Aside from eternal health and happiness (and maybe winning the lottery), there’s one thing we all want: soft, smooth skin. Unfortunately, attaining it is often easier said than done, especially for those of us in a certain age bracket. Thanks to bodily changes we experience over time that see our skin being depleted of moisture and elasticity, we’re more likely than ever to experience dry, itchy skin that’s akin to a lizard’s. That’s precisely why it’s more or less essential to have the best body lotion for dry skin on hand.
Why does skin get dry as we age?
If you’ve noticed your skin — aka your body’s largest organ — is drier these days, it’s not a figment of your imagination: There could several factors at play. According a study published in Advanced Wound Care in 2013, “skin thins progressively over adult life at an accelerating rate” of about 6.4 percent per decade. What’s more, “a reduction of the natural water and fat emulsion on the skin is observed, as is water content in the stratum corneum” — that’s the outer layer of the skin.
Add in fewer natural oils, sun damage that accumulates over time, and decreased cell renewal, and you have a recipe for rough, flaky skin from head to toe.
The bad news: Mature skin can actually feel drier all year long, even in the warmest months (though winter’s plummeting humidity levels, along with dry indoor heat and too-hot showers don’t exactly help). Even worse, medical conditions, such as diabetes, atopic dermatitis (eczema), psoriasis, and kidney disease can exacerbate the problem.
The good news: We’ve ferreted out not one, not two, but 18 different hydrating lotions that will put the spring back into your skin.
How to Choose the Best Body Lotion
Along with practicing good skincare habits, such as avoiding scalding hot showers, drinking plenty of water, and checking in with your doctor if you feel your dry skin might be connected to a larger health concern, you’ll want to lotion up every day after the shower, when your skin is still damp and thus better able to absorb all of its moisturizing properties.
Ultimately, the best body lotion is the one you’ll actually use each day, but there are a few elements you’ll want to look for in your perfect find.
Typically, gel formulas are the most lightweight and oil-free, so they can be good for those who also suffer from dry skin in the summer months. Lotions, meanwhile, are usually richer than gel formulas, absorbing quickly and easily into skin, so they’re ideal for drier skin types or climates. Creams are the richest of all, and will probably feel the thickest when you apply them. That’s because they’re chock full of oil and water, which join forces to give you tons of hydration.
When you’re shopping, be sure to search for a texture and scent you actually enjoy — body lotion should feel like a luxury to apply, not just another chore on your to-do list!
If you have particularly sensitive skin, you might also want to do a “patch test” before you commit to a whole bottle. Apply a little bit to your chest for a few days, and if you don’t have a reaction, you’ll be good to go. These days, plenty of online retailers have a very generous return policy, so trying out your pick before you purchase is never a bad idea.
Now that you know what you’re on the hunt for, keep reading for Woman’s World’s picks for the best body lotions to keep your skin in tip-top shape all year long.
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Best Face and Body Lotion
Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream
Where to buy: $10.93, Walmart
Nourishing dry skin has never been easier than with this blend of emollients and humectants. It doesn't leave any greasy residue behind and absorbs quickly into hands, feet, elbows, and knees.
Per one reviewer who called herself a “Cetaphil moisturizing cream loyalist,” this stuff is also just as good for the sensitive skin on your face as it is for your body. “This stuff is my go-to moisturizer for life," she raved. "Been using it since a really bad reaction to a face cream and my skin just loves it. It's also perfect because it CAN be used on your face, and not all body moisturizers are like that.”
Best Body Lotion for Sensitive Skin
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
Where to buy: $17.21, Amazon
Featuring buzzy ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, which naturally depletes from our skin as we age, this ceramide-rich cream was developed with the help of dermatologists for a formula that will keep skin feeling silky-soft for a full 24 hours and bolster its natural protective barrier. It's also aces for those with sensitive skin, because it’s free of fragrances and oils, hypoallergenic (that means it’s also free of common allergens, such as parabens and formaldehyde), and non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog pores. No wonder more than 2,500 five-star reviewers — particularly those with skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema — are singing its praises online!
Best Body Lotion for Extremely Dry Skin
Vaseline Extremely Dry Skin Rescue
Where to buy: $5.84, Walmart
It might be hard to believe, but this budget-friendly buy contains prescription-strength moisturizers that will quickly sink into skin, transforming it from desert-dry to soft and supple — all without the prescription price tag. In addition to the inclusion of Vaseline jelly ointment, which works to lock moisture in, it has glycerin to deliver hydration and pro-lipids to replenish the skin’s moisture barrier. It’s also unscented for those that are sensitive to fragrances.
