What type of lotion is best?

Body lotions come in creams, ointments, lotions and milks.  While each formula is equally capable of providing moisture and protecting skin, overall satisfaction largely depends on a combination of personal preference and skin type. For instance, creams and ointments generally contain heavier emollients like shea butter, cocoa butter and petrolatum, which experts say are often best suited for those with severely dry skin.

Lotions and milks, on the other hand, contain lighter moisturizers such as aloe and jojoba and are suitable for those with more mild to moderate moisture needs. Babies' skin requires the same types of ingredients for moisture, but theirs is more susceptible to irritation, so body lotions containing fragrance and artificial colors should be avoided. Products addressing cosmetic skin conditions like cellulite or stretch marks tend to be popular. However, experts say, nothing on the market today is capable of reducing or eliminating such problems permanently. Instead, dermatologists say laser treatments and surgery may be the best options for improving these conditions. 

Overall, reviewers offer the following advice about body lotions:

  • Ingredients such as glycerin, ceramide, lecithin, hyaluronic acid, collagen, elastin and others improve hydration. Because they mimic the structure of the skin, these components help draw water to the skin and lock it there, providing a more protective barrier.
  • Emollients such as petrolatum, lanolin, shea butter, cocoa butter, fatty alcohols, mineral oils or plant oils can help those with dry skin. These lubricating ingredients help the skin to feel hydrated and provide it with long-lasting moisture. Note: The dryer your skin, the more emollient your lotion should be, so look for thicker lotions or creams.
  • Body lotions containing anti-irritants in the form of allantoin, aloe, green tea, licorice root and chamomile extract are good choices for adults with sensitive skin. These ingredients help to prevent irritation and inflammation that can come from even the most basic skin-care products.
  • Other ingredients like niacinamide, vitamin A (retinol) and peptides can prevent damage from environmental factors. They also have mild healing properties to reverse damage and to improve the complexion.
  • In order to lock moisture in the skin, experts recommend applying lotion immediately after showering.
  • Experts say body lotions work more effectively on regularly exfoliated skin. Exfoliating removes the buildup of dead skin cells, increasing the absorption of lotions.

Back to top