Allergic to Dove soap ingredients?

Cosmetic and skincare products sold as ‘hypoallergenic’, ‘all natural’ or ‘organic’ can be very misleading and often, for some of us very sensitive types, anything but kind and gentle to our skin.

Cosmetic products are not bound by law to ommit any particular known allergens and most don’t have a full list of ingredients on product packaging.

So what do these terms mean? and how do you really know that the product you’re buying will be kind to your skin? Reading ingredients lists on skin care products, shampoo and moisturisers often leaves you with more questions than answers. Very few contain anything you would recognise as a natural or plant based ingredient and many plants can be acidic and cause irritation and allergies anyway, as we know, so natural isn’t always good where skincare products are concerned.

People can be allergic to, or react to, irritants which can cause contact dermatitis to pretty much anything, but there are many known ingredients that are not recommended for sensitive skin such as sodium lauryl sulphate, linalool, lanolin, perfumes etc. There are many others but do you see products that say ‘suitable for sensitive skin’ and ‘hypoallergenic’ and automatically think they’ll be good for your skin?

How do we know? Is anyone policing or checking the conduct of skin care companies? What should we look out for on packaging?

The Skin Health Alliance (SHA) is an independent not-for-profit organisation working with international dermatologists, researchers, and skin scientists offering professional accreditation to companies, services and brands seeking specialist independent dermatological recognition for their product research. However the products accredited, including Olay and Head & Shoulders, all have to pay for independent verification to be conducted. I have no idea how much they pay but if it’s expensive many smaller companies won’t be able to afford it. Launched in 2011, it’s a fairly new company and so far only seems to have a few companies signed up as accredited.

Dove Beauty Cream Bar Extra Sensitive

Dove sensitive skin soapI’ve chosen one product which claims to be good for sensitive skin but sends my skin into melt down. I’m sure lots of people with sensitive skin can use this product without any problems but I wondered what would possibly be causing this reaction so let’s have a look at the ingredients in Dove soap.

This is what Dove say about their extra sensitive soap:
“The ingredient checklist for sensitive skin is a long one, but Dove has put it all into this bar: true mildness; fragrance free; hypo-allergenic formula; and dermatologically tested.”

Sounds lovely doesn’t it. I’m sure many, like me, dashed out to buy this to try it. My relatives acquire many products in this way as one use is enough for the ‘sensitive skin barometer’ to make its judgement. This soap had me itching in the shower just using it once and left me with mild eczema on my arms and legs. I thought I would investigate to try to pinpoint which ingredient it might have been that caused me a problem.

Ingredients as listed on Dove Beauty Cream Bar Extra Sensitive

Humectants attract moisture to your skin
Surfactants cleanse and clean your skin

  1. Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate – Surfactant – may dry skin
  2. Stearic Acid – Humectant – may sensitise you to allergens
  3. Sodium Palmitate – Surfactant – may dry skin
  4. Aqua – Solvent – just plain old water
  5. Lauric Acid – Humectant – may irritate very sensitive skin
  6. Sodium Isethionate – Surfactant – oh good. This is mild to skin and not drying
  7. Sodium Stearate – Surfactant – not particularly beneficial to skin, but not known to irritate either
  8. Cocamidopropyl Betaine – Surfactant – may be an allergen
  9. Sodium Palm Kernelate – Surfactant – Oh good – just a gentle cleanser
  10. Glycerin – Humectant – can cause allergy in very rare cases
  11. Sodium Chloride – Viscosity Controlling Agent – not particularly beneficial to skin, but not known to irritate either
  12. Zinc Oxide – Additive – non-irritant and non-allergic, unless you’re allergic to zinc
  13. Citric Acid – Antioxidant – may cause mild irritation to very sensitive skin
  14. Tetrasodium EDTA – Sequestrant – not particularly beneficial to skin, but not known to irritate either
  15. Tetrasodium Etidronate – Sequestrant – not particularly beneficial to skin, but not known to irritate either
  16. Alumina – Additive – may cause skin irritation
  17. CI 77891 – Colourant – eye and skin irritant

So, we can see from this that from the whopping 17 ingredients in Dove’s sensitive skin soap:

  • 11 ingredients may cause irritation or dry skin
  • 5 are not known to irritate skin, but not really beneficial either
  • A rather pathetic 2 ingredients are mild and gentle on your skin

Be aware also that some Dove skincare products contain almond oil.

