The Best Body Washes for Eczema

Emollient-Rich Skin Cleansers

Most soaps, especially bar soaps, dry out the skin. If you have eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis), your skin may be particularly red, dry, itchy, and flaky—so finding a good soap that moisturizes the skin is extra important.

Liquid cleansers are much less damaging to the skin than bar soaps and there are several types of liquid cleansers on the market. Studies have shown that emollient-rich cleansers, in particular, dry out the skin the least and add moisture.

The following cleansers are all emollient-rich and worth trying, especially if you have eczema. They are not presented in any order of preference. You may want to try out a few before sticking with one—each has a different price, smell, and feel.


Dove body wash products contain sunflower oil and soybean oil as the emollient. For the best results, squirt a little bit of the product onto a wet puff or loofah in the shower or during a bath, and then rub the loofah all over your body as the product lathers and suds form. Using a loofah will help you spread the cleanser over your skin more easily, and it will help you exfoliate (remove old, dead skin cells). Once you have scrubbed your entire body, rinse off the cleanser. 


The Olay products contain petrolatum as the emollient. Petrolatum is reported to stay on the skin and moisturize for up to 24 hours. This wash penetrates the surface of the skin, layer by layer, and is specially formulated with vitamin E and a creamy lather. The company also claims that your skin will look visibly younger after just one use.


The ingredients in this cleanser are the same as the ingredients in the other Dove cleansers listed, with soybean oil and sunflower oil. The Pro-Age line is marketed towards "mature women" who are looking for anti-aging products, but anyone can use this cleanser.


The amount of shea butter in this product is fairly small. It's probably just enough to make it smell different than the other emollient-rich cleansers. It infuses moisture 10 layers into the skin. The formula is lightweight, so you won't feel like you're coated with it as much as you might with other cleansers. A clinical study found that among women who used this cleanser, experts noticed less dry skin in 100 percent of them.


The shea butter in the moisture ribbons is far enough down on the ingredient list that it is mainly contributing to the feel of the cleanser, not to its moisturizing effect. That's not a problem, though, because a good feel is important when choosing a cleanser. Besides the rosemary mint scent, they also have a Moisture Ribbons Plus Seah + Lavender Oil Body Wash version. Both have petrolatum as the main moisturizer, which you may be familiar with as petroleum jelly.


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