Ask anyone with dry skin and I bet they’ll tell you that they’ve tried everybody’s lotion on the market. Many people never consider using body oil, because they assume the oil will leave a greasy film on their skin.
By choosing a body oil with the correct ingredients, you can lock in ten times more moisture than using a lotion or cream and it will dry in a few short minutes, leaving behind velvety soft skin.
Common sense will tell you that oils sit on top of the skin, while lotions penetrate past the top layer. Lotions that are infused with ingredients such as collagen and elastin, however, can be deceiving because neither one of those ingredients can pass through the skin due to their large molecular size.
Usually, the main ingredient in lotion is water. Once applied to the skin, the water begins to evaporate and the skin will dry out again in a couple of hours. Adding butter and oils to lotions will help the lotion stay in the skin longer.
Using a body oil, such as Neutrogena Body Oil Light Sesame Formula, will prevent moisture from evaporating from the skin. They work best when applied directly after a bath or shower while the skin is still damp, locking in the moisture.
Body oils will protect the skin’s lipid barrier. The lipid barrier is found in the top layer of the skin and contains cholesterol, fatty acids, and ceramides which are your skin’s own defense to the outside world and help to keep the skin soft and smooth.
Certain things such as spending too much time in the sun, or using harsh soaps can break down this barrier, causing dry skin that is prone to irritation. Since oils sit on top of the skin and do not evaporate, the lipid barrier stays intact. Those with extremely dry skin can apply a body oil before showering because it will prevent soap from breaking down your skin’s own defenses.
When choosing a body oil, make sure to choose one with natural oils, such as sesame oil, which is in the Neutrogena product mentioned above. I do not recommend body oils that contain mineral oil, such as Johnson’s Baby Oil, because mineral oil can clog pores in adults. The Neutrogena oil soaks into the skin in a matter of 3-4 minutes and leaves the skin feeling velvety smooth and dry, while lotions and creams can remain tacky for a while and get on your clothing.
I’m not saying that lotions do not moisturize the skin, because they do. However, a body oil has staying power, does not evaporate from the skin, and sits on the top layer of the skin, protecting the lipid barrier. Unlike lotions, oils will not need to be reapplied every few hours and will last until your next shower.