Which is the best body wash and soap for folliculitis?
To answer that, it helps to know the reason for the condition.
The way to get rid of folliculitis is to understand what causes it.
Then you can choose the correct treatment, which may be an anti-fungal body wash or anti-acne soap.
What causes folliculitis?
Folliculitis occurs when hair follicles are infected or inflamed. Frequently, it looks like acne. Sometimes it turns into cysts or boils (1).
It can happen after you shave, spend time in a hot tub, or wear tight clothing.
Sometimes it’s a fungus or bacteria that causes the inflammation. That means that persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to suffer from folliculitis.
Other times, it’s just irritated skin, and it will clear up on its own if the surface isn’t injured further.
It’s smart to speak to a doctor if you suspect that you have folliculitis. They can analyze the cause and recommend the correct solution.
I also understand that you may have your own reasons for treating the problem at home. But please, if it worsens, seek medical aid.
What are the best treatments for folliculitis?
You might get relief with antibacterial soap for a simple case of razor bumps or acne-like folliculitis (2).
The same ingredients that clear up acne breakouts on the face can help heal folliculitis. These include benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and sulfur.
Another option is anti-fungal soap or shampoo with pyrithione zinc or ketoconazole.
In any case, it’s crucial to keep the affected area of skin clean and comfortable. If you’re not sure which treatment to follow, start with mild soap.
Don’t use aggressive treatments unless your doctor recommends them. Don’t shave, either.
The idea is to avoid scarring by promoting healing.
If you’re extra itchy, use a warm compress to calm the skin. Stay away from greasy moisturizers, too. You won’t want to clog the pores and aggravate the situation.
In the future, if you have folliculitis that results from shaving, try using a single blade razor or electric shaver that doesn’t cut as close to the skin (3).
Top Body Wash and Soap for Folliculitis
Now, let’s go through the different categories of soaps and body washes for folliculitis.
Nixa Skincare 10% Benzoyl Peroxide Wash
You might not be able to tell if it’s folliculitis or acne. But don’t worry, some treatments take care of both problems.
This benzoyl peroxide body wash is formulated to clear up severe cases of cystic acne. You’ll need to leave it on your skin for a minute or two before rinsing.
Benzoyl peroxide kills the bacteria that cause pimples. Once the bacteria are dead, the inflammation and swelling diminish.
Fortunately, this is a mild and moisturizing body wash without harsh sulfates or artificial fragrances. It has a coconut-based cleanser plus glycerin to protect against moisture loss.
The manufacturer also offers a satisfaction guarantee.
Differin Daily Deep Cleanser with Benzoyl Peroxide
Differin’s cleanser has a lower concentration of benzoyl peroxide. That’s good news if you have sensitive skin.
Benzoyl peroxide can be a bit drying. Moreover, it can discolor towels and clothing.
But on the bright side, it’s very effective against acne and certain kinds of folliculitis.
This formula is mild enough to use on your face, not just your body.
CLn Acne Cleanser
Here’s a potent cleanser that contains bleach.
First, on the label, you’ll see that the active component is 0.5% salicylic acid. That’s a mild concentration of acne medication. It’s good for unclogging pores and exfoliating dead skin.
But next, you’ll notice at the list of ingredients includes sodium hypochlorite, a.k.a. bleach. It’s surprisingly useful for treating a variety of skin conditions.
There’s also a warning that you should keep this cleanser away from your eyes. It can cause excessive dryness and irritation if you’re currently taking acne medication, too. Try washing with it just once a day or once every other day at first.
CeraVe Body Wash with Salicylic Acid
CeraVe is a well-known manufacturer of products for sensitive skin. Their body wash with salicylic acid takes care of folliculitis and keratosis pilaris, among other things.
Not only does it remove dead skin, but it also moisturizes without clogging pores. The hydrating effects last for 24 hours after you use it.
Sometimes, with folliculitis, it’s recommended that you avoid lotion while your skin recovers. That’s uncomfortable if you have dry skin. Therefore, the long-term moisturization offered by this body wash is a bonus.
