Choosing a Body Wash for Dry, Itchy or Sensitive Skin

Dry, itchy, or sensitive skin is often a sign of a damaged skin barrier. When your skin barrier is damaged it becomes less effective in retaining moisture, leading to dryness, itching, and increased sensitivity. Several factors can contribute to this, including skin conditions, weather, aging, and allergies.1 Luckily, recommended body washes formulated with hydrating, nourishing ingredients can help resolve skin issues and uncomfortable skin concerns.

person's shoulder with body wash on it

Body wash for sensitive skin

If you’re looking for a body wash that is good for dry skin, you should consider gentle formulations that won't further aggravate or irritate your skin. Cetaphil offers a variety of products that are free from harsh chemicals and irritants, minimizing the risk of potential skin issues as well as remedying existing ones. All Cetaphil products have been proven to combat the 5 Signs of Skin Sensitivity, which include dryness, irritation, roughness, tightness, and a weakened skin barrier.

A great option for a body wash designed for the needs of dry to normal, sensitive skin is Cetaphil Ultra Gentle Body Wash Refreshing Scent. For those who prefer a fragrance-free body wash, Cetaphil Ultra Gentle Body Wash Fragrance Free offers the same skincare benefits, but comes without a scent. 

Body wash for dry skin

Hydration is crucial for dry skin and using a hydrating and soothing body wash can help address concerns typical for dry skin such as tightness, flakiness, and discomfort.1,2

One ingredient that offers excellent moisturizing effects is shea butter. Shea butter contains high levels of linoleic acid and oleic acid, which are more easily absorbed by the skin. These fatty acids help to nourish and replenish the skin's moisture barrier, promoting hydration and softness.3

To benefit from these great effects of shea butter, consider Cetaphil Moisturizing Relief Body Wash, which is specifically designed to moisturize and soothe dry, sensitive skin. In addition to shea butter, it offers other nourishing ingredients that help to replenish the skin's moisture and maintain its natural protective barrier.

Body wash for itchy skin

Sensitive and very dry skin can sometimes lead to itchiness, too. By choosing body washes specifically designed to help soothe dry skin, you can help prevent this skin concern and help restore comfort to your skin. 

If you suffer from very dry and sensitive skin, try Cetaphil Restoraderm Soothing Wash that is formulated with a blend of 9 powerful moisturizers, vitamins E and B3 and a unique filaggrin blend that work together to restore your skin’s moisture barrier. Most of the Cetaphil Restoraderm products are recognized by the National Eczema Association because of their success with treating dry, itchy, and sensitive skin.

Soap-free cleansing bars with hydrating glycerin

Cleansing bars are another convenient and effective choice when it comes to skincare. Bar soaps are solid cleansers that often last longer than liquid cleansers making them a cost-effective choice. Since bar soaps are compact and easy to carry, cleansing bars are also ideal for travel or on-the-go use. In addition, cleansing bars can provide gentle cleansing for your body, as well as our face.6

Cetaphil Soap-free cleansing bars are specifically designed to be gentle on the skin, such as Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar. This soap-free, body cleansing bar is suitable for sensitive skin and contains hydrating ingredients like glycerin, which plays a vital role in keeping the skin moisturized.2,5 The benefits of glycerin in soaps and cleansing bars include their ability to attract and bind water to the skin, helping to prevent moisture loss.

How often should you use Cetaphil body washes?

Cetaphil body washes are designed to be used on a daily basis, providing nourishment and moisture to your skin. However, it's important to avoid overwashing, as excessive cleansing can strip your skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness and potential irritation.7 You should find a balance that works for your skin type and personal preference. If you notice any signs of dryness or discomfort, consider adjusting the frequency of use.

If you have dry, itchy, or sensitive skin, it can also be beneficial to take cooler baths or showers instead of using hot water as hot water can further strip your body of essential oils and contribute to dryness and itchiness. By opting for cooler water temperatures, you can help preserve your skin's natural moisture and minimize the risk of irritation.7

In addition to using Cetaphil body washes, implementing a comprehensive skincare routine can also help alleviate itchy skin.8 This may include applying a suitable lotion or cream to moisturize your body, especially after bathing, and using a gentle exfoliator to remove dead skin cells.

The bottom line

If you have dry, itchy or sensitive skin on your body, it’s important to use the right products to help soothe your skin, and prevent further irritation. By using Cetaphil gentle body washes and soap-free body cleansing bars for dry, itchy, or sensitive skin, you can help restore and maintain a healthier skin barrier, which in turn can help to soothe your skin.


  1. Duarte I, Silveira JEPS, Hafner M de FS, Toyota R & Pedroso DMM. Sensitive skin: review of an ascending concept. Anais Brasileiros De Dermatologia, 2017; 92(4), 521–525. doi: 10.1590/abd1806-4841.201756111
  2. Harvard Publishing. What to do about dry skin in winter. Accessed May 25, 2023
  3. Oluwaseyi M. Effects of Topical and Dietary Use of Shea Butter on Animals. American Journal of Life Sciences. 2014;Vol. 2, No. 5, 303-307. doi: 10.11648/j.ajls.20140205.18
  4. Levin J, Momin SB. How much do we really know about our favorite cosmeceutical ingredients? J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010 Feb;3(2):22-41. PMID: 20725560
  5. Chen H, Lee P, Chen C, Huang S, Huang B et al. Moisture retention of glycerin solutions with various concentrations: a comparative study. Scientific Reports. 2022;12.10232. doi:10.1038/s41598-022-13452-2
  6. Mijaljica D, Spada F, Harrison IP. Skin Cleansing without or with Compromise: Soaps and Syndets. Molecules. 2022;27(6):2010. doi: 10.3390/molecules27062010.
  7. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Dermatologists’ top tip for relieving dry skin. Accessed May 25, 2023
  8. Kim S, Ly BK, Ha JH, Carson KA, Hawkins S, Kang S, Chien AL. A consistent skin care regimen leads to objective and subjective improvements in dry human skin: investigator-blinded randomized clinical trial. J Dermatolog Treat. 2022 Feb;33(1):300-305. doi: 10.1080/09546634.2020.1751037.