A collage of the best lotion products selected by dermatologistsShare on Pinterest

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You already know the importance of washing your hands — keeping germs and pathogens at bay — and if you’re doing it on the regular, you also know the excessive dryness, itchiness, and flakiness it can cause. That’s when lotion swoops in to save the day.

Lotion combats dryness by hydrating and repairing skin damage. It works to maintain the protective skin barrier using nourishing, hard-to-pronounce ingredients like niacinamide, ceramides (lipids that restore the protective skin barrier), hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and glycerin.

These products are all dermatologist recommended. The derms we spoke with say that when selecting the best lotion for your family, the ingredients are the most important factor to consider (as every age group has different skin needs).

“In infancy and childhood, the skin can be relatively ‘immature’ and lack some of the essentials that keep it working effectively to protect us from the environment, so a thicker moisturizer may be best,” explains Erum Ilyas, MD, a dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group.

“During teenage years and early adulthood, the skin’s oil production can be significant, making the use of a moisturizer that is noncomedogenic essential,” says Ilyas. Then, as we age, our skin starts to thin out, so it can benefit from a serum-based moisturizer that’s more lightweight.

It is possible to find a one-size-fits-all lotion that can be used by your entire family, no matter the varying age groups. Here are some of the very best, according to dermatologists.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $10
  • $$ = $15–$20
  • $$$ = $25–$35
  • $$$$ = over $35

Best overall

Vanicream Moisturizing Cream

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredients: purified water, petrolatum, sorbitol

Vanicream is a trusted choice by dermatologists for use on the whole family, not only for what it contains but also for what it does not contain. It’s free of harmful ingredients like dyes, fragrances, parabens, and formaldehyde (yep, the stuff found in plywood).

“When it comes to a recommendation for the entire family, knowing each person may have varying sensitivities to products, this is a simple and easy recommendation to make,” says Ilyas.

The cream’s long lasting and nongreasy formula is what makes it the best overall choice. Additionally, it has received the seal of approval from the National Eczema Association. The cream can be used on different parts of the body, such as the face, hands, legs, and feet.

Pros

  • free of parabens, fragrances, and dyes
  • can be used on different parts of the body
  • approved by National Eczema Association

Cons

  • sticky

Best for sensitive skin

La Roche-Posay Lipikar Lotion

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredients: shea butter, glycerin

The key to shopping for lotion when your skin is dry and sensitive, is to pick something lightweight, fragrance-free, noncomedogenic and nongreasy, according to Rina Allawh, MD, a dermatologist at Montgomery Dermatology.

“In my eczema and psoriasis patients, I find that this works excellent to further supplement prescription topical steroid use,” she says. “The ingredients are safe and above all else provide optimum hydration with minimal irritation, making it also a favorite among my patients with acne-prone skin.”

Pros

  • noncomedogenic formula
  • approved by National Eczema Association
  • suitable for children and adults

Cons

  • expensive

Best for dry and cracked skin

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream

  • Price: $
  • Key ingredients: water, glycerin

The search for a lotion that’s nongreasy, yet hydrating enough to tackle the driest and roughest skin is not an easy one, especially for those with the common condition known as hand dermatitis, or eczema of the hands. This one does an impressive job hydrating while protecting the skin barrier.

“This product contains a high concentration of glycerin, an important player in restoring moisture,” Allawh says. “It’s fragrance-free, lightweight, nongreasy and translucent, so it is ideal for frequent hand washers.”

Pros

  • affordable
  • fragrance-free
  • formulated with glycerin

Cons

  • can be sticky

Best for de-stressing

Aveeno Stress Relief Moisturizing Lotion

  • Price: $
  • Key ingredients: water, glycerin, petrolatum

We could all use a little help in the de-stressing department, especially in our current societal climate. That’s why this lotion is a best seller — it contains soothing and calming ingredients like lavender, chamomile, and ylang-ylang essential oils that help you relax and unwind.

It also contains colloidal oatmeal, which protects the skin and acts as a prebiotic to normalize the skin’s microbiome, explains Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center. “It repairs the outer skin layer with ceramides, which fills in the cracks between skin cells in the outer skin layer.”

