Fun fact: body lotions are NOT the same as a face or hand lotion! They're thicker, with heavier ingredients intended to increase hydration and sebum (skin oil) production.
Why is that?
Your face and hands produce a lot of skin oil, but there are fewer sebaceous glands around the skin of your arms, back, shoulders, chest, and legs. This means that skin is prone to drying out, irritation from friction, and aging. But with a good body lotion, you can protect your whole body, not just your face and hands.
The best body lotion can reduce irritation from your clothes, prevent dry and chapped skin, and even help to speed up healing from sunburns, rashes, acne, and dryness. Though the rest of your body may not need as much daily moisturizing as your face and hands, it's still important to apply lotion a few times a week to keep your skin hydrated and healthy.
The best part is:
We've done the research to find the best body lotion options for you. Whatever type of lotion you need—restorative, protectant, intensive, exfoliating, or even medical-grade—we've got you covered!
Made with wide variety of natural ingredients, highly effective, affordable, great for your face and body, pleasant scent, good for sensitive skin, good value for the price, and won't leave a greasy film on your skin.
Scent can be overpowering to some people.
Ingredients: This lotion is made with a variety of natural ingredients: Vitamins A and C to provide antioxidants, Vitamin E and shea butter for protection and hydration, cucumber for added moisture, Aloe vera for soothing irritated skin, and ginseng to stimulate blood flow. It's not a 100% natural lotion—it does contain some chemical/artificial ingredients—but the natural ingredients it does contain are very effective.
Scent: Some users have complained that the smell of this lotion is TOO strong, but most agree that the scent is pleasant (similar to banana or passion fruit) without being too sweet.
Effects/Use: This is a basic body lotion that you can use for your back, legs, hands, and feet. It won't leave a greasy film on your skin, but it will do an excellent job of hydrating, protecting, and repairing damaged skin. It's paraben-free, gluten-free, and a vegan-friendly product.
Price: At just over $9 for a 17-ounce bottle, this is a very well-priced product. You get 4-6 weeks of daily moisturizing from this bottle, and it's a cream you'll want to use over and over.
Very soothing, speeds up healing, loaded with antioxidants and ceramides, gentle, restores skin moisture barrier, clinically proven, reduces itching and dryness, and approved by the National Eczema Association.
May sting cracked skin or open wounds.
Ingredients: This cream is made with shea butter and sunflower seed oil, both amazing sources of antioxidants, Vitamin E, nutrients, and fatty acids that can repair and restore dry, cracked, and damaged skin. It also contains allantoin, a medication used to treat eczema and dry, rough, chapped, itchy, and scaly skin. It's clinically proven to be highly effective at restoring dry skin thanks to these ingredients.
Scent: This is a non-scented cream, so it can be used with any body spray, deodorant, or cologne.
Effects/Use: This cream is used by those with eczema as well as dry or damaged skin. The ingredients speed up healing and skin repair, restoring the moisture barrier and protecting the skin from further damage. It's thick enough to be effective but doesn’t leave a greasy film. For those looking for a medicated option to treat their eczema but don't want to go the route of heavy medications, this is a good choice.
Price: At $37 per 20-ounce bottle, this is slightly on the pricier side. However, it's highly effective at repairing dry and damaged skin, and it can help you to manage your eczema or skin irritations.
Hydrates and repairs damaged, dry, and cracked skin; ideal for VERY dry skin, exfoliating, contains AHA, non-comedogenic, non-irritating, fragrance-free, great price, and can be used on your face and body.
Greasy texture when applied.
Ingredients: This skin lotion contains glycerin, a highly effective moisturizing ingredient that creates a water barrier to keep water in and toxins out. It's also rich in alpha-hydroxy acids, which exfoliate your skin. It also contains caprylic and capric triglyercides, which are derived from coconut oil. Together, they help to condition and smooth out your skin.
Scent: The lotion is made without fragrances that could irritate your skin, so it has the standard "no fragrance" smell—rich, creamy, and mild.
