The 9 Best Soaps for Eczema of 2021

Get relief for irritated skin

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One in 10 people will experience eczema at some point in their life. It may occur as a singular incident, but many eczema cases ebb and flow depending on environment, stress, and other medical factors. 

“Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is a condition caused by a defect in the barrier of the skin in combination with inflammation in the skin," explains Charlotte Birnbaum, M.D., F.A.A.D., at Spring Street Dermatology in New York City. "Because the barrier is defective in eczema, the skin is more sensitive to allergens and irritants.”

Sensitivity varies by individual—some find themselves with a red, inflamed rash, while others experience a bumpy, colorless outbreak. No matter the severity of the condition, it’s important for individuals with eczema to be aware of how their skin reacts so they can take care of current outbreaks and avoid future irritations. These minimally irritating cleansing soaps are a great way to help soothe some of the symptoms of eczema while keeping the skin clean and healthy.

We researched dozens of soaps for eczema and evaluated them based on their reviews, active ingredients, additional ingredients, and application directions.

Here are the best soaps for eczema on the market today.

Our Top Picks
It moisturizes and cleans your skin simultaneously.
Designed with dermatologists to restore skin to its natural, healthy state.
Lets you take care of basic skin sensitivities without spending a lot of money.
It doesn’t contain any fragrances, parabens, or allergens.
Simple, without any irritating additives that could set off your eczema.
Clean, calm ingredients that are safe enough to use for babies.
A creamy soap that moisturizes and calms dry skin.
Best for Dry Skin:
CLn® BodyWash at Amazon
Designed to reduce redness, dryness, and flakiness in the skin.
It simultaneously moisturizes, soothes, is anti-bacterial, and therapeutic.

Best Overall: Cetaphil Deep Cleansing Bar

Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar
Pros
  • Specialized formula for sensitive skin

  • Like a cleanser and moisturizer in one

  • Can be used daily

Cons
  • Bar soap can be harder to lather

  • Some users complain of leftover residue after washing

This mild, non-alkaline bar is specifically designed for dry, sensitive skin. It moisturizes and cleans your skin simultaneously, making it an excellent choice for full-body cleansing. Its neutral pH formula and lack of harsh detergents allow your skin to heal without stripping away any natural oils or barriers, making it safe for adults and children alike. 

Key Ingredients: Glycerin | How to Use: After wetting face and hands, work soap into a lather, wash face, and rinse.

Best Body Wash: CeraVe Soothing Body Wash

CeraVe Soothing Body Wash
Pros
  • Protects the skin barrier

  • Contains omega oils for extra dry skin

  • Free of parabens and sulfates

Cons
  • Some users dislike the thin consistency

  • Doesn’t lather well

CeraVe’s Soothing Body Wash works to cleanse and calm the skin with a formula designed by dermatologists to restore skin to its natural, healthy state, thanks to omega oils, hyaluronic acid, and three essential ceramides. With no parabens or sulfates, individuals can feel safe using this product on their skin while avoiding allergens and irritants. CeraVe is fragrance-free and safe for both children and adults, and this product is also recommended by the National Eczema Association.

Key Ingredients: Ceramides and omega oils | How to Use: Cleanse body during showering or bathing as needed.

What the Experts Say

“A patient with eczema or atopic dermatitis has an impaired skin barrier: the proteins that make up the skin's barrier are mutated, which means they let too much moisture out of the skin and too many environmental [irritants] like allergens into the skin.”—Caren Campbell, M.D., San Francisco-based board-certified dermatologist

Best Budget: Basis Sensitive Skin Soap

Basis Sensitive Skin Bar
Pros
  • Affordable

  • Can be used as hand or body soap

  • Free of fragrances and dyes

Cons
  • Bar soap can be harder to lather

  • Some users with sensitive skin reported reactions

Specialized soap, while worth it, can often get expensive. Basis’s Sensitive Skin Soap lets you take care of skin sensitivities without breaking the bank. It's full of natural, soothing ingredients like chamomile tea and aloe vera, while avoiding irritants like fragrances, dyes, and other harsh chemicals. This soap is dermatologist-recommended and leaves your skin feeling clean, calm, and replenished—it's an excellent, easy addition to your daily routine.

Key Ingredients: Chamomile and aloe vera | How to Use: Use as needed in shower/bath or as a hand soap; lather, cleanse, and rinse.

Best Facial Cleanser: Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser

Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Daily Facial Cleanser
Pros
  • Can be used as a daily cleanser or makeup remover

  • Hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic

  • Can be used with acne, eczema, and rosacea

Cons
  • May be too drying

  • May not remove dark or layered-on makeup

  • Some users with sensitive skin reported reactions

Recommended by the National Eczema Association, this mild, creamy cleanser helps remove dirt, makeup, and other blemishes from your face without adding harsh chemicals and irritants to your skin. Its small ingredients list ensures that your face is only coming into contact with helpful tools to calm your eczema, thanks to its skin-nourishing polyglycerin formula. It doesn’t contain any fragrances, parabens, or allergens, making it safe for even the most sensitive skin.

