A Dermatologist Ranked the 3 Worst Body-Lotion Mistakes

February 17, 2022 at 08:00AM

If there’s anything I’m very strict about when it comes to my beauty routine, it’s my body lotion. I might forget a step in my nighttime skincare routine, but I never forget to put body lotion on after I shower or in the mornings, even I don’t shower. For the most part, it’s paid off. Aside from the occasional eczema flare-up on my hands, arms, or neck, I have pretty smooth skin. 

But since I’m a curious person and like to question everything, I wanted to know if there were some things I was missing when it comes to body-lotion application. So I reached out to dermatologist Naissan O. Wesley, MD, FACMS, of Skin Care and Laser Physicians of Beverly Hills to get her tips and to see what role body lotions play in reducing premature ageing or the signs of ageing. Because you’ve always got to be on the offense when it comes to protecting your skin, right?


In general, the guideline for applying body lotion is pretty simple. “I recommend applying body lotion daily,” Wesley says. “If recently showered, the best time to apply is within three to five minutes after a bath or shower to help trap moisture in and restore the skin barrier that may have been disrupted by soap or cleansers.”

While it seems straightforward, there are some mistakes you can make with body lotion. Wesley outlined these three for me:

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1. Not Applying Enough: Don’t be stingy with the stuff. Of course, you don’t need to empty the whole bottle onto your body, but be generous with how much you apply.

2. Not Applying It All Over: One example Wesley gives is putting lotion on your upper body but forgetting about your legs. Make sure you’re moisturising every inch of your body.

3. Applying a Lotion That Isn’t Moisturising Enough: This might depend on your skin type or needs. Overall, you’ll want to choose a product that contains the nutrients, vitamins and ingredients that will keep your skin hydrated for a while. “I prefer to use body lotions that contain natural and fewer unnecessary ingredients,” Wesley says. “One that is creamier or has a lotion mixed with oil I find to often have longer moisturising effects than a thinner, more watery lotion that just tends to evaporate off the skin surface. Ingredients such as shea butter, cold-pressed oils, borage seed oil, and/or fatty acids such as ceramides tend to have great barrier-protecting properties.”

One thing I didn’t realise about body lotions? They can play a big role in protecting your skin against the signs of ageing. Here, I was just honing in on the eye creams, serums, face oils and night creams of the skincare world and not even thinking that my body-lotion habit could also be helping maintain youthful-looking and firm skin.

“The skin often tends to appear more wrinkled when it’s drier,” Wesley explains. “Thus the same moisture-enhancing and barrier-protecting ingredients above also help reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Additionally, topical antioxidants can be helpful to repair free radicals created from sun and environmental damage, and peptide ingredients can be useful to help support collagen.”

As for application watch-outs, Wesley says you can apply it as often as it feels good, as long as you don’t have acne-prone skin and the lotion isn’t clogging pores. Regardless of whether you have mature skin or not, Wesley says application frequency will depend on the climate of where you live because cold, dry, and windy conditions might require more moisture support. Other factors include exposure to hard water and soap and any underlying conditions like eczema or thyroid disorders.

“For mature, dry skin, applying lotion morning and evening would be appropriate, especially after bathing,” she advises. “Applying a thicker, creamier lotion as opposed to a thin, more watery topical would be recommended.”

Take a look at some anti-aging body lotions recommended by Wesley and our editors below.

This body lotion promotes healthier and more balanced skin with ingredients such as strengthening amino acids, a reparative five-ceramide blend, and barrier-supportive sodium PCA. The blend of fruit-derived antioxidant locks in hydration and restores lost moisture to leave your skin feeling incredibly soft.

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This body lotion contains 12% glycolic alpha hydroxy acid, which helps with collagen production and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also works to slough off dead skin cells, while vitamins and nutrients leave the skin moisturized. Because it contains AHA, you should be careful with your sun exposure and wear sunscreen.

Though on the pricier side, Dr. Barbara Sturm’s body cream is really worth it. Formulated with antioxidants, white almond, and elderberry blossom, the lotion will tighten skin and diminish the signs of ageing. It’s also quickly absorbed and ultra hydrating.

