Do you have skin that feels tight or itches, especially after being in the water? Skin that flakes, peels, or scales? Red skin that looks rough? If you have any of these symptoms, you probably have dry skin.
Dry skin can be extremely uncomfortable. In order to keep yourself feeling your best, you need to use the proper skincare products. Most important among these is body wash. Today you can learn more about our picks of the best body washes for dry skin and how to choose between them. Read on and hydrate your dry skin today.
- 1 What are skin types?
- 2 Skin Type vs. Skin Conditions
- 3 What kind of skin type do I have?
- 4 How do I determine my skin type?
- 5 What’s so important about skin types?
- 6 Can my skin type change?
- 7 What should I look for in a body wash for dry skin?
- 8 Ingredient to avoid in a body wash
- 9 Ingredient to look for in a body wash
- 10 Top Five Best Body Wash for Dry Skin 2020 – Comparison Table
- 11 Top Five Best Body Wash for Dry Skin 2021 – Reviews
- 12 Gels vs moisturizing washes
- 13 Appropriate water temperature for dry skin
- 14 Other ways to help heal your dry skin
- 15 How to keep your skin healthy
What are skin types?
Anyone whose ever looked at skincare products has heard the phrase “skin types.” You’ve maybe even heard the question: What skin type do you have? While this may seem like a simple question, skin types are actually a complicated topic. Your skin type is determined by many factors and has different symptoms—these are described below. In essence, skin type describes the way your skin looks, feels, and interacts with other substances.
Skin is the largest organ in the human body. It guards our bodies against externals like weather and sun exposure, while also protecting the inside of our bodies by creating antibacterial substances and manufacturing Vitamin D. Skin also gives us the ability to touch and feel our surroundings. Everyone’s skin performs these functions, no matter your skin type.
Skin type, then, describes the way our skin reacts to specific conditions and environments. The most important of these factors is the amount of water and/or oil your skin retains. As you will see below, both too much or too little water and oil in your skin greatly affect how it feels and performs.
Skin Type vs. Skin Conditions
We need to make it completely clear that skin type and skin conditions are two different things. Skin types are described below and have to do with the baseline behavior of your skin. Skin conditions, on the other hand, are medical issues that can affect any skin type.
For example, the five skin types recognized by most dermatologists are normal, combination, oily, dry, and sensitive. But, some skin conditions include acne, rosacea, and eczema. Other skin conditions include
Some skin types are more prone to conditions like acne or eczema; however, any of the skin conditions mentioned above can occur for people with any skin type.
What kind of skin type do I have?
Depending on who’s discussing skin types with you, you may hear three to five different types of skin: normal, oily, dry, combination, and/or sensitive. The skin type you have is largely due to genetics, which means that none of them are inherently right or wrong. Knowing your skin type just ensures that you take care of your unique skin properly.
If you are still wondering about your skin type, here’s a handling guide to help tell them apart.
If you have normal skin, you will be the envy of all of your friends. Normal skin has an appropriate amount of oil and moisture. It also has small pores, few imperfections, and looks healthy and glowing.
Even if you do not know your skin type, you can probably assume that you have combination skin. Most people have this skin type, which features a blend of dry and oily skin. Often certain areas like the forehead, nose, and chin will be oily, while other areas on the body may be dry. This skin type is fairly acne-prone.
Oily skin is just that, oily. All areas of your skin will have an oily and shiny surface made by an overproduction of sebum—a mixture of fats, waxes, and oils that protects our skin when produced at normal levels.
People with sensitive skin tend to be more prone to negative reactions to body care products and reactions such as redness, itching, and burning. Sometimes sensitive skin will present as dry skin because it shares many of the same symptoms. However, if you can change a product or mitigate other triggers to end these symptoms, then you likely have sensitive, not dry, skin.
Our topic today, dry skin does not have enough sebum. This creates a dry, red, surface that is prone to wracks and wrinkles. Dry skin often also itches and pulls because it lacks the flexibility of the other skin types.
How do I determine my skin type?
Determining your skin type is fairly simple. First, read through the list above and determine which category your skin falls into. For example, if your skin feels dry all the time and is red or itchy, then you likely have a dry skin type.
