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.

Amazon – Shop. Connect. Enjoy. All from Earth’s Biggest Selection.


57 thoughts on “Dove Body Wash not so Gentle to the Skin…



  2. Hi Carline – I’m so glad you found this blog post useful! I had also thought at first it was something I was eating and wondered if I had suddenly developed a sensitivity towards certain foods, but I had this hunch it had to be something I was putting onto my skin.

    In retrospect, I remember that about the same time I started developing the hives, my SIL also had them and she had also just bought a bottle of the same Dove body wash. Looks like there are a lot more people who are sensitive to Dove body wash.


  3. Just look at the ingridients on the bottle. No way am i gonna trust anything with those kinds of names again. Sodium lauryl sulfate , that stuff is used in floor cleaners and other industrial applications. That goes for all the things we use as well as foods. Be wary and be natural. Most companies motto is maximize profit regardless of social and environmental cost.


  4. I broke out in hives and not knowing what it was i went to the doctor who told me to take antihistamines (Telfast) and while i did that, the hives reduced significantly, but always returned the next day. The hives initially started on a very small area on my arm and i thought they were bed bugs or something like that. Then everyday they got more and more to the point they were on my ears, bum, face, legs, back, neck…everywhere!

    After racking my brain about what was causing the hives, i realised that it must have been something that i was putting on my body rather than something i was eating. If it was something i was eating, i should have been getting an itchy swollen throat, which i wasnt getting. I put it down to the Dove Body Wash which was the new one with Cucumber and Green Tea. That was the only thing that i had changed. I changed my body washe to a non fragrant, colourless body wash brand called QV and there’s another one called Dermaveen which is really good too. But it took a whole 8-10 days for it to totally disappear after stopping using the Dove.

    I will never use any Dove products again.


  5. Hi Jess, I was also using the Cucumber and Green Tea variant. Perhaps there is something specifically in that one variant that sensitises the skin?

    Before this I hadn’t used Dove since I was in Uni and back then they only had the original variant. I seemed to be okay with that one so I never thought I would break out in rashes using Dove again.

    So I’m guessing either:

    1. There is something specifically in the Cucumber and Green Tea variant that is allergenic.

    2. Dove has changed their formulation.

    3. I have finally sensitised to something in their ingredients.

    Whatever the case, I agree with you – I now keep away from Dove products with a ten-foot pole.


  6. Hi All, I started using the new Dove soap with cumber and tea starting from last weekend.. with in 2 days i developed some skin allergy …when to the doctor he gave be a shot and asked to use clartin i continued the same till this Sunday and sunday evening it striked to me that it is the soap once i stopped it i am feeling lot better no itching sensation and i see that all thered bumps are getting dried up..

    How to know if it is Hives ? Are they small red bumps with a black head ?


  7. Sounds like you are also allergic to something in Dove body wash. The one I used was also cucumber and green tea. Since then I have not touched any products from Dove and I have not had any allergies. I’m now using Johnson and Johnson.

    You can see pictures of hives on this page:

    Red and itchy are two signs and symptoms of hives, too.


    1. hi all..OMG,why didnt i found this web when im using Dove.But never mind.Ok,I used Dove product before.All from facial,body wash and the shampoo +conditioner. The facial wash and the body wash was just okay.But the shampoo and conditioner was really drive me insane!Just right after shampoo i’ll scratch all over my body.I think because the suds.I dont bother about the hives at all,but until sometime i told the problem to my sister in-law that is a pharmacies,and she asked me to change the product.Till then,i stop using Dove product.

      But now,thing that brings me here is my mom just get hives,that i think due to Johnson ph 5.5.we just bought it yesterday.we used shokubutsu before.I noticed that i also get itchy WHEN im bathing with it,just give it a scratch and ignore it because im used to it.But my mom get the lots of bump all over her AFTER had bath,until we all need to go to the clinic at 12am just now.

      so,what im curious about now is what is the ingredient that gives hive so badly.its not like we never use johnson ph 5.5 before.we did,but nothing like this ever happened!


