Body wash can do more than keep your skin clean and smelling fresh; it can also moisturise, exfoliate and help to treat skin problems. With so many products and brands to choose from, it can be difficult to select the best product for your needs and skin type. It’s easy to just choose the cheapest body wash in the largest bottle, but having the right product can be the difference between a good shower and a great one. Read on for the best natural body washes for sensitive skin.
- 1 What should I look for when choosing a body wash?
- 2 Why is it important to choose a body wash that is suitable for sensitive skin?
- 3 Should I choose a body wash, shower gel or bar soap?
- 4 Conclusion
What should I look for when choosing a body wash?
Standing in the beauty aisle in a supermarket can be overwhelming. These days, there are so many different types of body wash and they all come in so many scents and with so many purposes, it can be hard to choose the right one for you. The first step is to establish what kind of skin you have:
If you have dry skin, it’s a good idea to go for a creamier wash instead of a gel. A cream wash is usually gentler for dry skin and doesn’t dry it out. Look for products with ingredients that hydrate your skin, such as olive oil, aloe vera and honey, and vitamins like A, B1 or E.
It can also be tempting to over-exfoliate when you have dry skin, but limit yourself to lightly dry exfoliate with a glove only every couple of days and keep your skin well-moisturised.
There are three key steps to reviving dull skin. Firstly, make sure you are drinking enough water. Secondly, remember to exfoliate. Finally, hydrate your skin. Start your day by gently dry brushing your skin to increase circulation. In the shower, use a body wash that contains gentle exfoliation and invigorating ingredients such as citrus or tea tree to leave you feeling refreshed. Finish with a hydrating body lotion or body oil to brighten up dull skin.
It is tempting to over-cleanse when you have oily skin, which only serves to make your body produce even more oil. To find a wash that hydrates properly without adding more oil, you should focus on lighter shower gels with gentle exfoliation to stop pores becoming clogged with excess sebum. Products with a mint scent are great for invigorating your skin, while natural ingredients such as raspberries contain antioxidants and vitamin C.
Overly dry skin and allergies are common problems for those of us with sensitive skin. There are some basic tips to choosing a wash that doesn’t irritate your skin:
- Stay away from heavily-scented washes
- Look for key words such as ‘gentle’, ‘creamy’ and ‘softening’ when choosing products
- Look for natural and pH balancing ingredients
Washes with avocado are a great choice as it contains healthy fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins. Almond oil is also a good choice as it is gentle on your skin but really nourishing.
Overall, all skin types can benefit from these tips:
- Choose a mild cleanser than does not contain lye
- Use cool or warm water when bathing, never hot (or at least finish off with a cool shower for as long as you can stand!)
- Use a moisturiser after your shower
- Don’t over-cleanse your skin, as this can lead to dryness
If you try several products but always experience dryness, rashes or itching, you might need to see a dermatologist for a prescription skin care.
Why is it important to choose a body wash that is suitable for sensitive skin?
As tempting as it can be to just buy whatever product you fancy, it can be highly damaging if you have sensitive skin or other skin problems.
When choosing a product for sensitive skin, it is important to avoid chemicals, strong perfumes and dyes. If you are able to identify what ingredients irritate your skin, it becomes easier to stay away from products that contain this ingredient(s). However, this isn’t as easy as it seems, so overall a safe rule is to choose organic and natural products. This isn’t to say that all organic and natural products won’t irritate your skin, but the chance is greatly reduced. Products containing essential oils can also help to promote healing of the skin, which can improve the appearance of scarred and damaged skin.
Organic soaps not only wash your skin just as well as chemical-loaded washes, they can also help to treat a variety of issues which are often associated with having sensitive skin, including eczema and acne. A common complaint with organic products is that they don’t lather as well as other soaps and washes. Keep in mind that lather isn’t proportionate to cleanliness! When you have sensitive skin, lathering up can often turn into an itchy, irritating experience instead of a cleansing one. Chemicals such as phthalates, parabens and sulfates can be harmful to sensitive skin (and normal skin too), which is why organic and natural products are definitely the best choice.
