You take excellent care of your face — wonderful. But what about the rest of your body? The skin below the neck also deserves some TLC, and a regular moisturizing routine is a good place to start. Whether you are prone to dryness, sensitivity, bumps, or crepiness, there is a body cream or lotion that can help calm, nourish, hydrate, and even firm the skin.
To better understand what you should be putting on your body, we tapped top board certified dermatologists. From ultra-gentle creams to age-defying balms, we’ve assembled the ultimate dermatologist-approved guide to body creams for all skin types.
The Purpose of Body Cream
No matter your skin type or concern(s), the primary function of a body moisturizer is to hydrate the skin and restore the skin barrier. Depending on your needs, there are an array of formulations to choose from. Lotions are the most lightweight, while balms and salves are the heaviest. Creams fall somewhere in between. “Body creams contain more oil and less water compared to body lotions,” explains Nadine Kaskas, MD, a board certified dermatologist in New York City. “This makes body creams thicker and more protective of the skin barrier than lotions.”
It should come as no surprise then that she says lighter lotions with little to no oil “may be better suited to those with oily or acne-prone skin,” while creams, balms, and salves tend to be more effective for drier skin types. As it relates to ingredients, Samer Jaber, MD, a board certified dermatologist and founder of Washington Square Dermatology in NYC, suggests looking for formulas with petrolatum, shea butter, oatmeal, and/or hyaluronic acid.
How to Apply Body Cream
To ensure you’re getting the most out of your body care, you’ll want to be mindful of how you apply your creams, lotions, and balms. First and foremost, cadence matters. “I suggest applying body cream at least once daily for most and twice a day for those with dry or sensitive skin,” Dr. Kaskas says. She recommends reaching for your moisturizer after shaving, showering, or swimming because “it can be very soothing for skin.”
Another important factor: the dampness of the skin. “For maximum absorption, it's best to apply on damp skin within five minutes of coming out of the bath or shower,” she shares. If you are curious about layering, the logic is similar to that of facial skincare. “If you are using any body cosmetics or sunscreen, start by applying your moisturizing body cream first and finish with the sunscreen,” Dr. Kaskas says. And don’t rush the process. “Allow a couple of minutes in between product applications for everything to dry,” she adds.
Dermatologist-Approved Body Creams
As with facial skincare, it’s important to consider your skin type and concerns when choosing a body formula. In the case of moisturizers, which come in a variety of weights, you’ll also want to think about the season and/or weather. Dry, arid air usually calls for richer creams and balms, while tropical climates may only need lightweight lotions. Consulting with a board certified dermatologist can help you determine what will be best for your skin. Below are the formulas our experts recommend:
For Sensitive Skin: Vanicream Moisturizing Cream
Whether you have sensitive skin, are dealing with eczema or psoriasis, or want something gentle enough to use post-procedure, Dr. Jaber says this fragrance-, dye-, lanolin-, paraben-, and formaldehyde-free is a great non-greasy option. An added bonus? The pump dispenser keeps bacteria at bay. $13, walmart.com
For Bumpy Skin: CeraVe SA Lotion for Rough & Bumpy Skin
From keratosis pilaris (KP) and ingrown hairs to body acne and rough patches, this lightweight lotion features alpha and beta hydroxy acids to smooth and soothe bumpy skin. “In addition to smoothing salicylic acid and lactic acid, it contains hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and ceramides for hydration and protection in a non-comedogenic, fragrance-free formula,” Dr. Kaskas says. $19, ulta.com
For Dry Skin & Eczema: Aveeno Eczema Therapy Daily Moisturizing Cream
Both Dr. Jaber and Dr. Kaskas like this ultra-soothing moisturizer that is enriched with colloidal oatmeal and ceramides nourish dry and eczema-prone skin while restoring skin barrier function. Don’t let its lightweight texture fool you — it still delivers long-lasting itch and irritation relief. $12, walmart.com
For Mature Skin: La Roche Posay Lipikar Balm AP+ Body Cream
Like the complexion, body skin shows signs of aging. “As we mature, our epidermis becomes thinner and our production of natural oils decreases,” Dr. Kaskas says. The result? Dry, crepey skin. To counteract this effect, she recommends using this quick-absorbing rich cream twice a day because it “contains hydrators like shea butter and glycerin, in addition to vitamin B3 in a non-greasy, effortless formula.” $20, dermstore.com
For The Whole Family: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
Skincare is rarely one-size-fits-all. But, if you are looking for a formula that will please everyone, this ceramide-rich cream is it. Dr. Jaber likes it because it is hydrating and generally well-tolerated by his patients. Additionally, it pairs well with retinoid treatments that may be too irritating on their own. $16, ulta.com
For Hyperpigmentation: Eucerin Daily Hydration Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30
The best way to treat and prevent dark spots? Sunscreen. “This fragrance-free emollient contains broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection,” Dr. Kaskas shares. She’s a fan because it is lightweight enough for daily use (no sticky or chalky finishes here) and “is easy to re-apply at the recommended intervals for continued sun protection.” $9, walmart.com
For All Skin Types: Cetaphil Body Moisturizing Cream
Need a no-frills formula that is good for all skin types? Dr. Jaber recommends this drugstore staple. The emollient- and humectant-rich cream promises 24-hours of hydration and prevents moisture loss for soothing and lasting dry skin relief. $18, ulta.com
All products featured are independently selected by our editors, however, AEDIT may receive a commission on items purchased through our links.
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