      1. I used to use Dove body wash when I was in Uni – that was years and years ago – and I never had any problems. Back then, it was the original variant as they hadn’t come up with the other varieties as yet.

        It is difficult to say what it is that triggers the allergy. Sometimes the allergen takes years before it starts to affect you. I guess if you know you have sensitive skin, be wary about trying new personal hygiene products. When in doubt, stick to hypoallergenic.

        I find that many of these allergic reactions seem to have cropped up with the increased use of body wash. The problem was never so prevalent back in the days when we were still using soaps.


  8. This exchange on Dove Tea & Cucumber has helped tremendously. My husband broke out in a very bad rash which included a dreadful itching sensation on his forearms which began spreading all over his body. We too went to a dermatologist as we thought he had brushed into some of the cactus thorns on our property. He began taking medicine but the symptoms have not gone away. I began to suspect it could be his soap. He had bought the Dove with Tea & Cucumber about 5 days before his rash started. He also bought some Dove shampoo – and has been struggling with incredible itchiness on the back of his neck.
    Following my intuition I googled Dove Tea & Cucumber and rash and found your site.
    We are throwing out the Dove soap and shampoo right now.
    We will be thrilled if this proves to be the source of his rash.
    Thank you!!
    PS I was not using this product as I have never like Dove soap on my skin.


    1. Hi Christine – hope you have solved your husband’s skin allergy. Since I stopped using Dove body wash and shampoo, I have never had those hives again. For me, it was the answer and I am never going to use Dove again.


  9. Hi im so glad i have found this site, i came out in a full body rash. it started as little red pimples on my arms, two days later i was coverd, i still have the rash now and it has been 6 days since i noticed it. i have never had a problem with dove before but i used the energise one (grapefruit and lemongrass fragrance) for the first time a week ago. this also contains Sodium Laureth Sulfate. Is this most likely to have caused my hives? because i dont have a clue what has caused it, since reading all of your comments it sounds to me like it could be the dove. Feels like the weight has been lifted off my shoulder now i no what could have caused it 🙂


  10. Danielle – most personal care products contain sodium laureth sulfate so I doubt that is the cause of your hives. The allergen must be something else in the product. It is difficult to say what it is because we cannot break down the product to its individual components to test on your skin. I think as long as you know it is Dove that is causing it, then stay away from it.

    Hypoallergenic products are your best bet to choose among when switching brands.


  11. I’m glad I came across this. I was googling to see if I could find anything about a sudden forearm itchy rash that came upon me with no apparent reason. A few weeks ago, I impulsively switched from using Irish Spring bar soap to a Dove men’s body wash. As best as I can recollect, that’s about the time that my forearms started to become slightly itchy and intensify over time. Obviously, at the moment I cannot definitively say that the Dove body wash is causing it; but based on what I’ve read here, I am immediately stopping using it and going back to the bar soap. Thanks for the info…


  12. I’ve just found your comments by googling skin allergic reactions and I’m glad I did! I used Dove Supreme Cream Oil Body Wash today for the first time and within 4 hours I was scratching like a gibbon ALL OVER! I have huge red patches and blotches on my inner arms, under arms, neck, tummy, back and thighs and they’re driving me insane they’re so itchy. I felt it must be the Dove as it’s the first time I’ve used it. It’s now in the bin! I hope this goes away soon or I will go nuts!! Thank you, reading all these comments has reassured me, I was wondering what on earth was wrong!


  13. Ahh! I was about to go to the allergist and dermatologist to find out what was wrong with me. I’ve been itching for the past few weeks with no visible rashes. I wasn’t sure if it was my laundry detergent, fabric softener, or Men’s Body wash that I recently switched to. After reading this article I am guessing its my Dove body wash. I will discontinue immediately! I never had an issue with the old Dove products. They should have a recall on the new formula!


  14. I have just had a shower and thought, it’s Sunday, treat yourself to an all-over body slathering of whatever lotion is to hand….which turned out to be Dove body lotion. My body is now on fire. I can’t stop itching, I’ve been back to try and shower it off, I’ve had a pan scrubber on my arms to try and alleviate the itching….it can only be the wretched Dove that has caused this. I am so pleased to find your article.