Key Ingredients: Glycerin | How to Use: Wet face, pump a small amount of soap into hands, massage onto face, and rinse.

What the Experts Say

“[Don’t use] loofahs or washcloths to put soap on your skin, as those can harbor bacteria and just abrade the skin or worsen the skin barrier issue.”—Caren Campbell, M.D., San Francisco based board-certified dermatologist

Best Hand Soap: Free & Clear Liquid Cleanser

Free & Clear Liquid Cleanser
Pros
  • Can be used by the whole family, including kids

  • Free of irritating ingredients like sulfates, fragrances, and dyes

  • May also be used as face or body wash

Cons
  • Some users complain that pump is faulty or hard to use

  • Could be too drying for some people

Free & Clear’s hand soap is exactly how it sounds—simple, without any irritating additives that could set off your eczema. It’s dermatologist-recommended and only contains ingredients found to be effective while remaining gentle to your skin. It is paraben-free, oil-free, gluten-free, sulfate-free, and fragrance-free, leaving you with a formula that's cleansing and calming on your skin.

Key Ingredients: None | How to Use: Lather onto wet skin, rinse, and dry.

Best Baby: CeraVe Baby Wash & Shampoo

CeraVe Baby Wash & Shampoo
Pros
  • 2-in-1 baby shampoo and body wash

  • Tear-free for sensitive eyes

  • Vitamin-formulated to protect the skin barrier

Cons
  • Doesn’t lather well

  • Online customers report inconsistencies; in-person purchase preferred

CeraVe’s Baby Wash & Shampoo maintains CeraVe’s standard of clean, calm ingredients that are safe enough to use for babies. This tear-free formula includes CeraVe’s noteworthy three essential ceramides for not only calming the skin but restoring its protective barrier for optimal health and sustainability. Thanks to enriching vitamins and “no nasties” (sulfates, parabens, and fragrances), CeraVe Baby leaves skin feeling soft and moisturized. 

This product is recommended by the National Eczema Association.

Key Ingredients: Ceramides and vitamin E | How to Use: Wet your baby’s hair and skin, apply soap where needed, rinse, and dry.

Best Vegan: Splendor Santa Barbara Pure Coconut Oil Soap

Splendor Santa Barbara Coconut Oil Soap
Pros
  • Much better lather than many eczema soaps

  • Mild but non-irritating scent from natural ingredients

  • Made with coconut oil, not palm oil

Cons
  • Small-size bars

  • It doesn’t last very long

  • Handmade bars are not always consistent in amount of scent or oil

Coconut oil has proven to be an anti-inflammatory ingredient, both for topical uses and consumption. It's the first ingredient in Splendor’s Pure Coconut Oil Soap, alongside aloe juice, colloidal oats, organic chamomile, and organic calendula. These all-natural ingredients are void of chemical allergens and irritants, creating a creamy soap that moisturizes and calms dry skin.

Key Ingredients: Coconut oil | How to Use: With wet hands, rub the bar until it lathers; apply to face, body, or hands, rinse, and dry.

Best for Dry Skin: CLn® BodyWash

CLn BodyWash
Pros
  • For use in treatment of eczema, folliculitis, and acne

  • Safe for anyone 6 months and older

  • Cleanses without disrupting skin barrier

Cons
  • Some users reported breakouts or rashes after use

  • More costly than other eczema soaps

CLn’s BodyWash is designed to reduce redness, dryness, and flakiness. It's a cleanser that is safe for daily use, preserved with sodium hypochlorite for a strong but calming sensation for your eczema. This body wash does not contain any parabens, steroids, or fragrances, so it's a great choice for both adults and children.

This product is recommended by the National Eczema Association.

Key Ingredients: Sodium hypochlorite | How to Use: Wet skin and pump small amount of soap into hands; lather, massage into skin, rinse, and dry.

Best Natural: SheaMoisture African Black Soap Eczema & Psoriasis Therapy

SheaMoisture African Black Soap Eczema & Psoriasis Therapy
Pros
  • Natural bacteria-fighting ingredients

  • Contains aloe and oats for soothing irritated skin

  • Ultra-hydrating

Cons
  • May not work for severe cases of eczema or psoriasis

  • Has a stronger scent than many other eczema soaps

SheaMoisture’s Eczema Therapy soap uses an all-natural formula, packed with shea butter, aloe, lemon balm, African black soap, and gotu kola. It’s designed to keep new bacteria out of the skin’s protective barrier, while letting moisture in to heal dryness and inflammation caused by eczema. It simultaneously moisturizes and soothes, is anti-bacterial and therapeutic, and is ready to help heal your skin.

