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:
- 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:
- $ = under $10
- $$ = $10–$15
- $$$ = over $15
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.
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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.
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Best body wash for dry, itchy skin
Key features: Dry, itchy, sensitive skin is no match for Curél’s Itch Defense Body Wash. Fragrance and soap-free, this formula contains jojoba and olive oils to help moisturize and restore balance and hydration to your skin. Curél Itch Defense also carries the NEA seal, is approved for use on eczema-prone skin, and is safe enough for babies ages 6 months and up.
Considerations: More expensive than other body washes for dry, itchy skin. The scent isn’t too strong, but avoid if you want fragrance-free.
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Best soothing body wash for dry skin
Key features: Dry skin is synonymous with irritation. That’s why this soothing body wash from Cetaphil is a top pick. When used regularly, Cetaphil Pro Soothing Wash can help soothe dry, sensitive skin and provide nourishing all-day moisture. Plus, it’s paraben-free 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.
Caring for your skin requires a daily routine that’s part cleansing and part moisturizing. Using products that work against dry skin can cause conditions to worsen and your frustration level to rise.
While it may take some trial and error to find the right body wash for your skin, knowing what to look for when you go shopping can help eliminate products that may cause more harm than good.
If you’ve tried several products and you’re still experiencing dry skin, talk with a dermatologist about the right treatment plan for you.