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18 Nourishing Body Lotions for Dry, Itchy Skin

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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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