  15. This is going to be more… ahem… “personal” than the others, but related. About a week and a half ago I switched soaps – from a gentle Costco brand to this Dove Supreme Cream Oil bar soap. I never thought anything of it. I started to have pain “down there” – it really HURT to urinate, I was convinced it was a UTI. Then I realized the skin in that whole area was BURNING every time I urinated – it couldn’t be a UTI. I was terrified it was something horrible when I started searching around and saw that this is simply a skin irritation. I hadn’t even considered that all this could be caused by SOAP (believe me, this is PAINFUL – think wincing and near tears – it even hurts to SIT!) It’s the feeling when someone touches your worst sunburn. Anyway, after even more searching I found this and a few other posts about the dangers of Dove products on sensitive skin – I’ve always had sensitive skin and equated Dove with being among the best for the sensitivity. Boy was I wrong! I’ve stopped using it as of tonight and praying it’s better soon!


  16. Yeah, I’ve always thought of Dove as gentle to the skin, too. Now I won’t go near any of their products with a ten foot pole. Hope your skin gets better soon!


  17. I recently started using Olay body wash with shea butter and am now covered with hives…I’m off to the Dr. this p.m. Perhaps it’s some ingredient in both washes that causes this condition?


  18. Funny how I came across this after a search for Dove and Rash… I gotta say, my wife bought Dove with NutriumMoisture and while in the shower I figured, what the heck? Maybe my wife will like my ‘new soft skin’. What a mistake using this!!! The day after my face was completely broke out with red eczema-like rashes, some weeping, and my hair follicles infected all over my whole face. I had a rash over my brow lines, on both cheeks, and on the sides of my mouth. I looked like a cross between a kid in a popsicle fight and a panda bear. Whatever was in this, set my skin off for weeks now and it doesn’t want to go away completely. Its terrible.

    After careful consideration I realize that this is the ONLY thing that I’ve changed in my routine in years.

    I will never again allow a Dove product in my house again. My wife is scared to death to use it now. I’ll stick to Zest and be a normal non-panda from now on. Thanks for the article.


  19. i am so glad i cane across this article i been using dove body wash for a while now and been breaking out for a while & tonight i used the bar of dove and feel a little better but not completly i am gonna drop dove and switch to johnson and johnson head to toe for a while i go to the doctor on tuesday so he better not give me hydrocortizone cream or anything ive been using that for weeks now doesnt help at all… what other lotions?? soaps do u reccommend? that we can buy from our local walmarts or cvs???


    1. Hi Katherine,

      I’ve switched to Sebamed:

      I find it’s the best I’ve used so far. I don’t use anything else any more.

      When you have hives, the best thing you can do is avoid putting anything on your skin. Avoid washing with soap, too, because soap dries your skin and that can aggravate the problem. It might take up to a week for the hives to go. In the meantime, just have to bear with it.


  20. I too had the same problem after using dove bodywash and pleasantly surprised to see I am not the only one! For months I thought I had bed bugs, even went as far as throwing out my mattress! I finally went to the doc who told me the problem wasnt insect bites at all that it was an allergic reaction to whatever soap I was using. So I stopped using dove, switched to ivory bar soap, and never had a problem again. That is, until I got brave and tried using a different brand of body ives with oatmeal and shea butter. Big mistake! Yet again I broke out in itchy spots all over. Bar soap is too drying and also makes me itchy all over so I am trying Johnsons baby wash. Thanks for the info 🙂


  21. I have to say like many of the others on here; Thank goodness I found this site. Honestly I thought it was just me. I started trying out that new Dove creme body wash with the nutrium moisture in it, at first I was fine but then I began to feel a bit itchy and then began to scratch. At first I thought it was something else, but now it’s been two weeks I definitely feel it’s the body wash.
    The weird thing is I’ve been using their deodorant and lotion for over a year and they’ve never given me problems. So it had to be the body wash, my skin isn’t sensitive but if this stuff is bothering my skin I don’t think it’s good for anyone’s skin.


