If buttery-soft skin is what you’re after, a good body lotion will do the trick.
Whether it’s in your arsenal for your post-shower pampering routine (which we highly recommend), an essential after a long day in the sun or the display piece that simply doesn’t leave your nightstand, some of the best body lotions are unmatched.
As one of the best products for dry skin, a quality body lotion will provide soothing relief for itchy, patchy and dull skin.
Luckily, we consulted three dermatologists to pull the best body lotions for dry skin, including recommended formulas for eczema and sensitive skin.
Why is body lotion important to use on your skin?
“It’s imperative that moisturizers like lotions are applied to the face and body daily,” Lian Mack, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, told the Post. “Using lotions helps to hydrate the skin by locking in moisture and protecting the skin barrier.”
Not to mention, when the skin is dry and dehydrated, it’s more likely to develop inflammatory conditions like eczema, she noted.
What’s the difference between a body lotion and a body serum?
“Body serums tend to contain lighter, water-based (almost gel-like) vehicles with smaller, active molecules that can easily penetrate the skin,” Dr. Mack adds. “Lotions, on the other hand, are designed to hydrate the skin and contain larger molecules that sit on top of the skin and don’t easily penetrate.”
Should body lotion only be used in the winter?
“It’s important to keep skin hydrated all year long though in winter, because of the decrease in humidity, skin tends to get dry more quickly,” Kavita Mariwalla, MD, a double board-certified dermatologist, told the Post.
Plus, Dr. Mack recommends creams during the winter and lotions during the summer, as the former are thicker than lotions.
When and how should body lotions be applied?
Kenneth Mark, MD, a cosmetic dermatology expert, advises “applying any moisturizer immediately after the shower while the skin is still somewhat moist” is ideal.
“Upon exiting the shower, pat yourself dry with a towel and then moisturize,” Dr. Lian Mack, MD adds. “This will lock in the moisture from the shower and more effectively hydrate the skin.”
Click to find the top body lotions our experts recommend, categorized by type:
Best body lotion overall
1. CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion, $17.78
“I love that this product is fragrance-free and contains hyaluronic acid, ceramides and humectants for locking moisture into the skin,” Dr. Mack said. “It’s also an extremely affordable option for most of my patients, retailing at about $18.”
Not only is CeraVe one of the top dermatologist-recommended brands, but it’s also one we swear by, especially for its Foaming Facial Cleanser.
Best body lotions for dry skin
The best ingredients for dry skin, per our experts: “Ammonium lactate (lactic acid) is a humectant meaning it actually increases the moisture content of the skin,” Dr. Mark said. “An alpha hydroxy acid is also an exfoliator meaning it will smooth the rough texture of the skin.”
1. Augustinus Bader The Body Cream with TFC8 Moisturizer, $180
For a soothing splurge, there’s no other than Augustinus Bader.
“This formulation contains Shea butter, Vitamins A and E and Brazilian candela oils,” Dr. Mack said. “The shea butter hydrates and protects the skin barrier reducing wrinkling of the skin.”
“Vitamin A repairs the skin by driving collagen, while Vitamin E protects the skin against free radicals,” Dr. Mack said. “The Brazilian candela oil helps to firm the skin and reduces the appearance of fine lines and creepiness.”
2. Sarna Anti-Itch Lotion Original, $29.97
“This is an oldie, but a goodie,” Dr. Mack suggests. “For people suffering from itchiness, Sarna helps to alleviate the sensation of itch with its active ingredient pramoxine hydrochloride.”
Plus, this formulation is free from steroids, parabens and fragrances.
3. Necessaire The Body Lotion with Niacinamide, $25
Simply put, Dr. Mack classifies Necessaire as a “great body care brand” that “truly identifies with self-care.” Namely, this body lotion is “a multi-vitamin moisturizer for the skin,” she adds.
“Formulated with ingredients rich in Niacinamide (a favorite of mine), Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Omega 6 and 9, it’s a great option for those trying to strengthen, moisturize and nourish their skin,” Dr. Mack said.
