Everyone wants to love the skin they’re in, but when you have sensitive skin, embracing it can be hard. While everyone else seems to be able to use whatever products interest them, those with sensitive skin have to read through the ingredients list on everything from deodorant to laundry detergent. And when it comes to body wash? Only the best body wash for sensitive skin will do.
Without the right product, you can be left with dry, itchy, red, inflamed, and blemished skin, and the more you deal with these problems, the more tiresome it gets. But who has time to examine every bottle of body wash at the store? Not you—and that is why we are here to help. Our guide will help you understand what you should look for in a body wash or shower gel and give you ten excellent products to choose from.
Ready to get started? Let’s go!
- 1 Sign You Are on The Right Track
- 2 Know the Ingredient to Look For-and Look Out For
- 3 What About Bar Soap?
- 4 Top Scrub Or Not to Scrub? That Is the Question
- 5 Our Picks for the Top 10 Body Washes for Sensitive Skin
- 5.1 1 Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap
- 5.2 2 Puracy Natural Body Wash, Sulfate-Free Bath and Shower Gel, Citrus and Sea Salt
- 5.3 3 Kiss My Face Fragrance Free
- 5.4 4 Method Pure Naked Moisturizing Body Wash
- 5.5 5 Alaffia – EveryDay Shea – Moisturizing Shea Butter Body Wash
- 5.6 6 Tree to Tub Soapberry for Body
- 5.7 7 Dove Body Wash Pump
- 5.8 8 Aveeno Skin Relief Gentle Scent Body Wash For Sensitive Skin
- 5.9 9 Cetaphil Restoraderm Pro, Eczema Calming Body Wash
- 5.10 10 Honest Purely Simple Hypoallergenic Shampoo and Body Wash for Sensitive Skin
- 6 Other Strategies for Keeping Sensitive Skin Happy
- 7 Select the Right Body Wash So Your Bathroom is a Sanctuary
Sign You Are on The Right Track
While you will still want to do a little sleuthing when you come across body washes that seem like solid options, in general, the labels will let you know if you are on the right track. And we do not mean the fine print listing all the ingredients—in most cases, the main label on the front of the packaging will contain keywords that indicate whether or not the product is marketed toward those with sensitive skin. So, what are some of these keywords?
However, as we said, seeing these words on the label is not a sure sign that the product is good for you to use. To know this, you will need to look over the list of ingredients.
Know the Ingredient to Look For-and Look Out For
Sensitive skin is not all the same. Some people who have sensitive skin are prone to breakouts while others end up with dry skin or redness from using the wrong products. Others still end up with itchy skin, and there are those whose sensitive skin will deliver it all, from breakouts to unbearable itchiness. Because your skin is unique, you need to take care to select products with the ingredients most suited to you and to avoid the ingredients that trigger the specific reactions you are looking to avoid.
Ingredients That Benefit Different Types of Sensitive Skin
It is important to remember that these ingredients help certain sensitive skin conditions, but they can exacerbate others. For example, shea butter is great for someone with dry, sensitive skin, but if they have oily sensitive skin, it can lead to breakouts. Take care to seek out the ingredients that target your needs.
With that said, there are certain ingredients that anyone with sensitive skin should work to avoid.
Ingredients That Are Bad for All Types of Dry Skin
Also closely examine any dyes that are used to color the product, as these can also lead to skin irritation.
What About Bar Soap?
If you are worried about the ingredients in shower gel and body wash, you might wonder if bar soap is a safer alternative. These soaps have their pros and their cons for users with sensitive skin. The first thing to consider is: what is bar soap made of? Just like with body wash, bar soap will have various ingredients, some of which are suited for specific types of sensitive skin and some of which are bad for all types of sensitive skin.
Bar soaps tend to have fewer problematic ingredients, which means that are suited to those with sensitive skin more often than body washes are. However, there are two primary issues with them that can make them a poor choice. First of all, they are higher in pH than body wash, which can dry the skin. Second, there is the potential for bacteria growth, which can lead to clogged pores and other skin reactions. As such, our preference would be to purchase an amazing shower gel for sensitive skin than your typical bathroom soaps.
Top Scrub Or Not to Scrub? That Is the Question
Or at least it is the question when you have sensitive skin. Everyone has their personal preference when it comes to how they clean their skin in the shower or bath. Some use synthetic loofas—also known as bath poofs. Others like natural loofas, made from coarse fibers. There are those who like sponges. Others still use washcloths. There are even some who use brushes to clean the skin while getting rid of dead cells and stimulating circulation.
