What type of body moisturizer do I need to use?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Here are some good qualities to look for in a body moisturizer:
  • It has a thick texture. Moisturizers with a thick consistency tend to be the most effective. Creams and ointments are better than lotions.
  • It won't irritate your skin. Look for the word "hypoallergenic" on the label. That means a moisturizer is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. 
  • It contains sunscreen. Unless you're using it only at night, give your skin added protection from the sun's rays.
Talk with your dermatologist about recommendations for a good moisturizer for your body.     
Dr. Ellen Marmur, MD

The density of pores (and oil glands) is different on the body, so the skin there tends to be dryer. Oil glands are more concentrated on the upper body, which is why you may notice that your legs get especially dry. A lighter body lotion (one with humectants such as glycerin or sodium PCA) is just fine for most of your body, but you may want to use a thicker cream or ointment (with emollients such as squalene and shea butter) for particularly rough, parched parts: hands, feet, elbows, knees, and shins.

It really is true that the sooner you apply body moisturizer after bathing, the more effective it will be. If your skin is still slightly damp, the humectants can retain that moisture while the emollients seal it on. You don't have to play beat the clock after your shower, but this actually does make moisturizing more effective. You should also adjust your body moisturizer in the same way that you tweak your facial routine, depending on how your skin feels. Use a thicker moisturizer in the dry winter if your skin is looking flaky or feeling tight; skip moisturizer on parts of your body that feel fine without it (such as your torso or back).

Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

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Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

What if a leading dermatologist just happened to be your best friend and you could ask her anything? DR. ELLEN MARMUR, a world-renowned New York City dermatologist, answers all your questions with...

Continue Learning about Skin Moisturizing

Skin Moisturizing

Skin Moisturizing

Moisturizers can treat try skin and conditions like eczema, offer some sun protection and improve the appearance of skin all over your body. A basic moisturizer helps hold water in the skin's outer layers. Emollients fill in tiny ...

crevices between surfaces to keep skin smooth, while humectants draw water to the outermost layer of your skin for a dewy glow. Depending on your skin type, you may not need to moisturize your face or other areas as often as others. Your moisturizing routine could change based on the time of year and your environment. Find out more about moisturizers and how to apply them with expert advice from Sharecare.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.