So think twice before using this soap if you have sensitive skin. If you can only recognise a handful of the ingredients anyway, steer clear. It’s got water, zinc and at a push alumina we can deduce is derived from the metal alluminium. I wonder how these procucts get approval from bodies such as The Skin Health Alliance. Is this organisation’s accreditation really worth anything or a good guage of a product that’s healthy for your skin? I’m skeptical.

What do the phrases Dove uses to describe this produce really mean?
True mildness, fragrance free, hypo-allergenic formula, dermatologically tested – looking at these ingredients I’d ignore all these claims entirely. Perhaps I’m in a minority and the majority of consumers see only beneficial results when using Dove Soap.

Now just because something cleans a mirror so it’s completely smear free does not mean it’s going to make a good skincare product for people with sensitive skin. What on earth is that advert all about? I suppose it’s saying there is no residue left on your skin after use, but if you rinse your skin properly there shouldn’t be anyway should there? Perhaps I’ll use Dove soap next time I clean the windows!

Can you use Dove soap? Why would a skincare manufacturer make a soap for sensitive skin with over half its ingredients being potential known irritants or allergens? I would surmise that it’s probably cheaper to use the ingredients above because they’re not chosen for their benefits to sensitive skin. Watch what you put on your skin. Your skin could absorb as much as 60% of what you put on it so be kind to it.

For further reading I would recommend:

Special thanks to Alabu for doing much of this analysis already. For an in-depth analysis of the ingredients in Dove products and what they all do, read Dove Ingredients Comparison from Alabu Skincare.

Visit the SkinsMatter website and read in particular Contact dermatitis and cosmetics by Alex Gazzola, where he explains very well the difference between skin allergic reactions and skin senstitivity to irritants, which aren’t specifically an allergy, though they can feel like an allergic reaction.

A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients by Ruth Winter, M.S

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About Ruth

Ruth works freelance as a copywriter and writes the What Allergy blog to share information with people who have allergies, eczema, asthma and food intolerances. was voted in the top 5 allergy blogs and Ruth also judges regularly for the FreeFrom Food Awards and FreeFrom Skincare Awards. She also won the Foods You Can People's choice Best FreeFrom blogger award 2014.


  1. wow so that is why my skin is burning right now…. I just used it today

  2. I also experienced a skin reaction from using this soap. How can companies like Dove put their name on the line with a product like this marketed for sensitive skin?

    • I’m not sure how it all works Mrs G. I’m trying to find out more about the various claims some products use, not just Dove, and what they mean. Seems they are a little vague and not always what they seem. A bit like all the food labelling like ‘Farm Assured’ and ‘Soil Association’ on meat. Can be very misleading, e.g. The Farm assured tractor sign doesn’t require farmers to provide straw and bedding for pigs. It is supposed to be safe guarding animals welfare and treatment but falls short in my opinion. Soil Association is much more stringent and DOES require farmers to provide straw bedding. Just one example. but that’s a whole nother conversation! And I fear I’m off on a rant/tangent again…

    • The clue is in your question….”companies”. They will put their name to anyone/anything as long as it doesn’t affect sales.

    • I also have just started using the Dove Moisturizing soap, as I have a dry skin type. I have noticed that my skin appears noticeably drier than usual and I have sighted a mild eczema rash on my arms (which is uncommon for me).

  3. Doesn’t surprise me in the slightest, sadly. You can get a free Toxic Toiletries factsheet on my site with a list of chemicals to avoid:

    Also, I have put my top non toxic range picks here:

    Of course, anyone can be sensitive to anything as we know so check ingredients carefully, but we can at least start with no harmful chemicals! Hope it helps.

    • Oh brilliant. Thanks Micki. I should have included a link above. Perhaps I will! It’s the long term effects of using chemicals on the skin that worries me. People might be seemingly using stuff OK but is it really having no adverse effect? Some things just shouldn’t be used in skincare manufacture.

    • I clicked on both of these links and neither of them take me anywhere for information. So what good is that??

  4. Hi Judy, Apologies for confusing you. I do know the difference between an allergy and just being sensitive. They do not always go hand in hand but they can do. Some things are skin irritants to those with sensitive skin, whilst others can use them without problems, and others can be allergic to certain ingredients, even in skincare products.

    I’ll have a look over this article and see if I can make it clearer. I have included a good link at the bottom which does go into detail of the difference between allergies and skin irritation on the skinsmatter website.

    It’s a bit like the confusion between food allergy and food intolerance. Both very different and often misunderstood.