Key Ingredients: Shea butter | How to Use: With wet hands, rub the bar until it lathers; apply to face, body, or hands, rinse, and dry.

It’s important to note that while all of these anti-itch creams are able to assist in minor to medium irritations, they may not be able to clear up an eczema outbreak entirely. If you aren’t noticing any improvement after a week or two of use, it may be time to consult your dermatologist.

Final Verdict

For a soap that is safe for everyday cleansing (and is totally budget-friendly) Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar (view at Amazon) is the way to go. This gentle, soothing soap is non-irritating and leaves your skin moisturized after use. If you're looking for something specifically designed for the face and post-makeup cleansing, Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser (view at Amazon) is strong enough to remove makeup residue but soft enough for skin with eczema.

What to Look for in an Eczema Soap

Active Ingredient

An eczema soap’s active ingredient is the element that will make the biggest healing difference on your skin. This can range from natural soothing elements like green tea to more medical elements.

“The biggest mistake individuals make when choosing an eczema soap is picking a soap by a name-brand rather than taking a closer look at the ingredients the product contains. I always tell my patients to look at ingredients,” says Denisse M. Serrano, MS, PA-C at JUVA Skin & Laser Center in New York City.

Possible Irritants

As eczema often means that skin is more sensitive or irritable, it is crucial for individuals to be aware of things that may set off their skin and cause an outbreak. The NEA has a list of possible irritants of skin that’s experiencing eczema. This list contains, but is not limited to, fragrances, dyes, preservatives, and solvents.

“Soaps for patients with eczema are usually fragrance-free, as you are more likely to develop allergies to things like fragrance when your skin barrier is impaired,” explains Caren Campbell, M.D., San Francisco based board-certified dermatologist.

Non-lathering

Most of us want soap that creates a nice, foamy lather to massage into our skin, and while this is okay for some people with eczema (and may be easier to spread, reducing the risk of friction or scrubbing on delicate skin), technically it’s better if your eczema soap doesn’t have any lathering ingredients.

“The foaming agents in soap can cause potential allergies and irritation,” says Dr. Campbell, who suggests sticking with the most basic, fragrance- and essential oil-free soap you can find.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How does soap for eczema differ from regular soap?

    People with eczema have an impaired skin barrier, so soap made for this condition is designed to be super gentle and non-irritating to that already-delicate barrier, says Dr. Campbell. In many ways, these eczema-friendly soaps are basically anti-soaps: “Some body and face cleansers don't contain [traditional] soap, and these soap-free options are oftentimes best [for people with eczema].”


    Traditional soap is made from a combination of sodium hydroxide, fats, and oils to make an alkaline mixture. But this mixture can throw off the pH balance of skin, especially if it’s sensitive, so soaps made for eczema often include alternative, non-alkaline ingredients to cleanse the skin instead.

  • How often should you use a soap for eczema?

    For the most part, you can use eczema soap as often as your routine calls for; in other words, an eczema hand soap can replace your regular product and be used as often as you wash your hands every day (and the same goes for your face or body wash).


    More important than the frequency of use, says Dr. Campbell, is how you use the soap:

    • Avoid soaping up your whole body every day unless it’s visibly dirty; stick to your underarms, groin, and face to prevent unnecessary irritation. 
    • Use your hands to gently apply the soap to the skin.
    • Use lukewarm water (even though a hot shower feels so good!). “Hot water causes evaporation of water from the skin, and results in even more water loss,” leaving your skin extra dehydrated, explains Dr. Campbell.
  • Can you use soap for eczema on babies?

    Dr. Campbell doesn’t recommend using eczema-specific soaps for babies, but that doesn’t mean you should wash them with whatever’s lying around the house, either.


    “Again, fragrance-free is most important,” she says, “[and you can also] consider soap-free cleansing alternatives.”

Why Trust Verywell Health?

As a previous fitness coach, long-time wellness enthusiast, and current health editor, Lily Moe understands the importance of products that meet your individual requirements. As someone who has dealt with severe eczema, Lily has gone through dozens of anti-itch creams, from heavily medicated to all-natural—she knows how crucial it is to be wise in what ingredients you put on your skin for your specific need! Most importantly, Lily always looks for research and first-hand reviews when it comes to deciding on a product.

Additional reporting by Sarah Bradley

Sarah Bradley has been writing health content since 2017—everything from product roundups and illness FAQs to nutrition explainers and the dish on diet trends. She knows how important it is to receive trustworthy and expert-approved advice about over-the-counter products that manage everyday health conditions, from GI issues and allergies to chronic headaches and joint pain.

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3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Eczema Association. Eczema stats.

  2. Boateng L, Ansong R, Owusu WB, Steiner-Asiedu M. Coconut oil and palm oil's role in nutrition, health and national development: A reviewGhana Med J. 2016;50(3):189-196.

  3. National Eczema Association. Ingredients to be avoided.

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