Pros

  • absorbs quickly
  • affordable
  • nongreasy formula

Cons

  • scent may be overwhelming for some

Best for the face

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredients: glycerin, hyaluronic acid

Choosing a face lotion that can be used by your whole family is a bit trickier than choosing a body lotion — that’s because the skin on your face is thinner and more sensitive.

“Body lotions are often comedogenic, meaning they clog up pores and leave a greasy residue on the face,” warns Allawh. However, this face cream from Neutrogena contains hyaluronic acid, a key player in pro-aging and skin rejuvenation.

“It also helps improve the elasticity and cohesion of the skin barrier while not leaving behind unwanted greasy or oily residue,” she says.

Pros

  • provides 48-hour hydration
  • free of oils, dyes, and fragrance
  • infused with hyaluronic acid

Cons

  • expensive

Best on a budget

Vaseline 100% Pure Petroleum Jelly

  • Price: $
  • Key ingredients: white petrolatum

For a body moisturizer that truly passes the test of time (and won’t break the bank), you can turn to good old petroleum jelly.

“Petroleum jelly has been a staple for a majority of my patients for various ailments including dry skin, rashes, nosebleeds, and cosmetic purposes,” says Allawh. “The ingredients are safe and effective and gentle for patients with sensitive, dry skin.”

Pros

  • affordable
  • provides deep moisture
  • approved by National Eczema Association

Cons

  • sticky

Best containing SPF

TiZO Ultra Zinc Body & Face Non-tinted SPF 40

  • Price: $$$$
  • Key ingredients: zinc oxide

One way to ensure that you’re always wearing sunscreen is to buy a body lotion that contains SPF to block out the sun’s harmful rays — even during winter.

“I love the smooth feeling of the TiZO sunscreen brand. TiZO sunscreens are all mineral sunscreens composed of zinc and titanium oxides,” Kung says. Additionally, the formula is free of dyes, fragrances, and preservatives.

Pros

  • has SPF 40
  • dewy finish
  • free of oils, dyes, and fragrance

Cons

  • expensive

Best for exfoliation

AmLactin Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredients: water, mineral oil, glycerin

One of the best things you can do for your dry skin is to exfoliate — or slough off dead skin cells to reveal younger, healthier cells underneath. A gentle way to do this is through the use of lactic acid. This everyday lotion contains 12 percent lactic acid.

“It’s safe for pregnant women and helps achieve hydration of the skin while also smoothing the dry, flaky, bumpiness that can accompany dry skin,” says Ilyas.

Pros

  • nongreasy formula
  • free of fragrance and parabens
  • pump for easy application

Cons

  • scent may be overwhelming for some

Best clean face moisturizer

SkinFix Triple Liquid Peptide Lotion

  • Price: $$$$
  • Key ingredients: water, jojoba oil, glycerin

Formulated with glycerin, jojoba oil, and hyaluronic acid, SkinFix Triple Liquid Lotion works to restore the skin’s barrier and retain moisture. The lotion is also fragrance-free and is unlikely to irritate sensitive skin. It works on people with dry, combination, and normal skin.

While the word “clean” has been loosely defined, Kung defines it as nontoxic skin care that is recyclable.

“The company’s mission is to make good skin care with refillable containers,” she says.

Pros

  • lightweight formula
  • works on normal, dry, combination, and oily skin
  • noncomedogenic

Cons

  • expensive

Best healing formula

Eucerin Advanced Repair

  • Price: $
  • Key ingredients: water, glycerin, shea butter

Looking to get more bang for your buck? You can stay moisturized and save with Eucerin’s Advanced Repair Body Lotion. Each bottle is filled with 16 ounces of a ceramide-rich formula. It’s suitable for children ages 5 years and up.

“Eucerin Advanced Repair is a great one for sensitive or prone to irritation skin,” says Richard Torbeck, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Health System.

Pros

  • contains ceramides
  • comes in a bigger 16-ounce size
  • free of fragrance and dyes

Cons

  • greasy

Best splurge face cream

Senté Dermal Repair Cream

  • Price: $$$$
  • Key ingredients: vitamin E, green tea extract

If you’re looking to up the ante on your over-the-counter facial cream, look no further than Senté’s Dermal Repair Cream. Enriched with vitamin E and green tea extract, the cream works to protect the skin from damaging free radicals while boosting your skin’s immune system.