    • My allergist also knows the difference between allergies and sensitivities, but doesn’t get too concerned with things outside “true allergies.” I, however, need to be able to identify the products that cause me problems, whether it be because of allergies, sensitivities, or intolerances, all of which I have. I can’t afford the money or the misery to try out multiple products and quibble over what category they fall into. A single article that addresses ANY reactions caused by a specific product is more useful to me than three separate articles dealing with allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances.

      • I totally agree. If it makes your skin itch, burn, or worse, then it’s almost irrelevant why. My family have received countless gifts of skin care products which haven’t agreed with my skin. I tend to stick to what I know and not be particularly adventurous. I do love Lush dream wash though. But we are all different and what works for one might not work for another. I know plenty of people with eczema and sensitive skin who CAN use this product. So complex.

        • Ruth: I have a suggestion. If you are given any personal care items that you haven’t used before and think will not work out, don’t even open them, but donate them to a local homeless shelter or women’s shelter. They can use them, and in most cases the products will go to people who are not as sensitive as we are.

          • Lovely idea! I have donated some to old lady in my village who seems to love them ;o) Homeless shelter is a great idea though. I am tracking down my nearest one.

  5. Under eye cream for super sensitive skin?Hi there. I have raelly sensitive skin. Like if I change products, try to get a facial or attempt to exfoliate, I get a red patch with little bumps within 24 hours. I then have to go to the doctor to get a ointment to make it go away or it’s there for a year. It’s nuts. Regardless, I found Dr. Hauschka’s line which is all natural blah blah and it’s working well. However, after 5 years of using the under eye balm, I suddenly am having a reaction. Don’t know if they changed the formula or what but it’s just not cutting it anymore. So now I’m looking for some suggestions on alternative eye creams for sensitive skin. I always have used it more preventively I don’t have wrinkles to puff up or dark circles fade so no need for anything harsh like retinol which will destroy me! I just like slathering on a thick cream to hopefully ward it off in the future! Thanks in advance!

    • Thanks for the comment. Yes it could be a change in ingredients or just skin irritation, an allergy, things can change at any time which is annoying. If you’ve been using it fine for years I’d suggest they’ve changed something. You could always contact them and ask. I will look out for sensitive skin eye cream. You could try checking out The Skins Matter website . Their recent awards may have an eye cream.

    • When I started having troubles with the skin around my eyes, the dermatologist tracked it down to my SHAMPOO. Apparently, the skin around the eyes is more sensitive than the rest of the face, and shampoo that washed across the face doing nothing to the facial skin would irritate the skin around my eyes. The pillowcase is another source. Anything in your hair, including the shampoo you use and the pollens you collect during the day, fall onto the pillowcase; then you roll over and put your face in it. I wash my hair before bedtime (or if concerned about the shampoo, rinse it thoroughly to wash out anything collected during the day), and change pillowcases more often than the rest of the bedding (which should be washed in hot water every week, including all blankets and covers, if you have allergies). The end result is, don’t assume that your eyes are affected only by the product applied directly to the eyes.

  6. Thanks for the information. The oddest think about Dove sensitive skin, clearly labeled “unscented” and “fragrance free”, is that I very definitely detect a perfume fragrance. After patch testing, I found I am allergic to fragrance. Too bad we can’t open all the boxes and bottles in the store and sniff. Also too bad there isn’t a law against labeling something fragrance free when it has a fragrance. Also too bad there isn’t a law that simply requires listing ingredients. Now that I now what I’m allergic to, I can read labels. But if the labels don’t include the information, all that reading is unhelpful.

    To the previous commenter who noted that after years of using a product it now causes a reaction — that definitely sounds like allergy. Theoretically, to have an allergic reaction, you have to come in contact with the allergen at least once, an experience that causes your body to start creating antibodies and whatnot. It’s at least the second contact that starts the allergic response or over-reaction.

    • Labelling laws are a problem. Not sure how they can allowed to say fragrance free when something clearly isn’t though. They can say organic if just one ingredient is organic which is mad. Always stick to pure and simple stuff. I’m trying out some products so will be posting my findings soon. And who knows why the body decides some things are OK but rejects others as dangerous. keeps us on our toes.

  7. so could you recomend a good soap? dove is good for me. Its what all doctors are recomending.

    • Hi Vernita. Well if Dove is OK for you then that’s OK. My favourites are Simple soap, Sanex shower gel or Lush Dreamwash for a treat.

