“In the winter, the humidity level drops and the air is colder and drier; this drop in humidity and increase in cold air makes the skin dry and flakey,” says Debra Jaliman, MD, a dermatologist and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist. “As the air becomes cooler and drier, your skin will need to replace some of the moisture that has been lost.”
Luckily, slathering on a hydrating lotion is an easy way to get your skin’s moisture back up to speed. Since there are so many different types of moisturizers on the market, we reached out to three dermatologists to get their expert advice on what to look for in a lotion, plus their go-to recommendations. Based on their input, these are the 14 best lotions for dry skin in 2020:
When shopping for body lotions, you’ll want to look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, glycerin, shea butter, and ceramides, which are all recommended by dermatologists for hydrating dry skin. And if you’re wondering what the difference is between lotions and creams, know that it’s all about the consistency.
“Lotions tend to contain more water and glide on the skin easier than creams. Lotions are also more weightless and less greasy than creams,” says Tess Mauricio, MD, a dermatologist based in Beverly Hills. “However, for those with drier skin and skin conditions like eczema, I generally recommend thicker creams because they are better at locking in moisture and restoring the skin barrier function better.”
Keep reading to learn more about each of the best dermatologist-approved lotions for dry skin.
This hydrating CeraVe cream came highly recommended by each dermatologist we reached out to. “It contains proven ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides that replenish essential skin barrier components,” says Dr. Mauricio. The cream can be used on both the face and body, and it has a fragrance- and paraben-free formula that won’t clog pores. In addition to being expert-approved, the cream is also a favorite among Amazon shoppers—and it has a whopping 19,000 5-star ratings from people who say it does wonders for their dry skin.
Available at amazon.com, $19
At just $9 for a 16-ounce bottle, this moisturizing lotion by Lubriderm is one of the most affordable options on this list—and it’s packed with moisturizing ingredients that are perfect for dehydrated skin. “Shea butter has a high concentration of vitamin A and vitamin E,” says Dr. Jaliman. “Both of these vitamins aid in hydrating the skin.” It also includes glycerin and cocoa butter, which Dr. Jaliman notes are great for dry skin, too.
Available at amazon.com, $9
If your dry skin is super itchy and eczema-prone, try this soothing cream from La Roche-Posay, which is meant to provide both instant relief and long-term hydration. It comes recommended by Kellie Reed, MD, a Texas-based dermatologist who appreciates that it “has colloidal oatmeal, shea butter, and niacinamide” to improve the skin’s texture. Its ingredients are gentle enough for sensitive skin yet hydrating enough to get rid of rough, dry patches, according to reviewers. Plus, it’s accepted by the National Eczema Association to treat the condition.
Available at amazon.com, $15
If your skin is extremely dry, then you might need something even more hydrating, like Aquaphor’s Healing Ointment. Dr. Mauricio calls it her “go-to” for sealing in the skin’s moisture barrier, adding that it’s an essential for treating cracked lips and dry hands that result from wearing face masks and constantly washing hands during the pandemic. “I also recommend using this product as an overnight treatment for severely dry, cracked skin where you can apply a generous amount to the affected areas, cover with plastic wrap, and leave on overnight then wash off excess in the morning,” she says.
Available at amazon.com, $17
Since Vanicream “is free of a lot of skin allergens and irritants,” according to Dr. Reed, it’s a great option for anyone with sensitive skin—even if you’re not sure which exact ingredients irritate your skin. It comes in a pump bottle, which is typically more hygienic than open jars, and though the cream is pretty thick, shoppers say it doesn’t feel greasy. “I have never had any irritation from this lotion and it has gone miles towards healing my rashes and open wounds,” wrote one reviewer. “I have used this religiously for about two years now and I am never going back.”
Available at amazon.com, $16
One of the most trusted ingredients for hydrating skin is hyaluronic acid, and it’s the star of this popular Neutrogena face cream with over 9,000 5-star ratings. “Hyaluronic acid plumps the skin, making it look hydrated,” says Dr. Jaliman. The best-selling formula has a unique gel-cream texture that feels lightweight on your skin but is still extremely moisturizing, and it also comes in another version that’s formulated to use on the body.
