These dermatologist-approved cleansers gently remove dirt without irritating sensitive eczema skin.
For most people, washing their face or taking a shower doesn't require much thought. But for those with eczema, applying just about any substance to the skin can be risky—and the wrong facial cleanser, hand soap, or body wash can lead to cracks, chafing, and pain.
The skin of an eczema patient can't protect itself from the environment as well as it should, explains Joshua Zeichner, MD, a dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital's Department of Dermatology. The result? "The skin develops tiny cracks in it, loses hydration, and becomes inflamed," he says. "The key to cleansing the skin in eczema is to remove dirt without compromising the integrity of the skin barrier."
In other words, in addition to gentle lotions, people with eczema also need to select the right cleanser. Here, six dermatologist approved cleansers for your face, hands, and body that will hydrate skin without causing irritation.
Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash
If you're looking for a super-hydrating body wash, Dr. Zeichner recommends Aveeno's version, which contains non-irritating ingredients that make it ideal for people with eczema (and dry skin in general). "This wash uses gentle soap-free cleansing ingredients paired with skin-soothing colloidal oatmeal to protect and repair the skin barrier," he explains.
Dove Unscented Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar
Eczema patients usually know to avoid standard bar soaps, which often contain fragrance, but there are beauty bars on the market that won't dry you out. Dr. Zeichner likes this unscented bar from Dove. "[It] helps replenish hydration in the outer skin layer while you use it," he says.
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Gentle Cleansing Bar
Dendy Engelman, MD, a dermatologic surgeon at Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery Centers in New York City, recommends this moisture-rich soap since it gently and effectively cleanses skin. "It's nourishing and calming, leaving skin hydrated, soft, and smooth," she says. "It's also formulated with ingredients like colloidal oatmeal and allantoin to help calm and soothe, as well as shea butter and squalane to hydrate and preserve the skin's natural moisture barrier."
Vanicream Liquid Basic Cleansing Facial Cleanser
Angela Lamb, MD, an assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai frequently recommends Vanicream to her patients with eczema. "It has no parabens, formaldehydes, fragrances, or any of the more irritating chemicals," she says.
Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash
Yolanda Helfrich, MD, a dermatologist at Michigan Medicine recommends this body wash from Dove. "It's inexpensive and easy to find," she says.
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
This skincare staple is great for everyday use, and it can actually be applied even if you don't have a sink around, says Dr. Helfrich. "Cetaphil is very gentle, comes in a large container, and can actually be used without water if a patient has very irritated skin," she says.