    • I start using Dove 6 months ago on my face and come up with lots of nasty red spots they would not go away took long time to heal..I went to see my doctor she gave me a cream it made my spots a lot worse so I stop using Dove and cream from my doctor I got another soap on Ebay tee tree soap… now I am spot free

  8. Dove Soap for Sensitive Skin Unscented has changed again! the ingredient list above is not up to date.

    They are marketing the Dove Soap for Sensitive Skin in two different packages. One package that may look the same as the other IS different though. One ingredient that will clearly show that it is different is a chemical that consists of two words and the second word is ****Glycol.**** I believe it is either propylene glycol or polyethylene glycol. Just watch out for the word for Glycol…and don’t buy! Ever since they changed the ingredient list and added bad chemicals like this one that ends in Glycol, I have had consistent rashes on my neck, back, shoulder, chest. Also, the plastic packaging with this ingredient will have a much stronger scent! than the other package that looks the same, but it isn’t. Unilever is the company that makes this soap and they are a horrible company for not only putting such harsh irritating chemicals in a “Skincare” product, but most importantly not informing its customers that they changed the ingredient list. The ingredient listed above posted by another individual is an outdated list, unless on your part of town they are selling that old package! Shaking my Head at Unilever! I am better off not using their products and using a natural made soap without all those harmful chemicals. Remember everyone, what you put on your skin is absorbed into your bloodstream! Just ask your doctor if that is true!

    • Here Here. I completely agree. I think it should be criminal to add chemicals and known irritants to any skincare products. Just because some people don’t immediately react still doesn’t mean it may be doing them harm. The fact that they market these soaps on confusing packaging and brand as ‘suitable for sensitive skin’ is a joke. It makes me really mad. We should only put stuff on our skin that’s pure and healthy, if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin!

  9. I have the same issue this DOVE sensitive skin is KILLING me, thanks for the info

    Whats would be the suggestion on what to use that’s the best for us that have insensitive skin.

    Thank You


    • Hi AJ. It could be anything causing your irritation but it would make sense to try something else to see if it helps. I find Sanex shower zero range very good and for a treat I use Lush dream wash. Simple soap do a very good range, but if you check the ingredients of products and find something that doesn’t contain nasties like glycol, as mentioned above, and the stuff in Dove, listed in this blog, you should find somethign kinder. Good luck!

  11. Elisabeth Clifford says:

    Faith in nature or doctor organic from Holland and Bharat . No chemicals to irritate at all. Just nice ingredients . Golden rule “If you would not eat it then don’t use it on your skin”. Haribol !

  12. Wow! I was itching so horribly after using Dove soap that I had to Google it. This explains a lot! I was looking for something cheaper than Neutrogena Transparent Facial Bar (which I have used all over my body for years). Back to Neutrogena! Dove is downright dangerous!

  13. My 89 year old mom is in assisted living. She has always used Dial soap. I thought that the Dial soap was drying out her skin and bought her Dove. Shortly, after she developed little, itchy, raised bumps. Her doctor ruled out shingles and bed bugs… rash wasn’t bites. Thought maybe her she was reacting to one of her many meds so eliminated one… no change and skin seemed more irritated. Now, I’m thinking that the Dove soap my be the problem… so I put her back on the Dial that she is so used to and will see if that will stop rash. My next move would be to take her to a dermatologist. My gut says it’s the dial as the timeline fits so well.

  14. I wanted to thank you for putting this up. My husband has a horrid reaction to this soap as well as Tide. So, this helps to narrow it down to what ingredients are common between the two. Thanks so much!!!

    • My pleasure DD. stick to more natural and less processed products with no perfume especially. What country do you live in? I use Sanex shower gel or Simple Soap

  15. MelissaA says:

    My complaint about Dove is a bit different. I’ve been using it for decades and have loved it. However, starting a couple years ago I couldn’t get my washcloths clean in the laundry! They seem to have wax or an oil build up in them. I’ve also been using Tide for decades. But now that I know I’m not crazy I guess I’ll start looking around for another soap and maybe I can have clean fluffy washcloths again!

  16. This has happened to me says:

    Just goes to show how misleading marketing/advertising is and the halo effect is has on users.

    I’ve always had red shoulders, arms and back after my post gym workout shower.
    I always put it down to my sweat reacting with the detergent powder in my clothes washing machine.

    More worryingly I have also noticed itchy red spots developing on my legs which the doctor said wasn’t anything like shingles or bed bugs.

