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Dry, itchy skin is something most of us experience at some point, especially when it comes to extreme temperatures or chronic skin conditions. The good news is that showering daily with the right body wash can help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with dry skin.
With so many products, ingredient combinations, and price ranges, it can be difficult to know which body wash is best for your dry skin. This is where we come in.
We looked at online reviews and spoke 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 shower gels for dry skin.
We take many criteria into account when selecting our best shower gels for dry skin. Some main features include:
- types of ingredientsWe scrutinized the labels for formulas that included moisturizing ingredients and products that were free of added fragrances and harsh chemicals.
- Top picks from reputable organizations.For dry, eczema-prone skin, we've selected products with the National Eczema Association (NEA) seal.
- Opinions from experts in the field.We spoke with two board-certified dermatologists who regularly recommend shower gels to patients. We asked their opinion on which ingredients to look for and which ones to avoid.
- User ratings and customer feedback.We consider user ratings and customer comments from various websites that sell the products.
When purchasing a shower gel, Dr. Suzanne Friedler, state-certified dermatologistAdvanced Dermatology, recommends looking for a formula that contains natural oils and hyaluronic acid to help replenish moisture.
It also highlights the importance of bathing in lukewarm or lukewarm water and maintaining the temperature.Bath less than 10 minutes. For dry, sensitive skin, use body wash only on areas that need extra cleansing, and use a rich cream or ointment immediately after showering.
If you have sensitive skin or eczema, Dr. Charlotte Birnbaum, a certified dermatologist withSpring Street Dermatologia, recommends being careful when choosing liquid soap.
"It's important to choose a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser to avoid making your eczema worse or triggering an allergic reaction," she explains.
When it comes to the best practices for using a shower gel, Birnbaum says you don't need to wash your body with soap every day unless you have visible dirt or sweat excessively. He also says that you don't need to wash every part of your body with soap.
"The only parts of your body that need soap are your crotch and armpits (unless you have dirt on your skin or you're sweating)," she explains.
For washing, Birnbaum recommends washing with your fingertips instead of a washcloth or loofah to be as gentle on the skin as possible. Then after washing, she recommends patting dry and applying moisturizer while wet to lock in the moisture in your skin.
Beauty product prices can range from very affordable to outrageously expensive. We opted for the mid-range, opting for shower gels that you can buy online or in stores. With that in mind, we define costs as follows:
- PS= less than $10
- $$= 10–15 $
- $$$= more than $15
CeraVe Moisturizing Shower Gel
Main features:The dermatologist-recommended CeraVe Hydrating Body Wash is our #1 pick for the best hydrating body wash. It's also a Friedler favorite because it contains ceramides, which help repair the skin's protective barrier, and hyaluronic acid to help retain the skin's natural moisture. Not only is CeraVe free of parabens, soaps and fragrances, it also carries the NEA seal and is approved for use on skin prone to neurodermatitis.
Considerations:Some users are disappointed with the thickness of the conditioner and say it's hard to get out of the bottle.
CeraVe Soothing Shower Gel
Main features:CeraVe Soothing Body Wash carries the NEA seal of approval and is recommended by dermatologists to cleanse and soothe eczema-prone skin. Safe and gentle enough for daily use, this formula contains three essential ceramides and omega oils to help maintain and restore the skin's protective barrier. It is also free of parabens, soaps, fragrances and sulfates.
Considerations:Some users are dissatisfied with the liquid soap's thin consistency and lack of lathering ability. It is also more expensive than other over-the-counter liquid soaps for eczema.
Dove Deep Moisture Instant Foaming Shower Gel
Main features:If you're looking for smooth, supple skin, try this bubble bath by Dove. This hydrating, self-foaming formula combines its NutriumMoisture technology with gentle cleansing agents to deeply cleanse the skin without leaving a greasy film. Users say the pump is easy to use and its price is unbeatable.
Considerations:This linen has an odor, so avoid it if you are sensitive to smell. Also remember that it takes several pumps to get good foam on a handkerchief.
Cetaphil Ultra Gentle Body Soap
Main features:Fragrance-free and hypoallergenic, Cetaphils Ultra Gentle Body Wash is a great choice for anyone with dry, sensitive skin. It is also formulated with aloe vera and vitamin B5 that help keep the skin soft and supple. This moisturizing formula deeply cleanses the skin without leaving it tight and dry to the touch. It is also free of parabens and phthalates.
Considerations:Contains sulfates, which can irritate the skin, scalp and eyes.
Aveeno skin relief shower gel
Main features:All of Aveeno's products are known for their calming and soothing properties, but Skin Relief body wash is the best choice for fighting dry skin in winter. This daily wash is strong enough to remove dirt, oil, and bacteria, yet gentle enough to prevent irritation. Formulated with colloidal oatmeal to soothe dryness and emollients to replenish moisture, Aveeno Skin Relief Body Wash is another Friedler favorite. It is also fragrance, soap and dye free.
Considerations:Contains sulfates which can irritate the skin, scalp and eyes. This formula is also scented. Therefore, if you need fragrance-free products, please check the packaging before purchasing.
Aveeno Positively Radiant Exfoliating Body Soap
Main features:You need to exfoliate with a strong soap to remove dead skin cells from the surface. But if you don't want to cause dryness and irritation, it has to be the right formula. Aveeno Positively Radiant Exfoliating Body Wash has consistently high reviews. This soap-free soap combines a moisture-rich soy complex with crushed walnut shells and other natural exfoliants to remove dry skin from the body.
Considerations:Contains sulfates which can irritate the skin, scalp and eyes. While suitable for daily use, if you have sensitive skin, opt for a routine that includes exfoliation every other day.
