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10 Best Antibacterial Body Washes to Get Really Your Skin Clean

There is nothing quite like taking a nice hot shower after a long, tiring day of work or an intense workout. Not only does a shower allow you to decompress, but it cleanses your body of any sweat and dirt. But depending on which body wash you use, you may not be washing off all of the bacteria your body accumulates throughout the day — which is why you need to be using the best antibacterial body wash.

There are about 60,000 germs that you come in contact with daily. While the majority of those germs aren’t harmful to you, some can cause skin irritations including athlete’s foot, ringworm or rashes that can have a severe impact on your productivity. That’s why we recommend using an antibacterial body wash to fight off bacteria and suppress their ability to reproduce. These extraordinary body washes can remove pesky body odors too. Antibacterial body washes are formulated with antifungal and antimicrobial properties that will kill harmful bacteria and fungi on contact.

For some expert advice on antibacterial body washes and skin care, we consulted Dr. Michele Green, a New York City-based board-certified dermatologist. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for a Q&A with her and look for her advice throughout.

Ingredients To Consider

When shopping for the best antibacterial body wash, make sure it’s gentle enough for daily use and that it moisturizes the skin, as the agents responsible for killing all those germs can result in a more drying effect compared to other washes. Some are even suitable to use for a face wash, but for those, you want it to be free of any ingredients that can irritate your skin, such as fragrances and alcohol.

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Some disinfecting ingredients to look for when buying antibacterial body wash are:

  • Tea tree oil: One of the most popular natural ingredients in cleansers, this is found in myriad body washes thanks to its natural antiseptic properties and fresh scent. According to a study by the American Society for Microbiology, “contemporary data clearly show that the broad-spectrum activity of TTO (tea tree oil) includes antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral and anti-protozoal activities.” Green echoes those claims: “Tea tree oil is effective in treating acne, dandruff, fungal infections and even insect bites,” she says. “It works on reducing acne by calming the redness, swelling, and inflammation associated with it while also reducing the risk of acne scars.”
  • Oregano oil: The oil from this popular herb contains phenols that are able to kill harmful microbes, giving it antiviral, anti-parasitic and anti-fungal properties.
  • Exfoliators: Mechanical exfoliators, like charcoal powder and chemical exfoliators, like benzoyl peroxide, can have significant antibacterial and cleansing effects too. Though mechanical exfoliators don’t kill bacteria, they can help absorb toxins and wash them away.
  • Benzalkonium chloride: As defined by the European Medicines Agency, this is an antiseptic and disinfectant with actions and uses similar to those of other cationic surfactants and can be used as an antimicrobial preservative for pharmaceutical products.
  • Isopropanol: Also known as isopropyl alcohol, at concentrations greater than 60%, it can effectively kill germs while microbes including bacteria, viruses and fungi are also susceptible to its germicidal effects.
  • Bentonite clay and kaolin clay: These two clays are rich with minerals and have antibacterial effects. “[Bentonite clay] also contains strong anti-fungal and antibacterial properties that will bind toxins and bacteria on the skin,” Green says. Plus they’re both great for treating acne by soaking up excess sebum and oil, the fuels of P. acnes.
  • Chlorhexidine gluconate: This additive begins killing a variety of germs, bacteria and fungi on contact and continues working even after rinsing.

Is Antibacterial Soap Good for You?

Here’s the issue: There is some negativity surrounding antibacterial soaps and body washes. The Food & Drug Administration tells us that a lot of antibacterial soaps include something called “triclosan,” an ingredient that is to be concerned about due to some animal studies. It has been found that during these studies, triclosan has shown some hormone alteration that could cause issues in humans. The problem? We simply don’t know if it does or not. More research is needed on triclosan’s effect on humans for scientists to make a formal case for or against it in antibacterial soaps. Ultimately, the FDA banned it in 2016 for over-the-counter products, including antibacterial body washes, meaning it shouldn’t be of concern, but it’s always good to be wary when shopping.

That said, this is something to take note of. Sure, antibacterial soap has the ability to rid of bacteria from your body, but it might not be the best product for everyday washing. Green suggests those with typical skin will be OK using an antibacterial body wash three times a week, but if you find you’re suffering from any skin irritation or inflammation, cut back your usage or stop using the body wash entirely. In general, it’s best to do a test wash on a small patch of skin before using a body wash all over. If a product is going to irritate your skin, better to find out before irritation is all over your body. In addition, some bacteria on your body are actually good for you. Killing all of the bacteria on your skin isn’t always the smartest of moves, that’s why we suggest limiting use. If you want to learn more about the body’s natural biome, jump to the bottom.


The Best Antibacterial Body Wash

If you’re still interested in antibacterial body washes, we have listed a few down below you might want to check out if your doctor gives you the green light. We will be mentioning whether or not the product contains triclosan in each and have prioritized products that don’t. So, if you do not want a product with triclosan, you don’t have to purchase one.

That said, there are several body washes to choose from on the market, we curated a list of the best antibacterial body washes that will make your body feel clean and refreshed while eliminating bacteria and germs.

1. Natural Riches Tea Tree Oil Body Wash


If you prefer to use a body wash made from all-natural ingredients, this is the perfect product for you. The body wash contains several potent oils including, tea tree, coconut, jojoba and aloe. All ingredients are formulated to moisturize and nourish the skin while killing off bacteria. Incorporating this body wash into your daily showering routine helps eliminate body odors, athlete’s foot, ringworm and jock itch. It can also be used to soothe and heal dry, itchy and inflamed skin.

Ingredients Including Triclosan? No mention of triclosan.

