The 8 Best Body Lotions of 2021

Sooth your skin and fight flakiness

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First Look

Best Overall: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream at Amazon

"Provides 24-hour hydration and has hyaluronic acid to help retain the skin’s natural moisture."

Best Budget: Nivea Intense Healing Body Lotion at Amazon

"Known to nourish skin, pack in moisture, and has a non-greasy formula so after applying your skin will feel like, well, your skin."

Best for Dry Skin: Eucerin Advanced Repair Lotion at Amazon

"Stops dryness in its tracks and restores moisture."

Best for Aging Skin: Drunk Elephant Sili Body Lotion at Amazon

"Has a blend of fruit-derived antioxidants, which offers a powerful defense against damage."

Best Smelling: AHAVA Dead Sea Mineral Botanic Velvet Body Lotion at Amazon

"Has a soft yet alluring scent that is positively addicting."

Best Natural: Seed Phytonutrients at pharmaca.com

"Uses a blend of shea butter and coconut oil to moisturize skin."

Best for Sun Protection: Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion with Broad Spectrum SPF 15 at Amazon

"Contains soothing oat and rich emollients which help relieve dryness for soft, smooth, healthier-looking skin."

Best for Eczema: Cetaphil PRO Eczema Soothing Moisturizer at Amazon

"Hydrates and calms dry itchy, eczema, and atopic prone skin. "

No one likes the feeling of dry skin—or worse, noticeable dry patches that can be itchy and flaky. According to Dr. Sandra Marchese Johnson, a dermatologist practicing in Fort Smith, Arkansas, proper moisturization—along with avoiding too much sun and other toxins—is the key to healthy skin. Regularly moisturizing can help prevent wrinkles and other signs of aging and can help relieve the itch that comes with conditions like eczema. Here, are a few of the best lotions to fight flaky skin and dry patches this winter and beyond.

Here are the best body lotions on the market today.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

Developed with dermatologists, CeraVe moisturizing cream is king of moisturization. This formula provides 24-hour hydration and has hyaluronic acid to help retain the skin’s natural moisture. Dr. Johnson states that one big thing to steer clear of are lotions with fragrances that can irritate the skin—and as a non-greasy, fragrance-free moisturizer, skin irritation is the last thing you’ll need to worry about while using this product. By reviewers, this product has been hailed as a game-changer.

Best Budget: Nivea Intense Healing Body Lotion

Lotions and body oils can get expensive. Average prices can sail into the $20 range where high-end products can cost upward of $50. You really shouldn’t have to break the bank to find a good moisturizer. Nivea Intense Healing Body Lotion is not only cost-effective, but it’s extremely moisturizing. It’s known to nourish skin, pack in moisture, and has a non-greasy formula so after applying your skin will feel like, well, your skin. It also claims to keep skin moisturized for up to 72 hours after one application, which reviewers have backed by citing this moisturizer as one that provides excellent results.

Best for Dry Skin: Eucerin Advanced Repair Lotion

This fragrance-free moisturizer stops dryness in its tracks and restores moisture. Eucerin Advanced Repair is the perfect lotion to fight dryness, especially in this day and age of frequent hand washing. This formula also boasts natural moisturizing factors such as amino acids which are naturally found in the skin. They help boost moisture and prevent dryness from reoccurring.

“Then during the winter time, I will incorporate more vaseline because the air is dryer so skin can be dryer as a result, and how to do that is to mix in your palms in a one-to-one ratio of moisturizing cream and vaseline and use it all over.”Oma Agbai, M.D., a dermatologist with UC Davis Health

Best for Aging Skin: Drunk Elephant Sili Body Lotion

Packed with a blend of nourishing plant oils and butters, and strengthening amino acids, this is the perfect moisturizer for those looking to tighten the look of their skin. This product also has a blend of fruit-derived antioxidants, which offers a powerful defense against damage. According to Dr. Johnson antioxidants and growth factors to help to keep the skin healthy are some of the things you should be looking for when trying to find a good anti-aging product. This moisturizer is also 100% free of sulfates, silicones, essential oils, fragrance, dyes, and drying alcohols.

Best Smelling: AHAVA Dead Sea Mineral Botanic Velvet Body Lotion

This soft yet alluring scent of tropical hibiscus flower and ripe fig extract is an ultra-hydrating moisturizer with a smell that is positively addicting. This quick-absorbing moisturizer also has Dead Sea water with 21 essential minerals, including magnesium, calcium, and potassium. These minerals provide deep nourishment and improve skin elasticity. Reviews say a little bit of this product goes a long way.

Best Natural: Seed Phytonutrients

Seed Phytonutrients Body Moisturizer
Courtesy of Pharmaca.

Made with the highest quality seed oils, this American-made product uses a blend of shea butter and coconut oil to moisturize skin. Seed Phytonutrients is ideal for all skin types, with a formula featuring camelina seed oil, sunflower seed oil, jojoba, coconut, and safflower seed oil. These powerful ingredients contain omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, which are ideal for maintaining healthy skin.

Best for Sun Protection: Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion with Broad Spectrum SPF 15

Proper protection from the sun plays a big role in healthy and moisturized skin. Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion with Broad Spectrum SPF 15 is the perfect moisturizer to not only nourish skin, but protect from harmful UV rays that can cause damage and promote aging. This everyday body lotion has a unique formula that contains soothing oat and rich emollients which help relieve dryness for soft, smooth, healthier-looking skin. According to reviewers, it’s the perfect unscented SPF lotion.