Furthermore, it contains ceramides to reinforce the skin’s natural barrier against infection and moisture loss. Also, it has hyaluronic acid to attract water into the skin and niacinamide to promote healing.
Happily, the formula doesn’t have artificial fragrances or parabens.
Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash with Salicylic Acid
Whether it’s body acne or folliculitis, Neutrogena’s shower gel can help. It has a perky pink grapefruit fragrance to help you wake up in the morning.
Salicylic acid penetrates into the follicles to relieve inflammation and remove excess oil and impurities. It’s delivered by Microclear technology, which dissolves clogs without drying out the skin.
Finally, the body wash delivers a dose of vitamin C, a natural antioxidant.
On the downside, there is an artificial fragrance, and there are synthetic dyes.
Phisoderm Anti-Blemish Body Wash
PHisoderm, on the other hand, offers a Bodywash that’s free of dyes, soap, alcohol, and oil. It’s non-comedogenic and rinses clean without leaving a residue.
It contains 2% salicylic acid plus aloe, chamomile, and Vitamin E. While aloe and chamomile soothe irritation, vitamin E encourages healing.
But if you’re trying to avoid perfumes, parabens, and sulfates, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
I try to point out potential problematic ingredients because they can worsen the folliculitis.
SAL3 Salicylic Acid Sulfur Soap Bar
Not everyone is a fan of liquid body wash, and I respect that. But you have to understand that some kinds of bar soap are harsh and drying. They are alkaline, which strips the skin of its natural oil.
This bar of soap is based on saponified plant oils with 10% colloidal sulfur and 3% salicylic acid. It has moisturizers like glycerin and lanolin, too.
There’s no artificial fragrance.
It’s a dermatologist-recommended formula designed to treat a variety of infections. It can help with Tinea Versicolor, Dermatomycosis furfuracea, jock itch, demodex mites, and more.
It’s potent, so take it slow when you start using it. Please follow the directions.
DermaHarmony 10% Sulfur 3% Salicylic Acid Bar Soap
If you’re interested in sulfur soap but concerned that it will dry out your skin, try this bar instead.
It helps clear up acne, folliculitis, dermatitis, and other sorts of blemishes.
This US-made product is safe enough for children to use, but please keep it out of the eyes. It needs to stay in contact with the skin for at least 60 seconds.
Alpha Skin Care Moisturizing Body Wash
People who find that salicylic acid is too drying can turn to alpha-hydroxy acids instead. Glycolic acid, for example, exfoliates the skin at the same time that it moisturizes.
It’s a more gentle option.
The formula also has a low pH plus Vitamin E and aloe to promote healthy skin.
One of the side effects of this body wash is that it can make your skin look younger by smoothing lines and wrinkles.
DermaHarmony 2% Pyrithione Zinc (ZnP) Liquid Castile Soap
You’ve heard of dandruff shampoo. Well, you can use the same active ingredient to treat folliculitis on your skin.
Pyrithione zinc is an anti-fungal that clears up dandruff, scaling, itching, and flaking.
In this shower gel, the pyrithione zinc can relieve symptoms of folliculitis anywhere on your body. You can use it as shampoo, face wash, or even shaving lather.
It’s made with sustainably-sourced oils, and it’s free of artificial dyes and fragrances.
DermaHarmony 2% Pyrithione Zinc (ZnP) Bar Soap
If you prefer bar soap, the same advantages of the body wash above are available right here.
The 2% concentration of pyrithione zinc is the maximum over-the-counter concentration. It fights folliculitis, dandruff, acne, and other skin conditions. Yet, it’s mild enough for children.
The soap is free of sulfates, parabens, and artificial fragrances.
Hibiclens Antimicrobial Skin Liquid Soap
If you need an antibacterial soap to get rid of folliculitis, Hibiclens is highly recommended. It eliminates bacteria, fungi, and viruses for up to 24 hours after you use it.
It can get rid of MRSA on your skin. That’s excellent as Staphylococcus is one of the leading causes of folliculitis infections.
What makes it so effective? It’s based on chlorhexidine gluconate. It’s a surgical-grade product used in hospitals.
