Your skin, as any derm or doctor will tell you, is your largest organ. Yet, when most of us talk about “skin care, we’re usually only referring to the space between our necks and our foreheads, and our bodies don’t get the same star treatment. In fact, I’m willing to bet that most of us have a good scrub down in the shower, and maybe slather on some lotion when we get out, before calling it a day. But with dry skin season upon us, there’s one more step worth adding into the mix: a body serum.
“Body serums, like face serums, are used to introduce nourishing or revitalizing ingredients to our skin,” says board-certified dermatologist Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, MD. In the same way your face serums tend to be the most potent products in your routine, body serums tend to be chock-full of active ingredients that make them more concentrated than your usual body lotion. They’re ideal for “rejuvenating and moisturizing your skin,” says board-certified dermatologist Shari Sperling, DO, and can be beneficial for all skin types.
Unlike creams, lotions, and oils, these products tend to be ultra-light, and won’t leave any sort of grease or film behind on your skin. They can be used on their own (particularly if you hate the texture of lotion, or are looking for something lightweight in a warmer climate) or layered underneath a thicker cream to really double down on moisture. Below, dermatologists share their favorite body serum options worth adding to your routine for max hydration from head-to-toe.
Nécessaire quickly became the beauty industry’s favorite bodycare brand when it launched its lotion and body wash last year, and its latest product—a hydrating serum—continues to live up to the hype. It’s got a party-pack of all of our favorite moisturizing ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, vitamins B3 and B5, and ceramides, but isn’t heavy or thick. If you want something your skin will drink up like a luxury glass of water (perhaps one that’s been served in a crystal glass), this is your pick.
Both Dr. Mudgil and Dr. Sperling are fans of this product thanks to its hydrating and skin revitalizing properties. It’s great for particularly dry and winter-ravaged skin thanks to do-it-all properties of Vaseline, but only includes micro-droplets of the ingredients so it won’t leave you sticky or greasy.
Any time you see the word “milk” on the label of a skin-care product, there’s a good bet that it’s going to be great for dry skin. This serum is made with ultra-hydrating hyaluronic acid, and in addition to serving up major moisture for your bod, it also helps with smoothing and firming skin.
Think of this as cryotherapy in a bottle. It’s made with proprietary (read: ultra-sciencey) ingredients that tighten skin and promote collagen production to give your body a smoother, more supple appearance. It’s also got exfoliating ingredients to slough off dead skin cells, plus vitamin E to nourish skin and help protect the barrier from environmental changes.
It may sound counterintuitive, but (gentle) exfoliation is as important a part of a dry skin routine as moisturizing is.You need to clear the dead skin cells from the surface in order to let the hydrating ingredients do their thing in full. This serum does both at once thanks to water lily extract, which helps to exfoliate, and other botanicals, which aid in hydration.
Just like your face, your body needs protection from environmental factors, too. Enter this antioxidant-heavy serum, which wards off stressors like pollution while hydrating skin at the same time. With a spritz-on applicator, it’s so light you’ll barely know it’s there, and the fragrant gardenia scent will make you want to wear it all day, every day.
If you want to seal in your serum with a lotion, peep some of our editors’ favorite picks. And this is the only body wash a dermatologist thinks you should be using in the winter.
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