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 just as important to be using a moisturizing body wash. But there are hundreds of options out there all claiming to do the same thing.
In this guide, we’ll go over the things you should look for that make some body washes better than others. We also prepared a list of our 10 favorite moisturizing body washes for you to start your search. Our top pick is The Seaweed Bath Co.'s Body Wash. It harnesses the power of coconut oil, neem oil, and aloe vera to soften and deeply moisturize your skin. Curious about other products on our list? Keep reading!
Dr. Levy is a board certified dermatologist practicing in NYC and Westport, Connecticut. She has expertise in treating inflammatory skin conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. She has an interest in skincare and takes a personalized approach to all of her patients.
We asked her to evaluate our buying guide below for accuracy, and she also contributed some extra tips and advice. You can also follow her on Instagram for more skincare tips!
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.
|Formulated with||Coconut oil, Bladderwrack seaweed, aloe vera, neem oil, babasu seed oil|
|Skin type||All skin types|
|Formulated with||Almond oil, grapeseed oil, bergamot fruit oil, rosemary leaf extract, sunflower seed oil|
|Formulated with||Coconut oil, jojoba oil, aloe vera, tea tree oil|
|Skin type||All skin types|
|Formulated with||Glycerin, aloe vera|
|Formulated with||Coconut oil|
|Skin type||Dry, sensitive|
|Formulated with||Wild soapberry, aloe vera, shea butter, cucumber extract|
|Skin type||Acne-prone, dry, sensitive|
|Formulated with||Shea butter, coconut oil, neem extract, spearmint leaf oil|
|Skin type||Dry, sensitive|
|Formulated with||Pink grapefruit essential oil, vegetable glycerin, Himalayan pink sea salt|
|Skin type||All skin types|
|Formulated with||Oatmeal extract, licorice root extract, hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, provitamin B5|
|Formulated with||Charcoal, coconut oil, eucalyptus, lavender essential oil, magnesium, hemp oil|
|Skin type||Dry, acne-prone|
The Seaweed Bath Co.
Tree to Tub
Cleansing and Softening Almond Shower Oil
Organic All Natural Moisturizing Body Wash
Lemon & Sage Soapy Suds Body Wash
Extra Creamy + Coconut Miracle Oil Ultra Moisture Body Wash
Moisturizing Body Wash for Dry Skin
Everyday Shea Body Wash
Natural Body Wash
Daily Shampoo & Body Wash for Children
Detox Body Wash
Eco-Friendly and Great for All Skin Types
Formulated With Nourishing Oils to Relieve Dry, Itchy Skin
A Hydrating Soap With Tea Tree Oil for Active Lifestyles
Refreshingly Scented and Cruelty-Free
Coconut Oil for Butter Smooth Skin
An All-Natural Body Wash Made With Soapberries
Certified Fair-Trade Ingredients to Support the Community
A Hydrating, Plant-Derived Mild Cleanser
Gentle, Hydrating Soap for Children and Sensitive Skin
Hemp Oil to Treat Acne and Moisturize the Skin
|Amount||12 oz.||8.4 oz.||12 oz.||17 oz.||19.5 oz.||8.5 oz.||32 oz.||16 oz.||8 oz.||8 oz.|
|Formulated with||Coconut oil, Bladderwrack seaweed, aloe vera, neem oil, babasu seed oil||Almond oil, grapeseed oil, bergamot fruit oil, rosemary leaf extract, sunflower seed oil||Coconut oil, jojoba oil, aloe vera, tea tree oil||Glycerin, aloe vera||Coconut oil||Wild soapberry, aloe vera, shea butter, cucumber extract||Shea butter, coconut oil, neem extract, spearmint leaf oil||Pink grapefruit essential oil, vegetable glycerin, Himalayan pink sea salt||Oatmeal extract, licorice root extract, hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, provitamin B5||Charcoal, coconut oil, eucalyptus, lavender essential oil, magnesium, hemp oil|
|Skin type||All skin types||Dry||All skin types||Dry||Dry, sensitive||Acne-prone, dry, sensitive||Dry, sensitive||All skin types||Sensitive||Dry, acne-prone|
When choosing a moisturizing body wash, 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 chock-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. Therefore, they will keep your skin hydrated for a long time. Common occlusives include oils, waxes, and silicones.
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 ones 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.
Many body washes contain sulfate-based surfactants to help eliminate daily grime and give you a squeaky clean feeling. However, they can strip your skin of moisture and lead to redness or itching.
To avoid drying out your skin, choose a body wash with gentle surfactants such as charcoal. Charcoal functions as a magnet to pull out all the impurities. It also foams up nicely and doesn't irritate your skin.
Coconut-based surfactants are effective as well. They can eliminate dead skin cells and daily grime without irritating or taking away all the moisture from your skin.
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.
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. Of course, ask your dermatologist or doctor beforehand to make sure that those ingredients work for your skin's condition.
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.
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.
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!
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