Hyaluronic acid, AHAs, retinol, collagen — more and more brands are coming out with body care products starring ingredients that were once reserved for sophisticated facial routines.
“Now that we’ve become masters at treating our faces, the focus has shifted to the body. Having a youthful appearing face seems out of place if the chest, arms, and legs don’t match,” explains Dr. Joshua Zeichner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
When choosing a full-body routine, dermatologists recommend looking for products that have anti-aging properties, but also boost hydration.
"Look for [the above] ingredients, along with niacinamide, [vitamin] B5 and shea butter, in body washes and creams to help soothe and protect the skin barrier. These are especially important for areas that are often neglected but can show signs of aging first, such as the hands and neck, as well as those with dry skin or eczema. They’re also helpful for those washing their hands often to help minimize hand dermatitis,” adds Dr. Jenny Liu, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant professor at the University of Minnesota.
From firming creams to hydrating serums (and several spot-treating serums and masks along the way), read on for a range of beloved body care picks for achieving a youthful, dewy glow from head to toe.
Hyaluronic acid is combined with sea kelp in this creamy wash-scrub hybrid from OGX, which boasts sulfate-free surfactants for a gentler buff and a near five star rating. It also has a calming scent reminiscent of an ocean breeze and — at 19.5 full ounces — will allow you to stretch your lathers.
This juiced-up version of Josie Maran’s bestselling argan body butter offers the same lightweight feel and intense moisture, now with pro-retinol derived from pink algae for special smoothing and firming effects. The retinol is in a gentle form, making it especially ideal for those who have sensitive skin.
Necessaire’s fragrance-free, pH-balanced, and non-sensitizing body serum is like a tall glass of water for the skin. Apply it wherever you could use a hydration boost, and up the ante by following or mixing it with your favorite body cream (the brand’s body lotion is also fragrance-free and packed with niacinamide for added moisture).
Speaking of moisturizers, Flamingo’s daily lotion is made with squalane for added nourishment, along with papaya extract and white willow bark for exfoliating and encouraging natural cell turnover, promising up to 24 hours of hydration and smooth, supple skin for under $10 a tube.
This budget-friendly and expert-recommended wash from Olay works up to a frothy lather and leaves skin feeling clean and soft. “It’s made with niacinamide and hyaluronic acid, both of which are great for hydrating the skin and improving skin barrier health,” says Dr. Liu.
Alguronic acid, an active vegan collagen, is the hero ingredient in this creamy concoction from Algenist which, along with lactic acid, helps to even out skin tone and restore skin for a smoother, more youthful appearance. The brand recommends applying the formula once daily for best results.
This certified organic, vegan and dermatologist-tested oil has garnered a following from women and men alike for soothing irritated skin and preventing fine lines. Rose hip, grapeseed, apricot, orange and sweet almond oil are among the nourishing ingredients that give it its subtly-sweet, soothing scent. (The brand’s body butter is another cult favorite.)
This one-stop-shop of a face and body wash from Dove is made with a special MicroMoisture Technology that activates on contact and is designed to combat dryness. “The unique line is formulated with gentle surfactants and glycerin to clean skin, while also hydrating it and decreasing irritation,” adds Dr. Liu.
Pure retinol and antioxidants work together in this body treatment from Paula’s Choice to even out skin tone, hydrate and soften for a more youthful ambiance. Use it all over the body or as a spot treatment where you could use a little TLC. The brand recommends reducing frequency or mixing it with a non-retinol moisturizer for an added buffer in the case of retinol sensitivities.
Like a contour for the skin, this body cream from StriVectin targets crepey areas along the arms, legs and beyond, leaving skin appearing more toned and helping to even out texture. The brand recommends using it in combination with their exfoliating body scrub for best results.
OSEA’s body balm harnesses the moisturizing powers of seaweed and coconut oil to improve the appearance of skin elasticity, along with antioxidants and marine peptides to help with firmness and radiance. The brand recommends shaking the formula before use (it can be applied to dry or wet skin).
The glycolic acid and biodegradable bamboo polishers in this vegan body scrub from Skinfix slough off dead skin cells, while the lactic acid reduces pigmentation and promotes natural cell turnover. Use it to combat dullness and uneven texture for all skin types.
“This lotion contains purified petrolatum to protect the outer skin layer in a light, easy-to-spread formula. It also contains hyaluronic acid boosters to offer a plumping effect and minimize the appearance of aging skin,” says Dr. Zeichner. Scoop it up for dry, aging, or sensitive skin.
Like a peel for the body, Dr. Dennis Gross’ new exfoliating treatment was formulated to help tackle ingrown hairs, dry skin, blemishes and uneven skin tone. The retexturizing towels come in individual pouches, making them especially great for those looking to enhance their glow on the go.
Banish (or at least reduce) the appearance of stubborn dimples with this sculptor from BEAUTYBIO, made with sea algae for firming loose skin, arginine for protection against free radical damage and organic green tea oil and aloe vera for deep conditioning. The brand recommends massaging the cream into clean skin morning and night for best results.
Fight signs of aging along the neck and chest while you sleep thanks to this multitasking mask from Truly Beauty, which contains hyaluronic acid and marine collagen for hydrating and feeding the skin essential proteins to improve firmness and elasticity. Fans of the brand have gone as far as to refer to the dense purple formula as “magic in a jar.”
Referred to by reviewers as “the holy grail of anti-aging products,” Dr. Barbara Sturm’s body cream leverages nutrient-rich oils to help restore elasticity, extracts of elderberry blossom and white almond to firm skin, and purslane to calm and reduce visible signs of irritation. As a result, once parched skin is left looking restored, smooth and satiated.
According to Dr. Zeichner, retinol is perhaps the best studied ingredient we have to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. “It tells the skin to rev up production of collagen and elastic fibers to provide strengthening benefits. This product delivers a combination of retinol and vitamin E in a body lotion to strengthen the skin foundation and improve a crepey appearance,” he says.
For more stories like this, check out:
- 14 affordable anti-aging products dermatologists swear by
- What every skin care routine should have, no matter your skin type
- Want brighter, glowing skin? Vitamin C serum might be the answer