Effects/Use: This is a cream designed to restore moisture to and repair very dry, cracked, chapped, and itchy skin. It can be used for treating rashes and irritation, reducing friction, and exfoliating your skin (thanks to the AHAs).
Be warned: it will leave a greasy film on your skin. Though it's non-comedogenic (it won't cause acne), it still feels thick and sticky.
Price: At under $9 for a 16.9-ounce bottle, this is a very well-priced product. You'll have to use a lot to moisturize your body, but it's effective at dealing with very dry and rough skin.
Protects from cracks and dryness, restores healthy skin, 41% petroleum jelly, highly effective, can be used as chapstick on your lips, good for your feet and heels, and smooths out your skin.
Petroleum-derived product, and the scent is less than pleasant.
Ingredients: This product is made with 41% petroleum jelly, making it a highly effective barrier to keep moisture trapped inside your skin and reduce friction, burns, and rashes. It also contains panthenol (Vitamin B5) and glycerin to fight skin diseases.
Scent: The product has the typical petroleum-derived smell. Think KY jelly or Vaseline, but with a hint of creaminess added. Not the best smell!
Effects/Use: If you want to protect dry, cracked, chapped, or damaged skin, you won't find better than this. It's dermatologist-recommended for dry hands, dry cuticles, cracked heels and feet, irritated skin, chapped lips, minor cuts and burns, friction, and rashes. It's even suitable to treat infant diaper rash. Applying this lotion covers your skin with a protective layer that traps moisture in and keeps irritants out.
Price: At $10 per 7-ounce tube, this is slightly on the pricier side, but definitely worth the cost if you want to protect your skin from friction, dryness, damage, and irritation.
Highly effective for very dry skin, rich, creamy, hydrating, beautiful scent, calming, natural ingredients, smooths skin, fast-absorbing formula, and great price.
The scent of this lotion is VERY strong and it leaves your skin sticky.
Ingredients: This cream is made with shea butter and shea oil, both of which are rich in Vitamin E. The combination of these ingredients leaves your skin smooth, soft, and hydrated. It's one of the best lotions to use for intensive repair and moisturizing, especially for very dry skin.
Scent: This lotion has the beautiful, creamy, slightly sweet smell of shea butter/oil, giving it a pleasant scent. However, some users have complained that the smell can be strong and overpowering.
Effects/Use: The cream is designed for application on all but the most sensitive skin, and its fast-acting, quick-absorbing formula makes it ideal even for those with greasy skin. It won't leave you feeling greasy, but there is a sticky residue on your hands that can be annoying.
Price: At less than $6 for 13.5 ounces of lotion, this is one of the best-priced creams on our list. It's beautifully effective at repairing and restoring dry, cracked, and aging skin!
Contains alpha-hydroxy acids, repairs damaged skin, promotes skin cell renewal, effective for skin repair, moisturizing, smooths out rough skin, and effective at treating keratosis pilaris.
Faint ammonia smell and leaves greasy film on skin.
Ingredients: This lotion is made with 12% lactic acid, the exfoliating alpha-hydroxy acid derived from cow's milk. Lactic acid speeds up cellular turnover, bringing fresh skin cells to the surface to speed up your body's healing process.
Scent: While this cream is made without fragrances, many users complain that it has a faint smell of ammonia.
Effects/Use: For those who want a medical-grade cream to treat eczema, keratosis pilaris, and other skin conditions, this is a good option. It's not fully medicated, but contains medical-grade ingredients that can treat damaged, dry, and irritated skin. It's effective at smoothing and refreshing your skin, eliminating scaly, rough, and dry patches.
The lotion may leave a greasy film on your skin, but it's highly effective at restoring the moisture barrier and hydrating your skin. The effects will last for 24 hours, and it's particularly useful for your back, legs, elbows, and other body parts prone to dryness.
