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, MD, FAAD 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.

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

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. 

Best Body Wash: CeraVe Soothing Body Wash

CeraVe Soothing Body Wash

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.

Best Budget: Basis Sensitive Skin Soap

Basis Sensitive Skin Bar

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.

Best Facial Cleanser: Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser

Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Daily Facial Cleanser

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.

This product is recommended by the National Eczema Association.

Quick Tip

“With eczema, it is super important when choosing a cleanser to choose a gentle one, free of common allergens and fragrances. Picking a harsh soap or one with allergens can lead to worsening of eczema or an allergic reaction superimposed on eczema. I recommend fragrance-free cleansers, as fragrance is often a cause of allergic reactions in eczematous skin.” —Charlotte Birnbaum, MD, FAAD, at Spring Street Dermatology in New York City

Best Hand Soap: Free & Clear Liquid Cleanser

Free & Clear Liquid Cleanser

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.

Best Baby: CeraVe Baby Wash & Shampoo

CeraVe Baby Wash & Shampoo

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.

Best Vegan: Splendor Santa Barbara Pure Coconut Oil Soap

Splendor Santa Barbara Coconut Oil Soap

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.

Best for Dry Skin: CLn® BodyWash

CLn BodyWash

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.

Best Natural: SheaMoisture African Black Soap Eczema & Psoriasis Therapy

SheaMoisture African Black Soap Eczema & Psoriasis Therapy

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.

It’s important to note that while all of these anti-itch creams are able to assist in the 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 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 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.” —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.

Why Trust Verywell

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.

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Article Sources
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  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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