    I just had another shower and decided to google Dove soap irritation. Regardless I’m going to change to a genuine soap that is free if irritation and bin my Dove Soap.

    • Go for it! Ditch that Dove. It’s so not natural and sensitive skin friendly when you look at the ingredients. Try sanex shower gel, or pure or simple soap. Coal Tar is also good, well actually ANY soap with be better than Dove!!! Good luck. Look forward to hearing whether you see an improvement. It also could be your shampoo, you could try rinsing with your head forward so it doesn’t wash over your body, just to see if that helps. Down with Dove!

  17. Hi everyone,

    My name is Lisa, I can relate to everyone’s story all too well. Dove soap also irritated my skin. I remember using their body wash only to begin itching so bad one winter. While on Christmas break, I had scratched the top of my arm only to see white flakes. I was horrified. I bought a cheap body wash to strip my skin of all that build up. This is why I began my journey to make fresh handmade soaps and body products two years ago. My customers have a choice of scented, mildly scented or unscented in all my products. Checkout my website at All ingredients are listed for each product. We are also on Facebook: Luxurious Bath Boutique. Thank you for your time and have a great day.

    • Thanks for sharing the link Lisa and well done for taking such positive moves. What do you use to fragrance them?

      • Hi Ruth,

        My apologies for the late reply. I use fragrance oils for those who are not sensitive to them. I also have essential oil soaps/products for those who are sensitive. I also offer unscented soaps and body products. I have something for everyone! ;o)

  18. I was recommended to use Dove sensitive a while back. When I did, I immediately broke out in hives all over where the soap touched. Allergic! Now I am recommended to use a soap with fat (like Dove) for my face to keep it from getting the eczema. No way do I want to risk Dove again, but I don’t know what else to do.

    • Hi Susan, yes I don’t know what is in Dove that causes skin sensitivity but it’s not great. On my face I only ever wash with my emollient, that I use to moisturise my eczema with. It’s called Epaderm.

  19. Richard says:

    I used regular Dove for a very long time with no problems. Then my wife asked me to switch to the Extra Sensitive because she doesn’t like the smell of regular Dove. I developed a major contact allergy and didn’t realize for two weeks that it was the Extra Sensitive Dove soap that was doing it. I had blisters on my fingers and a major red bumpy rash all over my body. My physician had to give me shots and a strong cortisone cream to treat it. My wife has no problem with Extra Sensitive, but it came close to killing me. I looked at the difference in ingredients between Dove and Extra Sensitive Dove and I think my problem is with Alumina (Aluminium Oxide) or Glycerin, more likely the former.

    • Well you can’t explain that can you… the extra sensitive one clearly wasn’t extra sensitive for you was it Richard? How strange. What do you use now? (apologies for replying so late…) I used to use a coal tar soap which was good but can’t find that anymore.

  20. My son has had excema for years. Now he only uses pure glycerine soap (no color or perfume)…it is see-through and works great. After my bad reaction to this Dove soap I’m stealing his.

  21. Being very specific here (having read the earlier response!) Sodium Laureth Sufate/Sulphate is an industrial foaming agent, it’s used to clean garage forecourts! I know I tend to have greasy hair and skin but I don’t think I need something that strong to remove the oil present…! My skin reacts horribly to Dove and anything else with such strong substances in. Our skin needs its natural emollients, it’s the largest organ of our body and as with all the others needs the correct ph and level of hydration. I’m not into everything natural by a long way but I won’t knowingly touch anything with SLS in it – or put it anywhere near my kids.

    Johnson’s baby products all have it it too – I mean, how crazy is that??! Just how dirty can a newborn get?!

    Am currently getting over a massive skin and eye reaction from the newsprint on this fortnight’s Private Eye. That will teach me to read something different lol!

    • That is truly shocking… I knew SLS was one of those ‘avoid’ ingredients but that is so clearly NOT something that needs to in ANY skincare product. It does explain why in that advert, the Dove soap cleaned the mirror so well – it cleans grease off concrete too but that doesn’t make it a good thing to put on yer skin! My friend reacts to newsprint too, she wears cotton gloves when she reads any paper (keeps a pair in her bag). And my old teacher also reacts to newsprint. It’s not all newspapers though is it? That will indeed teach you for trying to improve your political knowledge. I use Sanex at the moment but even that has a long list of ingredients. Am on the lookout for something kinder. Need to nourish my skin not torment it. Also using a Barefoot SOS shampoo at the moment which is lovely.

