If you have dry skin you most likely also have higher skin sensitivity than other skin types. This is because dry skin has a thinner outer layer and less moisture. This results in less protection for your skin from things like UV rays and chemicals in skincare products.
So you have to be very careful about what you apply on your skin. Products like shower gels and soaps can be especially challenging to buy. Most use chemicals that can cause a skin reaction while others will dehydrate your skin even further.
But that doesn’t mean you have no option.
There are plenty of shower gels that won’t leave you itching all over. They are designed for use on dry sensitive skin and contain ingredients that moisturize, soothe and protect your skin.
These shower gels will often be free of preservatives and perfumes, ensuring they don’t cause a reaction on sensitive skin. Instead they are loaded with natural oils and lipids to moisturise your skin.
If every time you take a shower your skin feels unusually dry and a bit itchy, it’s a sign that your shower gel or soap is too drying. Switch to a product that is more gentle and moisturising.
Which is the Best Shower Gel for Dry Skin?
To find the best shower gels for dry skin, we compared dozens of shower gels, their ingredients and customer reviews. Below are our top five picks from those available to buy online in the UK. Each is formulated specifically for dry and irritable skin.
This is one of the most trusted shower gels for dry sensitive skin. It is made for dry skin with a soap-free formulation that is gentle and non-irritant on your skin. It also doesn’t contain parabens, artificial colouring or any sort of preservative.
Instead it is packed with cleansing and moisturising ingredients. It produces a mild creamy foam that is easy to rinse off. Users say it leaves the skin feeling soft and silky. There’s no dryness at all.
If all the shower gels you have tried make you itchy or leave your skin feeling patched and dry, try Bioderma Atoderm Shower Gel.
It’s safe for use with adults as well as children and even babies. That’s how gentle it is.
What we like about it:
- Large 1L bottle – you can use it generously and it’ll still last long.
- Hypoallergenic formulation that is gentle on the skin.
- Moisturising ingredients that leave the skin feeling soft and smooth.
This body wash is enriched with natural omega oils to provide deep hydration for your skin. While normal body wash strips your skin’s natural oils, this one adds more soothing oils and moisture to your skin.
At the end of your shower your skin feels soft, smooth and calm. No itchiness, dryness or rashes.
The formulation is free of preservatives, parabens, soap and fragrance. It produces a scent-free mild lather that quickly rinses off your body.
It’s great for dry skin and sensitive skin that is easily irritated by normal shower gels. In fact, it’s so soft that you can safely use it on children and babies without any problem.
I just wish it came in a bigger bottle.
What we like about it:
- Gentle formulation that soothes and calms dry irritated skin.
- Hydrating ingredients.
- Ideal for adults as well as children and even babies.
Made with oat essence and recommended by celebrities, this body wash is perfect for dry and sensitive skin. It’s able to strip away all the dirt and grime from your skin without getting rid of the natural oils. If anything it adds more oils and moisture.
The gel feels very soothing. It boosts cell rejuvenation to smoothen your skin and give it a nice glow.
It is free of soap and there are no parabens or preservatives. I highly recommend it if your skin tends to get dry and itchy when you use other shower gels. It’s also great for those with eczema; it prevents flare ups.
What we like about it:
- Gentle enough for the whole family including children and babies.
- Deep moisturising effect – leaves skin feeling soft and smooth.
- Good for eczema sufferers as well as itchy sensitive skin.
This clinically tested body wash is highly recommended for anyone with dry or problematic skin. It has a super-gentle formulation that maintains the skin’s pH balance and soothes away any itching or irritation.
It is soap and alkali-free and has a pH of 5.5. This makes it ideal for even the most sensitive of skins.
It uses natural moisturisers to hydrate your skin, leaving it soft and silky after a shower. It also contains Panthenol which boosts skin regeneration. This keeps your skin looking smooth and young.
The Sebamed body gel can also be used to treat various skin conditions including acne, eczema, psoriasis and contact dermatitis.
