Best Lotions for Dry Skin

If you’ve ever suffered from dry skin, then you know how important it is to use a good moisturizer.  And, you’ve probably walked through the skin care aisle and found yourself scratching your head (no pun intended) trying to narrow down your choices.   There are lotions, serums, creams, emollients, gels, ointments, soothing agents, and balms.   Then there are the curious ingredients like bee venom, salmon egg enzymes, gold, mushroom extract, snail mucus, and algae, to name a few.  The labels are mindbending with promises of “anti-aging” and “anti-wrinkle” with “retinoids, peptides and collagen generating ” additives.  Life used to be so simple when choices were limited to Ponds Cold Cream or Noxema!

In my search to find the top two moisturizing lotions, I referred to Wirecutter  a website  for people who want to save the time and stress of figuring out the very best products available.  They interviewed three dermatologists: Dr. Angela J. Lamb of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, Dr. Papri Sarkar of Boston’s Brookline Dermatology Associates, and Dr. Cynthia Bailey of Advanced Skin Care and Dermatology Physicians in Northern California.  They then spent 20 hours on research and interviews,  and tested the 10 most popular lotions on the market.


The Results are In



Aveeno Daily Moisturizer – emerges as a clear winner —  “It’s thick enough to stay neat in your hand and thin enough to spread quickly and smoothly onto your skin,” editors say. “And unlike its competitors, it dries nicely without leaving a greasy film in its wake and has a neutral scent that won’t follow you out of the bathroom.”



CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion – This unassuming drugstore cream has somehow struck the perfect balance, reviewers say: It’s incredibly moisturizing, yet light and greaseless. It’s packed with effective ingredients, yet inexpensive. It’s fragrance-free and so gentle, dermatologists recommend it for their most sensitive-skinned patients — even newborns with severe eczema.



The Runners Up


Jergens Ultra Healing Extra Dry Skin Moisturizer: Despite the strong smell of this fragranced lotion, some testers adored it. It has a thicker, stickier texture than our pick.

Curel Fragrance Free Lotion: This is another fine lotion that none of our testers hated—but none adored it, either. Like our pick, it holds its shape in your hand but spreads easily on the skin. Some testers thought it was too wet when they rubbed it in, and some reported a greasy after-feel.

Lubriderm Daily Moisture Lotion: The panel split on this lotion that has a thin texture and contains mineral oil as its occlusive. Some testers thought it rubbed in quickly, but others despised the filmy feel it left on their skin. It has a light perfumelike fragrance.

Cetaphil DailyAdvance Lotion: Some testers liked it because it has a neutral smell, is easy to rub in, and dries nicely. Others found it hard to rub in and noted that it left their skin feeling greasy. This was the only lotion we tested that had macadamia nut oil and shea butter as occlusive ingredients.

The Washouts

Nivea Essentially Enriched Lotion: No one liked this lotion. Several of the testers confused it with sunscreen due to its opaque white color, watery texture and strong smell (which some people hated and others liked). Several testers described it as “greasy” and noted that it doesn’t rub in right away.

Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Lotion: Though no testers hated this lotion, each found a different reason to disqualify it. The most common complaint was that it is too thick and waxy, both on application and after it dried. “It kind of feels like it sits on top of the skin,” wrote one tester. It is also the most expensive of the bunch and not worth the price.

Eucerin Intensive Repair Very Dry Skin Lotion: This lotion’s smell—described by some of our testers as “sour,” “too weird,” and “like fermenting fruit”—was too heavy and overwhelmed any of the lotion’s positive qualities. Note: It contains the preservatives MCI/MI.

Vaseline Intensive Care Essential Healing Lotion: A fruity, candylike smell overwhelmed positive qualities for most testers. The few that didn’t mind the smell noted that this lotion was easy to rub in and left their skin dry but slightly tacky.


One Final Note


Avoid bathing in water that is too hot.  It’s best to use warm water and gentle soap in an effort to avoid dry skin.  Charles E. Crutchfield, III, MD, (a clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School and medical director of Crutchfield Dermatology) recommends that his patients gently pat dry their skin with a cotton towel after a bath or shower, then apply a liberal amount of  moisturizing lotion.

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