Dry skin — which can often be accompanied by red bumps, flaky patches, and irritation — can be painful. But if you think that rubbing just any old lotion on your chapped limbs is going to make a difference, think again: There are so many factors that go into finding the best body lotion for dry skin. It's important to consider things like your skin type, the environment you live in, and what, exactly, is making your skin dry. Once you figure that out, finding a targeted lotion should be a snap.
There are a few general rules to keep in mind, though. When it comes to ingredients, shea butter is always a great choice for dry skin. It's very rich, and both hydrating and soothing. Ceramides are also something to look out for; they're lipids that occur naturally and help form the skin's natural protective barrier, but they tend to be lacking in dry skin. By using a product with ceramides, you're strengthening that barrier, which helps skin stay healthy, hydrated, and protected from environmental aggressors.
Ahead, you'll find the eight of the best lotions for dry skin. They tackle everything from general dryness and flaking to eczema and keratosis pilaris, so whether you're in the market for an extra-rich body butter or an exfoliating lotion, you're sure to find it below.
1The Overall Best Body Lotion For Dry Skin
Aveeno's Skin Relief Intense Moisture Repair Cream, which delivers a whopping 24 hours worth of hydration, offers everything you need to treat very dry skin — all at a great price. It's packed with ceramides, which help rebuild your skin's lipid layer, thus improving its ability to keep itself hydrated. It also contains a proprietary oat-based complex, which helps soothe chapped and irritated skin, as well as emollients for moisture and hydration. What's more, the formula is fragrance-free, steroid-free, and non-comedogenic. It's quite thick, so you'll only need a small amount — but this also means you might have to wait a few minutes for it to fully absorb before putting your clothes on.
2Best Value Pack
If you're looking to stock up for the whole family — or maybe you just love a good bargain — pick up this two-pack of Lubriderm's Advanced Therapy Lotion. It's stacked with a duo of 16-ounce bottles, both containing Lubriderm's cult-favorite dry skin lotion, which is perfect for extra-dry skin types. The formula contains moisturizing lipids that are naturally found in your skin, vitamin E, which protects against free radicals, and vitamin B5, a humectant that strengthens the skin's natural barrier and shields it from irritation. Though it doesn't have the same soothing oat complex as the Aveeno cream does, this stuff also offers 24-hours worth of hydration. It's also a bit more lightweight, so you can immediately put your pants on after applying it.
3Best Green Beauty Buy
Green beauty lovers, this one's for you. Alba Botanica's Very Emollient Body Lotion is hypoallergenic, 100 percent vegetarian, made with natural plant-based ingredients, and never tested on animals. In the formula is aloe vera, green tea, and chamomile, which work together to soothe and hydrate dried-out skin. It also contains alpha hydroxy acids to gently exfoliate, which will leave skin feeling extra soft. It does have fragrance listed at the end of its ingredients list, albeit a botanical one at that. Again, this lotion provides up to 24 hours with of moisture and hydration, and it comes in an extra-large 32-ounce bottle.
4Best For Eczema
Whether you've got year-round eczema or solely experience flare-ups during winter, O'Keefe's Skin Repair Body Lotion can help symptoms like itching, dryness, and flaking. It contains glycerin, a humectant that draws moisture into skin that's lacking, as well as dimethicone, which creates a barrier that helps slow down the loss of water in the epidermis and dermis. O'Keefe's lotion also contains shea butter, one of those trusty, nourishing ingredients that keeps skin moisturized and soft. In addition to soothing the symptoms of eczema, it can also help prevent future flare-ups. And since it's fragrance-free, it won't aggravate easily reactive skin types or those that are sensitive to parfum.
5Best For Keratosis Pilaris
If you've got keratosis pilaris — or "chicken skin," a common, harmless skin condition that causes little red bumps — you'll want AmLactin Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion. It contains alpha-hydroxy acid and lactic acid, which, together, exfoliate the skin to unclog pores and leave it feeling smooth and soft. There are also emollients and humectants to help retain moisture and give your skin the hydration it's lacking. And the more you use it, the better it works, because it encourages cell renewal to help improve your skin's natural protective barrier. This is another great option that comes in a two-pack — each bottle is about 8 ounces — so one order will last you a while.
6Best In-Shower Formula
If you're like me, your skin starts to flake up the second you step out of the shower. That's why I love Curel Hydratherapy Wet Skin Moisturizer so much. You use it in the shower, as soon as you turn the water off. It takes advantage of your loosened pores from the hot water to help deeply moisturize your skin, and if it sounds weird, trust not only me, but the hundreds of happy reviewers on Amazon. "Give it a couple of days to get used to the sensation of the lotion on wet skin. It soaks in quickly, like it says it will, and you can just towel dry as usual," said one.
The formula is stocked with good-for-your-skin ingredients, like shea butter, ceramides, and vitamin B5, which all help soften skin and help it retain moisture. This is another fragrance-free choice, and the bottle contains a solid 12 ounces of product.
7Best French Pharmacy Pick
When it comes to healthy, moisturized skin, the French know what they're talking about. And Bioderma Atoderm Crème is proof of that. It's a French pharmacy cult-favorite for a reason, and another option on this list that provides 24 hours worth of moisture. Packed with glycerin, a humectant that draws water from the air and holds it against the skin, you're guaranteed hydration the first time you swipe this stuff on. In fact, Bioderma guarantees an 80 percent increase in moisture after using Atoderm cream. The formula is also fragrance-free and more than appropriate for sensitive skin types, and it comes in a jumbo 16.7-ounce bottle that'll last you ages.
8Best Prestige Pick
Just because a product is treating a less-than-sexy skin ailment doesn't mean that you can't get a little luxury out of it. L'Occitane's Ultra-Rich Body Cream proves that very point. It's formulated with 25 percent shea butter, meaning that this stuff is thick, creamy, and incredibly hydrating. Along with linseed, marshmallow, sweet almond, and honey, this incredibly rich cream smells just as luxurious as it feels.
Hot tip: if you prefer lighter-weight lotions to thick creams, a very similar formula is available in a pump bottle, which is made with a 15 percent concentration of shea butter instead. You can buy it here.
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