The "fragrance-free" label isn't accurate here as this body wash contains multiple problematic fragrant plants (although this doesn’t have a strong scent). This formula isn’t “gentle enough for sensitive skin,” in fact, the fragrant plants it contains (coriander, cardamom and myrrh) are bad news for any skin type. We’re also skeptical of this body wash’s ability to soothe itchy, dry skin. Although it contains anti-irritant oat flour, this form of oats isn’t the best type for soothing skin (oat-derived beta-glucan would be better) and the fragrant plant extracts could potentially make skin more itchy, not to mention this body wash lacks any substantially moisturizing ingredients.
No matter how you look at it, this body wash isn’t a relief for skin; it may just trigger more issues, especially for dry, extra-sensitive skin. Dove’s body wash for Sensitive Skin is a much better choice.
One more comment: Aveeno claims this body wash is hypoallergenic, but “hypoallergenic” is little more than a nonsense word meant to make products sound safer or somehow better for sensitive skin. There are no accepted testing methods, ingredient restrictions, regulations, guidelines, rules, or procedures of any kind, anywhere in the world, for determining whether or not a product qualifies as being hypoallergenic. Any company can label any product “hypoallergenic” because there is no regulation that says they can’t, no matter what proof they may point to—and what proof can they provide given there is no standard against which to measure? Given that there are no regulations governing this supposed category, which was made up by the cosmetics industry, there are plenty of products labeled “hypoallergenic” that actually contain problematic ingredients and that can indeed trigger allergic reactions, even for those with no previous history of skin sensitivity. The word “hypoallergenic” gives you no reliable understanding of what you are or aren’t putting on your skin (Sources: www.fda.gov; Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, May 2004, pages 325–327; and Ostomy and Wound Management, March 2003, pages 20–21).
This creamy body wash moisturizes as it gently cleanses to soothe itchy, dry skin. The unique Aveeno® formula combines skin-soothing oatmeal with rich emollients, helps to lock in moisture, so your skin feels soft and smooth. And it's soap-free, dye-free and hypoallergenic and contains no added fragrance, so it's gentle enough for sensitive skin.
Water, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour, Coriandum Sativum (Coriander) Fruit/Leaf Extract, Elettaria Cardamomum Seed Extract, Commiphora Myrrha Leaf Cell Extract, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Wheat Starch, PEG-20 Almond Glycerides, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Tetrasodium EDTA, Glycol Distearate, Polyquaternium-10, Quaternium-15, Myristyl Alcohol. May Also Contain Citric Acid.
Beginning with its first product in 1945, Soothing Bath Treatment, still sold today as part of the company's Baby line of products, Aveeno has prided itself on using natural ingredients. In some ways, they were a pioneer in the field, though for years the only natural ingredient of note in their products was oatmeal. Consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson purchased the brand in 1999, and wasted almost no time expanding it. A handful of bar cleansers and bath products were spun off into complete collections of facial-care products and an ever-growing number of body lotions and washes, not to mention shaving gels (Aveeno is one of the few companies whose shaving gels are truly fragrance-free).
Not surprisingly, many of the facial-care products from Aveeno are similar to those from Johnson & Johnson–owned Neutrogena. The differences typically lie in the natural ingredients each brand promotes. A cornerstone ingredient for Aveeno is soy, while Neutrogena has experimented (with varying degrees of success) with copper, retinol, salicylic acid, and melibiose. Overall, Neutrogena has a much larger and more comprehensive selection of products, though their formulas are also more problematic. Aveeno would do well to diversify a bit, or at least acknowledge that it takes more than a single star ingredient to provide superior skin-care products. As is, most of their anti-wrinkle products don't compete favorably with the more well-rounded options, not just from Neutrogena but also from Olay, Dove, and, in some respects, L'Oreal.
Getting back to the issue of soy, you'll see from the reviews it is indeed a helpful ingredient for skin—just not in the same multifaceted, does-everything manner Aveeno touts on each soy-containing product's package. A big proponent for Aveeno's use of soy is dermatologist Dr. Jeannette Graf. She is quoted on Aveeno's web site, stating that "It is now clear that the ability of natural soy to deliver multiple benefits to skin plays a lead role in high performance skin care." That sounds great but it doesn't explain why Aveeno ignores research on countless other antioxidants, skin-identical ingredients, or cell-communicating ingredients, all elements Dr. Graf uses in her separate, namesake product line. Interestingly, with Graf's own products relying on a blend of efficacious ingredients, including soy, it's a good question why she decided to endorse Aveeno's one-note soy products.
The bottom line is that when it comes to shopping for skin-care products at the drugstore, Aveeno, for all its talk of being a leader in "Active Naturals," doesn't have the all-inclusive product assortment needed to take the best possible care of your skin. However, paying attention to their top offerings is time (and money) well-spent!
For more information about Aveeno, owned by Johnson & Johnson, call (866) 428-3366 or visit www.aveeno.com.