  22. Thanks for all these posts. I’ve had a bottle of Dove Sensitive Skin for several months now, but I had been swapping it with other soap that I buy on occasion. I’ve had terrible itching that literally felt like my skin was crawling and I was being bitten; but when I looked I never saw any bites. I went to the doctor and he recommended Quercetin and Benadryl at night; none of which really worked. The benadryl in particular made me sleepy. Only yesterday did I realize that I had used the soap exclusively. I googled and came across these postings. As usual, it’s nice not to know you’re the only one. How bizarre. I won’t be using it again. Thank you for your comments.


  23. I’v had the same insanely itchy symptoms as everyone one here, only my new body wash is not a Dove product but a “Hypo-allergenic-Triple Hydrating-Intensley Hydrating-Creamy Coconut” from St. Ives. The ingredients include the SLS but it says “Hypo-allergenic”!?!? And as far as I recall, this is the only change I’v made for myself recently. It’s been a maddening 4 days to say the least, so I’m obviously trashing the body wash. I use Gold Bond Ultimate skin lotion that has shea butter (the St. Ives had Shea butter also),but I’v used that in the past without prob and I also use J&J baby oil with aloe to help control the itching. Should I discontinue those as well? I finally went to the Dr. last night and of course as everyone here probably knows the Doc can’t be sure. He was confident that they weren’t hives (at least in the traditional sense-stress induced hives are clustered and blotchy with circular-ish patterns and mine were just everywhere sorta how what chicken pox would appear. He ruled out shingles as well so that was a relief. And so he just prescribed Benadryl for itching and a steroid. Should I throw out the lotion and baby oil as well…help!


  24. 4 weeks ago I bought Dove shampoo and conditioner as the shop I was in didnt have my usual brand, I do have sensitive skin but thought nothing of the change thanks to their clever advertising. However a week after using the product I came out in the most irritating itchy scalp. I’ve been washing my hair with just water, and now baby shampoo, I’ve also visited the doctor who prescribed me a steroid mousse and I’ve been taking anti-histamines. None of this is helping and my scalp is still super itchy 4 weeks later. I’m at my wits end with it – does anyone have tips?? thanks.


  25. I’m so glad I found this. I’ve been using dove scented body wash cucumber and green tea scent, wondering why I’m getting hives and rashes. I really, really loved this body wash so much that I had no clue it was causing me so much irritation. I will now be returning this to the store I bought it from. Thanks guys


  26. Bought the new Dove visible care toning creme body wash (nutrium moisture)…hives and rashes all over my arms.DISCONTINUING USING DOVE PRODUCTS.


  27. Thanks for your blog! I experienced the same problem with Dove body wash, it always gave me horrible hives. I never noticed until I switched body washes.
    The hives have died down but they still come sometimes at night. Do you think I am sensitive to body washes in general?
    It is strange because I love the Dove soap bar, it is the only soap bar I like to use. But their body wash is terrible.
    Thanks again :)!


    1. Hi Javeria,

      That’s and interesting point. I have used soap bars for a large part of my life – up to early twenties – and never experienced skin hives. It was only after I started using body washes that I found some were not compatible with my skin. Dove was the one that triggered the most severe reaction – much to my surprise after all the advertising about Dove being such a gentle product. I do believe that there is something potentially irritating in certain body washes (perhaps more in some compared to others) that makes some people – like yourself – sensitive to them. Perhaps you should try switching back to bar soap to see if the problem resolves itself…


  28. I just switched from Regular Dove to Dove with Plums and I started having these red spots w/ a black head in it. And they started spreading all over my body usually after I shower. I thought it was just because of the hot weather or maybe because I was also using the Tone w/ Mango Body Wash but I have been using the Tone for a while, I finished the bottle. So this Dove w/ Plums is the only new thing that I am using. I just took a shower and used Johnson and Johnson Baby wash and after a few hours I noticed that some of them are flat now and not so red anymore like before that they look like inflammed. I will continue to use J&J in my skin until this clears up but I will not use Dove Body wash anymore for it caused my beautiful skin to rash! They need to discontinue this product because this is not safe to use.