So, which option is best for sensitive skin?
As you can imagine, with sensitive skin, being gentle is best. This means you have limited options. Natural loofas, rough washcloths, and brushes are all off the list. This leaves you with synthetic loofas, sponges, gentle washcloths, and the option of using nothing at all.
Believe it or not, most dermatologists recommend that you clean your skin using just the lather of the product and your hands. This helps to keep the skin in balance and prevents stripping away the natural oils. The second-best option is to use soft washcloths, such as those marketed for use with babies. Sponges and synthetic loofas are okay to use as long as you replace them frequently—and by frequently, we mean once a week. Otherwise, the bacteria that naturally grows on these products once used will start to harm the skin.
Our Picks for the Top 10 Body Washes for Sensitive Skin
If you are interested in a product that can to do it all, Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap is the product to buy. It is an all-natural product that can be used as body wash, shampoo, and even a household cleaner and laundry detergent. The Environmental Working Group has given this products the lowest hazard rating, so you should feel incredibly safe when using it.
This body wash contains ingredients such as soothing lavender, hemp seed oil, glycerin, coconut oil, citric acid, olive oil, Vitamin E, and water. The formula is simple and the ingredients are easy to pronounce, which is always a good sign.
However, you should start slowly with this product. For those with sensitive skin, start by using the soap diluted with water, playing with the ratio until you get a result that is comfortable to clean with but also gentle on your skin. When you find the right ratio for you, the results should be gentle and moisturizing.
While rare, there are some users who have reported having a reaction to the product. If this is a concern for you, start with a heavy dilution of the soap and test it on a single area of your skin.
One problem with many bodies washes made for sensitive skin is that the lack of chemical surfactant allows them to leave behind a film on the skin. This in itself can lead to irritation, making those with sensitive skin feel like they just cannot win. However, Puracy Natural Body Wash both avoids chemical surfactants and leaves the skin clean and smooth, with no film to worry about.
While it is great for sensitive skin, it is fine for any skin type. The formula was designed with doctor input to ensure it is safe, natural, and effective. It uses coconut, Himalayan pink salt, pink grapefruit essential oil, and vegetable glycerin. The coconut is the surfactant, the salt for exfoliation, and the glycerin for moisture. While the essential oil does not improve the effect of the product, it is pleasant and gentle enough for most people with sensitive skin.
There are cases of users reporting the product causing breakouts on their skin. This is likely due to the use of a coconut-based surfactant. If your skin is highly prone to breakouts, this is something to be cautious of. However, you will not be out any money should you try it; the manufacturer offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
The Kiss My Face Fragrance-Free Shower Gel has something of a cult following amongst those with sensitive skin. It avoids parabens, phthalates, and artificial fragrances. It is even gluten-free, which is rather unusual to see in a body wash. Enthusiasts report that it is incredibly gentle on their skin, cleaning and softening it.
The formula includes ingredients like aloe vera, olive oil, and vitamin E. However, two ingredients can cause problems for some individuals with sensitive skin: potassium sorbate and phenoxyethanol. If you have allergies or are sensitive to these chemicals, avoid using this product.
Finally, the scent of the product is a plus for some and a negative for others. Due to the ingredients used and the lack of artificial fragrances, the smell comes out somewhat like a pine forest. While this fades quickly, some users dislike the presence of the smell at all.
As the name implies, Method Pure NakedMoisturizing Body Wash uses all-natural or naturally derived ingredients. Unlike many body washes on the market, Method does not test theirs on animals. This makes it a cruelty-free option, which is certainly important, but this also means that it has been tested on by people, giving its assertions that it is safe for sensitive skin more weight.
In terms of reviews, users almost exclusively have good things to say about the product. The scent is often cited as a reason to use this body wash, as is the price. Most find that they can use a very small amount of the product at a time, allowing the bottle to last. It also does not leave a film behind. And if you are looking for gentle dish soap, Methoddish soap from Target is great.
The primary issue with this product is the scent, which is too powerful for some. However, there are other methods body washes that have lighter fragrances that would be suitable alternatives.
Alaffia EveryDay Shea is another all-natural option that is wonderful for those with sensitive skin. It uses aqueous neem leaf extract, traditional shea butter soap, and mild plant-based surfactants. Together, this creates a body wash that is able to clean well while leaving the natural oils of the skin intact. And like the Kiss My Face option above, it is gluten-free.
Users note that compared to other options on the market, this wash from Alaffia keeps their skin softer. However, some dislike the fact that it leaves a film on the skin; while this is part of what keeps the natural oils intact, for people who are used to the squeaky-clean feeling of traditional washes, this can be problematic.
