to encounter include hyaluronic acid and glycerin. They help increase your skin's moisture level directly and make your skin look supple and healthy. Aloe vera is another great humectant that can give you a boost in moisture. Plus, it has strong anti-inflammatory properties and can soothe your itchy, inflamed skin.
Hyaluronic acid washes are very versatile. They can be tolerated by all skin types and provide the perfect level of hydration. Since they draw water out the top layer of skin, they give a hydrated and glowing look.
I recommend using an additional moisturizer with this kind of humectant-based wash to prevent paradoxical drying that may occur with the use of humectants.
Besides humectants, emollients are great for dry skin as well. They repair the skin's protective barrier to prevent moisture from evaporating from your skin. They are well-known for their healing properties as well and can help soothe irritation and calm itching. So if you have irritated or itchy skin, definitely search for emollients.
Most emollients come from oils and plant-based butter like coconut oil, almond oil, argan oil, and shea butter. They are also full of fatty acids and vitamins to keep dryness at bay and leave your skin feeling silky smooth.
Occlusives can also do wonders to your skin as they help form a barrier on top of your skin's layer to prevent moisture loss, keeping your skin hydrated for a long time. Common occlusives include waxes, such as beeswax and carnauba, and most butters, such as shea butter. Yes, shea butter is both a humectant and an occlusive! You can also look for oils like castor oil in the ingredients list.
However, keep in mind that some synthetic occlusives such as petrolatum and mineral oil might trigger allergic reactions to those with sensitive skin. So opt for natural occlusives such as jojoba oil, safflower oil, and argan oil instead.
Occlusive washes are best to use in the winter or when the skin is very dry. Be cautious if you have a history of acne since these ingredients can clog the pores. Occlusive body washes are great to use as a maintenance treatment for skin prone to eczema since it helps keep moisture in the skin and prevents drying.
Different ingredients are better suited to specific skin concerns and types than others. If you can identify the best ingredients for your skin condition, then you can find the best body wash for you.
Excessive dryness might cause skin issues like inflammation, redness, and flaking. It might lead to inflammatory-related skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis, so look for soothing ingredients such as aloe vera, rose water, and chamomile extract to help alleviate those problems.
Ingredients with powerful anti-inflammatory properties such as rosemary essential oil, tea tree oil, or lemon essential oil are some other wonderful ingredients that can reduce your pain and accelerate your skin's natural healing process. Of course, ask your dermatologist or doctor beforehand to make sure that those ingredients work for your skin's condition.
Keratosis pilaris is a common genetic skin condition that causes rough and bumpy skin on various parts of your body. It's also commonly known as chicken skin. It can be difficult to treat but there are some body washes that can help soothe the condition and prevent your skin from becoming too dry.
The best body washes to choose are those with mild exfoliation properties that can also cleanse your skin. Ingredients to look for include salicylic acid and lactic acid, which can both gently exfoliate your skin. Good moisturizing ingredients for keratosis pilaris are niacinamide, glycerin, and aloe juice.
Another key ingredient to look out for is urea. This acts as both an exfoliant and a moisturizer, making it perfect for inclusion in body washes for keratosis pilaris. We would also recommend choosing fragrance-free products to avoid further irritation.
You should also try to stay away from potential irritants like sulfates. They are surfactants, which strip oil and dirt from your skin and create that foamy lather that you associate with soap. However, they are pretty potent and can cause skin irritation and over-drying, which is something you don’t want if you already have dry skin.
To give yourself peace of mind, we recommend using a product that has been tested by dermatologists. After purchasing a product, you should do a patch test to make sure it's truly compatible with your skin.
Scented body washes and those with essential oils can be very irritating to those with dry skin or eczema. All-natural does not necessarily mean that it will not cause a rash or exacerbate eczema.
A good solution is to look for an exfoliating soap that helps wash away dead skin and clear out clogged pores without making your skin shrivel up with it. This means skipping the microbeads for more gentle exfoliants, like brown sugar, charcoal, and other natural or sweet ingredients.
There are also scrubs packed with aloe vera, as well as light oils and butters, so keep an eye out for those. They can effectively hydrate your skin without clogging the pores or triggering breakouts.
Many acne medicated washes, like ones with benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, can be very drying. This means it can be hard for those with dry skin to use these products. Try a product that is clay or charcoal-based for dry skin that is acne-prone. Kaolin can help with acne but is also not drying.
Additionally, you may need to use a stronger medicated wash for inflammatory or cystic acne, but try using them only a few times a week and alternating with a hydrating wash.
Here are some of our favorites for your consideration. We've chosen them based on their ingredients as well as reviewer satisfaction.
*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Dr. Lauren Levy.
The Seaweed Bath Co.