  29. Good Day: Like everyone else, I can’t say enough right now that I found your sight. I thought I had bed Bugs, Chigger bites. And yesterday I said the same thing.. It has to be something I am putting on my skin then ingesting. So I stopped using my body wash which is the Cucumber Green Tea. I am throwing out all my Dove Products as I have used them in the past but this body wash gave me nasty welts all over my body.

    It hit me yesterday as this problem has been going on for the past month. We moved into a new apartment last month so I thought (stress, the place was dirty or had mold or allergens)

    I am so happy that I found this site. Did any of you call Dove directly and tell them about this? As this product obviously needs to be discontinued Immediately if so many people are getting hives and such.

    Thank you so much



  30. thanks for writting this articule, i bought the dove coconut and jasmine like after a week i started to get like a littel red mark kind like a fungus on my arm and like small little spots all over my body. i was scare its was something contages caouse i have 2 kids. nom i know whats the cause of it thank you…


  31. Shen-Li,Thank GOD I found your site! Thanks for all the other posts. My sister gave me 2 bottles of Dove Gentle Exfoliating and for about two months I have had a rash in my brow lines and when I read one of the post it dawned on me It’s the Dove. To make matters worse she gave me two more bottles of Dove Green Tea and Cucumber and I have been itching all over with these tiny bumps on my thighs. I thought it was meds I was taking or something I was eating. I Hate Dove!!! Now I know they are all going in the trash!! Thank you so much for this info.


  32. Great article, thanks. My wife and I always used Dove Shea Butter soap bar and no probleproblema whatsoever. Recently we changed to the Dove Coconut Cream , on the same soap bar line. The next day after using I’m gettigetting tiny bumps on the skin that turn into hives in 3 days. So, my wife is a pro when it comes to rashes and treating them and she singled out the Dove bar and said I’m probably allergic to it or ots fragrance, and also that the bar color is pink (it being coconut…). So now I changed to Cetaphyl (temporarily) to see if it gets better. I’m not allergic to foods or anything and I even started crazy cleaning thinking it might be dust mites. I will post a progress report next week to you, but by reading all the testimonies , I’m pretty sure I’m on the same page as you all.


  33. Thank you for posting this. My husband had a severe allergic reaction this weekend (when we were out of town, fun fun…) as described by you and most people above. He ate nothing that day so we could not figure it out. Well, after a shower tonight with Dove Men + Care all in one shampoo/conditioner, it all returned! He can only use Cetaphil for soap, we knew that. However, shampoos usually were not an issue. So your blog as well as other readers’ comments have me very much believing its the Dove shampoo. Hoping there’s no ER visit tonight….


  34. 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.


  35. 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!


  36. 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.


  37. 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?


  38. 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!


  39. I am very much aware that this is a very old topic but still relevant. Wish I would have found this back in 2016.

    What Happened.
    Had the biggest verbal fight with my then girlfriend she noticed the rash before me, which was around the adult parts (the v-neck area). She accused me of cheating. After taking a mirror and looking for myself? I joined in the accusing game. I hadn’t noticed it nor was there an itch but the location in the crevices did began to blister, eventually and hurt like …

    Contact Dermatitis.
    We laughed it off but still think it was some trust issues on her end because it looked horrible and transmitted. Apologies for the graphic description.

    The dermatologist was cool the cream he was going to prescribe was expensive so he suggested cortisone and admitted it would take longer to disappear that way but was less expensive overall. After some testing I was clear of any allergies outside of eczema which the dermatologist believed  the irritant agitated to that level of aggression. Took about 2 weeks to subside. Still I was so afraid of agitating it all over again I resorted to soaking extremely long in baking soda baths. No soap.

    At that time.
    I smelled this on one of the guys at work (Doves Men the green one) and wanted to try it. Man. I’ll stick with Aveeno and Irish Spring. So afraid to experience that again.


  40. I have been using j&j on my baby since birth. I switched to dove head to toe and it seems to have given her a diaper rash. Hubby and I started using it today so it doesn’t go to waste but we both got a few itchy bumps on the tummy


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