  22. Having said all that I LOVE the Dove campaign (last year?) to promote “normal” bodies.

    • Yes I do love that advert. It sends a very positive message. Just a shame the skincare industry has such strange views on what makes a good ingredient for sensitive skin soap etc.

  23. Happened to me second time in 4 years. The first time i was using krikland generic Dove like soap. Got Pityriasis Rosea. Last month because of dry cold weather got dove. Bad move. Pityriasis Rosea came back again.

    Done with dove and (it’s generics) soap for ever.

    • I agree. I so love the adverts, they make is sound like this amazing product that will be kind to your skin and give you a glowing, youthful, healthy complection. What really happens to some of us is a bit of shock. Soap has often made my skin dry but NO soap has EVER made my skin as bad as Dove. There is something very wrong with that product. I hope they take a look at the ingrediens and reformulate.

  24. Hi I’m very thankful for this article. I thought I was wrong for accusing dove body wash for my skin irritation that I’ve been struggling with for 2 weeks now. It was first an insect bite until it turned out to be so reddish with water like fluid coming out of it now both of my arms and legs have this red bumps. And I know it’s the dove body wash that I used is the reason of my skin irritation. Really dove should stop making these products.

  25. Hi there. I’ve recently changed my shampoo to Dove. Free a few weeks if using it, I’ve developed a very irritating rash on my neck, chest, back, face and even burns to my ears! I have since changed my shampoo and my body wash (Sanex is great!) but the rash seems to be really bad first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Any recommendations to clear? I’ve tried eczema ointment and Aloe Vera. It takes weeks to get an appointment at my doctors. Thanks!

    • If you can get hold of any, try pure shea butter or pure coconut oil. Both are solid but melt on contact with your skin. Hope it clears up soon. I also find Espom salt bath really helps if you have a bath? Helps clear up rashes. Also, have a short shower, and if you start to feel itchy at all turn down the temperature as low as you can go. It’s a good idea to finish every shower with a blast of cold.

  26. Prithvi says:

    Hi Ruth,

    Thanks for the info, i jst switched to dove as my dermatologist suggested it to be good for dry skin, but unfortunately have been having a lot of rashes, itching and pink bite like rashes. I have been having very sensitive skin since childhood and have been trying to find the best products to use. I have even tried using baby soap. I am 25 now and still trying to figure out a good chemical free soap. Could u help suggest a good suitable soap available in Indian markets. It would be really helpful.


  27. Hello,

    I’m looking for sulfate free hair shampoo and body wash/shower gel without perfume, color and parabens, because i have itchy scalp and sensitive skin.



    • I use Sanex in the shower. Have you tried Jason aloe vera shampoo? Go into any health store and there are loads of sulfate free brands with no perfume or parabens. I use Tgel shampoo for my itchy scalp. Thinking of experimenting with soap nuts soon… watch this space.

  28. Scott Ernst says:

    I moved to Las Vegas and began to have severe itching problems and painful dermatitis. I assumed that the Las Vegas climate was the problem. I spent a ton of money on lotions and cortisone. I was essentially trapped inside my home and suffering from the itching. I decided to try a different soap and the problem was gone within a few days. I am VERY angry that Unilever (Dove Soap) essentially LIED to me about their product and caused me to suffer for several months. If anyone would like to file a lawsuit against Unilever, let’s talk.

    • I hear you Scott, I cannot understand how this product can be marketed as for sensitive skin, though you don’t say which particular Dove soap you used. It brings me up in such a bad reaction after just a few uses, even though it’s a wash off product. I don’t know which ingredient it is for me but there are so many nasty ingredients. I think they should NOT be able to sell this for sensitive skin but I’m not sure we would have a legal case. Unfortunately skincare products don’t seem to have to have very strict rules regarding any claims. One organic ingredient could mean they can label it as organic. I don’t know if what they’re doing is against the law, ie. saying it’s not good for sensitive skin. I can only assume most people can use it OK and we are the few who can’t. Who knows. It’s like acid on my skin.

      • Ysibel L. says:

        Hello Scott! I also live in Vegas (well Henderson, but same thing). One thing that has really helped my skin is always making sure to apply a good lotion multiple times a day, especially one with SPF, and a humidifier (or more than one if you have a large house). Since it’s so dry here, a humidifier really helps but you do have to make sure it’s cleaned properly and often.