Best for Eczema: Cetaphil PRO Eczema Soothing Moisturizer

Cetaphil PRO Eczema Soothing Moisturizer has a unique combination of colloidal oatmeal and ceramide to hydrate and calm dry itchy, eczema, and atopic prone skin. This fragrance and paraben-free lotion also received a seal of acceptance from the National Eczema Association, so it’s great for those who have occasional flare-ups.

Final Verdict

Body moisturizers are an important step to a beauty routine because they keep the skin barrier replenished with necessary moisture while also restoring the surface. For best results, pay attention to the ingredients that you use in your products. Ingredients like glycerin, ceramides, and hyaluronic acids are all excellent at restoring the skin of its moisture.

If you’ve been working hard to keep your skin soft and moisturized, go with CeraVe Moisturizing Cream (view at Amazon). It’s the product that’s going to work hard with you. It’s created with dermatologists and has fantastic reviews. It’s also very easy to get, it can be found in drug stores across America. Drunk Elephant Sili Body Lotion (view at Amazon) also comes highly recommended. Not only is it super nourishing, but it is also made from all-natural products and will help you kick start the ever-elusive aging backward process.

What to Look for in a Body Lotion

Ingredients:

Like all beauty products, ingredients matter when it comes to finding a body moisturizer that will work best for your skin. “Ceramides are fatty acids that are traditional in the skin,” says Clara Curiel, M.D., dermatologist and clinical director of the Skin Cancer Institute at the University of Arizona Cancer Center. “They’re key because they’re able to retain water.” She recommends finding lotions with ceramides in them or other key ingredients, such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid, amino acids, and salicylic acids. “These are all ingredients that you will naturally find in the skin and some of those skincare products will give it back,” she says. 

Additionally, moisturizers can work to restore the capacity of the skin instead of just replenishing it. If you’re looking for this in your body lotion, then Dr. Curiel recommends looking for retinoids on the ingredient list. “The retinol products are able to repair the damage primarily caused by the sun, UV light, over the years,” she says. “So it restores the differentiation capacity of your skin cells and the way overall they behave.” 

Some body moisturizer ingredients on the avoid list for dermatologists? Ingredients that give the product a scent. “Fragrances are notorious to be allergenic,” Dr. Curiel says. “So you want to lean towards something that is fragrance-free.” Other ingredients that could cause a reaction include cobalt, aluminium, emoliums, and coconut butter. So pay attention to how your skin reacts to a product and alter accordingly. 

Form:

Oma Agbai, M.D., a dermatologist with UC Davis Health, recommends using lotions that come in tubs rather than in pump form. These creams tend to be thicker than a moisturizer that is pumped out, helping lock in that moisture. Another form moisturizers come in are as ointments, which commonly incorporate the ingredient petrolatum in the product. These can be incredibly hydrating for the body, but also greasy to use. For best use, Dr. Agbai recommends applying the product in the evenings right before bed. You can wear nitrile gloves also if you’re applying the product to your hands overnight because it helps to lock in the moisture.

“It’s like an ointment mask that you can use for your hands and it’s an overnight treatment,” Dr. Agbai says. “So if you can do that every night for a few nights, that can help heal some of the fissures and the cracking you can get with excessively dry hands.” 

Allergens and Fragrance:

Experiencing an allergic reaction to a skincare product is no fun, especially if you’re unsure about what ingredient might be causing the issue. As mentioned above, fragrances can oftentimes be the ingredient causing the reaction on your skin. But people also develop other allergies to ingredients often incorporated in skincare products. Cobalt, chromium, aluminium, lanolin, and emolium are all ingredients that could cause allergic reactions. “Other allergens that are very common are the sulfates and some essential oils,” Dr. Curiel says. 

But that doesn’t mean you will definitely experience a reaction. If you have sensitive skin and are unsure about what could be causing you problems, a dermatologist can perform an allergens test to see if any ingredients could be causing irritation or skin sensitivities. Fragrances can cause reactions or irritations on the skin, so try spot testing with scented lotions before covering your body.

FAQs

When is the best time to apply body lotion?

The most optimal way to use a moisturizer for best results is after you’ve left the shower or bath. Use a towel to pat dry the skin lightly before applying the moisturizer to the barrier. “Don’t completely dry with your towel,” Dr. Curiel says. “Be a little wet, pat dry, and then apply the moisturizer to your skin. If it’s a cream, it’s going to be more successful at sealing the moisture.” 

“Skin products, in general, can incorporate skin replenishing ingredients, which means they are replacing the ingredients that should be traditionally in the skin to start with. They're just giving it back to the skin because it either did not produce the level you’re hoping for or you’re just trying to restore the skin,”Clara Curiel, M.D., dermatologist and clinical director of the Skin Cancer Institute at the University of Arizona Cancer Center

Why Trust Verywell Health?

As a health writer, Janae Price understands the importance of a knowledgeable and honest review. When there are so many different opinions out there, it's great to have a concise answer that cuts through all the junk online. Every product in this piece has been thoroughly researched and sourced by professionals with potential user needs in mind.

Additional reporting to this story by Danielle Zoellner

As a seasoned health writer, Danielle Zoellner knows the importance of finding just the right product to fit your medical needs. Throughout her career, Danielle has interviewed a variety of experts in the medical and health fields while reviewing dozens of products. Her experience and knowledge in the field work together to help readers like yourself find the best products for your daily life.

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