What the best body lotion has
- Humectants such as glycerin, panthenol and hyaluronic acid. These hydrating ingredients draw
moisture to the skin's outer layer.
ingredients such as petrolatum (the most
effective occlusive), lanolin, mineral oil and waxes. These create a
barrier over the skin to lock in moisture.
- Emollients such as
silicones (dimethicone and cyclomethicone), jojoba oil and glyceryl
stearate. Emollients fill the gaps between cell clusters, making the skin
feel soft, smooth and pliable.
skin-repairing ingredients such as
ceramides and cholesterol -- components that healthy skin produces
naturally -- can help restore the skin barrier without irritation.
fragrances or dyes. These can irritate skin. So can
some natural ingredients, such as plant oils. All of our Best Reviewed
picks are fragrance- and dye-free.
moisturization. The best body lotions keep the
skin hydrated all day, with no need to reapply.
affordable price. Body lotion is meant to be
applied all over the body, every day -- hard to manage if a tiny tube
costs an arm and a leg. The best drugstore body lotions are so effective,
experts say there's absolutely no reason to pay more.
pleasant feel. The best all-over body lotions
and creams feel light, silky and greaseless. More intense creams and
ointments for severely dry skin (such as cracked heels) may feel greasier due
to their higher petrolatum content, but are still easy to spread and not
- Pump or
tube packaging. This keeps air and bacteria from
degrading the moisturizer, cosmetics expert Paula Begoun says -- unlike
jar packaging, which allows air and bacteria from your fingers into the
moisturizer every time you use it. All of our Best Reviewed picks offer
pump or tube packaging, either standard or as an option.
Know before you go
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
in this Report:
Best Body Lotions | Lotions for Very Dry Skin | Baby Lotions | Firming Lotions | Our Sources