Dove Body Wash not so Gentle to the Skin…

Over the past few weeks, I had been having some allergic skin reaction for which I blamed the use of some products from the Body Shop.  Well, to be fair, it did seem highly suggestive that the cause was the shea butter I bought from the Body Shop because my rashes were only appearing on my limbs – the only areas I had been applying the shea butter.  The fact that the rest of my body was unscathed seemed only to confirm that observation.

Whenever sensitisation occurs, it can take up to a week after elimination of the causative agent before the rash symptoms completely disappear so I wasn’t particularly alarmed when I was still itching a few days later.  And just to avoid aggravation, I had also stopped using body wash when I showered because soap dries the skin which further irritates it.  By the end of the week, I was still getting hives and I was, at times, so itchy it was driving me insane.

I went to the doctor who prescribed me with anti-histamines and calamine lotion.  They helped to soothe the itch but after I stopped using them, the rashes and hives returned in full force.  It wasn’t until I switched to my son’s Johnson’s “top-to-toe” baby wash (I used it top-to-toe – for washing my hair as well as my body) before the problem seemed to alleviate itself.

I now suspect that the real cause of my allergy was because of the Dove body wash I had been using.  Although I stopped using it for a period, I was still washing my hair with Dove shampoo and since the suds would wash down over my arms and legs, it was still sensitising my skin.

I mentioned my suspicions to the hubby who then replied that he thought Dove body wash was one of the worst body washes around because he felt it was rather harsh on the skin, despite it being 1/4 moisturising.  Hubby has very sensitive skin and can’t use a lot of the body washes on the market because of it.  According to him, after one wash with Dove body wash, he started itching all over.

But that’s the thing…  Dove first entered the market with their bar of soap with the unique selling point of being “1/4 moisturiser” so it didn’t dry your skin.  They did such a marvellous job marketing that tagline that soon everyone associated Dove with its moisturising properties.  When Dove launch their body wash product line, they dropped the “1/4 moisturiser” advertising because the body wash didn’t have the same moisturising properties as their bar of soap.  Because they had done such a thorough marketing job with the bar of soap, consumers just naturally assumed the 1/4 moisturiser applied to all their products.

Anyway, that’s the insider scoop I remember hearing from one of the competitor product managers…  If you’ve heard differently or if you’re from Dove, feel free to enlighten us in the comments section below if this message was misrepresented.

As for the Body Shop shea butter, I might start using a bit of it on a small part of my skin to see if it’s safe to start using it again.  I’ll let you know in a week’s time…

Update: I have switched from J&J Top to Toe to Sebamed which appears to be more hypoallergenic. I stopped using J&J because hubby and the kids were still sensitive to it. Sebamed seems to work fine for all of us.

Update 15 July 2014

There is a scam going around about Dove shampoo causing some hideous skin lesions on a video that looks something like this:

Source: Urban Legends

The image is really just a photoshopped image of the Water Lotus Seed Pod:

Source: Pinterest

You can read all about it on Urban Legends.


  1. jane says:

    Thanks so much for this article. This past weekend, I used Dove Green Tea and Cucumber soap. I have been itching like crazy and scratching more than I should. I tried to self diagnose but could not figure out what was wrong and thought that I had some other condition.

  2. Rochelle says:

    I am so glad I came across this site! For the last three days I have been breaking out in itchy red hives all over my arms, legs and torso. I’ve been trying to figure out what it is and now after reading your article I’m convinced that it’s the dove cucumber and green tea deodorant I switched to a few days ago. I will be throwing it out immediately and seeing if my hives disappear now. Thank you so much!

  3. S.Turpin says:

    I don’t usually frequent Doctors’ surgeries, but I have been regularly this year because I had a burning, itching and hideous red skin condition. I tried everything. I saw three different Doctors at the same clinic. I was given Diprosone, Prednisone and more. I was sent for a blood test because the condition wouldn’t clear. Finally when I was at wits’ end, another Doctor gave me another course of Prednisone and took a biopsy. I don’t have the results of that yet because when I got home that afternoon and mentioned my plight to someone, he suggested that the burnt areas (face, neck, shoulders, arms, fingers that had to be gloved and front of my legs) indicated something happening in the shower. Right! I had thrown out all products that I had thought were the problem but I never once considered the Dove Shampoo and Conditioner that I bought in January. I took those bottles straight to the bin so I will never see them again. I am taking the Prednisone course the Doctor gave me because my skin has a lot of healing to do but in two days, I am on the road to
    normal again.

  4. Siare says:

    hello everyone. I myself have never had an isssue with any soaps before however I bought the dove mens care soap this last friday and used it saturday morning. Now I have rashes all over my body, my eye is very swollen and its spread and made from my eye to my ear swollen and super drY. Ive been thru a lot before and even had my face broke before and it was nowhere near as irritating as this. I am going to go to the doctor as well as I have made a report to dove about it. Anyone have any further advise?

  5. Mr. Clark says:

    I used dove men care sensitive skin face wash two weeks ago and I have multiple pimples appearing daily. I am definitely urging all of you not use this product EVER!