Price: At $27 for a 20-ounce bottle, this product delivers great value at a reasonable price. Definitely an option to consider for a quality exfoliating, moisturizing, and repairing skin lotion!
Smoothing, effective, balances skin's pH, not too pricey, restores moisture, non-abrasive, no harsh ingredients, reduces age spots and wrinkles, and provides full-body care.
Leaves a sticky, greasy residue on skin.
Ingredients: This cream is made with 12% glycolic acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid derived from sugar cane. It's highly effective at removing dead skin cells and dirt from your skin, bringing fresh new cells to the surface. It's one of the best natural exfoliators, but isn't harsh or abrasive. It may even be able to lighten discolorations and smooth out your skin.
This lotion is also free of both artificial fragrances and parabens, as well as chemicals and abrasive substances. It's suitable for all but the most sensitive skin types.
Scent: There is no noticeable scent to this cream, making it the perfect option for those who want to use a body spray, cologne, or perfume.
Effects/Use: This is meant as an exfoliating cream to get rid of dead skin cells and dirt, speeding up cellular turnover to improve skin health. It can reduce acne, prevent irritation, and repair dry, cracked, and scaly skin. It can also smooth out wrinkles and tighten up sagging skin. It can be a bit on the greasy side, though, so you may want to wait a while between applying it and getting dressed.
Price: At $19 for a 12-ounce bottle, this is a well-priced cream. It delivers reliable exfoliation for dry, sensitive, and oily skin, repairing damage and restoring moisture to dry skin. All in all, a great product at a decent price.
Fragrance-free, dermatologist-recommended, highly effective moisturizing lotion, not too pricey, 24-hour hydration, improves skin moisture, non-irritating and non-allergenic, good for most skin types, and replenishes ceramides.
Not suitable for sensitive skin, and the pump design is a bit iffy.
Ingredients: The main ingredient in this cream is hyaluronic acid, which is used in cosmetic treatments to increase moisture retention in the skin. It also contains ceramides, waxy lipids that retain skin moisture. Low levels of ceramides have been linked to skin dryness, making this cream an effective preventative measure as well as treatment.
Scent: This cream has no fragrance, making it ideal to use with your favorite perfumes, body sprays, and colognes. The absence of fragrance also reduces the risk of skin irritations or reactions.
Effects/Use: This lotion provides 24 hour protection for your skin, improving moisture retention and hydration. It has a non-greasy feel, and it's suitable for all but the most sensitive skin. It can keep normal skin healthy and speed up recovery of very dry, chapped, or cracked skin. For those with "thirsty" skin that needs a lot of moisture, this thick cream is a definite winner.
Be warned: those with sensitive skin may suffer from a break-out thanks to the potent ingredients.
Price: At just over $15 for a 6-ounce tub, it's not the cheapest lotion on our list. However, it's an excellent option that provides maximum hydration with minimal usage. In terms of value, you'll find few creams to beat it!
Skin care has been around for ages. The need to moisturize, exfoliate and soothe our skin dates back to the Sumerians, one of the earliest known civilizations. People throughout history have known the importance of skin care and have made products with ingredients derived from animals, plants, and minerals.
Skin care is way more than indulgence or extravagance. It’s about keeping our bodies healthy inside and out. Our skin after all is our body’s largest organ.
The average adult can have as much as 8 pounds and 22 square feet of skin. The skin houses an infinite number of pores, glands and blood vessels.
Our skin isn’t just our outer shell but acts as a layer of protection for our muscles, internal organs, and bones. It insulates our body from excess heat and extreme cold. It regulates our temperature and guards against pathogens (germs and bacteria that can make us sick).
Skin Care Throughout History
Before name brands took over the skincare market, people had to rely on organic “homemade” products. Civilizations dating back to 10,000 BC used early lotions in the form of oils, herbs, spices, and even poisonous powders.
