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The 18 best body washes for every skin type in 2023

Lathering up with a foamy body wash can be an invigorating start to your morning or a relaxing end to a long day. Like soap, body washes get rid of the dirt, but they also contain a mix of ingredients to target specific skin concerns. Some are infused with essential oils and natural floral scents to moisturize and provide a spa-like experience; others contain glycolic acid to help exfoliate. Plus, there are options for every skin type, including oily skin, dry skin, sensitive skin and mature skin.

SKIP AHEAD Dry and sensitive skin | Oily and acne-prone skin | Mature skin | Body washes for relaxation

“As a dermatologist, I understand how frustrating it can be to find the right body wash that caters to your skin’s unique needs,” says Dr. Dusan Sajic, a board-certified medical and cosmetic dermatologist and director of the Derma Skin Institute in Ontario.

The best place to start is to know which ingredients are best for your skin type, experts told us. Below, we share their insight about what to look for when shopping for a body wash and which options are their top picks for various skin types.

Our top picks

How we picked the best body washes

To help us determine the best body washes, we spoke to board-certified dermatologists about what ingredients to look for and what to avoid depending on your skin type. The body washes we list below are either directly recommended by our experts or personal picks from Select staff. When shopping for a body wash, the dermatologists we spoke to recommend considering the following factors: 

  • Skin type and ingredients: If you have dry skin, look for products with shea butter and glycerin that’ll draw in moisture to the skin. If you have sensitive skin, consider body washes that are fragrance-free and hypoallergenic so that your skin isn’t left irritated. For people with oily and acne-prone skin, keep an eye out for acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide and glycolic acid. For mature skin, look for a body wash with retinol or antioxidants to stimulate collagen production and firm the skin.  
  • Formulation: Body washes come in various formulations, including creams,  foams, gels and scrubs. We curated multiple types for each category below. 
  • Price: All of the body washes in our list are under $20.

Best body washes for every skin type

Below is a roundup of our experts’ favorite body washes. We’ve also included some top-rated body washes and Select staff favorites we think you should know about.

Best body washes for dry and sensitive skin

La Roche-Posay Lipikar AP Gentle Foaming Moisturizing Wash

This gentle wash has the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance, which means it’s designed for people with sensitive skin. It’s suitable for all ages starting at two weeks old and is a great option for extra-dry skin, according to La Roche-Posay. (The brand even recommends it for patients undergoing chemotherapy since dry skin is often a side effect.). Dr. Debra L. Grayman, a board-certified dermatologist and owner of Pure Skin Dermatology and Aesthetics in Orlando, Florida, recommends this wash because it contains shea butter and glycerin, which she says help soothe, hydrate and restore the skin barrier.“It is gentle enough to be used on the face and can double as a facial wash, especially for patients with dermatitis,” she says.

Cetaphil Restoraderm Soothing Wash

Grayman recommends Cetaphil to her patients with dry skin because it is gentle for both the face and body. It includes ingredients like shea butter, sunflower seed oil and glycerin to moisturize the skin, as well as vitamin E and B3, also known as niacin, which are both known antioxidants that help repair damaged cells and restore moisture, according to Grayman.

Eucerin Advanced Cleansing Body & Face Cleanser

This Eucerin wash, which is gentle enough to use on your face, helps maintain your skin’s natural pH and restores its natural barrier, Grayman says. The dye- and fragrance-free wash is also one of the most budget-friendly options on this list.

Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash

This body wash contains moisturizing ingredients that leave the skin soft and nourished, says Sajic. Select updates editor Mili Godio uses this hypoallergenic body wash daily on her dry, sensitive skin and says that it doesn’t irritate or cause redness like many other body washes she’s tried in the past. 

Best body washes for oily and acne-prone skin

CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser

This wash is a good option for those prone to face and body breakouts, according to Grayman. It has benzoyl peroxide, which helps inhibit the growth of acne-causing bacteria, and ceramides to soothe and moisturize the skin, Grayman says. It’s cream-to-foam formula won’t leave your skin feeling stripped of moisture, according to the brand.