Ultimately, this is a good option for someone who has sensitive skin that is dry, as it will hold in moisture. For those with skin that retains moisture on its own just fine, there may be a preference for a wash that does not leave a film behind.
This body washes from Tree to Tub is all about balancing the pH of the skin. According to research, the ideal pH level for skin that is clear and calm is 5.5. This body wash is formulated to maintain the ideal pH balance, giving sensitive skin the boost it needs to remain healthy.
In addition to soapberry, which is the ingredient that works to balance pH, it also uses coconut cleansers, shea moisture, aloe vera, cucumber, and chamomile. All of these products are gentle and designed to soothe the skin. The product is even recommended for those with psoriasis.
The primary complaint from users is that the product does not moisturize enough, especially during the winter months. However, most people with sensitive skin need to moisturize after the shower anyhow, which negates some of the problems with this. However, you should not expect your skin to be extremely moisturized just from using this product.
So far, most of the brands of body wash we have featured have not been household names, but that changes with entry number 7 on our list. Dove has made its name on creating products for sensitive skin and its all-inclusive approach to marketing. As such, you can expect that their body wash will be a great buy.
This option is specifically formulated for sensitive skin. It is hypoallergenic and soap-free, which means that most people with delicate skin will find it suitable. The product also contains NutiumMositure, which is designed to lock in moisture even without the film that some of the other products leave behind.
The problem with this wash from Dove is that it also contains plenty of those hard-to-pronounce ingredients that can be risky for those with sensitive skin. It also contains added fragrance. If you consider yourself to have highly sensitive skin, this is not the product for you.
Aveeno is another household name and one that anyone with sensitive skin is likely familiar with. This body wash is designed to soothe the skin as it cleanses it, leaving skin calmed and hydrated. Like many Aveeno products, oatmeal is a key ingredient.
It is recommended that you avoid exfoliating when using this body wash as this can open up microscopic cuts in the skin and make irritation more likely to occur. While Aveeno recommends you use the body wash with other Aveeno products, its light scent means that you can easily use it with whatever lotions you like. This product is particularly ideal for eliminating itchy skin.
While the vast majority of users are happy with the product, some complain that the formula has changed, giving it a slightly stronger smell. And like Dove, it does contain some ingredients that may be too harsh for those with extremely sensitive skin.
While not exactly a household name, Cetaphil is a brand you will find in every pharmacy and big box store, making it easy to access. The brand has made its name on being ideal for treating sensitive skin in general, and eczema in particular. So it is no wonder that their body wash is formulated specifically for those suffering from eczema.
But you do not need to have a specific skin condition to use it. If your skin is dry or itchy for any reason, this cleanser will calm it and offer lasting relief. Unlike other options on this list, Cetaphil does not try to play up the natural ingredients it contains; it uses various chemicals that have been found to work on sensitive skin and it promotes them on its packaging and other promotional materials. It can be used on people of all ages, but it can burn the eyes, so take care when using it with children.
Ultimately, the most common complaint from users was that they just did not see a difference after using the product. While it gave them no negative effects, it also did not fulfill their expectations. With that said, the majority of users report being thrilled by the way the product performs.
Finally, we have Honest Purely Simple Hypoallergenic Shampoo and Body Wash for Sensitive Skin. This body wash uses plant-based ingredients, making it mild on the skin. It uses coconut oil, jojoba protein, and quinoa extract, making it an askin-softening body wash. It also has aloe, chamomile, and calendula to soothe.
A major plus for this product is that it can be used by the whole family, and unlike number nine on our list, it is a tear-free formula. This means that even babies will be happy to use this wash. It contains no fragrances, sulfates, parabens, formaldehyde donors, MEA, DEA, or TEA.
Overall, this is a product with a loyal and happy following. The primary complaint is that when it is also used as a shampoo, it can be drying on the hair. However, if you are simply looking for its effects on the skin, it is a good buy.
Other Strategies for Keeping Sensitive Skin Happy
Purchasing the correct body wash will go a long way towards keeping your sensitive skin happy and healthy. However, you will still need to do more if you want to maintain the quality of your skin. To help you feel as comfortable as possible, we suggest the following strategies:
Select the Right Body Wash So Your Bathroom is a Sanctuary
For many of us, bath time is my time, a moment when we stop focusing on everything and everyone else and take care of ourselves. But without the right products, it can become something you dread. Leave the shower blues behind by purchasing the best body wash for sensitive skin.
Have you tried any of the products we featured? Share your experiences with us!