From unearthed burial tombs and hieroglyphics, it was learned that ancient Egyptians used different oils and fragrances to care for their skin. Essential oils and perfume were also used to mummify the dead. The Egyptians were the first to discover the skin care benefits of aloe vera, olive oil, and milk. They also used unconventional ingredients such as dough and ostrich eggs.
Biblical accounts tell of instances where expensive perfumes were used to cleanse the feet and ointments to soothe the body. Frankincense and myrrh were befitting gifts from the three wise men because people from biblical times valued them for their anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties.
The ancient Greeks were known to use their supply of olive oil and honey outside the kitchen. Greek athletes used a mixture of fine sand and honey to protect themselves from the sun. This was done more to avoid getting a tan than anything else; as a darker skin shade was associated with being of a lower class.
Hippocrates, considered as the father of modern medicine, may have used honey as a moisturizer. The first cold cream was created by a Roman physician named Galen. The cream was made from a mixture of rose oil, melted beeswax and water.
During the Renaissance, skin color was associated with economic class or social standing. A white complexion was a mark of royalty, nobility, wealth, and privilege. Members of the upper class periodically used a concoction of lead and vinegar or a sublimate of mercury to turn their skin chalky-white.
They would cover their faces, necks and exposed arms with this white paste or lotion. Unaware of the hazards of lead and mercury, they eventually suffered the horrible effects of mineral poisoning.
Today, science, technology, and progressive social norms have ushered in an array of skincare products that are safer and more effective for all skin types and color. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continually monitors the safety and effectiveness of skincare products.
Body Lotion Buying Guide
A majority of us easily forget that our entire body needs the added care that body lotions provide. While not as prominent as our faces or scalp, our bodies also need care and maintenance for us to stay healthy. Body lotion allows us to feel and look great even as we age.
Take note that the skin on our face is different from the rest of our body. A lotion that may work on our sensitive facial skin may not be as effective on other parts of our body. Some ingredients in body lotions may be absent in facial lotions and creams.
Body lotions and creams may look similar but are different in consistency and oil content. Body lotions generally have a lower viscosity (thickness or consistency), containing a larger percentage of purified water. This fluidity makes it easier to lather over a larger area of skin. Unlike creams that are stored in lid-covered jars, lotions are usually stored in bottles. This allows us to easily squeeze or pump out as much lotion as we need.
Knowing Your Skin Type
We now have a wide range of body lotions available to us. Some people test different kinds and brands to find the right body lotion for their skin type.
There are many skin types and conditions. There’s normal skin, dry skin, very dry skin, sensitive skin, and even mature skin. Sometimes, the condition of our skin is affected by the climate or our diet.
Normal: People with smooth, fine-pored skin paired with a rosy complexion, have normal skin. Normal skin may be the easiest skin type to manage. You can try using scented body lotions that make you feel refreshed and relaxed.
Dry: Dry skin or dehydrated skin usually feels rough, flaky, and itchy. Because of the lack of moisture and lipids (fatty acids), the skin feels tight and uncomfortable. This skin type is prone to irritation from exposure to different climates: hot, dry, cold, frigid, and windy.
Humid climates are safe havens for those with dry skin. The humidity naturally helps the skin stay moisturized.
If harsh climates are unavoidable, choose an alcohol-free, oil-based body lotion. Always have your body lotion handy to keep your skin consistently moisturized and hydrated. You might also consider adding oily fish to your diet as the fatty acids in the fish act as an internal natural moisturizer. Fish oil supplement capsules are also effective.
Blemished: Blemished skin is more visible on our faces with the frequent appearance of blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples. But there is such a thing as body acne or “bacne”. Your skin produces more sebum (or oily secretion) than usual because of genetics, stress, or hormonal changes.
Dry climates are suitable for this skin type. It keeps breakouts at bay, but you may need to use a moisturizer. If this need arises, choose a water-based, alcohol-free body lotion to moisturize without clogging the pores and causing a breakout.