Cetaphil Acne Relief Body Wash

This Select Wellness Award winner has 2% salicylic acid, which helps exfoliate and unclog pores, according to our experts. The fragrance-free body wash also hydrates the skin thanks to ingredients like shea butter, glycerin and soybean oil, according to the brand. Select associate updates editor Zoe Malin uses this body wash after sweaty workouts to help prevent breakouts. “This is a great option for those who struggle with body acne and also have sensitive skin,” she says. “It doesn’t get sudsy but still lathers well. It’s extremely gentle and non-irritating and leaves my skin feeling soft and clean.”

CeraVe SA Body Wash

“This body wash contains salicylic acid, which is excellent at removing dead skin, and [has] ceramides that help restore the skin’s barrier and prevent [it] from drying out,” says Grayman. This option focuses on exfoliating the skin, and the brand recommends gently massaging it into your skin in a circular motion using a washcloth or shower loofah.

Mario Badescu AHA Botanical Body Soap

Mario Badescu has several lines of body soaps for various skin types, including dry and sensitive skin.This one uses glycolic acid and fruit enzymes to exfoliate, plus has  oatmeal to soothe the skin, says Grayman. Like many body washes, the brand suggests using a soft cloth, washcloth or loofah when washing.

Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash

An excellent choice for oily and acne-prone skin is this Neutrogena body wash since it has salicylic acid, which helps exfoliate and unclog pores, says Sajic. This scented wash also has glycerin to help prevent dryness, according to the brand.

Avène Cleanance Cleansing Gel

Specifically formulated with oily and acne-prone skin in mind, this wash contains glyceryl laurate, which helps regulate oil production and reduce shine, says Sajic. He also says the thermal spring water helps soothe and calm the skin. Avène suggests using this twice daily to reduce shine since it minimizes excess oil production and cleanses the skin.

Best body washes for mature skin

Olay Cleansing & Renewing Nighttime Body Wash with Retinol

Olay’s body wash is formulated with retinol, which helps increase cell turnover and produce collagen, Grayman says. The production of collagen keeps the skin’s firm and reduces the appearance of fine lines, experts told us in our guide to retinol alternatives.  It also has vitamin B3, which helps your skin retain moisture and smooth out the skin, according to the brand. 

Alpha Skin Care Moisturizing Body Wash

This body wash contains glycolic acid, vitamin E and aloe vera to lift away dull, dead skin cells and promotes the production of collagen, according to the brand. It’s also highly rated with a 4.4-star average rating from over 2,400 reviews on Amazon.

Best body washes for relaxation

The Seaweed Bath Co. Sleep Foaming Body Scrub

This gentle, vegan body scrub has glycolic acid to remove dead skin cells and aloe vera to moisturize the skin, according to the brand. This scrub is a part of the brand’s calm line and its scent has notes of vetiver and geranium. The wash has a 4.6-star average rating from over 1,922 reviews on Amazon.

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash

Made for those with sensitive skin, this moisturizing body wash is creamy and hydrating with a light scent, according to the brand. The key ingredients in this formula are the oats since the prebiotic grain helps lock in moisture and soothe the skin. It’s one of the highest-ranked body washes on this list, with a 4.8-star average rating from over 30,000 reviews on Amazon.

Dove Go Fresh Refreshing Body Wash

This Select Wellness Award winner for best drugstore body wash soothes and hydrates the skin with its cucumber and green tea-scented formula. Select manager of editorial operations Shari Uyehara says it gently cleanses her skin without drying it out and leaves her skin feeling soft after a shower. 

Neutrogena RainBath Refreshing Shower & Bath Gel Original

This bath gel and body wash is multifunctional, so you can use it as a body wash or while shaving in the shower or bath. Its scent is a combination of herbs, fruits and spices, and it has a 4.6-star average rating from almost 1,512 Amazon reviews.

Being Frenshe Renewing & Hydrating Shower Gel

In this Target-exclusive body wash, ingredients like niacinamide and oat extract cleanse, hydrate and soften the skin, according to the brand. The Select Wellness Award winner for best body wash for all skin types has a combination of floral and citrus notes and is free of sulfates, parabens and artificial dyes. “Being Frenshe’s body wash has a smooth, rich feel and gets sudsy while you’re using it, which I like,” says Malin. “It softens skin and is one of the best smelling body washes I’ve used.”