Remember that just because a product is labelled as ‘organic’, it doesn’t mean that it actually is. Always read the label carefully to see if there are any added chemicals or scents.
Should I choose a body wash, shower gel or bar soap?
Despite the various claims on all shower products, they essentially all have the same effect; they remove dirt, bacteria and unfortunately some of your natural body oils. The only thing it is recommended to look for is that whatever product you choose is moisturising – this means that the product will leave a layer of moisturiser on your skin to replenish the oils that it removes. Other than this, the form of soap you choose is purely personal preference. I prefer using liquid wash or gel, but I know many people who prefer using a soap bar because they feel that they last longer as less product is wasted.
However, some people don’t like the feel of the ‘film’ moisturising soaps can leave on your skin. If this is the case for you, specialists suggest that you use newer formulations of soaps, as these tend to be more closely approximated to the skin’s natural lipids and still leave moisture in the skin but feel less greasy.
A slight variation to the ‘personal preference’ rule is using bar soaps if you have dry skin. Deodorant soaps and lye soaps tend to strip your skin of its natural oils and not replace them, but if your skin is naturally oily then this isn’t a problem. If you have dry skin but prefer using a bar soap, it is recommended to use a beauty bar, as these tend to me bore moisturising than normal bar soaps.
However, it is also worth remembering that body washes are often more strongly fragranced than bar soaps, which could irritate sensitive skin. If you haven’t already, it might be worth trying a bar soap if your skin is easily irritated, but keep in mind that bar soaps are usually more drying than body washes.
For more information, check out this (slightly robotic but very scientific) video:
Back to the products; here are the best soaps and body washes for sensitive skin…
ArtNaturals Tea Tree Body Wash
ArtNaturals have specially selected natural botanical extracts to create this stimulating and healing body wash. Including tea tree, eucalyptus, oregano, peppermint, jojoba, coconut, rosemary and olive oils mixed with calming awapuhi white ginger, chamomile and aloe vera, this is suitable for use on anyone over the age of 3 – making it great for everyone in the family, especially those with an active lifestyle. ArtNaturals Tea Tree Body Wash claims to provide instant relief for unwanted bacteria and fungi which can cause problems such as athlete’s foot, as well as protecting against further germs and leaving your skin feeling smooth and refreshed without any redness or irritation.
As it only uses completely natural ingredients, this body wash is vegan certified and suitable for sensitive skin.
Dr. Bronner’s 4-in-1 Organic Sugar Soap (Lemongrass)
As the name suggests, Dr. Bronner’s 4-in-1 Organic Sugar Soap uses organic shikakai and other natural products to moisturize and clean your whole body. Organic shikakai comes from the seed pods of the small South Asian tree Acadia Concinna and has been used in India for millennia as a gentle cleanser for skin and hair. The shikakai is extracted in organic sucrose and grape juice, for added moisturizing properties, and the result a foaming lather that efficiently cleans hands, the face, the body and hair while preserving essential hydration.
This body wash is packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled plastic pump bottles for convenient application, and is vegan certified across the globe. It comes in a variety of scents but I find lemongrass to be the most neutral smell for communal use. It is also suitable for all ages and is great at soothing eczema.
Everyone 3-in-1 Soap (Coconut and lemon) by EO Products
Everyone 3-in-1 Soaps are formulated to be used as a shower gel, shampoo, bubble bath or even shaving gel. The natural scents are derived from pure essential oils and plant extracts such as aloe vera, calendula, white tea and chamomile, as well as vitamins such as B5 and E, to leave you feeling clean and refreshed. As a family-owned and operated company, EO Products use bottles made from recycled plastic and work in a zero-waste facility; meaning that their products are good for both you and the environment. They are also Leaping Bunny certified.