Best Lotion to Repair Skin
La Roche-Posay Lipikar Balm AP+
Where to buy: $19.99, Amazon
This body cream, which has a cult-like following, repairs skin by replenishing its essential lipids (natural fats that maintain moisture and strengthen the protective barrier of our epidermis) while also providing hydration for up to a whopping 48 hours after application. It's made from a blend of the company's own prebiotic thermal water, lipid-boosting shea butter, glycerin for intense hydration, and soothing niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3). It’s also paraben- and fragrance-free and non-comedogenic, plus, it’s allergy- and dermatologist-tested, so it's safe for people of all ages — even babies, who have the most sensitive skin of all.
Best Smelling Body Lotion
Nest Ocean Mist & Coconut Water Body Lotion
Where to buy: $26, Nest
Applying your daily moisturizing lotion should feel like a brief respite from your hectic day-to-day, so why not choose one that's not only packed with nourishing ingredients, but can tansport you to a beachside oasis, if only for a few moments? With a long list of key hydrating ingredients, such as vitamin F, provitamin B5, kahai oil, organic camelina oil, moringa seed oil, everlasting flower wax, and shea butter, this tropical pick will instantly soothe dry, itchy skin. Buyers also love it for its sumptuous coconut and white cedarwood scent, however, which will allow you to retreat into your own private skincare oasis. Other fragrances, including grapefruit and verbena, bamboo and jasmine, and ginger and neroli scents are also available.
Best Healing Body Lotion
Aveeno Eczema Therapy
Where to buy: $10.88, Amazon
If it’s eczema you’re battling, you’ll want to have this clinically-proven pick on hand to help heal your skin during flare-ups. Enriched with colloidal oatmeal (a proven skin-soother, especially for those with eczema) and ceramides to enhance and restore skin's protective barrier, this cream was awarded with the National Eczema Association's seal of approval for its ability to effectively relieve some of the condition's most common symptoms, such as itchiness, redness, dryness, and irritation. It’s also allergy-tested, steroid-free and fragrance-free, so they'll be no worry of further inflammation or irritation due to harsh ingredients. In short? It's a win-win all the way around!
Best Anti Aging Body Lotion
Epionce Renewal Enriched Body Lotion
Where to buy: $27, Dermstore
This luxe, vegan-friendly lotion reverses, corrects, and protects against visible signs of aging, leaving your skin looking — and feeling! — as soft and beautiful as it did in your younger years. Its essential fatty acids and ceramides help to seal in moisture on the driest parts of your body, such as your elbows, knees, and heels, while a blend of botanicals, including rose hip, safflower, and avocado complex, soothe inflammation. Meadowfoam and flax extracts also work to strengthen the skin's natural lipid barrier and neutralize free radicals — those icky particles in the environment that contribute to the aging process of our skin.
Best Body Lotion Gel
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Body Gel Cream
Where to buy: From $8.49 (Originally $9.69), Amazon
If you’re experiencing dry skin, but don’t like the feeling of a cream or lotion, look no further than this refreshing gel formula, which absorbs fast and leaves the epidermis plenty hydrated without an ounce of heaviness. This gel's lightweight-yet-supple feel comes courtesy of hyaluronic acid, which will not only moisturize skin that's as dry as the Sahara, it can improve appearance over time.
One reviewer boasted that it’s like “like liquid gold in a bottle for my diabetic skin,” adding that it "hydrated my diabetic alligator skin the first time I applied it. Even the rough and chapped dryness on my feet and ankles was softened and looked hydrated and healthy, and that was like a miracle to me. The chapped, sore skin on my hands was healed within a couple of days as well. I wish I could bathe in a vat of this wonderful body gel cream.”
Best Anti Itch Body Lotion
Curél Itch Defense Calming Body Lotion
Where to buy: From $4.79, Amazon
This lotion's powerhouse blend of ingredients, including ceramides, pro-vitamin B5, and shea butter, pack a serious punch when it comes to providing instant relief for itchy, irritated skin at a price that won’t break the bank. In fact, plenty of five-star reviewers gush about its ability to do just that. Writes one: "This Curel was the first anti-itch lotion I tried and I've kept on using it because it works!!"
Best Body Butter
Where to buy: From $9.99, Amazon
When you want skin to smell delicious (we don’t blame you!), you can't go wrong with this citrus-scented bliss body butter, which combines shea butter, coconut oil, algae extracts, and other soothing ingredients to keep you well-moisturized, to boot. As an added bonus, it’s also PETA-certified as cruelty-free, so it’s never tested on animals.