    • Did you ever find out about a lawsuit. Companies shouldn’t be able to falsely advertise about their product and cause so much damage to someone skin, I am a victim as well

      • I’m not sure there is much we can do about it, the laws governing what can be said on skin care products are very lax, vague and misleading. For instance, something can be called organic if only a few ingredients are organic. I’m not sure all consumers understand that. And saying something is hypo-allergenic doesn’t mean much if my skin has anything to go by. You just have to learn to scan ingredients and steer clear of the nasty ones like parabens, perfumes, SLS etc.

  29. What face washes do you recommend? My face is super sensitive, oily, and very acne prone. I’m on the hunt for a good cleanser

    • Hi Ashley, Well my face is super sentisive but not oily, I have the opposite problem. For my dry sensitive skin I only use my Epaderm ointment and water to wash my face, then I moisturise, often with more Epaderm. So I tend not to use a cleanser, though I probably should. However check out the Freefrom skin care awards website on: They have a category for Problem Skin and Skin Care take off which I guess cleansers would come under. 11. Face Care (‘Take Off’) –

  30. Ysibel L. says:

    I have mild eczema on my hands and feet plus food allergies. I bought the Dove Beauty Bar and thought that because it’s supposed to be mild enough to use on my face, it should be okay to use all over. Boy was I wrong! My hands and feet started to itch with an intense burn. I made sure nothing else in my shower was giving me a reaction, so naturally I tried using the soap to eliminate it. This second time my reaction was worse. I hate wasting money on products that are supposed to be gentle on my body. Plus, since I have food allergies, I can’t use most “organic” products because I’m allergic to things like wheat and citrus fruits (pretty common ingredients). Does anyone know of any worthwhile products to try that won’t aggravate my eczema or other allergies?

    • Hi Ysibel, I am so sorry you fell fowl of the unsentisive sensitive dove soap. Nasty stuff. My family have also benefitted from getting my handed down, hardly used, aggravating shower gells, soaps and creams. If you live in the US I’d have to do some research but in the UK we have brands called Jason, Weleda, Sanex, Simple, Barefoot SOS, Lush and Botanicals to name just a few. I wonder of Burts Bee stuff would suit you? I know it’s pricey but it’s well made with natural ingredients – I think! Don’t quote me as it’s hard to get here in the UK. Good luck with your quest. If you have eczema and are prescribed emollients or creams for that you can often use these to wash with too.

  31. Christina says:

    We have a large family. My daughters and I all use Dove sensitive skin soap. I usually have it around for the winter but I must have purchased a ton because we’ve used it all through the summer too. The problem started with me. My skin would erupt in a crazy rash after it was exposed to any sun. It was a Polymorphous light eruption? It would spread and then my body would break out all over. I had two steroid packs to get rid of it. They tested me for lupus and other auto immune diseases as well as sent my skin for a biopsy and everything came back normal. Then my 3yr old had the same thing start. I took her to the doctor and asked them if it could be scabies. They didn’t think so, but treated us anyway. Now my poor 9 yr old daughter is COVERED from being in the sun at a skateboarding event yesterday. And my 6yr old had the same blotchy rash on her cheeks and arms. The only thing I can figure is it has to be the Dove soap causing a reaction when it’s exposed to sunlight. It always starts on exposed skin and creeps to your covered areas. I’m glad I found your article because I thought I had to be crazy blaming such a quality product on our summer from hell…lol.

    • I’ve never heard of this before but anything is possible. And I too am confused and dissapointed as I love the Dove brand and what they stand for, but something very bad has sneaked its way into their products – sadly sold as good for sensitive skin. Not great really. The only way to truly know if it’s the dove soap is to stop using it for a while, use a kinder brand and see if the skin rashes clear up. And then try Dove againto find out if the rash is solely appearing after sun exposure. People react to sunlight on their skin regardless but this is very rare. Best to get some nicer soap. I don’t like Dove sensitive skin soap one bit.

      • Some natural ingredients like citrus will make you react to sunlight. You’ll burn super fast in the sun. So if the product has any of it in there, then the sunlight could affect you. I found this out the hard way by once buying a nice orange scented soap. I got sunburn in ten to fifteen minutes! Before that I could walk down the sidewalk for near an hour with no burning at all. Yet I continue to see bars of soap that contain orange, lemon, etc. Why they put stuff into soap that will make you burn quickly is beyond me. I read online that other items can cause it too, like parsley, but don’t know if it’s true. I certainly burned fast from Orange!!

  32. I use soaps that our chemical free and reasonably priced. The company is Funky soap Shop Ltd and their soaps are really amazing. They have calmed my sensitive irritated skin on my body and the shampoo bars have cleared up my psoriasis on my head. I will never go back to using soaps for sensitive skin with chemicals in ever again.

