Moisturizing efforts tend to focus on the places you look at every day; your face, hands, arms and legs. And while that makes perfect sense, you shouldn't be leaving the rest of your body out to dry.
The back is often forgotten in people's skin care routines because it's so hard to reach, said Dr. Y. Claire Chang, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City. And that's one reason why she often hears patients complaining about dry, itchy skin in that area. "As we mature and the levels of ceramides and natural moisturizing factors drop, dry skin and itching become a more frequent problem," she said. "So if you have to practice your stretching skills or invest in applicators to help you out, do it."
Dr. Robert Finney, a board-certified dermatologist at Entière Dermatology in New York, added that he sees the issue most often in the winter, as people are taking longer and hotter showers, which can strip the skin of its natural oils and moisture. Since the shower head is aimed directly at your upper back, that tends to be an area of concern.
How to apply lotion to your back
If you don't live with a partner or friend who you'd be comfortable asking to help you apply lotion to your back every day, Chang said you can try using your forearms. Simply apply the moisturizer to your forearms and use them to rub in the moisturizer up and down your mid to lower-back, she instructed.
That requires some level of stretching and flexibility, so an easier solution can be to invest in an applicator. That's why we rounded up the expert-approved applicators (and lotions to go with them), so you can keep your skin feeling hydrated all year long.
Best lotion applicators for your back
Chang recommended this option partly because of its versatility; the replaceable sponge can be used as a body wash or moisturizer applicator. It also features a long handle, which makes it easier to reach even the toughest areas on your back.
Chang also recommended this rolling applicator, which works similar to a paint roller. "Its pivoting head can help reach the whole back by multiple angles," she said. The handle folds, so you can easily store it or take it with you on the go.
Finney suggested this option — a soft, velvet band that you hold in both your hands and rub across your back to apply the lotion. It's washing machine and dryer friendly, which makes cleaning a breeze.
This applicator, also recommended by Finney, features a curved handle, which makes it easier to cover those hard-to-reach spots in the middle on your back. It can be used in the shower or afterward to apply both body wash and lotion.
Best lotions for your back
Chang recommends using creams over lotions, especially in winter, since they're thicker and have a higher oil content. This dermatologist-approved cream fits the bill and is great for people with sensitive skin, since it's free of dyes, fragrance and parabens.
This option from La Roche-Posay, recommended by Finney, includes hydrating ingredients like niacinamide, shea butter and glycerin. You should use your moisturizing cream twice a day, even if your skin doesn't feel dry, he said, to keep the skin barrier moisturized and protected.
This ultrahydrating cream is also a derm favorite, thanks to its rich consistency and "clean" ingredients, free of artificial fragrances, parabens, phthalates and sulfates. It's fast-absorbing and won't leave a greasy after-feel.
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