Vanicream mild liquid soap
Main features:Dry and sensitive skin is easily irritated by harsh ingredients. That's why Friedler recommends Vanicream Gentle Body Wash. It is free of dyes, preservatives, lanolin, parabens, masking fragrances, soap and sulfates. Unlike other body washes for dry or sensitive skin, this body wash lathers up really well and leaves your skin feeling soft. Vanicream is also NEA approved, approved for use on eczema-prone skin, and safe for children.
Considerations:More expensive than other brands. Depending on your current product, Vanicream could cost twice as much.
Karité Moisture Olive and Green Tea Bubble Bath and Body Soap
Main features:If you want a natural body wash that's free of harsh chemicals but packed with oils to nourish and hydrate your skin, lather up with Shea Moisture Olive and Green Tea Bubble Bath and Body Wash. Made from natural and certified organic ingredients -Drying Body Wash contains green tea, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil and more. Plus, it's free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, and other ingredients that can irritate sensitive skin.
Considerations:More expensive than other brands of unnatural body wash. It is also lightly scented, so avoid it if you need a fragrance-free product.
Eucerin Soothing Shower Gel
Main features:Relieving dry, flaky skin requires a moisturizing body wash strong enough to remove dirt and oil from the skin, yet gentle enough not to cause excessive dryness. Eucerin Skin Calming Body Wash contains omega oils and other natural lipids to nourish and hydrate the skin, preventing it from drying out and flaking. It has a soft foam and is free of fragrances, soaps and dyes.
considerations: Because it contains omega and natural oils, the additional moisturizing properties may take some getting used to. It also contains sulfates, which can irritate the skin, scalp, and eyes.
Nivea Men 3 in 1 Maximum Hydration shower gel
Main features:Nivea Men Maximum Hydration is for men looking for a body wash strong enough to remove sweat and dirt, leaving skin feeling plump, smooth and hydrated thanks to the addition of aloe vera. In addition, this body wash has a rich lather and does not leave a greasy film on the skin.
Considerations:Contains sulfates which can irritate the skin, scalp and eyes. Although users report a pleasant smell, avoid this if you want it to be fragrance-free.
Curél Skincare Itch Defense Shower Gel
Main features:Dry, itchy and sensitive skin is no problem for Curél's Itch Defense Body Soap. This fragrant, soap-free formula contains jojoba and olive oil to help hydrate and restore skin's balance and moisture. Curél Itch Defense also carries the NEA seal, is approved for use on eczema-prone skin, and is safe enough for babies 6 months and older.
Considerations:More expensive than other body washes for dry, itchy skin. The smell is not very strong, but avoid it if you want it to be fragrance-free.
Puracy Natural Body Wash with Citrus Fruits and Sea Salt
Main features:Ironically, the best body wash for women is also popular with men. Puracy Natural Body Wash with Citrus and Sea Salt is formulated with botanicals, fruit and vegetable-based moisturizers for hydration, and Himalayan Pink Sea Salt to cleanse and balance the skin's pH levels. It's also hypoallergenic and free of betaine, sulfates, salicylates, parabens, petroleum-based ingredients, animal byproducts (not tested on animals), perfumes, dyes, and gluten. Puracy leaves skin soft, clean and smelling like fresh citrus.
Considerations:While many users appreciate the fresh scent, this body wash has a scent. Some reviewers also expressed frustration that the pump dispenser didn't work.
Gel de ducha Mrs Meyers Clean Day
Main features:You can meet Mrs. Meyer as a popular cleaning brand, but their body wash is just as impressive. Formulated with aloe vera gel, essential oils, flaxseed oil and other moisturizing and skin-nourishing ingredients, Mrs. Meyer is an excellent choice for dry skin. In addition to lavender, this perfume also has basil, honeysuckle and lemon verbena.
Considerations:The lavender scent is nice, but if you're looking for a fragrance-free product, try a different body wash.
Alba Botanica Very Softening Bath and Shower Gel in French Lavender
Main features:Free of phthalates, parabens and sulfates, Alba Botanica Very Emollient Body Wash gently cleanses and hydrates the skin without using harsh chemicals. Its sensitive skin formula is completely vegetarian and includes aloe vera, lavender, and chamomile in a 32-ounce spray bottle. Don't worry if lavender isn't your thing—it also comes in coconut, mango honey, citrus, mint, and more.
Considerations:It doesn't lather as well as other shower gels.
Olay Ultra Moisture Shower Gel with Shea Butter
Main features:For all-day hydration, try Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash with Shea Butter. Enriched with Shea Butter and Vitamin B3 Complex, this formula provides extra hydration to lock in moisture and prevent dry, dull skin. It also works great on particularly dry areas like elbows and knees. Although the shower gel is thicker than other brands, it does not leave a film or residue after washing.
Considerations:The shower gel has a strong but pleasant smell, so avoid it if you are allergic to fragrances. Not a good choice if you're looking for a product made primarily from organic or natural ingredients.
Cetaphil Pro Soothing Soap
Main features:Dry skin is synonymous with irritation. That's why this soothing body wash by Cetaphil is the best choice. With regular use, Cetaphil Pro Soothing Wash can help soothe dry, sensitive skin and hydrate throughout the day. Plus, it's paraben and fragrance free, so you don't have to worry about harsh ingredients irritating your skin. Cetaphil Pro Soothing Wash also carries the NEA seal and is approved for use on eczema-prone skin.
Considerations:More expensive than other brands with similar formulas.
Taking care of the skin requires a daily routine that includes cleansing and moisturizing. Using products that work to treat dry skin can make the condition worse and increase your level of frustration.
While it may take some trial and error to find the right body wash for your skin, knowing what to look for when shopping can help weed out products that may do more harm than good.
If you've tried several products and still have dry skin, talk to adermatologistabout the right treatment plan for you.