Available at amazon.com, $19
Kopari’s Coconut Melt contains just one ingredient—organic coconut oil—but has 8t different uses, including as a body lotion, hair mask, and makeup remover. “This is one of my favorite products to recommend to patients with very dry body skin to add to their bathing regimen,” says Dr. Mauricio. “I recommend applying a generous layer to the skin before going in the shower to prep the skin and allow the shower water to lock in moisture and restore skin’s suppleness and normal texture.”
Available at amazon.com, $28
Dr. Jaliman loves that this St. Ives hand and body lotion is formulated with “all-natural ingredients” and “no harmful chemicals,” so it’s ideal for anyone looking for a non-toxic option. “Vitamin E helps to reduce wrinkles and keep the skin looking youthful, [while] avocado soothes dry skin,” she says. “It is super hydrating due to its high fatty acids content. It’s also good for skin inflammation.” Plus, the lotion absorbs quickly so that you aren’t left feeling sticky after applying, and it has a pleasant scent that shoppers love.
Available at amazon.com, $22
This fragrance-free lotion from Eucerin is formulated with ceramides, which protect your skin’s barrier and help lock in moisture, according to Dr. Jaliman. Since it also contains lactic acid (an AHA that exfoliates skin), customers with keratosis pilaris (KP) swear that it really helps treat those small bumps. “This is like a miracle in a bottle,” said a shopper. “I suffer from super dry skin and this lotion is the only one that actually helps combat the dryness. I usually have really bad flaking on my face but after only two uses daily, I don’t have much of a problem with that.”
Available at amazon.com, $12
A favorite of Dr. Mauricio, No7’s face cream combines the benefits of a hydrating lotion, an anti-aging product, and a sunscreen (it contains SPF 30) all in one. “I am always searching for effective multitasking day creams to combat dry skin and this No7 [cream] is one that I personally use regularly for my face, neck, and chest,” she says. And thanks to its amino acids, ceramides, and essential nutrients, the formula will give your skin a “renewed youthful glow.”
Available at ulta.com, $27
This drugstore body lotion from Aveeno uses a combination of super hydrating glycerin and oatmeal, which soothes irritated skin. “Glycerin works to moisturize the skin by drawing water from the air into the skin's outer layer. It generates a protective layer that helps prevent moisture loss,” explains Dr. Jaliman. It’s non-greasy and fragrance-free, making it a great gentle, everyday lotion for dry skin. You can also purchase a budget-friendly bundle that comes with the lotion and a moisturizing body wash.
Available at amazon.com, $15
While many dermatologists already recommend applying body lotions immediately after bathing, this Jergens moisturizer was specifically designed to be used on wet skin. It contains shea butter and hyaluronic acid (two expert-approved ingredients) that start hydrating skin as soon as you hop out of the shower. “I’m one of those people that always buys lotion and says that I’ll put it on after the shower, but somehow always end up forgetting,” wrote one shopper. “Having this stuff right in the shower with me and not needing to dry off before using it makes it so easy to incorporate into my routine.”
Available at amazon.com, $8
With Moroccan argan oil as its key ingredient, this OGX body lotion will deeply hydrate skin without feeling too heavy. “It's rich in omega fatty acids, vitamin E, linoleic acids, and ceramides. These work to moisturize your skin and soften dry patches,” says Dr. Jaliman. It’s great for all skin types, and customers are obsessed with the subtle scent—many mention that it smells great without being overpowering.
Available at amazon.com, $9
This super moisturizing cream from Weleda uses chamomile, calendula, pansy, and fatty acids to soothe and hydrate dry skin. You can use it anywhere on your body that needs intense hydration, whether that’s the skin on your elbows, face, or feet. It goes on super thick, but the brand does make a lighter version that absorbs faster. The cult-favorite cream has quite a few celebrity fans, including Victoria Beckham, Ashley Graham, Rihanna, and Julia Roberts, but it’s also a huge hit among Amazon shoppers. “This stuff is magic,” wrote a customer. “After one application, there was a noticeable difference. After a few applications, the dry, chapped skin was gone.”
Available at amazon.com, $18
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