Dry skin becomes more prevalent as we age, and the once smooth, supple skin on our legs gradually becomes scaly, dry and itchy. To avoid dry skin, don’t spend too much time in the water. Keep showers short, and bathe in warm water instead of hot water, which can be too drying. Use a mild moisturizing cleanser, and pat your skin dry rather than rubbing it. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying a heavy-duty moisturizer within three minutes of showering to trap moisture and maximize hydration.
Ingredients To Look For
Opt for a product containing hyaluronic acid. The body produces this naturally occurring polysaccharide less and less as we age. Purchasing a cream or lotion high in hyaluronic acid helps the skin retain water. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests using lotions that include lactic acid and urea, alpha-hydroxy acids that help skin maintain moisture, but warns that these two ingredients may irritate skin that is cracked or suffering from eczema. Dimeticone and glycerin effectively hydrate skin, and mineral oil holds water in place so skin remains soft and smooth. Natural ingredients such as oatmeal, jojoba oil and shea butter soften aging skin.
Best Drugstore Cream: Eucerin Calming Creme
Eucerin has developed a reputation as a leading dermatologist-recommended brand. Eucerin Calming Creme contains oatmeal, glycerin and mineral oil, which calm irritated skin, alleviate itching and moisturize dry aged skin. The formula is fragrance-free, non-comedogenic and non-irritating so it is ideal for sensitive skin, and it absorbs relatively quickly so there is no sticky, greasy residue. If you suffer from dry, flaky patches on your legs, try Eucerin Plus instead, which contains lactic acid and urea.
Best Department Store Lotion: Clarins Moisture-Rich Body Lotion
Clarins Moisture-Rich Body Lotion is a heavy-duty moisturizer that does wonders for dry, scaly legs. Shea butter delivers intense moisture to mature skin, combating the appearance of dryness and lines. Other ingredients include peach extract, keratolin, candlenut oil, orange blossom wax and mineral oil. Moisture-Rich Body Lotion provides soothing relief to dry, itchy just-shaved legs.
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Best Natural Lotion: Alba Botanica Very Emollient Body Lotion
Alba’s Original Body Lotion comes in a lightly fragranced or fragrance-free version for sensitive skin. Hyaluronic acid hydrates, while ingredients such as jojoba, sesame and avocado oil drench skin with moisture. This lightweight lotion absorbs quickly and delivers intense moisture to the driest of legs.
Best Therapeutic Lotion: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream
Oatmeal and allantoin soothe skin, while shea butter and ceramide 3 moisturize. Ultra Repair Cream is free of parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances and dyes, GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and triclosan. This thick cream absorbs readily into the skin, immediately softening and soothing. In addition to transforming dry, scaly legs into smooth skin, it helps alleviate razor burn and itching.
Amy Lucas is a writer for the Underground Health Reporter and Gaiam websites, and for Bestcovery.com. She has written for business and personal websites and been published in educational publications, including Random House's "1,296 ACT Practice Questions" and in her own series of SAT books and DVDs, "Private Tutor SAT, Your Compete SAT Test Prep Course."