The Best Ways to Moisturize Your Body for Seriously Soft Skin

Woman putting lotion on her leg.
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Life would be easier if you could just "water" your skin as you would a plant. On the contrary, taking a shower can actually strip your skin barrier of the natural oil in its moisture barrier. A weakened moisture barrier makes skin more prone to dryness and irritation. Not ideal. The good news is that keeping your skin moisturized doesn't take all that much more effort than parenting a plant, provided you're aware of a few key strategies. Below, the best ways to moisturize your body and fend off dryness.

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Look for Products Containing Ceramides

woman rubbing lotion on shoulder for dry skin
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Moisturizing your skin is all about reinforcing your protective moisture barrier, and naturally occurring fat molecules called ceramides can help. "They're important because by contributing to the natural skin barrier, ceramides help to protect the skin against irritants and other factors that can aggravate the skin as well as seal in moisture to prevent water loss," says Marisa Garshick, M.D., a dermatologist at Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery in New York. "When the skin barrier is compromised, it makes the skin more prone to irritation from other ingredients and the skin can become drier and more sensitive." Avene TriXera Nutrition Nutri- Fluid Balm (Buy It, $42, and Dr. Jart Ceramidin Body Lotion (Buy It, $25, are both filled with ceramides.

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Curél's Hydra Therapy Hydra Silk Wet Skin Moisturizer


What's the best way to hydrate skin? While it's still wet! That's why Curél's Hydra Therapy Hydra Silk Wet Skin Moisturizer is such a game changer and should be kept in your shower at all times! Crafted with a ceramide complex, you apply it right after bathing while you're still wet to seriously lock in moisture and penetrate the deepest levels of your skin.


03 of 05

Use Creams or Ointments for Dry Skin

Rear View Of Woman Wearing Towel Standing In Bathroom using lotion for moisturized skin
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Thicker formulas are generally better at combatting dry skin. "In general, the thicker the product and the more occlusive it is, the better it will be at keeping moisture in," explains Dr. Garshick. (In skin care, occlusive means something provides a protective seal.) "Ointments are oil-based and contain more oil than water, making them an effective option for dry, cracked skin. Creams, which contain less oil than ointments and have a higher concentration of water, may be considered less greasy and easier to spread, but still provide more occlusion than a lighter-weight lotion." Slick on Vanicream Moisturizing Ointment (Buy It, $16, or Vaseline Deep Moisture Vitamin E Petroleum Jelly Cream (Buy It, $6,

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Slip On Some Gloves

Beautiful woman using hand cream in the bathroom
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If you have dry-as-the-Sahara hands, Dr. Garshick suggests applying a moisturizer and then slipping on a pair of cotton gloves and wearing them overnight. The glove will act as a barrier, trapping in moisture, and you'll wake up to soft, smooth hands. You can also try a similar method on your feet, with a podiatrist-approved trick: apply lotion, wrap your feet with plastic wrap to create an occlusive barrier, then throw on a pair of socks to wear overnight.

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Prioritize Lip Care

Young beautiful woman using moisturizing product on lips for dry skin
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Showing your lips some extra love will help keep them soft and not cracked or chapped, even in dry weather. Applying an ointment, like Lanolips The Original 101 Ointment Multipurpose Superbalm (Buy It, $14,, can help you lock in moisture. While you're at it, you can also apply a layer to other areas that could use extra attention, such as your elbows or heels.

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