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Dermatologists Say These Body Lotions Work Wonders on Extremely Dry Skin

Prevention Logo By Jessica Migala of Prevention | Slide 1 of 21: Thanks to dry skin, you may be looking and feeling a bit lizard-like right now—and there are many things that can cause that tight, uncomfortable feeling.Skin conditions, genetics, chlorine in pools, and getting older can all play a role, but weather is a major factor. “Cold weather can disrupt the lipid bilayer, which protects our skin from the environment, thereby causing skin dryness, sensitivity, and flaring skin conditions like eczema,” says Yoon-Soo Cindy Bae, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York. Cold air outside and the dry heat indoors also contains little humidity, further promoting parched patches.“I’ve also noticed that many of my patients don’t care for their body skin as much as they do with their face or hands,” says Dr. Bae. “The rest of our body is covered, so it’s easier to ignore,” she says.One thing to remember is that your body wash can actually make dry skin worse, says Diane Madfes, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Madfes Aesthetic Medical Center in New York City. Be sure to choose a mild body wash suitable for sensitive skin and skip exfoliating cleansers this time of year, which can exacerbate dryness. Then, keep a bottle of body lotion or cream on hand for when you step out of the shower, she advises: “Lotion up when skin is damp, which allows the moisturizer to spread easier and absorb better into skin.” But in a sea of body lotions and moisturizers, how do you make the right pick? We asked dermatologists what to consider next time you’re in the body care aisle.How to choose the best body lotion or cream for dry, itchy skinFind your hero product: If you don’t like the feel or smell of a lotion, you’re just not going to use it, says Dr. Bae, meaning you’ll be stuck with extremely dry skin. There’s a big difference among products, so if you don’t like one, try another until you find one that you’ll stick with.Don’t count on cost: You can buy a fancy lotion, but you don’t have to. Drugstore brands can get the job done just as well.Look for essential hydrators: Glycerin, shea butter, cocoa butter, and ceramides are a few of the must-have moisturizing ingredients in a good lotion, says Dr. Madfes. Hyaluronic acid, dimethicone, colloidal oatmeal, petrolatum, and urea are also helpful ingredients that add and lock in moisture.Think about fragrance: The right scent can lift your mood, feel energizing, or help you relax. However, any fragrance added to your skincare can spur irritation, so choose a fragrance-free formula if you have sensitive skin.Test, if necessary: If you know you have especially sensitive skin that’s reacted to body lotion in the past, consider patch testing before applying to your whole body. Dr. Madfes recommends trying it on a small area on your chest for a couple days. No reaction? You’re good to go.Now, here are the top dermatologist-approved body lotions, creams, and moisturizers to keep all skin types feeling silky smooth year-round.

Thanks to dry skin, you may be looking and feeling a bit lizard-like right now—and there are many things that can cause that tight, uncomfortable feeling.

Skin conditions, genetics, chlorine in pools, and getting older can all play a role, but weather is a major factor. “Cold weather can disrupt the lipid bilayer, which protects our skin from the environment, thereby causing skin dryness, sensitivity, and flaring skin conditions like eczema,” says Yoon-Soo Cindy Bae, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York. Cold air outside and the dry heat indoors also contains little humidity, further promoting parched patches.

“I’ve also noticed that many of my patients don’t care for their body skin as much as they do with their face or hands,” says Dr. Bae. “The rest of our body is covered, so it’s easier to ignore,” she says.

One thing to remember is that your body wash can actually make dry skin worse, says Diane Madfes, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Madfes Aesthetic Medical Center in New York City. Be sure to choose a mild body wash suitable for sensitive skin and skip exfoliating cleansers this time of year, which can exacerbate dryness.

Then, keep a bottle of body lotion or cream on hand for when you step out of the shower, she advises: “Lotion up when skin is damp, which allows the moisturizer to spread easier and absorb better into skin.” But in a sea of body lotions and moisturizers, how do you make the right pick? We asked dermatologists what to consider next time you’re in the body care aisle.

How to choose the best body lotion or cream for dry, itchy skin

Find your hero product: If you don’t like the feel or smell of a lotion, you’re just not going to use it, says Dr. Bae, meaning you’ll be stuck with extremely dry skin. There’s a big difference among products, so if you don’t like one, try another until you find one that you’ll stick with.

Don’t count on cost: You can buy a fancy lotion, but you don’t have to. Drugstore brands can get the job done just as well.

Look for essential hydrators: Glycerin, shea butter, cocoa butter, and ceramides are a few of the must-have moisturizing ingredients in a good lotion, says Dr. Madfes. Hyaluronic acid, dimethicone, colloidal oatmeal, petrolatum, and urea are also helpful ingredients that add and lock in moisture.

Think about fragrance: The right scent can lift your mood, feel energizing, or help you relax. However, any fragrance added to your skincare can spur irritation, so choose a fragrance-free formula if you have sensitive skin.

Test, if necessary: If you know you have especially sensitive skin that’s reacted to body lotion in the past, consider patch testing before applying to your whole body. Dr. Madfes recommends trying it on a small area on your chest for a couple days. No reaction? You’re good to go.

Now, here are the top dermatologist-approved body lotions, creams, and moisturizers to keep all skin types feeling silky smooth year-round.

© Alisa Hrustic

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