Aquaphor Healing Ointment Advanced Therapy Skin Protectant
Aquaphor Healing Ointment Advanced Therapy Skin Protectant

Best lotion for very dry skin

Aquaphor Healing Ointment is marketed as a protectant against dry, cold air for all-over skin moisture and healing. Most users say it works best on very dry skin, including rough patches on the elbows, knees and feet. Its main ingredient, petrolatum, acts as a barrier to protect against moisture loss. Aquaphor also contains glycerin, which attracts moisture to the skin, and bisabolol, an anti-irritant that reduces inflammation. Users say you don't have to use much to get good coverage, and that a single tub of this cream can last for months. That said, this product may be too thick for all-over use during warmer months, but reviewers say this ointment is an excellent option for severely dry skin and other ailments (like eczema).
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CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion
CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion

Best body lotion

While it's not as intense as Aquaphor, experts say CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion is very hydrating. Testers appreciate its lighter-weight formula, saying this lotion soaks into skin quickly, leaving treated areas soft and smooth yet not greasy. Unlike many competitors, CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion works well for all skin types including sensitive, dry and oily. Dermatologists also say that this formula releases moisture over time to work all day.
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AmLactin 12% Moisturizing Body Lotion
AmLactin 12% Moisturizing Body Lotion

Best exfoliating lotion

Experts agree that for best results, skin hydration should be paired with exfoliation. For this reason, many dermatologists recommend a lotion with exfoliating alpha hydroxy acids, specifically AmLactin 12% Moisturizing Body Lotion, which contains a high concentration of lactic acid. Users and dermatologists alike praise this lotion for its ability to banish flaky, dry skin and help alleviate the skin condition keratosis pilaris.
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Earth Mama Angel Baby Lotion
Earth Mama Angel Baby Lotion

Best baby lotion

Though experts say any fragrance- and irritant-free lotion is suitable for children, many point to Earth Mama Angel Baby Lotion as the best among those formulated for babies. Experts praise its natural citrus and vanilla scent and its non-greasy, easily absorbed formula. It is also certified vegan, made with organic ingredients, paraben- and perfume-free and deemed to be free of any potentially harmful ingredients by the Environmental Working Group. Though not formulated for especially dry or sensitive skin, Earth Mama Angel Baby Lotion is a good option for regular skin types.
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See a side-by-side comparison of key features, product specs, and prices.

Body Lotion Runners Up:

Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Lotion *Est. $7 for 12 oz.

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Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Skin Therapy Lotion *Est. $9 for 14 oz.

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CeraVe Moisturizing Cream *Est. $15 for 16 oz.

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St. Ives Intensive Healing Body Cream *Est. $7 for 7.5 oz.

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The Body Shop Body Butter *Est. $18 for 7 oz.

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Vermont's Original Bag Balm *Est. $9 for 10 oz.

2 picks including: Drugstore.com, MakeupAlley.com…

Body lotions

Anyone who's wandered the body lotion aisle of the local pharmacy knows that an overwhelming number of products are available, and all profess their ingredients are the best. Ultimately, experts say, choosing the right body lotion often comes down to an individual's personal preference and skin type. However, in general, thicker body treatments like creams and ointments (typically containing moisturizing and lubricating ingredients like shea butter and lanolin) should be reserved for those with very dry skin or for specific problem areas.

Conversely, experts say lighter-weight moisturizers (such as lotions, gels and milks, which contain ingredients like aloe and jojoba) generally fit the bill for those with normal skin. These products also have a thinner consistency than creams and ointments, so they absorb into the skin faster. Formula aside, reviewers also say price is no indicator of quality. In fact, in our investigation we found drugstore lotions are chosen more often in reviews than higher end formulas.

Body lotions created to treat conditions like stretch marks, cellulite and signs of aging have also filled up store shelves. While manufacturers often claim these skin-tightening creams (typically containing ingredients like caffeine and seaweed) will erase these flaws, experts say that these results are temporary at best. Like standard lotions, there's little evidence that high end, expensive products actually work any better for tightening and toning than drugstore products. As a rule of thumb, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

To find the best body lotions we sorted through a slew of reviews. Surprisingly, the editors at ConsumerReports.org have not yet reviewed these products. Skin care expert Paula Begoun, author of "Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me," an acclaimed book on skin care and cosmetics, does offer some insightful information on her site Beautypedia.com. The reviews and information she offers are thorough and solidly backed by reputable scientific research. However, there's no evidence on Beguon's site that she actually tests products first-hand. Instead, her reviews are based on scientific evidence on the products' ingredients -- still reputable, but this makes her conclusions slightly more disputable. To make the wealth of information easier to decipher, Beguon rates all products, with "Paula's Pick" being the highest rating; she also notes which products she considers overpriced.

Beauty and fashion magazines are another source for body lotion recommendations. Each year, editors of such magazines as Allure, Shape, Self, Marie Claire, Redbook and InStyle test hundreds of beauty products with the help of dermatologists, beauty experts and reader surveys. However, it's important to note that magazine reviews can vary in credibility. While some publications compile product lists from hands-on or more formal testing, other magazines don't provide any details on why specific products were selected -- leaving their results more open to question. User reviews on such sites as MakeupAlley.com and Drugstore.com also prove to be helpful for evaluating body lotions over the long term.

Additional sites, like GoodGuide.com and the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, were also considered. These sites provide information on potentially harmful ingredients and environmentally or socially irresponsible business practices. These databases do not evaluate the effectiveness of products, but they may prove very valuable to the health-conscious or environmentally savvy buyer.

Lastly, it's important to note that baby lotions, another product category we cover in this report, can be a hot-button issue. The reason: since the late 1990s reports have examined the potential dangers of cosmetics containing phthalates -- these are mainly used as plasticizers, which give plastic products more flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity, but more than a decade later, results are still heavily conflicting. Typically, the level of these substances that enters the body is measured through urine sampling of both infants and adults, and scientists agree that pthalates are present in most of the population's urine. What isn't known is how the pthalates are introduced to the body (however, women, who typically use more lotions, body washes and other personal care items, showed higher concentrations than men) or whether having this substance at any level in the body is dangerous.

Numerous U.S. agencies including the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency have released statements that low levels of pthalates in the body are not harmful or toxic. However, some animal testing shows that they may affect the development of reproductive organs, specifically in males. Despite government agencies' reassurances that the low levels of pthalates introduced by lotions are not dangerous, many parents avoid products with them -- especially for infants -- as testing continues.

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