There’s an entire market of products out there meant for keeping the skin below your neck healthy and hydrated. And while lathering yourself with moisturizing body washes and slathering your skin in lotion will quench your thirsty complexion, it will all be for naught if you’re scratching skin with the wrong sort of towel.
“Many people don’t realize how abrasive towels can be on the skin, depending on the force with which you rub them over your skin,” says board-certified dermatologist Stacy Chimento, MD, of Riverchase Dermatology in Miami, FL. Because of this, they’ll go to town with a harsh towel, disrupting their skin barrier as a result. “But this force, paired with a tough material, can actually strip the skin of its essential oils, which can lead to drier skin that irritates more easily.”
Because of this, you’ll want to choose a gentle fabric that won’t unnecessarily slough your skin. “For the body, you want to make sure the fabric is gentle, durable, and absorbent,” says Dr. Chimento. “Materials like microfiber and cotton (including Turkish cotton), are the most popular fabrics for face cloths, and they are also good options for full-size towels for the body.” She suggests avoiding muslin fabrics, which tend to be harsher on skin.
No matter which material you choose to dry off with, you’ll also want to make sure you’re using it the right way. Instead of aggressively rubbing or tugging your skin, “gently grace the towel throughout the body,” says Dr. Chimento. Dear Derm host and Connecticut-based board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, has an even easier trick: Instead of drying yourself with a towel, just pop on a bathrobe and let it absorb the excess water while you finish the rest of your routine.
Below, the three best towels that Dr. Chimento recommends to keep your skin dry and healthy after every lather and rinse.
Brooklinen’s plush shower towels are made of Turkish cotton, and Dr. Chimento notes that they’re extra-gentle on skin thanks to their high thread count. For $69, you’ll get a set of two that come in your choice of five classic colors (white, beige, grey, black, and graphite). Plus, they’re so soft, you’ll swear you were in a spa every time you step out of the shower.
Shop now: Brooklinen Super-Plush Bath Towels, $69
2. Turkish Modal Cotton Bath Towel, $20
These towels are a Bed Bath and Beyond bestseller and for good reason. They’re made from a mix of Turkish cotton and modal, a fabric that Dr. Chimento calls “luxurious and soft,” and has landed them on her list of the best towels for skin. You can choose from a range of colors, which means they’ll provide the perfect complement to any bathroom decor.
Shop now: Turkish Modal Cotton Bath Towel, $20
Another way to keep skin safe? Instead of drying it with a full-blown towel, Dr. Chimento suggests dabbing away moisture with a washcloth. This microfiber set (which includes six cloths) is waffle woven, and serves double duty for use on your face and body.
For more derm-approved tips for a skin-friendly shower routine, check out the video below.