This body balm both tightens skin and reduces the appearance of sun damage. It has botanical ingredients like lemon, safflower, and coconut oils.

Pronounced as “boom boom” in Brazil, this editor-adored body lotion isn’t just for your butt. This rich body cream, which boasts guaraná, a native Amazonian plant that is one of the most potent forms of caffeine on the planet, is perfect for stimulating circulation, promoting firmness and smoothness as you work it into your skin. Also, it smells divine. 

Skinceuticals’s concentrate is all about firming up your skin. Apply it to your abdomen, buttocks, knees, and thighs for a visibly lifted look. Ingredients include peptides, yeast extract, and rice protein.

Caudalie’s body lotion not only hydrates the skin, but it also prevents premature ageing by promoting microcirculation. Ingredients include hyaluronic acid, shea butter, and organic grape water.

Epionce’s body lotion contains essential fatty acids, ceramides, meadowfoam, and flax extracts to moisturise, strengthen the skin barrier, and protect against free radicals. And any irritation or inflammation is relieved with ingredients like rose hip, safflower, and avocado complex. 

Another splurge, La Mer’s provides all-day hydration while preventing further moisture loss. Like other La Mer products, it contains ingredients from the sea, which work to plump and brighten skin.

Not only does this body lotion smell amazing, but it’s super effective, too. It’s enriched with shea butter, natural oils, and a blend of antioxidants to leave your skin feeling smooth and firm.

Nivea’s body lotion is another affordable pharmacy option. It can firm and improve skin elasticity with the help of ingredients like Q10 and vitamin C. Did we mention that it can keep moisturised for up to 48 hours straight?


Perricone’s body lotion is specially formulated to help thin, crepey skin. The refreshing formula contains retinol, peptides, and hyaluronic acid, which all work to make the skin smoother and firmer. It also promotes skin renewal.

As far as scents go, you’ll struggle to find one as potent as this. Layered with rose absolute, bergamot, clove, cedarwood and geranium, this body lotion is a luxurious way to moisturise your skin. Shea butter and complex vitamins ensure its also high-performing and will leave your skin feeling impossibly smooth. I like to apply it after a bath before bedtime. 

Affordable favourite Cetaphil has its own body lotion for mature skin. This one has potent antioxidants and niacinamide that promotes healthy, hydrated, glowy skin. It’s recommended to use this at night so you can see the difference in the morning.

This rich cream is formulated with botanicals, retinol, antioxidants, and other good-for-the-skin ingredients that will rejuvenate your skin. It’s also paraben-, phthalate-, synthetic fragrance–, and sulfate detergent–free.

This body cream is the most expensive one on the list, but not only does it reverse any damage and signs of fine lines, but it also firms and minimises cellulite thanks to guarana and caffeine. It leaves the skin tighter, toned, and smoother. It’s recommended to massage the cream into your arms, thighs, bum, neck, décolleté, and hands for at least five minutes after showering.

If you apply your body lotion as part of your morning routine, Cowshed’s blend of red mandarin, bitter orange and grapefruit will give your skin the fresh kickstart it needs. What I love most about this option is its non-sticky, fast-drying formula, which means I can get dressed soon after applying, which is handy, as I’m always running late. 

I use Fresh’s face cream every night, so I trust its body-cream cousin. The formula is fortified with omegas 3, 6, 7 and 9 and seaberry oil, a powerful antioxidant that helps to restore, protect, and soften the skin. 

With the conditioning oils of jojoba seed, cocoa seed, and sweet almond, the brand’s selection of body creams are designed to nourish and protect the skin’s surface, while bestowing your body with your favourite Jo Malone scent, mine being Pomegranate Noir. 

With 10% glycolic acid, this body cream exfoliates dead skin cells and improves skin texture and tone. It also contains marula, kigelia and kalahari melon seed oils to trap moisture and renew skin.

Next: These Nourishing Body Products Are Like Summer in a Tub

Author Sarah Yang | Whowhatwear
Selected by CWC