Second, visit a dermatologist or esthetician. These medical professionals are trained to help determine your exact skin type. They can also give you tips and body care product suggestions for your specific skin type.
Third, if you are still confused as to your skin type, you can perform a simple test. Take a blotting sheet or tissue and pat it on different areas around your face. If the tissue comes away very oily, then you likely have oily skin. If the tissue has no oil on it and your skin feels tight, then you likely have dry skin. A combination of oil and dry areas equals—you guessed it—combination skin. Finally, if little oil comes off on the tissue, but your skin feels fine. You likely have a normal skin type.
What’s so important about skin types?
Why do you need to know your skin type? It’s simple. Different skin care products are usually designed for diverse skin types—today you can also buy ones formulated for all skin types, but those are not the norm. If you don’t know your skin type, you could potentially buy a skincare product that could aggravate your skin and hurt instead of helping it.
Knowing your skin type can also indicate skin conditions you might be prone to. In general, both dry and oily skin types are prone to acne. Having this knowledge can help you take steps to either prevent or treat various skin conditions.
Can my skin type change?
The short answer is: yes. Skin types can change due to your age, medical conditions, stress levels, or sun exposure. In general, younger people have more normal or combination skin, while skin can get increasingly drier as you age.
External factors can also influence your skin type. The most influential among these is the weather. In the Northern hemisphere, fall and winter tend to be dry seasons. Also, the use of heaters tends to suck what little moisture is left right out of the air. This means that your skin could be getting dryer just by you living in your house. In this case, the use of a humidifier could help solve the problem.
Finally, internal factors, like your stress level and health, could influence your skin type. If you have a high-stress level, the shock to your system could cause your skin to either get drier or oilier depending on your skin type. It can also cause people who have never had any skin problems to develop them. Combating stress with meditation and other self-care practices can help solve your skin issues.
What should I look for in a body wash for dry skin?
For dry skin, more than another skin type, you need to buy a body wash specifically designed for your skin type. This is because using body washes with the wrong ingredients can at worst cause serious damage to your skin, or at best, they could create intense discomfort.
Instead of buying a generic body wash, for dry skin, you should look for a soap that will introduce more moisture into your skin. There are many ingredients that can do this, including shea butter, jojoba oil, or coconut oil. We discuss the many moisturizing ingredients more fully below.
Often because these body washes try to retain as much moisture as possible, you will notice that there is not that much lather. Keep in mind that you don’t need lather to get clean and its absence in your product probably just indicates the company’s attempts to keep undesirable ingredients out of their body wash.
Ingredient to avoid in a body wash
Here are a couple of the most important ingredients to look out for in body washes. Often these are used to create lather, but for people with dry skin, they suck more moisture from your already parched skin, making your discomfort greater.
Alcohols: Alcohols like SD and Isopropyl can dry out your already dry skin. Fatty alcohols like cetyl will not create the same effect and are fine to have in your body wash.
Sulfates: Sulfates are often used to create a lather when they react with water. However, all of them can strip the sebum from the surface of your skin. Sulfates to watch out for include Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, and TEA Laureth Sulfate.
Many, many body washes on the market include sulfate. So, if your favorite product has one, don’t worry too much as long as it’s further down on the ingredient list. However, you may want to consider one of the body washes we include on our top five list, none of which contain sulfates.
Artificial fragrances: There is a huge list of artificial fragrances used in body care products. However, on an ingredient list, you will likely only see the word, artificial (or added) fragrance.
You want to steer clear of these unidentified chemicals. They can create an allergic response, dermatitis, or respiratory problems. Artificial fragrances have even been linked to problems with the reproduction system.
Ingredient to look for in a body wash
Aloe vera: When you see Aloe vera on an ingredient list, it indicates that the gel on the inside of the succulent leaves was used in the body wash. This gel has been used for thousands of years to heal burns, wounds, and sores. However, scientific studies are divided on its effectiveness.
When you see it in body washes for dry skin, it is there as a moisturizer. But, even as a moisturizer, it can infuse your skin with moisture and soothe any irritated red patches.