4. Tatcha Indigo Soothing Body Butter, $48
Who wouldn’t want to apply a rich body butter derived from Japanese indigo and therapeutic ingredients to their skin?
“Japanese indigo is actually a legendary botanical praised for its ability to soothe irritation, hydrate and support the skin’s natural healing abilities,” Dr. Mack explained. “It’s recommended for individuals struggling with sensitive, dry and irritated skin types, including eczema.”
Best anti-aging body lotions
The best ingredients for mature skin, per our experts: Retinoic acid, peptides and antioxidants including vitamins C and E, as well as astaxanthin, hyaluronic acid and green tea, per Dr. Mark.
1. Perricone MD Cold Plasma Plus+ Fragile Skin Therapy, $49
“This formulation contains retinol, hyaluronic acid and peptides to help renew and rebuild the skin,” Dr. Mack said. “The retinol helps to improve collagen production, ultimately improving the appearance and elasticity of the skin.”
Not to mention, Perricone MD recommends applying this lotion to shins and other fragile areas, too, and is well-known for giving the appearance of stronger skin on your arms.
2. AmLactin Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion, $12.97 (originally $15.99)
“AmLactin Daily Lotion has ingredients in it that improve the function of aquaporin channels in the skin, making the skin barrier healthier along the way,” Dr. Mariwalla explains. “Not only will this smooth skin but it makes the appearance look less crepy and more firm.”
According to Dr. Mark, AmLactin is at the top of the totem pole for “exfoliation” and “hydration.” Specifically, this formula is superb for containing lactic acid, a humectant, which is ideal for locking in moisture on dry, rough skin.
Best firming body lotions
“‘Firming’ is typically used to imply ‘collagen forming,”” Dr. Mark explained. “A lotion in and of itself does not do that so it would require the right ingredients.”
1. Revision Skincare Bodifirm, $260
“One of the key ingredients is caffeine, a well-known antioxidant which protects the skin from free radicals,” Dr. Mack shared. “Moreover, the formulation contains a patent-pending iFirm technology which is a proprietary blend of peptides, antioxidants, botanical extracts that promote collagen and elastin production.”
Though “firming” can be misleading in the beauty industry, this lotion is a powerful blend of ingredients that’ll help you feel tighter than many day-to-day lotions on the market.
2. Aveeno Positively Ageless Anti-Aging Firming Body Lotion, $25.99
“This cream is loaded with amino acids and a shiitake complex to support collagen and elastin production for firmer skin,” Dr. Mariwalla said.
For continued soothing, you can apply Aveeno’s formula at all points of the day as it’s a nonabrasive and reliable formula for the masses.
3. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydra-Firm Night Cream, $42
As one of our favorite beauty brands, First Aid Beauty takes the cake on healthful, luscious-feeling ingredients that we always resort to when we need something we know won’t break us out. And, our expert feels similarly.
“This cream has niacinamide which improves skin tone and improves texture and sodium hyaluronate which can reduce fine lines,” Dr. Mariwalla said. “I like this for the arms and chest area in particular.”
Best drugstore body lotions
1. Aquaphor Ointment Body Spray, $20.09
“The amazing action of this emollient meets the ease of application of a spray,” Dr. Mariwalla said. “It’s wonderful for kids and adults on the run — especially for the legs and back.” And, if you’re looking for a spray, this formula is formulated without harsh chemicals.
2. Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion, $8.89 (originally $15.18)
“As far as your no-nonsense moisturizer for skin goes, this one is my favorite with a combination of soothing oat and glycerin to hydrate and nourish,” Dr. Mariwalla shared.
Plus, it’s one we resort to at the drugstore for a baseline lotion that’ll help reverse the effects of rough, patchy skin.
3. Eucerin Advanced Repair Lotion, $9.24 (originally $12.49)
“Similar to Cerave’s Daily Moisturizing Lotion, Eucerin’s Advanced Repair Lotion is enriched with ceramides and protects the skin barrier,” Dr. Mack explained. “It locks in moisture and provides 48 hours of moisture for the skin.”
