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Why do we spend so much time on our face and often neglect the rest of our body? Sure, our visage is important, but considering that our skin is our biggest organ and protector from environmental aggressors, we should probably be giving it a little more love than a quick smattering of body lotion (when we remember). One way we can tell it’s time for some TLC: by how dry it is.

What causes dry skin?

According to the American Skin Association, dry skin can be caused by anything from harsh soap to itchy clothing to long, hot showers. They explains, “the condition often worsens in the winter, when several factors contribute to skin dryness: low temperature and low humidity associated to very hot and drying heating, cause a decreased amounts of water in the stratum corneum. During summer, constant exposure to air conditioning may produce similar effects.” So, while we’re typically more susceptible to dryness in the winter, we can also suffer from dryness in the summer. Good news: In addition to drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated from the inside out, body lotion can do wonders to restore moisture and repair a damaged lipid barrier.

What ingredients hydrate skin most?

If you have severely dry skin, applying any old body lotion probably isn’t good enough. Experts agree that your moisturizer should be void of stripping alcohols and should contain one of the below hydrating ingredients, or ideally, a combination, to help increase your skin’s water content while also repairing the barrier (and ward off side effects like itchiness, redness and flakes).

1. Emollients

They prevent moisture loss while smoothing and softening skin and can be found in everything from oils to butters to fatty acids.

2. Humectants

These actually attract water to the skin, increasing its overall moisture content and creating a natural barrier that seals in hydration. Look for them in forms of hyaluronic acid and glycerin.

3. Ceramides

These help to restore the skin’s barrier, which is responsible for protecting us from things like pollution, bacteria and signs of aging. Lipids deplete as we age, but this ingredient helps to reinforce the cells, so skin feels smoother, plumper and more hydrated.

4. Occlusives

Once you restore all that hydration, you’re going to want something to prevent the viscous cycle from starting all over again. Occlusives are waxy or oily ingredients (like beeswax or cocoa butter) that sit on top of skin, creating a barrier that prevents further moisture loss.

Ready to get to the good stuff? Here you’ll find 15 of the very best body lotions for dry skin, based on their combination of the above ingredients.

RELATED: My Face Broke Out Like a 15-Year-Old and Augustinus Bader's The Rich Cream Fixed It


1. Vaseline Intensive Care Hand and Body Lotion Advanced Repair Unscented

Have both dry skin and dry hands? This Vaseline body lotion is formulated to help both. Not only does it offer immediate relief, but it also keeps skin hydrated all day long. It's formulated with Vaseline (an occlusive) to help lock in moisture for the long haul.

Buy It ($5)

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2. Bioderma Atoderm Cream

We love Bioderma Sensibio H20 micellar water for gently removing makeup. And this unscented body lotion proves to be just as gentle on skin. It’s formulated with a patented Skin Protect Complex, which absorbs quickly, minimizes sensitivity and keeps water from evaporating off skin for all-day hydration.

Buy It ($18)


3. Vanicream Moisturizing Cream

This multitasking cream is a best-seller on Amazon and has nearly 6,000 positive reviews. It can be used wherever you have dry skin (face, body or hands) and is free of dyes, fragrance, parabens and formaldehyde, making it an ideal choice for those with sensitive skin. It’s even been awarded a seal of acceptance from the National Eczema Association.

$12 at Amazon

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4. Nécessaire The Body Lotion

This cult-favorite body lotion is so much more than a pretty package. It’s formulated to hydrate and nourish skin both immediately and in the long term thanks to three luxe oils (marula, cacay and meadowfoam), which infuse skin with softening and moisturizing vitamins. Plus, it also includes glow-inducing niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3) and restores tone, texture and firmness over time.

Buy It ($25)


5. Cetaphil Daily Advance Lotion Ultra Hydrating

Clinically proven to hydrate and protect dry skin for 24 hours, this fragrance-free lotion is specially formulated to provide intense moisture every day. It contains an Epidermal Replenishing Complex, which includes a combination of five key ingredients to get rid of flakes, dryness and itching for good.