“Senté Dermal Repair Cream is formulated with an anti-aging hydrator with the highest concentration of patented HSA technology that combines antioxidants for people with dry sensitive skin who also wants to treat fine lines, wrinkles, redness, and photodamage,” says Kung.

Pros

  • pro-aging ingredients
  • fragrance- and paraben-free
  • noncomedogenic
  • cruelty-free

Cons

  • expensive

ProductsPriceKey ingredientsProsConsWhere you can applyBaby safe?
Vanicream Moisturizing Cream$$• purified water
•petrolatum
• sorbitol
• free of parabens, fragrance, dyes
• can be used on different parts of the body
• approved by National Eczema Association
sticky • face
• body
• hands
yes
La Roche-Posay Lipikar Lotion$$• shea butter
• glycerin
• approved by National Eczema Association
• suitable for children and adults
•noncomedogenic
expensivebodyyes
Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream$• water
• glycerin
• affordable
• fragrance-free
• formulated with glycerin
stickyhandsno
Aveeno Stress Relief Moisturizing Lotion$• water
• glycerin
•petrolatum
• absorbs quickly
• affordable
• nongreasy formula
scent may be overwhelming for some bodyno
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream$$• glycerin
•hyaluronic acid
• provides 48-hour hydration
• free of oil, dyes, fragrance
• infused with hyaluronic acid
expensive faceno
Vaseline 100% Pure Petroleum Jelly$white petrolatum• affordable
• provides deep moisture
• approved by National Eczema Association
sticky • face
• body
• hands
yes
TiZO Ultra Zinc Body & Face Non-tinted SPF 40$$$$zinc oxide• has SPF 40
• dewy finish
• free of oils, dyes, fragrance
expensive• face
• body
no
AmLactin Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion$$• water
• mineral oil
• glycerin
• nongreasy formula
• free of fragrance, parabens
• pump for easy application
scent may be overwhelming for some bodyno
SkinFix Triple Liquid Peptide Lotion$$$$• water
• jojoba oil
• glycerin
• lightweight formula
• works on normal, dry, combination, and oily skin
•noncomedogenic
expensivebody no
Eucerin Advanced Repair$• water
• glycerin
• shea butter
• provides 48-hour hydration
• comes in a big size
• free of fragrance, dyes
greasybodyyes
Senté Dermal Repair Cream$$$$• vitamin E
• green tea extract
• pro-aging ingredients
• free of fragrance, parabens
•noncomedogenic
expensivefaceno

Applying lotion regularly can keep your skin barrier strong. It also reduces the risk of developing skin conditions like atopic dermatitis.

Moisturizing regularly is especially important for older adults because of age-induced dryness.

“After the age of 25, the skin metabolism slows down, and by our 30s, the skin becomes gradually drier and less elastic,” explains Kung. “As we get older, we have fewer oil glands, so we produce less oils in our skin.”

Research has shown that lotions specifically containing ceramides can help increase skin hydration within 24 hours in people with atopic dermatitis more so than lotions without ceramides.

What lotion is best for sensitive skin?

According to Kung, Vanicream is the best lotion for sensitive skin.

“This is because Vanicream products are free of dyes, fragrance, masking fragrance, lanolin, parabens, and formaldehyde releases,” she says.

What should I do if my skin is super sensitive and dry?

If you have super sensitive and dry skin, Kung recommends using mild soaps and cleansers that are formulated with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and petrolatum because they leave a moisturizing film on the skin.

She also recommends moisturizing when skin is damp to allow the body to absorb the moisturizer better.

In addition to applying your lotion regularly, you can use a humidifier to prevent your skin from drying out.

How often should I moisturize?

According to Torbeck, moisturize at least once a day after showering or bathing. You can consider moisturizing twice a day if you’re prone to dry skin.

Every family is different, and the way you care for your crew isn’t one-size-fits-all. But it’s possible to find a lotion that will keep everyone’s skin happy and healthy, even if you’re managing conditions like eczema or acne.