Best Body Cream
EltaMD Moisture-Rich Body Creme
Where to buy: $27, Dermstore
For dry, inflamed skin that just won’t quit, you’ll want to break out the big guns — i.e. this rich, luxurious cream from EltaMD. Hyaluronic acid (which speeds up skin's healing process while also helping it to retain moisture), mango seed butter (which calms inflammation and soothes irritation), and niacinamide (which boosts circulation, lightens discoloration, and clears blemish spots) are all found within, making you wonder how you ever lived so long without a bottle of this in your bathroom.
One reviewer over 70 years of age with sensitive, mature skin tried everything to clear up a persistent spot of dry skin, until her dermatologist recommended this pick. “I applied a small dab to that spot once or twice a day for about a week, and it completely healed, never to return. This is a pretty special body creme," she wrote. "I've since used it on other dry places, such as feet and it works magic!”
Best Rich Body Lotion
Kiehl’s Crème de Corps
Where to buy: $30, Sephora
If you want a product that's rich enough to help heal dry skin, yet isn’t greasy or oily, you’ll love Kiehl’s decadent Crème de Corps. A slew of antioxidant-rich ingredients like squalane (a potent hydrator), cocoa butter, almond oil, aloe, avocado oil, and beta-carotene will lubricate and moisturize even the scaliest of users without an über-thick consistency. Reviewers say it takes a few minutes to sink in, but once it does? "It has been a lifesaver."
Best Body Lotion Pump
Eucerin Advanced Repair Lotion
Where to buy: From $8.97 ($11.99), Amazon
Buyers can’t stop boasting about Eucerin's repairing lotion, which rids skin of any crepey or scaly feelings that may come from a loss of moisture due to aging. With ceramides to strengthen barriers that lock in moisture and a fragrance-, dye-, and paraben-free formula, it's tough on dry skin, yet gentle enough for everyday use.
This budget-friendly buy also has an added bonus in the form of its large, easy-to-use pump, which one 93-year-old Amazon shopper said she loves for her achy fingers, wrists, and hands.
Best Body Lotion for Eczema
Avène Xeracalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Balm
Where to buy: $34, Amazon
When you’re battling skin conditions like atopic dermatitis and eczema, relief can feel far out of reach. This buttery soft balm works instantly, however, replenishing lost moisture while relieving itch and irritation with each and every use. Boasting some important hydrators (think glycerin and mineral oil) and no preservatives, parabens, dyes, or fragrances (all of which can exacerbate irritation) this formula has been given the National Eczema Association seal of acceptance. An extra bonus comes in the form of the bottle's airtight packaging, which blocks allergens, bacteria, pollutants, or air that could compromise safety and efficacy. That means every time you pump out some lotion, you’ll only be getting the good stuff.
Best Hypoallergenic Body Lotion
Dove DermaSeries Dry Skin Relief Body Lotion
Where to buy: $12.40, Amazon
Severely itchy, dry skin types will want to get their hands on this creamy-yet-lightweight, fragrance-free formula, which boasts a non-sticky, non-greasy feel. It’s tested by dermatologists and is hypoallergenic, making it a top choice among reviewers with serious skin conditions.
“By far, in my opinion, this really is the best lotion on the market for people that have eczema or psoriasis," one Amazon shopper gushed. "I've literally tried everything out there from over the counter products to prescription, creams, ointments, and pills.”
Best Body Lotion for Travel
Jergens Rose Body Butter
Where to buy: $5.97, Walmart
Stopping to smell the roses wherever you are has never been so sweet, thanks to this gorgeously-scented body butter. Infused with rose essence and camellia essential oil, as well as an ultra-hydrating blend of shea, cocoa, and mango butters, just one whiff of its light, floral fragrance will be enough to brighten your day. It's slim, tube-style packaging also makes it a great choice for battling dry skin on-the-go, since you can keep it in your purse for a quick hit of moisture no matter where your day takes you.
Best Drugstore Body Lotion
St. Ives Soothing Body Lotion
Where to buy: $3.93, Walmart
For less than the cost of your daily latte, you can help soften your dry skin with St. Ives' soothing body lotion. The stars of the show here are oatmeal and nourishing shea butter, though it's also got a healthy dose of soybean oil and plant-based glycerin besides. What's more , its gentle scent will make your daily moisturizing routine feel like a little slice of luxury — something we could all use with our increasingly-hectic lifestyles!
Best Shea Butter Body Lotion
L’Occitane Moisturizing 15% Shea Butter Rich Body Lotion
Where to buy: $34, Sephora
Fans love this French brand both for its luxurious decadence and next-level hydration, and this body lotion, which features 15 percent shea butter and calendula extract, along with apricot oil extract for an extra layer of moisture, is no exception. Additionally, it's chock-full of antioxidants and vitamin E that will protect your skin from harsh elements in the environment that can seep in and cause premature aging and skin damage, making it a great pick for all seasons.