Read More: Best Tea Tree Body Wash for Men

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2. Dove Men+Care Antibacterial Body Wash


This antibacterial body wash from Dove is formulated specifically for men as it’s tough on dirt and grime. It eliminates 99% of bacteria found on the skin. This body wash has micro moisture technology with skin-strengthening nutrients that will keep you feeling fresh and moisturized. Not to mention it can be used as a face wash too.

Ingredients Including Triclosan? No mention of triclosan.

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3. Dial Coconut Water Body Wash


Dial may be your go-to brand for antibacterial hand soap, but it’s about to be your new favorite body wash too. This hydrating body cleanser will wash away any bacteria and germs without drying out your skin. It has odor protection keeping you fresh all day no matter how much you sweat. You won’t find a better antibacterial body wash at an affordable price.

Ingredients Including Triclosan? Triclosan is not listed, but mentions the potential of Dial products including triclosan.

Read More: Best Body Wash For Sensitive Skin

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4. Derma-Nu Antifungal Therapeutic Soap


Derma-nu Antifungal body wash is an organic, all-natural soap free of harmful chemicals, fragrances, and dyes, making it suitable for skin types. It uses a blend of tea tree oils, mint, eucalyptus, and peppermint that eliminates bacteria that can cause athlete’s foot, yeast infection, jock itch, and other skin irritations.

Ingredients Including Triclosan? No mention of triclosan.

Read More: Best Body Wash for Acne


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5. TruRemedy Naturals Antifungal Remedy Soap


This body wash by TruRemedy is a highly recommended antibacterial body wash for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. The product fights off common germs and strong body odors, keeping you feeling fresh and clean all day. Most body washes can often dry out your skin, but this soap contains essential oils to soothe and moisturize your skin. Other ingredients in the body wash include vitamin E, C, and omega acids that can heal skin irritations.

Ingredients Including Triclosan? No mention of triclosan.

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6. Artnaturals Tea Tree Body Wash


Showers are great, but sometimes you want to relax in a bubble bath, and this body wash from Artnaturals will help you unwind. The body wash has aromatherapy properties like peppermint and eucalyptus oils to reduce stress and soothe joints. Other botanical ingredients found in the soap are chamomile, oregano and rosemary. All are known to fight against bacteria and fungus. It’s a gentle wash that is good for daily use.

Ingredients Including Triclosan? No mention of triclosan.

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7. Vita Vie Antibacterial Body Wash


Vita Vie is a pure cleansing antibacterial body wash that will kill 99.9% of germs and bacteria on contact. It has a subtle lemon scent that is perfect for both men and women, and it’s gentle enough to use on any skin type. So you don’t have to worry about skin irritations. This body wash does contain fragrance and alcohol, so it’s not recommended to use as a face wash.

Ingredients Including Triclosan? No mention of triclosan.

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8. Dove Care & Protect Antibacterial Body Wash


Not a fan of the scent in the Dove men’s antibacterial body wash? Then opt for this subtly scented body wash. The paraben-free formula will nourish and moisturize your skin while getting rid of all bacteria and germs. It’s a hydrating and refreshing cleanser that won’t dry out your skin.

Ingredients Including Triclosan? No mention of triclosan.

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9. Dove Men+Care Elements Charcoal + Clay Body Wash


Yup, give it up for Dove one last time for the Dove Men+Care Elements Charcoal + Clay Body Wash. Safe for hands and face (though we wouldn’t recommend using it on your face), this body wash uses charcoal powder and kaolin clay to bind to bacteria, gunk and other toxins, ensuring they’re easily washed away.

Ingredients Including Triclosan? No mention of triclosan.

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10. Humane Regular-Strength Acne Wash


Best known for fighting acne, benzoyl peroxide works by killing acne-causing bacteria at their source. The Humane Regular-Strength Acne Wash brings that power to your body with a moderate 5% benzoyl peroxide so you can eradicate germs and acne wherever they might be.

Ingredients Including Triclosan? No mention of triclosan.

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FAQs About Antibacterial Body Wash and Skin


What’s the Situation With Our Skin and Bacteria?

Humans have all kinds of bacteria in our bodies that comprise the human microbiome. That includes bacteria in the gut but also on body skin. “The body skin biome is composed of several different varieties of microorganisms that work together to fight infection, heal wounds and function as a protective barrier against harmful bacteria or viruses,” Green says.

Does the Body Skin Biome Have Healthy Bacteria?

The short answer is yes in the sense that body skin has bacteria that help it function and endure. But the real answer is more complicated. “It is hard to determine whether bacteria are ‘good,’ ‘bad’ or ‘healthy’ since it is dependent on the balance within the skin biome,” Green says.

The main bacteria behind acne, P. acnes, is a telling example. It’s basically innocuous and normal until there’s too much of it, like say during puberty, Green explains. That ultimately leads to more pimples, blackheads, whiteheads and cysts anywhere on the body where there are too much bacteria.

Do Antibacterial Body Washes Work? Are They Good or Bad for the Skin?

“Antibacterial body washes can be good or bad for your skin depending on what you are using it to treat,” Green says.

For example, if you know you have excess acne and bacteria, perhaps in the form of severe body odor, then an antibacterial body wash could be helpful. But unless you know you’re regularly dealing with high-bacteria situations, garden variety body washes or soaps will likely suffice.

What Are the Risks of Using an Antibacterial Body Wash?

The risks are fairly straightforward: If you need an antibacterial body wash, it can be helpful. If you don’t need it or misuse it, it can really mess with your skin. “[Antibacterial body washes] can be harsh on some patients’ skin and leave you excessively dry. In addition, they can indiscriminately kill all bacteria and can throw your natural skin biome off,” Green says. “Antibacterial body wash can even cause inflammation and skin irritation by upsetting the balance and promoting the growth of resistant bacteria.”

She also endorsed concerns about triclosan, noting it was banned by the FDA for not being generally recognized as safe and effective, and that it’s still important to look out for.


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