Combination (Dry and Oily): There are people whose skin is both dry and oily. This type of skin is quite difficult to care for. People with combination skin types may have shiny skin that is susceptible to blemishes.
You could opt for a multi-purpose body lotion that can protect you from harmful sunlight and has anti-inflammatory ingredients. Look for oil-free moisturizers.
Sensitive: This is more of a skin condition than a skin type. Combination skin and dry skin can both be sensitive. Sensitive skin becomes red and dry. It feels itchy and tight, and it reacts to both internal and external factors.
These may be stress, a poor diet, UV light, or dry heated air. Try your best to avoid polluted cities as the smog and fumes can agitate your skin. See to it that your body lotion is alcohol-free. Also, stay away from scented body lotions and anti-aging products that may further aggravate your skin.
Mature: Our skin changes in appearance and in structure as we age. Mature skin takes longer to heal due to slower cell regeneration. The skin is always dry because of decreased collagen production.
The key to keeping mature skin youthful and vibrant is constant moisturizing. A body lotion containing anti-aging ingredients like collagen, vitamin E, vitamin B-3, and vitamin B-5 can prevent and reduce lines, wrinkles, and dark spots.
Caring for Your Skin
With the right body lotion, you can have quality dermatological care right in your own home. No matter what climate you live in and what skin type you have, your skin will always need care and maintenance. It deserves nothing less.
Moisturize Body lotions contain many ingredients to hydrate skin. These ingredients are grouped into three different categories. Each has their own unique attributes and mechanisms to moisturize skin.
Occlusives are the most common type of moisturizers. They work by forming a protective waterproof layer on the surface of the skin to lock in moisture. These types of moisturizers are mostly lipid or fat-based which leave a slightly oily sheen on the skin.
They are ideal for acne-prone skin because they effectively block pores from releasing natural oils. While they don’t add moisture to the skin, they do prevent the reduction of organic moisture by up to 99%. The most popular occlusive ingredients are candelilla wax, carnauba wax, palm kernel oil, macadamia oil, castor oil, and cocoa butter.
Emollients are moisturizers that soften and stimulate the skin without having to add moisture to it. This is done by filling in the spaces between skin cells which repair dry patches to improve appearance and restore the skin’s elasticity.
Emollients are the fundamental ingredients in skincare products that soothe dry skin and relieve skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. Oil-based emollients are thicker and more concentrated which makes them perfect for extremely dry skin. People with normal to oily skin should use lighter, water-based emollients. The most common skincare emollients are aloe vera, jojoba oil, grape seed oil, and shea butter.
Humectants increase moisture by intensifying water absorption from the dermis, the skin’s second layer, into the epidermis, the outermost layer. They can also allow the skin to absorb moisture from the external environment. The collected moisture is stored beneath the layers of the skin.
This characteristic makes humectants the best moisturizer for the majority of skin types and conditions. The most effective humectants for skincare are glycerin and hyaluronic acid.
UV Protection & Anti-Aging/Premature Aging: Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays can cause skin damage, discoloration, dryness, premature wrinkles, and skin cancer. If you live in a tropical climate, or are frequently exposed to sunlight, get a body lotion with UV protection and anti-aging properties.
Soothing: Scented and textured body lotions can make you both feel and smell great. Give your body the pampering it deserves after a long, hard day at work.
Exfoliating: We shed dead skin cells constantly. Exfoliating body lotions are useful for removing the remaining dead cells and to smoothen our skin. Make sure your body lotion contains Alpha Hydroxy Acids or AHAs.
These acids are derived from natural substances like sugar cane, milk, and grapes which make for ideal exfoliants. You can also use it to smoothen bumpy “chicken skin” or keratosis pilaris that usually appears on the back of the upper arms and thighs.
It's best to consult a dermatologist for periodic skin conditions, such as acne, inflamed dry skin, rashes, or irritations. Self-medicating can make these conditions worse. Remember that with different skin types, what works for one may not necessarily work for another.