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Is it really best to apply lotion after showering?

Rozyisback asks…Is it really best to apply lotion after showering? And will I still get the benefit if I don’t put it on after bathing? I see the first ingredient is water usually. I don’t like putting it on after I bathe because my skin is sensitive then and it feels colder than it normally would.  Just a sensory issue I have personally. So should I put it on with damp skin before I dried off with a towel?

The Beauty Brains respond: 

Putting lotion on after bathing is a more effective way to moisturizer because your skin is saturated with water. The the oily materials in the lotion prevent (some) of the water from evaporating. The fact that the lotion has some water in it is not the key factor.

The trick is to find the right balance of water in your wet skin so your maximizing how much you lock in.  The best way to do that is to pat your skin dry with a towel and then apply lotion. If there’s too much water on the surface of your skin it will dilute the lotion and interfere with its ability to set up a film on your skin (which is what locks in the moisture.) On the other hand, if you towel dry your skin too much or if you wait too long after showering, the water that was absorbed by the upper layers of the stratum corneum will be lost.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Musicalhouses December 31, 2013, 3:45 am

    Hey Randy and the other Beauty Brains, this comment isn’t related to the post, but as an avid follower of your blog I couldn’t help but be sad when your servers crashed. I realized that you do have backups via your feedblitz archives here: http://archive.feedblitz.com/64871

    It’s only the text that is saved, it seems, and not images or other videos, but I thought that nonetheless it would be helpful anyway. It has posts going all the way back to June 2010, so it may help in recapturing lost content!

    • Randy Schueller December 31, 2013, 6:42 am

      Hey, thanks for the heads up about the feedblitz archives!! I’ve been using a combination of the Wayback Machine and our RSS feed to restore posts but I have to find each RSS post by sifting through our emails. It’s MUCH easier to use this archived version – I wasn’t aware of it so I really appreciate your suggestion!

  • fauxmccoy January 3, 2014, 11:18 pm

    like you, i have extremely sensitive skin (also very dry skin and rosacea). i have a couple of suggestions which you may wish to try. after i bathe or shower, i pat dry as the brainz suggest, then i immediately apply a dry oil (l’occitane makes a very nice, but pricey one, many other brands are available though). i warm the oil in my hands before gliding it on my skin, this accomplishes two things — one, it buys me some time before i put on lotion or cream and two, the dual layers of oil then lotion are even more moisturizing. also, when you do apply lotion, warm that in your hands, too before applying to your body. i find cold lotion just being squirted on my skin to be pretty aggravating (i’m talking to you, mr husband when you do put that self tanning stuff on my back!) anyway, hope this helps.

  • Kiime February 11, 2014, 7:59 pm

    Raw shea butter works for me. I rub it all over my body, except for my face–I use a retinoid on my face. I have extremely dry skin and during the winter it can get bad, but shea butter makes my skin velvety soft until I shower again.

  • Becca Holton November 6, 2017, 1:44 pm

    My friend and I got into a discussion about this not too long ago. It was pretty fascinating to learn how you’ll lose the benefits if you wait too long after showing. My skin dries out easily, so I’ll have to see if using lotion right after a shower will help.