Buy It ($15)

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6. Augustinus Bader The Body Cream

The Rich Cream is one of our favorite skincare products of all time, so it’s no surprise that Augustinus Bader’s body cream is just as luxurious. It delivers the same youth-boosting, skin-regenerating benefits as the face cream thanks to its restorative Trigger Factor Complex—a combination of natural amino acids, high-grade vitamins and synthesized molecules. Skin is left hydrated, bouncy and noticeably smoother after just a few days of use.

Buy It ($165)


7. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Whipped Body Balm

Hyaluronic acid is a humectant that can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, making it an excellent hydrator for dry skin. And this velvety body balm is chock full of it. It’s ultra-lightweight, non-greasy, fast-absorbing and dermatologist-tested to moisturize skin immediately, while helping retain its moisture and improving the look and feel of dryness over time.

Buy It ($7)

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8. Mutha Body Butter

This body butter is so rich, it’s referred to a soufflé. (Um, yum.) Not only does it feel like a dream to apply, but it also soothes dryness and restores moisture while maintaining elasticity to help minimize the appearance of stretch marks. How, you ask? It’s packed with pure seed extracts, essential fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins, minus any water or filler.

Buy It ($95)

Sol de Janeiro

9. Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream

If you, like many, forget to apply body lotion daily, this award-winning, super-hydrating body cream is about to change that. First of all, the pistachio and salted caramel scent is everything. Then there’s the caffeine-rich Guaraná, Cupuaçu Butter, Açaí Oil and Coconut Oil, which wrap skin in hydration and smooth its texture almost instantly. Everything about it just makes you want more.

Buy It ($45)


10. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

The OG of all moisturizers, this CeraVe cream is beloved by dermatologists for a reason: it was created by them. Including three essential ceramides to restore the protective skin barrier, plus hyaluronic acid to retain moisture and MVE Delivery Technology for controlled release, it’s non-irritating, gentle on skin and super effective for all-day hydration.

Buy It ($21)


11. KIEHL'S SINCE 1851 Crème de Corps

Aside from the Ultra Facial Cream, this body lotion is probably one of the most beloved Kiehl’s products of all time. It’s specifically formulated for anyone with extremely dry or flaking skin and has an elegant, luxurious feel thanks to its cocoa butter-rich formula, which softens on contact to keep skin supple and hydrated.

Buy It ($49)


12. Weleda Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Cream

We can’t say enough good things about Weleda’s Skin Food. Loaded with essential fatty acids and vitamin E, it feels downright decadent when you rub it into your skin. The key is to use less than you think you need (because it is very rich) and massage it in until it's fully absorbed—at which point, all that's left behind is a subtle sheen and a light citrusy scent. Although it costs under $20, it’s a favorite of A-listers like Victoria Beckham, Julia Roberts and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

Buy It ($19)


13. Palmer's, Cocoa Butter Formula, With Vitamin E

If you like the smell of cocoa butter, you’ll love this rich cream. It’s infused with vitamin E to provide deep hydration, while absorbing quickly to lock in moisture and leave skin feeling velvety soft. Plus, it’s recommended by dermatologists for normal to dry to eczema-prone skin.

Buy It ($7)

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For an all-natural alternative, look no further than this antioxidant-rich cream. It gets its hydrating cred from fatty acid-packed shea butter and olive oil, while honey smooths, tightens and boosts skin’s elasticity. It even includes whey (a milk protein) to help support the skin’s natural healing process.

Buy It ($81)

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15. La Mer The Body Créme

La Mer is the kind of treat we give our skin when it really needs a boost of extra moisture. Yes, it’s pricey, but there’s something about the luxury of it that makes our skin feel glowier. It’s made with La Mer’s Blue Algae Lift Ferment, which helps promote an overall firmer look and feel, while rescuing dry skin with the type of long-lasting hydration you’d only get from a fancy seaweed wrap.

Buy It ($195)

RELATED: We’re Calling It: These are the 12 Best Self-Care Subscription Boxes of 2020

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