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Soft and smooth skin is a year-round goal for most of us, but as the weather changes, so do our skin's needs. The cooler temperatures can leave skin feeling cracked and dry in the fall, but the right lotion can help your body maintain the perfect level of moisture.
There are countless body lotions to choose from, so Shop TODAY spoke with dermatologists to get some expert tips on choosing the right formula for the upcoming fall season.
What ingredients should I look for in a body lotion?
For the best results, Maryland-based dermatologist Dr. Ife Rodney suggests looking for lotions that contain ceramides or hyaluronic acid.
"Ceramides are fats that help to hold the skin cells together and form a protective layer that seals in moisture, and keeps pollutants out of your skin," Rodney said. "On the other hand, hyaluronic acid is a sugar that can hold up to a thousand times its weight in water. When used in a body lotion, hyaluronic acid draws moisture into the skin, and holds it there. It prevents evaporation of moisture from our skin into cold dry air."
New York-based dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick also advises that you cut back on long, hot showers and steer clear of intense body washes.
"It is important to avoid harsh soaps that can strip the skin of its natural oils and use cleansers that are gentle on the skin barrier," Garshick said. "If not already doing so, it is best to limit showers to once daily, making sure to take short showers, only five to 10 minutes, in lukewarm water to avoid further drying out the skin as the weather gets cooler."
Dermatologist-recommended body lotions
Smooth and silky skin can be hard to achieve in dry environments, but this body butter uses shea butter to help provide a smooth consistency. If you want a lotion that won't leave a greasy residue, then Garshick suggests trying this body butter.
"This nourishing body butter includes shea butter to hydrate and nourish the skin without leaving it feeling greasy," Garshick told us. "This product is great as it also includes antioxidant plant oils and dead sea minerals, leaving the skin feeling soft and smooth."
Using the power of glycerin, shea butter and antioxidants to smooth and lock in moisture, this lotion is a favorite of Dr. Jennifer Chwalek, a dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York.
"I really like La Roche-Posay Lipikar Balm AP+," Chwalek said. "It contains the humectant glycerin, which helps the skin retain moisture. It also has shea butter, which is rich in fatty acids like linoleic acid and antioxidants like vitamin A and E. This can help to moisturize and calm dry, irritated skin. In addition, this moisturizer has niacinamide, which improves the barrier function of the skin and reduces inflammation."
"You do not have to have eczema to use this cream!" said Dr. Robin Gmyrek, a dermatologist at Park View Laser Dermatology in New York.
If you have eczema-prone skin, then Gmyrek and Chwalek recommend using this because of the glycerin, colloidal oatmeal and ceramides in the formula. It's also fragrance-free, making it safe for eczema-prone skin.
"It is one of the few moisturizers I've used that is more long-lasting," Chwalek said. "It has good occlusive properties but can feel a little tacky in my opinion, which I don't mind because I have dry skin."
This is a personal favorite of New York-based dermatologist Dr. Jennifer MacGregor. She recommends that people who tend to have drier skin should consider using lotions marketed towards babies.
"I have mild eczema and I use this on my face!" MacGregor told us. "If you are really dry, some of the best are those marketed to babies."
The formula was made with avocado perseose and sunflower oil distillate that can help soothe and replenish skin. It's also fragrance-free and safe for sensitive skin.
MacGregor loves this moisturizer so much that she keeps in most rooms of her house, while Garshick likes how the texture is oil-free and never leaves behind a greasy consistency.
"It is non-comedogenic and oil-free, making it okay to use on the face and body without leaving the skin feeling greasy," Garshick said. "It also uses a patented MVE Delivery technology to help deliver moisturizing ingredients all day and night."
We tend to stay indoors more when the weather gets cold, so Gmyrek suggests using this body oil to help skin retain moisture. The glycerin in this formula helps improve the skin's appearance, which is important during the colder months.
Gymrek recommends this lotion because it contains a good dose of lactic acid. The lactic acid will help exfoliate dead skin, allowing better penetration for moisturizing ingredients like glycerin.
Upgrade your skin care routine with this lotion that's designed to soothe and smooth sensitive skin. Rodney recommends this brand because of the amino acids and ceramides that help restore the skin's barrier.
"It is ideal for even the most sensitive skin, as it contains no fragrances or parabens," Rodney told us.
For a cream that "melts" into your skin, Rodney suggests using this option from Neutrogena. It contains a hyaluronic acid base, which provides moisture using a non-greasy formula. The brand also suggests using it daily for the best results.
Fragrances can leave skin feeling irritated or dry, especially for sensitive skin. This is why Garshick recommends using this formula from Vanicream, which is free of dyes and fragrances. It also features a pump to help make application easier and more convenient.
New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Blair Murphy-Rose prefers using this shea butter-based cream to protect skin against cold climates. It's also a "clean" brand, meaning it's free of artificial colors and fragrances, parabens, phthalates and sulfates.
"(It) has a luxurious, whipped consistency that is rich and highly moisturizing yet still blends in well," Murphy-Rose told us. "This lotion — and the brand entirely — is also free of propylene glycol, which some of my patients are allergic to and can be a difficult ingredient to avoid."
For those days when your skin is feeling bumpy and itchy, this lotion can help soothe and relieve discomfort. According to Garshick, this formula will moisturize and gently exfoliate at the same time.
Give your skin the self-care it deserves by using a lotion with reliable ingredients. This body lotion is made with amino acids and plant oils to hydrate the skin and protect against the dry air that comes with cooler temperatures.
"This moisturizing lotion helps to improve dry and irritated skin using a combination of marula and shea butter, squalane, amino acids and plant oils," Garshick said. "This hydrating lotion also contains fruit-derived antioxidants to help fight free-radical damage."
While most moisturizers aim to soften and smooth skin, this one does even more. Garshick likes this lotion because it helps to hydrate and firm.
"In addition to shea butter, it also contains antioxidants and iris extract thought to help with firming, especially when applied to the abdomen, arms, thighs and chest," Garshick said.
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