All the scents are great, but I find the lemon and coconut soap to be the best for family use. The lemon really refreshes you while the coconut feels soothing; it’s almost like being on a tropical island! This body wash is great for anyone without specific needs as it’s a really good all-round wash. It works well on sensitive skin but might not be strong enough for anyone who builds up a bit of sweat during the day!
First Botany Cosmeceuticals Anti-Fungal Tea Tree Oil Body and Foot Scrub
First Botany’s tea tree oil scrub has been specially designed to target athlete’s foot, psoriasis and ringworm, amongst many other skin problems. Using a blend of dead sea salts and essential oils, this scrub gently exfoliates your skin to remove dull, dry skin cells. Vitamin E then nourishes the new skin, along with jojoba, tea tree, chamomile, rosemary, eucalyptus, spearmint and peppermint oils to make you smell great.
This scrub is suitable for whole body use and works particularly well on more serious skin problems such as athlete’s foot and even warts and callouses. This could mean that it might be too strong for normal to sensitive skin, but overall it seems to work well just as a scrub to leave your skin feeling soft and smooth. In terms of being a good body wash, this isn’t the best product, but as it treats some serious skin issues successfully, I felt it was worth including in this list.
O Naturals Natural Soap Collection
This cute little collection is a great purchase for any family, or even as a gift for someone. These soap bars are lightly scented with a blend of essential and organic oils. They are suitable for vegans (with the exception of the honey and soy milk soap) and each soap has a different purpose:
- Cleansing jojoba and tea tree have been mixed with lavender to nourish your skin and help treat acne and inflammation
- Energizing rosemary and tea tree contains natural antioxidants to regenerate and refresh your body
- Exfoliating oatmeal and coffee with a hint of vanilla is great for soothing itchy or inflamed skin
- Moisturising coconut and shea butter infused with avocado nourishes dry skin and improves elasticity to leave your skin feeling soft and smooth
- Honey and soy milk is a good match for sensitive skin as it is a gentle, unscented soap full of natural organic ingredients
- Argan oil and lavender combined with eucalyptus oil is great for soothing and hydrating dry skin
All soaps lather really well and leave your skin feeling soft and smelling great, and are suitable for all skin types.
Aspen Kay Dead Sea Mineral Mud
This soap bar is made from 100% organic and natural ingredients, is vegan-friendly, and is suitable for men, women and teens. Made with certified organic oils such as shea butter and olive oil, as well as activated charcoal and lemongrass, peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils, this soap is suitable for all skin types and can be used to treat acne, eczema and psoriasis. Dead Sea Mineral Mud soap is versatile and can be used for your face, hands, body, and even for shaving.
This soap has fine grains which help to exfoliate by removing dead skin cells to leave your skin glowing. It also tightens pores for an anti-aging effect, moisturizes and hydrates skin which helps to reduce wrinkles, improves blood circulation and is an effective relief for some skin disorders.
This is a detoxifying soap which pulls impurities to the surface of your skin. If you experience more acne of breakouts when you start using it, this is completely normal. It just means that your skin is releasing toxins and impurities from deeper layers of your skin. It usually takes a week or two for your skin to finish its detox and clear up again.
From this selection, my personal favourite has to be the O Naturals Natural Soap Collection. These soaps are great for use on sensitive skin and every bar smells great. It’s also good to know that whatever issue you might be having, there’s a soap that can help in that box. These soaps aren’t effective on skin conditions such as psoriasis or athlete’s foot, but personally I would rather buy a separate product that has been designed specifically for that one problem to treat any issues safely and effectively. The box is reasonably priced and each soap is lightly scented, leaving you smelling great and feeling soft and refreshed.
If you’re looking for something a bit stronger than can treat a variety of skin problems, I’d say it’s hard to beat First Botany’s Tea Tree scrub. As well as treating problems such as psoriasis and athlete’s foot, it’s also just a great exfoliant you can use with your regular body wash.