Glycerin and sorbitol: These two ingredients help put moisture back into your dry skin. So, their inclusion in an ingredient is a good thing.
Glycolic and lactic acid: Acids may have a bad reputation. But, glycolic and lactic acid both perform important functions in the reclamation of your skin. They both act as an exfoliant, which can get rid of any dead dry skin cells. They also attract moisture to replace the skin cells they have removed.
Jojoba oil: Jojoba oil is a particularly good moisturizer for dry skin because it mimics the waxiness and role of sebum. In essence, it stays on top of the skin and thus keeps the moisture in. Jojoba also removes a build-up of other types of oil on the skin and acts as an emollient, which can improve overall skin health and appearance.
Coconut oil: Coconut oil is made up of a lot of the good fatty acids that can help your dry skin heal. For example, its high levels of lauric acid can prevent microorganisms from growing out of control on your skin.
It also has antioxidant properties that stabilize your body’s free radicals. When this happens the amount of inflammation in your body decreases, which is great news for people with dry and inflamed skin.
Shea butter: Shea butter is another fatty substance from a plant. It is full of vitamin A, is extremely hydrating, and increased collagen production. All of these things greatly influence its ability to help dry skin repair and heal. It also can reduce the appearance of scars, wrinkles, or fine lines.
You want to make sure that you use products with raw, unrefined shea butter because that ingredient has the most benefits.
Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a cereal that is known for its ability to help calm and soothe irritated skin. You will often find it as an ingredient in eczema body washes or bath soap. However, it can help anyone with dry skin by binding to the skin and protecting it against irritants. The fats in oatmeal can also help soothe dry skin’s itchiness.
Herbal ingredients: Certain herbs are known for their calming and moisturizing properties. Their addition to a body wash can help treat the irritation that comes along with dry skin. Herbs to look for include lavender and chamomile.
Top Five Best Body Wash for Dry Skin 2020 – Comparison Table
Body wash, Face wash, Shampoo
Vegetable Glycerin, Coco Glycinate, Coco-Gluscoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Himalayan Pink Sea Salt, Pink Grapefruit Essential Oil, Citric Acid
16 oz. (set of two)
Face wash, Body wash, Shampoo, Shaving soap, Acne treatment
Vegetable Glycerin, Coco Glycinate, Coco-Gluscoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Himalayan Pink Sea Salt, Pink Grapefruit Essential Oil, Citric Acid
8oz., 16 oz., or 32 oz.
Body wash, Foot wash
Tea Tree Oil, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Organic Aloe Vera
Wild Soapberry Juice, Organic Aloe Vera Juice, Coconut, Organic Cucumber Extract, Citric Acid, Organic Chamomile Extract, Organic Shea Butter, Lavender Essential Oil
Coconut, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Soybean Oil, Glycerin, Sunflower Seed Oil, Stearic Acid, Citric Acid
Top Five Best Body Wash for Dry Skin 2021 – Reviews
1 Puracy Natural Body Wash
One of the top-rated body washes, Puracy’s Natural Body Wash is a coconut-based cleanser that is without triclosan, sulfates (SLS, SLES, SCS), formaldehyde, salicylates, parabens, phosphates, MEA, DEA, TEA, petroleum-based ingredients, animal by-products, perfumes, dyes or caustics.
The inclusion of citrus creates a unique and pleasant scent without artificial fragrances. And, the inclusion of sea salt acts as a gentle exfoliator. In all, this is an effective body wash that will help people with sensitive or dry skin, while also being appropriate for all other skin types.
2 Dr. Woods Raw Black Liquid Body Wash with Organic Shea Butter
Dr. Woods Raw Black Liquid Body Wash is a little on the weird side of things in that it is made from black soap and is, therefore, black colored. It is extremely successful in helping people with dry skin, so let’s dive into the unique ingredients in this unique body wash.
In addition to the black soap and shea butter, Dr. Woods’ Raw Black Liquid Body Wash includes almond oil, mint leaves, lime, cinnamon, cloves, coconut milk, and the list goes on and on—see the chart above for the full ingredient list. The body wash also comes in three sizes, so you can try a small one first before you commit to the larger options.
