Should You Use a Body Oil or a Moisturizer to Help Dry Winter Skin? Here’s What a Derm Says
In the winter, cold temperatures and dry air have a knack for causing itchy, flaky and rough skin that can be uncomfortable. Both body lotions and body oils are up for the task, but which should you use? It’s not just about what you apply, but also how you apply it. Here, we consulted with board-certified dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner to find out the best methods to moisturize dry skin from the neck down.
What’s better to moisturize dry, winter skin — body oil or lotion?
Ultimately, you can use either body oil or lotion to replenish dry skin, but if you really want to reap hydrating benefits, it’s best to try both. “Body oils contain emollient ingredients like fatty acids to help hydrate and soften the outer skin layer,” says Dr. Zeichner. Some oils lack humectant ingredients like hyaluronic acid, so if you find that your skin is extra dry, Dr. Zeichner says you can apply a traditional lotion in addition to an oil for maximum hydration.
If you’re someone with oily skin, you don’t have to miss out on the benefits of an oil. “Many people feel that oily skin types cannot use oil-based skin-care products, which is not true,” says Dr. Zeichner. “Most of the cosmetic-grade oils used in skin care dry on the skin completely without weighing it down or even causing breakouts.” We recommend the Kiehl’s Creme de Corps Nourishing Dry Body Oil for its lightweight texture that leaves skin hydrated and nourished without feeling greasy.
What’s the best way to apply body oil and body lotion for best results?
“Whether you are using a traditional moisturizer or an oil, apply the product within five minutes of getting out of the shower or bath to lock in hydration,” says Dr. Zeichner. He also recommends dotting the product onto different parts of the body and then rubbing it in to connect the dots. “Applying it this way will allow you to use less product and cover larger areas of skin.”
What are common mistakes people make when moisturizing their body?
When it comes to moisturizing your body, either with a body oil or traditional lotion, there are some common mistakes you’ll want to avoid to get the best results. Dr. Zeichner says that one of the biggest mistakes patients make is overexfoliating without also moisturizing. “Exfoliating already dry skin can lead to microscopic cracks in the outer skin layer and loss of hydration,” he says. “If you still have dry flakes after moisturizing, then you can use a gentle exfoliator.” The Kiehl’s Gently Exfoliating Body Scrub is just what you need to effectively exfoliate your skin without overdoing it.
Photo: Juan Miranda