How dry is your skin? If your skin isn't very dry, all you need is a good everyday body lotion or cream (see our Body Lotion section for the top picks). If your skin is really parched, or for severe problem areas such as cracked heels, you'll need a more heavy-duty cream or ointment (see our section on Lotions for Very Dry Skin).
Is your skin flaky or bumpy? An exfoliating lotion can remove dead skin cells to smooth your skin, and attract moisture to keep it smooth (find the best ones in our Body Lotion section). Exfoliating lotions are often recommended to treat keratosis pilaris, the bumpy "chicken skin" that often appears on the backs of the upper arms and thighs.
Babies don't necessarily need a "baby" lotion. Baby lotion should be fragrance-free, dye-free and gentle, experts say -- just like the best lotions for adults. Two of the outstanding moisturizers discussed in our Best Baby Lotions section aren't marketed toward babies at all, but dermatologists say they're ideal for babies.
"Firming" lotions and stretch mark creams don't work. Save your money, experts say. There's nothing in the world you can rub on your skin to get rid of cellulite, and the only cream shown to help stretch marks even a little bit is prescription tretinoin (found in Retin-A and Renova creams). See our Firming Lotions section to learn more.
You'll find the best body lotions at the drugstore. Every top-rated body lotion, cream and ointment in this report is widely available at drugstores -- and reasonably priced, too. No expensive boutique brands made the cut.
Apply body lotion immediately after showering, on skin that's still slightly damp. This provides water for the lotion's humectants to attract into your skin, and for its occlusives to seal in. Any moisturizer will always work better on slightly damp skin, experts say.