Best smelling body lotions
1. Monat Body Care Smooth & Renew Body Lotion, $55
“This product not only smells delicious, but its fruit extracts and shea butter deliver intense moisture while diminishing the appearance of wrinkles and creepy skin,” Dr. Mack said.
What’s more, it contains coffee seed extract, which “works as a powerful antioxidant scavenging the free radicals that reach havoc on our skin,” she adds, along with shea butter to protect the skin barrier by locking in moisture.
2. Skinfix Resurface+ AHA Renewing Body Cream, $48
As Dr. Mariwalla’s “go-to body lotion,” she loves that it has a citrus scent due to its ingredient of Lime Pearl extract.
“It’s thick and does wonders for rough bumpy skin,” she adds. “In my book, this is the perfect 2-in-1 for hydration and scent.”
3. The Body Shop Fresh Raspberry Body Butter, $22
The Body Shop came on the map during the heightened body butter craze and, according to Dr. Mariwalla, “its formulation has stood the test of time.”
“I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t come back to The Body Shop Body Butter in Raspberry,” she adds. “It’s an OG of melting hydration for the body.”
Best body lotions for sensitive skin
The best ingredients for sensitive skin, per our experts: Zinc and aloe, according to Dr. Mark.
1. Vanicream Moisturizing Lotion (Pack of 2), $25.99
As “a favorite among dermatologists for patients with sensitive skin and allergies,” according to Dr. Mariwalla, its appeal is, surprisingly, its “zero-frills approach” that actually works.
“Vanicream is one of my favorite products to recommend to my sensitive skin type patients,” Dr. Mack said. “The formulation is free of dyes, fragrance (including masking fragrance), lanolin, parabens and formaldehyde.”
2. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Fragrance-Free Hydrating Body Gel Cream, $9.18 (originally $9.69)
“The main ingredient in this product is hyaluronic acid which acts as a powerful humectant pulling water to the skin,” Dr. Mack said. “This product has more of gel-like consistency and works well for individuals who dislike applying moisturizers daily because of the feeling of the product on their skin.”
Dr. Mariwalla also recommends this lotion, specifically for sensitive skin. “It has the right mix of moisturizing ingredients without making people break out,” she said. “I love this over retinol or for nightly use.”
Best body lotions for eczema
The best ingredients for eczema, per our experts: “Oatmeal is extremely soothing for eczematous skin,” Dr. Mark said. “Hydrocortisone is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Aloe is another fantastic ingredient for inflamed and irritated skin.”
1. Eucerin Eczema Relief Cream, $9.99 (originally $12.49)
“Eucerin’s Eczema Relief Cream for eczema-prone skin is excellent at reducing flare-ups, thanks to its ingredients of colloidal oatmeal skin protectant, which treats redness and swelling.”
Plus, the addition of ceramides helps to repair the skin’s barrier and lock in moisture while calming the skin.
2. Aveeno Eczema Therapy Daily Moisturizing Cream, $15.70 (originally $17.31)
According to Dr. Mark, Aveeno’s Eczema Therapy Daily Moisturizing Cream is a top choice from eczematic skin. Containing oatmeal — a much-recommended ingredient for this skin condition — it’s an exceptionally formulated and affordable buy.
3. La Roche-Posay Lipikar Balm AP+ Intense Repair Body Lotion, $19.99
“This product helps to repair the skin barrier, not only by locking in moisture but also by rebalancing the skin’s microbiome,” Dr. Mack said. “It’s one of my faves.”
Not only is it a favorite by one dermatologist, but it’s “the best for eczema” by another. “This formulation has its origins from an actual balneotherapy clinic in France where patients are treated for their skin disorders,” Dr. Mariwalla explained. “It has specific calming thermal water properties along with aqua posae filiformis, which helps to reset the microbiome of your skin towards a healthier milieu.”
Plus, it contains water, shea butter, glycerin, niacinamide and prebiotics, too, making it a medley of skin hydrants and soothers.
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