Naturium The Smoother Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Body Wash

This Naturium body wash has glycolic acid and other alpha hydroxy acids that help exfoliate and even out your skin tone, according to the brand. Select associate reporter Bianca Alvarez uses this fragrance-free wash because it’s gentle and nonirritating on her sensitive skin. “After using it on a consistent basis, my skin feels and looks so much smoother,” says Alvarez. “Exfoliating products can be really drying, but this leaves my skin feeling hydrated.” 

How to shop for body washes for every skin type 

Not all body washes are the same: There are variations in the formula type, scents and function. (For example, you may find a scented hydrating gel, or an exfoliating unscented bar.) When shopping for a body wash, our experts recommend keeping certain ingredients in mind based on your specific skin type. Below, we break down how to decide what is best for your skin.

Dry skin 

A number of factors can dry your skin out, including sun damage, allergies, exposure to cold or dry weather and using harsh soaps or detergents. For people with dry skin, Grayman says the product you choose should cleanse, nourish and hydrate the skin. “The best body washes will contain ingredients that help bind water to the skin and restore its natural barrier,” says Grayman. 

Look for options that have humectants like shea butter that keep the skin hydrated  and emollients like glycerin that soften the skin while also locking in the moisture, according to Grayman. You’ll also want to consider fragrance- and preservative-free options to avoid irritating the skin.

Oily or acne-prone skin 

“If you have oily skin, you may find that some body washes exacerbate your skin’s oil production and leave you feeling greasy,” says Sajic. “Body washes [for oily skin] are formulated to regulate oil production, exfoliate, unclog pores and leave your skin feeling balanced and refreshed.” 

People with oily skin are usually acne prone, so body washes for acne can also be good to use on oily skin, according to Grayman. She recommends those with acne-prone skin use a gentle body wash for their entire body and then spot treat acne-prone areas with medicated cleansers. The body washes our experts recommend contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide to treat existing breakouts and prevent future pimples from forming, as well as glyceryl laurate, which helps regulate oil production and reduce shine.

Sensitive skin 

Sensitive skin can be chronic, such as when eczema or psoriasis is present, or a temporary condition due to a sunburn, an allergic reaction or other irritating skin issues. Grayman and Sajic both agree that you can treat dry skin and sensitive skin similarly: You should look for fragrance- and preservative-free options, which is important for reducing the risk of any burning, redness or itching that harsh chemicals or artificial fragrances can cause.

Mature skin

Many products on the market focus on improving the skin’s elasticity and reducing the appearance of fine lines, and body washes are no different. The best body washes for mature skin will include ingredients like caffeine, retinol and collagen, according to our experts. Antioxidants such as vitamins E and C, which stimulate collagen and elastin production to create the appearance of firmer skin, are other suitable ingredients for mature skin, says Grayman. 

How to use a body wash

The water temperature of your shower, as well as how often and how long you shower, is also important to consider, says Grayman. She suggests bathing once or twice per day (for less than 10 minutes to avoid drying out your skin) based on your activity level. “If a second shower is needed, it should focus only on intimate areas and be very short,” she says. Grayman also recommends using warm water because hot water can strip the skin and leave it feeling dry and itchy. 

Regardless of your skin type, Grayman recommends keeping these tips in mind to  to achieve glowing, clean skin:

  • Use moisturizing, gentle washes and soaps that will restore the skin’s natural barrier and won’t strip the skin of its natural oils.
  • Use a soft washcloth or loofah to gently massage the body wash onto the skin. 
  • Cleanse thoroughly and use a long-handled brush to cleanse hard-to-reach areas.
  • Exfoliate only once or twice per week.
  • Pat the skin dry with a soft towel instead of rubbing vigorously post-shower or bath.
  • Moisturize with lotion or cream immediately after bathing to lock in moisture.

Meet our experts

At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Dr. Debra L. Grayman is a board-certified dermatologist and the owner and medical director at Pure Skin Dermatology and Aesthetics in Orlando, Florida.
  • Dr. Dusan Sajic is an international board-certified medical and cosmetic dermatologist in Canada and the U.S. and is also the director of the Derma Skin Institute in Ontario, Canada.

Why trust Select?

Shea Peters is a lifestyle, culture and travel writer. For this piece, Shea interviewed two dermatologists and researched body washes on the market. We recommended products the dermatologists shared with us, met their shopping guidance and ones we have tried ourselves. 

Bianca Alvarez is an associate reporter and has been covering beauty for a year.

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