Never underestimate the power of a superb body wash: The best of them can leave your skin softer — and possibly healthier — after a couple of uses. Plus, it can make you smell like a treat and even thwart body blemishes. (Not to mention, body wash can double as a shaving cream in a pinch.)

Commonly used as a means of cleansing, a body wash can do serious wonders for issues like eczema and dryness. Finding the suds needed for your skin type only requires a careful read of the label, Olga Bunimovich, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Pittsburgh, PA tells Allure. “Patients who have acne can use products with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide,” she says. “Patients with eczema should avoid those same ingredients due to their irritating effect and instead look for moisturizing ingredients, such as natural oils, ceramides, and glycerin.”

Melissa Piliang, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Cleveland, Ohio suggests steering clear of washes with fragrance, as these can potentially irritate the skin. “They do not enhance the cleansing ability of the body wash, so it is best to avoid fragrance,” she explains.

While it’s tempting to cover yourself in soap, Dr. Pilang says that it is possible to overdo it on the body wash. Overuse can lead to dry, irritated skin, especially during the winter months when skin is already stripped of moisture. “Taking hot showers/baths can magnify the problem as the hot water removes even more of the skin’s natural oils,” she explains. To prevent further overdrying of the skin, stick to once-daily showers with lukewarm water and use a moisturizer after cleansing, Dr. Bunimovich recommends. Also, pay special attention to washing the folds of your skin, as bacteria likes to hang out there. Don’t attempt to use body wash as face wash, though, as it could clog pores and worsen acne.

Ready to revamp your washing routine? We turned to the experts and sifted through a plethora of products from drugstore buys to deluxe splurges to find the formulas that will make even the most shower-averse want to lather up (because let’s be honest, sometimes you’d rather just slap on a face mask in your day-old leggings). Shimmy into your birthday suit and start slathering your cleaner of choice from your shoulders to your feet. (For the full body-care experience, be sure to check out our picks for the most satisfying body scrubs and luscious post-shower body lotions.)



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