Dettol Anti-Bacterial pH-Balanced Body Wash
Dettol provides an antibacterial body wash based on chloroxylenol. It’s an ingredient used to disinfect equipment before surgery.
But this is not a harsh chemical soap. The body wash contains glycerin to hydrate the skin. It also has a mild clean fragrance.
Also, it has salicylic acid to open clogged pores.
Dial Antibacterial Deodorant Bar Soap
As you know, triclosan has been phased out of antibacterial soap. Now, Dial uses benzalkonium chloride instead.
What’s more, this soap has odor protection. It keeps you smelling fresh all day long.
Ovante Folliculit Solution Medicated Body Wash
The Ovante folliculitis body wash doesn’t require a prescription. It’s free of parabens and sulfates and safe for all skin types.
It’s uniquely engineered to alleviate the characteristic red rash and itchiness.
I looked at the label to see what makes the magic happen. What I noticed is that it has sulfur, tea tree oil, and trolamine. That latter ingredient is an analgesic to relieve pain.
Defense Soap Oatmeal Bar
Have you heard of Defense Soap? It comes in liquid or bar format.
It was invented by a wrestling coach whose team was struggling with skin infections.
It combines exfoliating ingredients like oatmeal with essential oils. Tea tree, peppermint, rosemary, and eucalyptus essential oils attack the fungus at the root of the problem. They also provide a refreshing feeling.
Of course, natural soap has no need for artificial dyes, fragrances, sulfates, or parabens.
Defense Antifungal Medicated Bar Soap
If you need something a little more substantial, this bar soap contains 1% Tolnaftate. It’s an anti-fungal available without a prescription.
Because this medicated soap is so powerful, it comes with a safety case to prevent it from mixing with other stuff in your gym bag.
Besides that primary active ingredient, there are also tea tree and eucalyptus oil. Those are natural solutions for jock itch and athlete’s foot.
Since folliculitis is sometimes caused by fungal infections, this soap is an excellent choice for treating it.
Almond Clear Face & Body Wash
It’s possible to have folliculitis right along your hairline and on your face. Just ask any guy who shaves.
Therefore, you might find that this gel cleanser with mandelic acid fixes the problem.
Mandelic acid comes from almonds. It’s a natural exfoliant that clears up acne breakouts and redness. It also helps relieve ingrown hairs and razor rash.
Yes, if your razor rash is in a more sensitive area, you can use this body wash their as well.
Oh, by the way, mandelic acid can help fade scars and hyperpigmentation caused by previous infections.
Antifungal Tea Tree Oil Body Wash
Plain old tea tree oil is a natural anti-fungal. In this body wash, you’ll find tea tree oil in a blend of other essential oils that blast away folliculitis.
If you prefer botanical solutions over chemicals, you’ve got to give it a try. It will make your skin feel fresh and tingly.
There are no artificial fragrances. The woodsy scent comes from eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint, and camphor oils.
Sensitive Skin Body Wash by Tree to Tub
Wild soapberry is a traditional remedy for healing the skin. It protects the body by respecting the natural acidity.
Not only that, but it also cleanses without drying.
You can use this body wash to relieve symptoms of eczema, folliculitis, psoriasis, and allergic reactions.
It contains soothing aloe, cucumber, chamomile, and shea butter. There are no harsh artificial ingredients.
Pretty much everyone will experience folliculitis at some point. It may go away on its own.
If you’re struggling to keep your skin clear, you may need to switch soaps. Try a body wash that alleviates the symptoms and fixes the problem at the source.
Keep in mind that this isn’t a one size fits all situation. You may need to experiment with more than one to find the perfect bath soap. But when you do, I hope you’ll come back and tell us about it in the comments below.
1. https://www.drugs.com/cg/folliculitis.html published Feb 3, 2020, accessed June 2, 2020
2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/folliculitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20361634 accessed June 2, 2020
3. https://www.dermnetnz.org/topics/folliculitis/ by Hon. Assoc. Prof. Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, published April 2014, accessed June 2, 2020