Want a "no-frills" body moisturizer that really works? Try AmLactin Moisturizing Lotion, recommended by many dermatologists. It's a 12% lactic acid lotion that is neutralized with ammonium hydroxide to provide a pH of 4.5-5.5. On average, skin has a pH of 5.5, which is slightly acidic and has benefits: 1) its acidic nature wards off pathogens that cause disease, and the acidity stabilizes the skin's barrier function, and 2) lipids within the skin's structure retain their ability to prevent moisture loss. As a result, lactic acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid, is a natural humectant for the skin.
Trust me, AmLactin works! I use it or the much more expensive prescription 12% Lac-Hydrin (yeah, nutty) every night before I go to bed. I use it on my chest, arms, legs, hands, and feet. It absorbs quickly, so I don't feel all gooey. It has no fragrance, so I can always add on whatever aromatherapy I want to lull me to sleep.
The lotion sluffs off dead skin cells and keeps nice fresh skin at the surface, critical for preventing the symptoms of dry skin. What does it do for me? For one thing, my hands are so dry, they crack open! I get paper cuts with ease. The treatment really helps and is essential in the winter if I don't want my skin to crack open (I do want to keep washing my hands obsessively to ward off flu and other viruses). It keeps my feet from callusing, and that's a good thing because I am always barefoot in my house, and with a bunion (thank you, Mom and Dad, for that hereditary bone disorder), shoes can rub the wrong way. It keeps my arms and legs from looking like alligator skin.
It's not "natural," and does have the usual suspects in it (for example, parabens). I am willing to overlook that because it's so effective.
You can find it at Costco ($16.89 for 16.9 oz), CVS and other drugstores, and online. You can download coupons from the AmLactin Web site. Ounce for ounce, I think Costco has the best price.
If you decide to try it, do so on a small place for a few days to ensure that you are not sensitive to the lactic acid.
Photo courtesy of Costco.