Cold winter air plus the dry heat that comes from heaters makes the perfect recipe for dry skin. This issue gets worse as we age and our skin becomes naturally dryer. For that reason, Caren Campbell, MD, a California-based board-certified dermatologist, explains that getting the right body cream or lotion is key for keeping aging skin soft and moisturized.
“In the winter there is less moisture and humidity in the air,” says Dr. Campbell, who is the founder of skin-care line CCMD. “As we age, skin cell turnover slows and the production of protective lipids in the skin also slows leaving the skin more prone to dryness. Additionally, medications which are more commonly taken by older individuals, like statins and blood pressure medications, can cause drier skin.” She adds that this dryness is particularly apparent in the lower legs.
When looking for a body moisturizer for aging skin, Dr. Campbell says we should look for moisturizing ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid and proteins like filaggrin, ceramides, cholesterol, and lipids. “[These are the] proteins that make up the building blocks of the barrier that locks moisture in and keeps the outside environment out,” she says. For hand creams, she says there should be a barrier ingredient like dimethicone. Creams are always better than lotions for those with super dry skin, she says, because “they have more oil and less water, which helps with moisturizing.”
To get the most out of your body moisturizer, Dr. Campbell says to apply it on damp skin. “Apply cream or lotion right after getting out of the shower to lock-in the moisture that remains on damp skin. And when you are very dry, she says to limit body soap to underarms, groin, and face “Don’t soap up your whole body unless it’s dirty as this will contribute to dryness,” says Dr. Campbell. Mild soaps like Dove Beauty Cream Bar ($8) and Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser ($12), she says, are best for washing your body.
And steer clear of hot showers and baths which “cause more water to evaporate from the skin, much like heaters in the winter months,” says Dr. Campbell. “Take lukewarm showers and only use your hands as the washcloth, as other abrasive tools like loofahs and wash clothes can further irritate or dry the skin.” Shop what Dr. Camplbell says are the best body moisturizers for aging skin below.
6 best body moisturizers for aging skin
Dr. Campbell loves this moisturizer, which contains ceramides and filaggrin—the building-block proteins for locking moisture in and keeping the outside environment out. “This is a great lotion for any patients, particularly those with normal to dry skin,” she says.
Shop now: Cetaphil Pro Eczema Soothing Moisturizer, $16
2. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, $15
“CeraVe cream contains ceramides and hyaluronic acid and is perfect for patients with very dry skin,” says Dr. Campbell. “Creams are best for patients with drier skin.”
Shop now: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, $15
Great for the face and body, the Avène TriXera Balm contains ceramides and moisturizers like glycerin, and ceramides, essential fatty acids, and sterols to help restore the skin’s natural barrier.
Shop now: Avène Trixera Nutrition Nutri-fluid Balm, $42
4. AmLactin Rapid Relief Lotion, $27
“Amlactin contains lactic acid and is perfect for dry skin that is also flaky—perfect for dry heels,” says Dr. Campbell. “I recommend this for my patients who need gentle exfoliation and hydration.”
Shop now: AmLactin Rapid Relief Lotion, $27
5. CCMD Restorative Hand Cream, $29
Essential for a good hand cream, Dr. Campbel says this product contains dimethicone, which is a moisturizer and barrier that keeps moisture in and irritating and drying factors from the outside environment out. It also contains glycerin and hyaluronic acid, “a hydrating must-have,” says Dr. Campbell.
Shop now: CCMD Restorative Hand Cream, $29
“Cicalfate is used for wounds and is a great hand cream for repair and prevention for dry, chapped hands,” says Dr. Campbell. It’s got moisturizers, like dimethicone and glycerin, to keep your hands soft and protected.
Shop now: Avène Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream, $28
Watch a dermatologist share her best tips for dry skin:
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