The 1L bottle will last long especially since you just need a little to lather your whole body (smaller 200ML and 500ML bottles are also available).
What we like about it:
- Gentle formulation that is ideal for dry and sensitive skin.
- Large bottle.
- Moisturizing ingredients to soften and soothe dry skin.
Shea butter is the go-to moisturiser for people with dry skin. It is gentle, non-irritant and highly effective at moisturising.
The Clarins cleanser uses the hydrating power of Shea Butter to give your skin a soft smooth finish after a shower. You can use it on both your face and body.
It also contains pro-vitamin B5 which strengthens the skin’s natural barrier to preventing moisture from escaping.
Essentially the cleanser adds more moisture to your skin then locks it in through the day to keep your skin soft and elastic.
If you struggle with the patched scaly look often associated with dry skin, give this cleanser a try. The only downside is the small bottle.
To make it last longer you can use it just on your hands and face and then pick another body shower gel from our picks above.
What we like about it:
- Very moisturising.
- Gentle for dry and delicate skin.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why use shower gel for dry skin?
Why use shower gel for dry skin? Because it can help the skin feel better, and fill it full of useful hydration so that it can rejuvenate itself after you are clean.
Shower gel for dry skin is a cleanser, that is typically slippery and well, gel like. It cleans your skin as well as hydrating the skin in the way that using standard soap or shower gel can’t.
These special shower gels tend to contain moisturising agents that can nourish the skin and prevent some of the issues that come with “traditional” cleansing agents.
Standard soap or shower gels can be drying for the skin, which means that, if you already suffer from dry skin, you may end up with more issues after you have used them.
Shower gels specifically designed for dry skin will help to moisturise the skin as well as clean it, which means that you can look forward to shower time instead of dreading it as a time where your skin feels tight and uncomfortable afterwards.
2. What does dry skin look like?
The feeling of dry skin varies from person to person. In some, it can feel like the skin is tight and uncomfortable. In others, it can make the skin feel itchy and irritated. Some people feel like their skin is scaly and a different texture to how it is normally.
Dry skin is a common condition that can affect all people of all ages, especially those who are prone to dry skin and those who don’t use moisturising agents in their bath or shower.
You may experience dry skin as a temporary issue; for example after washing more frequently with soaps or shower gels that can suck the moisture out of the skin, or you may be prone to dry skin and suffer from chronic issues related to it.
Certain health issues can also cause skin to become dryer; things like Diabetes, kidney issues and age related skin dryness. As we age, our skin can err on the dryer side too, as the skin tends to produce less Collagen and fat, the substances that help skin become more elastic.
Whichever way your skin tends to go, shower gel specially formulated for dry skin can help to make your skin more supple, and make you feel more comfortable.
3. How can I hydrate my skin fast?
If you want to make your skin supple and smooth, there are ways that you can do so without spending thousands on fancy moisturisers. This does not necessarily involve drinking your body weight in water; there are other things you can do.
- Drink enough water. Putting water into your body can make your skin look and feel more hydrated too. At least eight glasses of water per day is the best thing you can do to get your body – and your skin – enough moisture.
- Use Hyalauronic acid. This is a useful thing to use for hydrating your skin; it binds with water molecules and can help your skin to retain moisture.
- Glycerin. This hydrating humectant can help your skin to hold on to its moisture, and that from the surrounding environment too.
- Avoid long, hot showers. Long term exposure to very hot water can remove the barriers your skin has against outside factors such as pollution and sun damage. Skin needs to retain a certain amount of its own natural oils, and hot water for long periods can strip away this barrier.
- Use sunscreen. UV damage is one of the biggest factors that we all face in our every day battle to keep out=r skin looking young and healthy. Make sure you use a skin appropriate sunscreen to minimise your UV damage.
- Eat water filled foods. Getting enough liquid into your body can feel like a struggle – who wants to drink gallons of boring water every day? Spice up your liquid intake with food like watermelon and cucumber. If you can squeeze in an orange or six too then so much the better – the added vitamin C in these fruits will help your skin no end.