Tree to Tub
Hydrating Body Wash
Very Emollient Body Wash
Moisturizing Body Wash for Dry Skin
Cleansing and Softening Almond Shower Oil
Tea Tree Body Wash
Rose Water & Pink Sea Salt Scrub & Wash
Deep Cleansing Acne Body Wash
Moisturizing Body Wash with Hyaluronic Acid and Ceramides
Keratosis Pilaris & Acne Exfoliating Body Wash Cleanser
Daily Shampoo & Body Wash for Children
Best for All Skin-Types
Best for Very Dry Skin
Best for Sensitive Skin
Best for Soothing Itchy Skin
Best for Soothing a Variety of Conditions
Best for Daily Exfoliation
Best for Acne-Prone Skin
Best for Eczema
Best for Keratosis Pilaris
Best for Children With Dry and Problem Skin
|Moisturizing ingredients||Neem oil, glycerin||Glycerin||Shea butter||Grape seed oil, sweet almond oil, propylene glycol||Jojoba oil, shea butter||Glycerin||Shea butter||Hyaluronic acid, glycerin||Hyaluronic acid, aloe vera||Hyaluronic acid|
|Soothing ingredients||Aloe vera, coconut oil||Coconut oil, coconut milk||Aloe vera, chamomile||Rosemary extract, bergamot oil||Tea tree oil, coconut oil, aloe vera||Rose water||Sweet almond oil||Urea, soybean oil||Aloe vera||Aloe vera|
|Exfoliating ingredients||Glycerin||Glycerin||-||-||-||Pink sea salt||Salicylic acid, glycolic acid||Urea||Glycolic acid, salicylic acid||Oatmeal extract|
|Skin type||All skin types, sensitive||Very dry skin||Sensitive, dry skin||Dry||Normal, dry, oily||Sensitive, all||Oily, combination, acne-prone||Dry skin, eczema||Keratosis pilaris, acne-prone||Dry, oily|
|Amount||12 fl. oz.||32 fl. oz.||8.5 fl. oz.||8.4 fl. oz.||16 fl. oz.||19.5 fl. oz.||16 fl. oz.||10 fl. oz.||8 fl. oz.||8 fl. oz.|
|Moisturizing ingredients||Neem oil, glycerin|
|Soothing ingredients||Aloe vera, coconut oil|
|Skin type||All skin types, sensitive|
|Amount||12 fl. oz.|
|Soothing ingredients||Coconut oil, coconut milk|
|Skin type||Very dry skin|
|Amount||32 fl. oz.|
|Moisturizing ingredients||Shea butter|
|Soothing ingredients||Aloe vera, chamomile|
|Skin type||Sensitive, dry skin|
|Amount||8.5 fl. oz.|
|Moisturizing ingredients||Grape seed oil, sweet almond oil, propylene glycol|
|Soothing ingredients||Rosemary extract, bergamot oil|
|Amount||8.4 fl. oz.|
|Moisturizing ingredients||Jojoba oil, shea butter|
|Soothing ingredients||Tea tree oil, coconut oil, aloe vera|
|Skin type||Normal, dry, oily|
|Amount||16 fl. oz.|
|Soothing ingredients||Rose water|
|Exfoliating ingredients||Pink sea salt|
|Skin type||Sensitive, all|
|Amount||19.5 fl. oz.|
|Moisturizing ingredients||Shea butter|
|Soothing ingredients||Sweet almond oil|
|Exfoliating ingredients||Salicylic acid, glycolic acid|
|Skin type||Oily, combination, acne-prone|
|Amount||16 fl. oz.|
|Moisturizing ingredients||Hyaluronic acid, glycerin|
|Soothing ingredients||Urea, soybean oil|
|Skin type||Dry skin, eczema|
|Amount||10 fl. oz.|
|Moisturizing ingredients||Hyaluronic acid, aloe vera|
|Soothing ingredients||Aloe vera|
|Exfoliating ingredients||Glycolic acid, salicylic acid|
|Skin type||Keratosis pilaris, acne-prone|
|Amount||8 fl. oz.|
|Moisturizing ingredients||Hyaluronic acid|
|Soothing ingredients||Aloe vera|
|Exfoliating ingredients||Oatmeal extract|
|Skin type||Dry, oily|
|Amount||8 fl. oz.|
So especially if you have dry, sensitive skin, it may just be better to use your hands. They’re more gentle for your everyday shower routine—and if you need to, you can throw in a scrub or exfoliator every once in a while for a good cleansing.
I do not recommend loofahs for those with dry skin. They can cause an irritant dermatitis and further dry out the skin. Some people with dry or sensitive skin may have a condition called keratosis pilaris (also known as "chicken skin"). It is not recommended to rub or loofah these bumps since it can make the condition worse and further irritate the skin.
We've answered some of the most frequently asked questions about body wash and dry skin.
The answer to this question is that it depends. There are some body washes that can dry out your skin, but this isn't the case for all of them. To prevent drying out your skin, you should avoid any harsh chemicals and look for those that are pH neutral.
Some body washes that are labeled as moisturizing may actually have the opposite effect. Many moisturize your skin by pulling moisture out from the deeper layers of your skin, which in the long term may only make your skin even dryer.
If a body wash says it is moisturizing, make sure it contains ingredients that can produce moisture or prevent it from escaping. These are typically emollients and occlusives such as beeswax and shea butter.
Although there are is no known cure for keratosis pilaris, there are some measures you can take to reduce the condition. When taking a bath or shower, you should keep them short and use warm water instead of hot. Exfoliation can also help and you should do this gently with a loofah or pumice stone every day.
One of the easiest and most important steps you can take at home is to moisturize your skin regularly. Dry skin can make keratosis pilaris much worse so keeping your skin hydrated is very important. Use a moisturizer that contains urea or lactic acid and apply it to damp skin after bathing.
There are further changes you can make to improve the condition, too. A humidifier at home can help put moisture back into the air when it becomes too dry and you should avoid wearing tight clothes as these can irritate your skin.
Moisturizing body washes aren't always great for sensitive skin - especially if they're scented - but here's a dermatologist-recommended wash that won't exacerbate your irritation.
Besides moisturizing body washes, there are many products that can help supply the needed moisture to your dry skin. Check out our articles for some of our favorites!
If you're still not sure which body wash is best for you, then you can check out Amazon's best sellers for more ideas.
This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.
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