  33. He sufrido psoriasis por varios años y probado todo
    tipo de métodos de curación sin apenas resultado

    • For those who don’t speak Spanish, Mellisa just said: ‘I suffered psoriasis for several years and tried everything
      type of healing methods with little result’ – does anyone have advice for her? I don’t know much about psoriasis as I actually have eczema but what I can say it’s never just one thing, it’s loads and loads of tiny little things that all go together to make little teeny tiny improvements which all in the end make up a life where you can live with the condition and find a place where it doesn’t control you. Too many to mention but the most important ones for me are identifying triggers, keeping fit and active and avoiding stress and identifying any psychological issues that are taking over too much of my brain and getting them under control. It’s not easy and it’s not fun but you CAN live with eczema and psoriasis. Can anyone offer Melissa any advice for psoriasis?

  34. I had terrible eczema due to skincare products a while ago to which my dermatologist recommended using the Dove bar soap as it will moisturise my skin, but what a disaster! It only dried my skin out more and caused even worse dry patches around my eyes. I wouldn’t recommend it for sensitive skin. I rather use the Eucerin range. I’ve found that it works best and I haven’t had any problems since I started using it.

  35. S Perkins says:

    I do not generally have sensitive skin, but my daughter bought me some Dove Purely Pampering Oil which I have been using on my arms and chest daily for a while now. About two weeks ago my arms came up in a massive allergic reaction. Today my chest has also flared up. I have not used any other products (not even suncream) so as it is contained to these areas I can only assume that is what caused it. I have now stopped using it and the rash on my arms is going away.

    • Some ingredients can sensitise the skin, and the ingredients Dove uses in most of its products are highly questionable. They are known irritants and in opinion, just not necessary in products that are absorbed into our skin. I’m using Organic Babies shower gel at the moment and also have some soap bars to try so watch out for blogs on this soon.

  36. This soap gives me hives and itches like crazy big time for me. I want sure it was the soap, and maybe a little in denial because I bought the soap at Costco in bulk hoping for a nice moisturising soap. A few months later I tried it again and blammo hives galore and where there weren’t hives skin still itchy. Thanks for validating. Wish I hadn’t bought 10 bars or whatever

  37. I use dove without any problems, but you know I have Lupus. I have to keep my diet strictly clean and free of allergens. Perhaps you folks need to look at the internal issues that are causing your skin problems.
    Understand, I have an auto imnnune disorder that chiefly involves MY SKIN. There is nothing wrong with a product just because it doesn’t work for you, and Dove’s Sensitive bar holds a rating of ONE on EWG. Pine Tar soap (any brand) rating of 8 and HIGHER.
    Unilever, thank God is too big to fail. So forget about your moronic “class action law suit” idea.

  38. I found a soap on ebay that I’m going to give try as I’m having problems with contact dermatitis ans even simple soap didn’t work for me.
    It’s called sillybilly soap and it says on it that they are 100% paraben, SLS, petrochemical, and palm oil free.
    I don’t know if there will be anything in it that can irritate me but I’m definetly giving it a try.

  39. May I simply say what a relief to uncover somebody who actually understands
    what they’re talking about online. You certainly understand how to bring an issue to light and make it
    important. A lot more people must check this out and
    understand this side of the story. I can’t
    believe you’re not more popular given that you certainly possess the gift.

  40. I have broken out a few times but I honestly did not relate it to my soap. I’ll have to give this soap a try to see of I have any reactions.

  41. Kelley Mann says:

    I have never been able to use dove products because I break out. I thought maybe the Dove sensitive would help, but I was entirely wrong!! I had a severe eczema break out. I recently came in contact with d-Limonene, which is citrus based, and immediately reacted. My hand started to turn white as if I came in contact with bleach. Then, it started to peel and crack. After a week and a half the dead skin is almost gone. I see that the dove sensitive has citrus in it. I am due to have a patch test done, in july, with the d-Limonene as one of the components because my allergist believes it is the culprit. At this point it wouldn’t surprise me if that is what it is. Thanks for this post because I wouldn’t have put 2 and 2 together.


  1. […] Allergic to Dove soap ingredients? | what allergy? – Dove sensitive skin soap – are you allergic to it? What ingredients does it contain? and are you one of the few who find this soap a real skin irritant? […]

  2. […] Allergic to Dove soap ingredients? […]

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