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How To Choose the Right Body Wash for Your Skin Type

When it comes to skincare, plenty of us are guilty of overlooking our bodies in favour of our faces. And it’s easy to understand why. Our face is the part we present to the world (when it’s not hidden behind a mask). It’s the part we gaze at in the mirror each morning as we brush our teeth.

But that doesn’t mean our bodies don’t need some love, too! In fact, the skin on our body has a skin type, much the same as the skin on our face.

For some, it’s the same from top to toe. For others, it varies.

So, we’re suggesting this: think of your morning shower as the place your skincare routine begins. With our help, you’ll easily find a body wash that treats your body with the same TLC as your face wash.


Discovering Your Skin Needs

Without even a vague idea of your skin type, it’s much harder to figure out what will work for you. So, take a moment next time you shower and try to assess your skin.

The chances are, if your face is oily or sensitive, then your body is too. But that isn’t always the case. There are tell-tale signs of most skin types you can spot a mile off, so have a little think.

  • Does your skin often feel itchy and dry? Then your skin type is probably dry.
  • Do you find yourself with acne or spots on your chest and back? This is likely oily, or acne-prone skin.
  • Are you prone to inflammation or allergic reactions? Or do you find yourself struggling to find products you don’t react to? You might have sensitive skin.

Working out your skin type is the first step to selecting the right body wash for your needs. And if you’re not sure, try speaking to a dermatologist for some help.


curly-haired model posing with hand under chin, contemplating best body wash for sensitive skin

Sensitive Skin

If your skin is sensitive, you don’t need us to tell you how careful you have to be selecting a body wash.

Products that use strong perfumes and harsh chemicals can cause irritation, redness and itching. Which, of course, means there is already a whole range of body washes you should be avoiding.

Ideally, low-foam body washes are better for sensitive skin. This is because they usually contain gentler cleansing agents (sometimes referred to as surfactants). However, these can still be drying, which can aggravate skin sensitivity.

To counter this, seek out body washes that contain moisturiser. Look out for ingredients such as:

  • Glycerin (which will help your skin retain moisture)
  • Sunflower seed oil (which contains Vitamin E to help nourish the skin)
  • Lauryl glucoside (which is a gentle cleanser)

If your skin feels particularly irritated, opt for body washes that contain oatmeal; these can be a great way of calming the skin.


Dry Skin

Much like sensitive skin, dry skin requires more moisture. This means you should always reach for a body wash instead of a soap (which can be far more drying, and rougher on your skin).

However, that still leaves a whole world of body wash options. And not all of them are suitable for dry skin. Learning the ingredients that react well with your skin and provide relief goes a long way; keep a lookout for the following:

  • Soybean oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Oatmeal
  • Honey

It’s also important to look out for harsh cleansers in your body wash. You need to know which cleansers work best for dry skin. Look for products that use mild soaps such as lauroyl isethionate and milk proteins – these help to smooth and soften dry skin.

One firm favourite ingredient is shea butter – which not only smells divine, but is an excellent moisturiser commonly found in body washes. You’ll find these formulas are creamier, and foam less. This also means they’re not stripping your skin of its much-needed natural oils.


Oily Skin

Oily skin, as the opposite of dry skin, means a new set of ingredients to look out for. However, oily skin can still get dry; you’re not going to be stripping away all of your body’s natural oils.

Products that contain humectants are best for oily skin types; these are elements that draw moisture to the surface of the skin. In the long term, this helps your skin retain moisture.

Whereas emollients found in products for dry or sensitive skin are more likely to leave a film on the surface, humectants help to smooth and moisten the skin without doing this.


person with acne faces camera with a smile, cream on fingers ready to apply, choosing the right body wash for acne-prone skin

Acne-Prone Skin

If you’re prone to breakouts on your chest, back or upper arms, look for body washes that contain the same ingredients you’d use to target these problems on your face. Generally, those ingredients are:

  • Salicylic acid
  • Glycolic acid

Neither of these is too difficult to find in body wash products. These will help to slough away the excess sebum (oil) and dead skin cells on your body, and clear your pores.

If you’re acne-prone, you’re likely already familiar with the benefits of tea tree oil. As a natural astringent, this is a great choice for body washes that help to reduce inflammation; it also happens to be a great way to wake up!



There are very few body washes we know of designed to specifically target the signs of ageing on our bodies. That said, with a little common sense, it’s not too difficult to work out where to start.

Products designed to reduce the signs of ageing (like retinol) will penetrate better when your skin is clean and exfoliated. As such, go for a light and moisturising body scrub during your shower, to slough away dead skin cells and leave your skin clean and well-cared for.

Any products that contain salicylic and lactic acid are good choices too, as are Vitamin B products like niacinamide.


After Exercise

Opinions on this one can be divisive; many dermatologists will tell you that showering more than once a day can be drying for the skin. However, if you must (and after a workout, you really should), then try to rinse with just water to ensure that surface chemicals such as chlorine, and your sweat are rinsed away.

If that doesn’t feel like enough, seek out body washes that contain gentler cleansing ingredients.

You can’t go wrong with lauroyl sarcosinate or decyl glucoside. These are mild enough that they can help to remove excess sweat, salt and oil from the skin, without causing it to dry out.