Today: 15 body oils that'll soften and hydrate dry skin, according to experts and shoppers
Colder weather is notorious for wrecking havoc on our beauty routines, whether it's cracked hands, chapped lips or an itchy scalp. But, we found the perfect solution for many of your winter skin care woes. This season, we'll be prepared with a crop of nourishing body oils that will help banish itchy, flaky skin once and for all.
If you've never tried a body oil before, you're likely wondering what sets it apart from your typical body lotion or moisturizer. It turns out the product category actually has its own unique set of benefits.
"Oils are used to help lock in moisture, providing occlusive benefits while also delivering emollient and skin soothing properties to the skin. They are often highly concentrated, unlike body lotions which also incorporate water and other ingredients that can be utilized to help with dry skin," dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick explained.
Shop TODAY sought the expertise of several skin care experts to dive into what makes this skin care product an essential for your beauty routine. They also shared some of their favorite body oils on the market so you can stock up ASAP.
Best body oils, according to skin care experts
If this is your first time trying a body oil, Garshick recommends this affordable option from Vaseline. "It's great for those with dry or dull skin, as it not only works to hydrate the skin but also to lock in moisture without leaving the skin feeling greasy," she said. "While in an oil formulation, it also offers the benefits of both shea butter and cocoa butter, leaving the skin looking and feeling healthy and refreshed."
Coconut oil is basically a wonder child and can be used for everything from cooking to your skin care routine. "Studies show that coconut oil is an excellent emollient to prevent transdermal water loss and increase skin moisture," Dr. Anar Mikailov, Director of Hospital Dermatology at Beth Israel Lahey Health in Massachusetts, said.
The board-certified dermatologist told us he particularly enjoys this budget-friendly body oil from Jason Organic. "It has unique properties that decrease the itch response, which makes it ideal oil for individuals with eczema. It also has natural anti-fungal and antibacterial properties," he said. "This oil should be used by those with very dry skin. In other skin types, coconut oil can induce acne breakouts in its unrefined, raw oil when used as a facial oil."
Body oils are great for an instant moisturizing effect since they immediately get absorbed into upper layer of dermis (skin cells)," Dr. Liia Ramachandra, a former pharma executive and skin care expert, told Shop TODAY. "When various oils are mixed together, body oils are also very nourishing for the skin. They make the skin softer and offer instant hydration."
Ramachandra named this Aveeno body oil mist as one of her go-tos and said its jojoba and oat oils are great hydrators. "Plus, it's paraben- and phthalate-free," she said. The spray is ideal for rough, dry, sensitive skin and is formulated with 98 percent naturally derived ingredients.
Board-certified Miami dermatologist Dr. Annie Gonzalez from Riverchase Dermatology also appreciates the many benefits of body oils and tends to reach for this drugstore find from Neutrogena. "It's lightweight and helps hydrate and soften skin. It uses oil extracted from pure white sesame seeds, which helps maintain the skin’s essential moisture balance without a heavy feel. This product is great for the elbows, knees and cuticles and for healthier looking skin."
One of the other perks of body oils? They can help minimize the appearance of pesky stretch marks. "They can limit transepidermal water loss. Most oils also contain anti-inflammatory botanical oils, antioxidants and vitamins to promote smooth-looking, healthy skin," Somenek said.
Ramachandra recommended this popular Bio-Oil Body Oil that's often used during pregnancy or to help repair skin damage from scars after surgery. "The vitamin E in it is great to smooth out and hydrate your skin," she explained. The oil is also formulated with chamomile and lavender oil to help calm and cleanse damaged skin.
Mikailov enjoys this body oil because it shares many properties with our body's natural oil (sebum). "This characteristic allows the oil to absorb much more quickly to restore and improve the natural skin barrier," he explained.
At first, the oil sits "on top" of the skin and forms a thin layer, then it absorbs within 15 minutes and leaves skin feeling nice and silky. It's made with only one ingredient — organic jojoba oil — and can be used on body skin, scalps and beards.
Dealing with sensitive skin? Garshick suggests giving this dry oil a try. "It nourishes and hydrates the skin while helping support the natural skin barrier," she said. The oil gets to work quickly to protect skin from oxidative stress and dries quickly, leaving skin moisturized and glowing.
"It contains an Oleo-soothing complex that incorporates plant-based oils and Avene thermal spring water to soften and smooth skin," the skin expert said. Other key ingredients include glycerin, shea butter, camelina oil and safflower oil.
Gonzalez was happy to explain why she's such a huge fan of jojoba oil in general. "It mimics the natural oil in the skin so it won’t clog pores," she said. The derm raved about this hydrating oil and explained that it's rich in antioxidants.
"They help heal dry skin, stretch marks and sun damage. The product is also fragrance-free and can be used on nails, skin and hair," she told us, adding that the oil is ideal for those dealing with skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
Dry, brittle hair and nails can be a drag, but Mikailov has a secret weapon for combatting these two pesky beauty woes: squalane oil. "It's ideal to use for hair and nail moisture restoration," he explained. "This oil will absorb the fastest, even faster than jojoba oil." You can also use it on your face to combat dryness, redness and uneven texture.
Mikailov said this particular oil from Biossance is well-suited for those with acne-prone skin. "Squalane tends to be much less comedogenic (less prone to clog pores)," he said.
Top facialist Candace Marino loves how body oils help lock in moisture. "Most body oils contain fatty acids and ceramides, which are very protective of the skin barrier and prevent water loss, acting almost like a seal on the body. Body oils can also contain antioxidants and vitamins that have repairing and protective benefits for the skin," she said.
She recommends this luxurious oil that's made of clean and organic ingredients. "It feeds the skin with vitamins and super fruits that provide protective benefits thanks to their antioxidant-rich makeup," she said. "This formula features rosehip seed oil, which is rich in omega fatty acids and is known for its ability to brighten the skin tone; noni, a super fruit known for its high antioxidant content; and sunflower seed oil, which is rich in vitamin E and provides a lightweight yet nourishing oil to replenish dry skin."
Want to really lock in moisture? Garshick filled us in on the best time to use a body oil. "It can be especially helpful to apply it immediately after showering," she said. The skin care expert said she digs this splurge-worthy oil from Elemis and said it's ultra hydrating.
"It contains a blend of Frangipani, Monoi and coconut oils to help replenish moisture and nourish the skin. It will leave the skin feeling rejuvenated without leaving behind a greasy finish," she said.
This article was originally published on today.com.