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If you’re dealing with eczema, take heart in knowing that you’re not alone. The skin condition—characterized by red, itchy, dry, flaky patches—affects over 10% of people in the U.S., according to the National Eczema Association. There are multiple factors at play when it comes to both what causes eczema and what exacerbates it, but the products you’re using are a major component—particularly things you reach for daily, such as lotion and body wash.
When it comes to the latter, opting for gentle, soap- and fragrance-free formulas is key, advises Dr. Robin Gmyrek, a dermatologist at Park View Laser Dermatology in New York City. Seek out soothing and hydrating ingredients—ceramides, colloidal oatmeal—instead, she adds. (Also important: Keep shower time to under 20 minutes and stick with lukewarm water, since hot water can further dry out and irritate our skin, she points out.)
Ahead, the best body washes for eczema that fit the bill.
Best Overall: CeraVe Eczema Soothing Body Wash
This pick checks all of Gmyrek’s eczema wash boxes: “It’s fragrance, paraben-, sulfate-, and soap-free, and contains ceramides to restore and maintain a healthy skin barrier, along with hyaluronic acid to help skin retain moisture,” she says. The affordable price is an added bonus, as is the pleasantly creamy texture. It even boasts the National Eczema Association’s seal of approval.
Best Drugstore: Eucerin Eczema Relief Cream Body Wash
This newbie is extra creamy, extra gentle, and extra soothing. Credit a 2% concentration of colloidal oatmeal, an ingredient Gmyrek says has been scientifically-proven to improve skin barrier function, prevent water loss, and act as an anti-inflammatory. There are also protective ceramides in the mix, all in a fragrance-, dye-, and soap-free formula.
Runner-Up, Best Drugstore: Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash
This formula, another one of Gmyrek’s picks, is another great colloidal oat-based option. On top of that, it also contains humectants to attract moisture to the skin, she says. One caveat: While it is soap-free, it is lightly fragranced, so pass on this one if your skin is super sensitive.
Best for the Whole Family: Honest Soothing Therapy Eczema Body Wash
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 20% of children under 10 deal with eczema. Enter the beauty of this body wash, a surefire safe bet for the entire fam, even babies. It touts soothing colloidal oatmeal and probiotics coupled with deeply moisturizing coconut and safflower oils and is another National Eczema Association seal-holder.
Best Foaming: Skinfix Eczema+ Foaming Oil Body Wash
Everyone likes that foamy, sudsy feeling you get from a body wash—the only problem? It can be a major no-no if you have eczema, since, generally speaking, the ingredients that make for that fun foamy feel are harsh surfactants that can spell disaster for sensitive skin. That’s what makes this option, a favorite of Byrdie Senior Editor Hallie Gould, such a winner. Dermatologist-tested, it boasts a long list of hydrating and soothing ingredients yet still checks that sensorial box, foaming up nicely thanks to the addition of coconut-derived surfactants.
Best Oil: Avene XeraCalm AD Lipid-Replenishing Cleansing Oil
A great pick for both eczema-sufferers and those dealing with ultra-dry skin alike, this rich oil hydrates during cleansing and works to seal in moisture afterward. Credit oils rich in ceramides and omega-6 fatty acids, coupled with the brand’s thermal spring water, rich in skin-soothing minerals. Also nice: It’s another pick that works well for babies, kids, and adults.
Best Bar: Dove Sensitive Skin Body Bar
Dove is known for gentle cleansers rich in moisturizing ingredients, and this formula is no different. Fragrance-free and hypoallergenic, the soap-free bar is also packed with hydrating actives and works equally well on the body, face, and even hands. Not a huge fan of cleansing bars? Gmyrek says the creamy body wash version is a great choice, too.
Best Anti-Itch: Curel Itch Defense Body Wash
As anyone who’s ever dealt with eczema will tell you, itching is one very real, very annoying symptom of the condition. Happily, this cleanser is not only gentle, effective, and hydrating, it also works to stop dry, itchy skin before it even crops up. We love it not only for those combatting eczema but as a universally great option in the winter when dry, itchy skin is almost inevitable.
Best Budget: Cetaphil Ultra Gentle Body Wash
“This is creamy and moisturizing and cleans without drying,” says Gmyrek of another one of her picks. It’s fragrance-free and contains glycerin to hold onto moisture, along with aloe which acts as both a moisturizer and an anti-inflammatory,” she adds. It also suds up nicely and has a delightful texture. And, of course, we’d be remiss not to mention the insanely wallet-friendly price.
Best for Eczema & Psoriasis: SheaMoisture African Black Soap Eczema & Psoriasis Therapy
This pick relies heavily on natural ingredients, many of which are certified organic. More specifically, it relies on a trio of hydrating oils, hydrating shea butter, and healing willow bark and oat extracts, making this a great pick for those dealing with eczema and/or psoriasis. (While the two are different skin conditions, they do come with many of the same symptoms.)
Best for Face & Body: La Roche-Posay Lipikar Wash AP+
Eczema can occur anywhere and everywhere on the body, including your complexion. If patches are popping up on the skin both above and below your chin, consider this one-stop-shop. Formulated for dry to extra dry skin, it does foam up a bit, but is still very gentle, locking in moisture for up to 24 hours. It too has earned the National Eczema Association’s stamp of approval and can be used on babies as young as two weeks. A true shower staple for sure.
Why Trust Byrdie?
Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She also has dealt with eczema since she was four, and has used pretty much any and every eczema wash and cream out there.
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