The 16 best shower gels for dry skin (2023)

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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 that following a daily shower routine with the right soap 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 will work best for your dry skin. That's 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 soaps for dry skin.

We consider many criteria when choosing our best body washes for dry skin. Some main features include:

  • Types of ingredients.We scrutinized the labels and looked for formulas that contained moisturizing ingredients, as well as products without added fragrance or harsh chemicals.
  • Top picks from reputable organizations.For dry, eczema-prone skin, we've chosen products with the National Eczema Association (NEA) seal.
  • Opinions from experts in the field.We spoke with two board-certified dermatologists who regularly recommend body washes to patients. We asked your opinion on which ingredients to look for and avoid.
  • User reviews and customer feedback.We consider user reviews and customer reviews from various websites that sell the products.

When purchasing a liquid soap, Dr. Suzanne Friedler, a certified dermatologist withAdvanced Dermatology, says look for a formula that contains natural oils and hyaluronic acid, which help replenish moisture.

It also highlights the importance of bathing in lukewarm or lukewarm water and keepingbath less than 10 minutes. For dry, sensitive skin, use body wash only on areas that need extra cleansing, then wash immediately with a heavy cream or ointment.

If you have sensitive skin or eczema, Dr. Charlotte Birnbaum, a certified dermatologist withSpring Street Dermatologia, recommends being careful with the body wash you choose.

"It's important to choose a mild, fragrance-free cleanser to avoid making your eczema worse or causing an allergic reaction," she explains.

When it comes to the best practices for using a body wash, Birnbaum says that unless you have visible dirt or sweat a lot, you don't need to wash your body with soap every day. 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 (again, unless you have dirt on your skin or you've been 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. So after washing, she recommends patting dry and applying moisturizer while wet to lock in the moisture in your skin.

The price of beauty products can range from very affordable to outrageously expensive. We aim for the mid-range and opt for liquid soaps that you can buy online or in stores. With that in mind, here's how we list the costs:

  • PS= less than $10
  • $$= US$ 10–US$ 15
  • $$$= more than $15

CeraVe Hydrating Shower Gel


Main features:The dermatologist-recommended CeraVe Hydrating Body Wash is our top 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. In addition to being free of parabens, soaps and fragrances, CeraVe also carries the NEA seal and is approved for use on eczema-prone skin.

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Considerations:Some users are disappointed with how thick the wash is, saying it's difficult to get it 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, which help maintain and restore the skin's protective barrier. It is also free of parabens, soaps, fragrances and sulfates.

Considerations:Some users are not satisfied 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 Body Soap


Main features:If you're looking for smooth, supple skin, try this bubble bath by Dove. Self-foaming and hydrating, this formula combines its NutriumMoisture technology with gentle cleansers to deeply cleanse your skin without leaving a greasy film. Users say the pump is easy to use and its price is unbeatable.

Considerations:This wash has a fragrance, so avoid it if you are sensitive to smell. Also, keep in mind that it takes several pumps to get good foam on a handkerchief.

Cetaphil Ultra Gentle Body Soap


Main features:Fragrance-free and hypoallergenic, Cetaphil's Ultra Gentle Body Wash is a great choice for those with dry, sensitive skin. It's also formulated with aloe vera and vitamin B5, which helps keep skin soft and supple. This moisturizing formula will thoroughly cleanse your skin without leaving it feeling tight or dry. In addition, it does not contain parabens or phthalates.

Considerations:Contains sulfates, which can irritate the skin, scalp and eyes.

Aveeno Skin Soothing Body Soap


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Main features:All of Aveeno's products are known for their soothing and relaxing properties, but Skin Relief body wash is one of the best options for combating dry winter skin. This daily wash is strong enough to remove dirt, oil and bacteria, yet gentle enough to prevent irritation. Formulated with colloidal oatmeal to help alleviate 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 cause skin, scalp and eye irritation. This formula also comes scented, so if you need fragrance-free, check the packaging before purchasing.

Aveeno Positively Radiant Exfoliating Body Soap


Main features:Removing dead cells from the surface of the skin requires exfoliation with a strong soap. 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 scores high marks. 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 cause skin, scalp and eye irritation. While suitable for daily use, you may opt for an every other day routine with an exfoliating wash if you have sensitive skin.

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. Contains no dyes, preservatives, lanolin, parabens, masking fragrances, soap or sulfates. Unlike other body washes for dry or sensitive skin, this soap is very lathering and leaves your skin feeling smooth. Vanicream also carries the NEA seal, is approved for use on eczema-prone skin, and is 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 help nourish and hydrate your skin, lather up with Shea Moisture Olive and Green Tea Bubble Bath and Body Wash. Made with natural and certified organic ingredients, this non-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 Skin Soothing Body Soap


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 help condition 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: Since it contains omega and natural oils, it may take some time to adjust to the additional moisturizing properties. It also contains sulfates, which can cause skin, scalp, and eye irritation.

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Nivea Men Maximum Hydration 3 in 1 Body Soap


Main features:Nivea Men Maximum Hydration is for men who want 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 cause skin, scalp and eye irritation. 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, sensitive skin is no match for Curél's Itch Defense Body Wash. Fragrance-free and soap-free, this formula contains jojoba and olive oils to help hydrate and restore skin 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 Citruses and Sea Salt


Main features:Ironically, the best body wash for women is also a favorite among men. Puracy Natural Body Wash with Citrus and Sea Salt is formulated with plant-derived ingredients, fruit and vegetable-derived moisturizers for hydration, and Himalayan Pink Sea Salt to help purify and balance the skin's pH. It is also hypoallergenic and free of betaine, sulfates, salicylates, parabens, petroleum-derived ingredients, animal by-products (cruelty free), fragrances, dyes and gluten. Puracy leaves skin soft, clean and smelling like fresh citrus.

Considerations:Although many users like the fresh scent, this body wash has a scent. Additionally, some reviewers expressed frustration that the pump dispenser wasn't working.

Mrs. Clean Day Body Soap Meyer


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-boosting ingredients, Mrs. Meyer is an excellent choice for dry skin. In addition to lavender, it comes with a scent of basil, honeysuckle and verbena.

Considerations:The lavender scent is nice, but if you're looking for a fragrance-free product, try a different body wash.

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Alba Botanica Very emollient 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 contains aloe vera, lavender and chamomile in a 32-ounce spray bottle. Don't worry if you don't like lavender—it also comes in coconut, mango honey, citrus, mint, and more.

Considerations:Does not lather as well as other body washes.

Olay Ultra Moisture Body Soap with Shea Butter


Main features:For all-day hydration, consider trying Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash with Shea Butter. Loaded with shea butter and vitamin B3 complex, this formula provides extra hydration to help lock in moisture and prevent dry, dull skin. Also, it works great on extra dry areas like elbows and knees. Although the liquid soap is thicker than other brands, it does not leave a film or residue after washing.

Considerations:Body wash has a strong but pleasant smell, so avoid it if you are allergic to fragrances. Not a great 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 one of the best options. When used regularly, Cetaphil Pro Soothing Wash can help soothe dry, sensitive skin and provide nourishing hydration 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 against dry skin can make the condition worse and increase your level of frustration.

While it may take a little trial and error to find the right soap 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.


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