Body lotion benefits your legs, knees, arms, butt, and torso in much the same way that a daily moisturizer benefits the skin on your face. According to dermatologist Heidi Waldorf, an associate professor at the Icahn School of Medicine, “It keeps skin smooth and supple, and maintains a healthy skin barrier.” Much like the serums, creams, and moisturizers you use on your face, body lotions come in a wide variety of formulations meant to target specific issues like dryness, loss of elasticity, acne, eczema, and keratosis pilaris. With that in mind, we asked eight dermatologists for their body-lotion recommendations for a variety of skin types. In each case, Waldorf notes, it’s ideal to apply body lotion when wet — i.e., when you’re hanging out in your towel post-shower — to better seal in the moisture.
Best overall body lotion
To combat even the most extreme cases of dry skin, like eczema, experts tell us you should seek out formulations rich in ceramides and hyaluronic acid.
Melanie Palm — the medical director at Art of Skin MD — explains that ceramides (or, cholesterol-derived fat) help seal the skin barrier to keep in moisture, while hyaluronic acid is known to carry 1,000 times its weight in water, so your skin stays extra hydrated. Six out of our eight experts pointed us to this CeraVe lotion, which contains both. It’s fragrance-free so it’s well-suited for sensitive skin types, and it doesn’t feel sticky or heavy on skin. As cosmetic dermatologist Michele Green sums it up: “CeraVe is the best overall body lotion. It is safe for all skin types and packed with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and humectants to keep the most sensitive skin hydrated.”
Best (less expensive) overall body lotion
Boca Raton dermatologist Jeffrey Fromowitz says this Eucerin dry-skin lotion is another highly effective choice. It’s not only moisturizing (with added ceramides), but also gently exfoliates with some alpha hydroxy acids. Green also recommended Eucerin as a high-quality drug-store lotion with excellent ingredients. The difference between Eucerin and CeraVe is mainly that CeraVe has moisture-retaining hyaluronic acid while Eucerin uses urea to lock in moisture. And as for the price difference, it’s pretty slight (about $5), but enough to add up to sizable savings if you’re using it consistently over time.
Best body lotion for dry skin
When it comes to dry skin, “lotions” actually aren’t recommended because they’re usually not thick enough to cure your cracked, flaky skin. Instead, stick to a cream or balm. This CeraVe cream — which is much thicker than the lotion we mentioned above — came recommended to us by five dermatologists when we asked them about the best body lotions for dry skin. Because it’s fragrance-free and chock-full of hydrating ingredients, like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin, it’ll work for even the most sensitive of skin. As Dr. Sapna Palep, founder of Spring Street Dermatology in New York City, puts it, “It’s just a good staple; what’s not to love?”
Best body lotion for eczema
Dermatologist Debra Jaliman, an assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine, pointed us to this Aveeno tub that relies on colloidal oatmeal for curbing eczema-related itchiness, but it’ll also work for people who are itchy from regular old dry skin. Aveeno reviewers say this soothing balm is a godsend, with one noting that it got her off “steroid-based sprays and creams,” and another praising the fact that: “This doesn’t leave a slime trail in my husband’s wake. Plus he’s not waking me up multiple times during the night scratching his feet and hands. This balm kept me from a divorce.” And if in, say, the summer months, you don’t need something quite as heavy-duty, then try the cream version instead, which came recommended to us by three different dermatologists for eczema.
Best body lotion for inflamed dry skin
Sometimes intensely dry skin can cause inflammation, which, for obvious reasons, can be very uncomfortable. To soothe any irritation, three dermatologists recommend this EltaMD cream. “It has dimethicone, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid, but it also has squalane oil and mango-seed butter as well as niacinamide — all of which focus on inflammation,” explains Dr. Melissa K. Levin, the founder of Entière Dermatology. While it’s a bit pricey, she says it’s completely worth it.
Best body lotion for acne-prone skin
And because you want your body lotion to be hydrating but not exacerbate any body acne, two experts — Jaliman and Waldorf — recommend CeraVe’s SA lotion because it contains salicylic acid, an exfoliant that’s been clinically proven to help with acne. It’s also fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, and noncomedogenic, which means that it won’t irritate the skin and is specifically formulated not to clog pores. Some reviewers say they’ve seen noticeable improvements and smoother skin in just a few days.