3 FineVine Antifungal Tea Tree Oil Body Wash
FineVine’s Antifungal Tea Tree Oil Body Wash is also a unique option because in addition to helping with dry skin it can defend Against Fungus & Bacteria Responsible for Body Odor, Athlete’s Foot, Ringworm, Jock Itch, Acne, Toenail & Nail Fungus, Yeast, and other Common Foot, Back, Chest, Butt and Skin Irritation.
Tea Tree oil is a known antifungal and is often used in body care products designed to help with acne or dandruff. It makes sense then that FineVine’s body wash would work well. No wonder it has a 4.7/5-star rating on Amazon.
4 Tree to Tub Real, Organic Body Wash for Dry Skin
Another body washes with an unusual type of soap, Tree to Tub’s Real, Organic Body Wash for Dry Skin is made from soapberries. The company also uses this plant to make shampoos and face wash. Soapberry is a natural, pH-balanced soap-producing substance, which makes it gentle enough for even the most sensitive skins.
Tree to Tub also adds aloe vera, coconut, citric acid, chamomile, lavender, and shea butter—all ingredients that calm and soothe dry, irritated skin. The fact that this body wash is also vegan, cruelty-free, fair trade, and sustainable only adds to its appeal.
5 Dove Body Wash, Dry Oil Moisture
Dove’s Dry Oil Moisture Body Wash might seem like a strange addition to this list. It is the only major body product manufacturer on this list. But, Dove is known for its high-quality skin helping products. This body wash also includes many of the beneficial ingredients mentioned in this article.
For example, it includes Lauric Acid, Soybean Oil, and Glycerin. All of these ingredients are proven to help treat your dry skin. It also has Iron Oxides which can prevent and treat acne outbreaks. In all, Dove has formulated a good and effective body wash for anyone with sensitive or dry skin.
Gels vs moisturizing washes
In your search for a good body wash for dry skin, you will likely encounter two different formulas: shower gels and moisturizing body washes. What’s the difference?
Shower gels are usually made of primary water and a surfactant—usually a sulfite of some kind. These can get you clean but can make dry skin worse by removing the sebum on the surface of your skin. You may see shower gels with added moisturizing ingredients, but these can still irritate dry or sensitive skin.
Body washes, on the other hand, are often creamy because of the large number of moisturizers in them. They also contain water and detergents but also include lots of oils. You can still get sulfites and other less desirable ingredients with body washes. So, make sure to follow our advice above and play close attention to ingredient lists when choosing a body wash.
Appropriate water temperature for dry skin
If you have dry skin, especially if your skin is scaly or peeling, you should not take showers or baths with hot water. Hot water can make the moisture leave your skin faster by removing the natural oils from your face. This will make your dry skin worse. Instead, use lukewarm water when you clean your face and body.
Other ways to help heal your dry skin
Cleaning your body with the best body wash for your skin type is essential for skin health. However, if you have extremely dry skin there are some other strategies you can try to add moisture.
Use oil or moisturizer: Choose oils like Jojoba, fractionated coconut, olive, or shea butter. You could also choose to use unscented creams or ointments that include these ingredients. Apply to your skin immediately following a shower or bath.
Use unscented skincare products: Scented products could potentially cause irritation or allergic reactions in people with dry or sensitive skin. So, it is always better to opt for unscented.
Be careful about clothing and detergent choices: Choose unscented and hypoallergenic detergent. You will also want to stay with fabrics like cotton or silk if you have dry skin. Wool or other rough materials can be an irritant.
Wear gloves: Especially when you are doing an activity that gets your hands wet, you will want to wear gloves. This will protect your hands from the harmful effects of the environment or elements.
Use a humidifier: Humidifiers help put moisture back into your environment. For people with dry skin, this is a lifesaver. Humidifiers can be especially helpful in the colder seasons.
How to keep your skin healthy
Dry skin can be a challenging skin type. Anyone who’s ever experienced the itchy tightness of dry skin knows how uncomfortable and distracting dry skin can be. But, by making a couple of important changes to your skincare regimen you can soothe and heal your dry skin fast. All you have to do is follow our buyer’s guide and five top picks for the best body wash for dry skin to get healthy skin today.