Key Times To Apply Body Lotion And Keep Dry Skin Away

Without sufficient hydration, your skin becomes dull and dry and is susceptible to premature aging. According to a study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, 64% of our skin is made of water, meaning it will not perform at its maximum capacity when it loses its normal moisture level. Therefore, nourishing your skin with body lotion or other moisturizers is important to lock in water and nutrients, keeping your skin soft and supple. High in water content and able to penetrate the skin quickly, lotions are capable of replenishing dry skin and smoothing out rough spots. They also serve as a balancing agent for your skin's microbiome to minimize risks of inflammation, per Divine Dermatology.


Creating lotions has greatly improved in the past few decades, enabling the formulae to perform above and beyond their original purpose. In addition to hydrating, numerous body lotions have active ingredients providing added-value benefits such as sun protection, prevention of wrinkles, and skin lightening. While body lotions are generally safe and straightforward for all skin types, you must be aware of the best times to use the product to get the most out of it. Here are some critical times to apply body lotion for maximum benefits.

Apply lotion before a long flight

Air travel might be the most convenient mode of transportation, but the pressurized cabin air can be arid and dehydrating for your skin and especially problematic for those with eczema. "Not only is that a moisture problem, but it can also cause a break out just from the lack of the oil," aesthetician-turned-flight-attendant Missy Roemer tells The Washington Post. "Your skin overcompensates [for the dryness] by creating more oil, which is something people don't realize." Therefore, a body lotion — preferably with SPF — should be your first port of call before boarding the airplane. You need sun protection while flying because your skin is still vulnerable to UV radiation while in the aircraft.


To stay hydrated between flights, reapply body lotion every 90 minutes and drink lots of water. As soon as you disembark, head to the bathroom first and cleanse your face using a soap-free cleanser to rinse off any excess oil and buildup of recirculated air from the airplane, advises dermatologist Joshua Zeichner from Mount Sinai Hospital, via Teen Vogue. If your airport terminal has showers, get a quick body rinse in lukewarm or cool water. Once your body is dry, apply a new coat of moisturizer or lotion from head to toe to rehydrate the skin.

Apply lotion before a workout

This might sound counterintuitive, but coating your skin in lotion before breaking a sweat will favor your skin more than you think. The reason being is exercising makes you sweat profusely, which causes dehydration. Therefore, it's crucial to improve the skin's moisture barrier and help it retain water by moisturizing your body with a mineral-rich lotion or moisturizer, per Premier Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery.


When it comes to pre-workout skincare, you might want to keep it simple and use ultra-lightweight products, such as a gentle cleanser to remove makeup and dirt from your face and a sheer sunscreen with a matte finish. For moisturizing, look for a lightweight, non-comedogenic lotion or gel that doesn't clog the pores and gets absorbed quickly, Dr. Catherine Boryseiwicz advises, via Stylist Magazine. Some pore-clogging ingredients you should watch out for when choosing moisturizers include coconut oil, wheat germ, palm oil, lanolin, and sodium laureth sulfate. After a workout, take a shower to rinse sweat and product buildup off your skin and apply a new coat of lightweight body lotion to refresh your body.


Apply lotion after shaving

Shaving sounds harmless, but it removes skin lipids and water content as it extracts hair from your body. Because your skin is deprived of moisture and increasingly prone to dryness due to shaving, it's important to put on a moisturizing lotion after you shave to keep your skin hydrated and soothe any irritation, per Gillette Venus. Of course, you should still lather up moisturizing shaving cream before starting each shave to make your hair softer and easier to the razor.


However, avoid applying any lotions or shaving products containing alcohol after shaving, says the founder of Oui Shave Karen Young, via Bustle. Although alcohol can help preserve the product and allow the ingredients to penetrate the skin better, using alcohol-based products after shaving might dry out the skin, leaving it feeling burned and unpleasant for weeks. To help your shave last longer and make your skin feel smoother, always look for a moisturizer that does not contain water, advises esthetician Lisa Dolan.

Apply lotion after exfoliating

Exfoliating your body once to twice per week helps to slough off all the buildup of dead skin cells that make your skin look dull and allows other skincare products to penetrate your flesh more effectively. Exfoliation also facilitates collagen production to reveal a smoother and brighter complexion. Whether you use chemical exfoliation or body scrub, moisturizing your skin after showering away the product is a must. Exfoliation, especially physical exfoliation, can be harsh on your skin and deprive it of moisture. Therefore, massaging lotion into your skin after exfoliating is essential to soothing the top skin layer and keeping your skin radiant, dermatologist Rachael Burns tells Byrdie.


Since your exfoliated skin is extra sensitive to UV rays, putting on sunscreen is crucial to protect your skin from sun damage, Cleanlogic warns. If possible, opt for a hydrating lotion that contains SPF 30 or higher, so your skin can be hydrated and shielded from sunlight at the same time.

Apply lotion after a hot bath

Hot showers, baths, and saunas can dehydrate your skin and make it itchy, so it's important to replenish the lost moisture with body lotion. After a thorough body rinse, pat your skin with a towel until it's slightly damp, and slather it with lotion. Moisturizing your skin after a bath, per The American Academy of Dermatology, helps build a barrier that prevents water from evaporating and shields your skin from bacteria and irritants. Besides, your pores are most open after a shower, so applying lotion to your skin during this time allows it to soak up all the benefits the moisturizing ingredients can bring. The trick is to find the right water balance in your damp skin. If your skin surface is still wet with water, it will dilute the lotion and compromise its efficacy. On the other hand, using lotion on completely dry skin will do nothing to retrieve the lost water.


You should also apply a pea-sized lotion or moisturizer to your hands after washing or sanitizing them. The goal is to prevent water loss and skin cracking as well as prevent germs and bacteria from entering the skin, per Warrenton Dermatology & Skin Therapy Center.

Apply lotion before sunbathing

If you love the sunkissed glow of a good tan, start wearing lotion before and after tanning. Whether your tanning sesh happens indoors or outdoors, moisturizing your skin with an oil-free moisturizer keeps your skin hydrated and allows the tan to penetrate your skin better, per Desert Sun Tanning Salons.


After tanning, wait for at least three to four hours before entering a shower or a bath to avoid ruining your tan. After that, pat your body until it's slightly damp and slather it with a hydrating lotion to cool your sun-parched skin. Not only does moisturizing help to rehydrate your skin, but it is also the key to keeping your tan last longer, says Camila Pierotti, founding partner and lead of product innovation at Sol de Janeiro, via Elle. She says that rich body butters, silky oils, and hyaluronic-acid-infused lotions are excellent choices for your skin. To maintain the quality of your tan, give your skin a healthy dose of hydration daily. 

Apply lotion before sleeping

Nighttime is the rare moment when your hard-working skin can take a much-needed break and absorb all the ingredients it needs to bounce back from damaging sun radiation, environmental pollutants, and harsh cosmetic chemicals. Another thing is that your skin goes into a renewal mode when you sleep and lose a considerable amount of water overnight, causing your skin to be dry and impair the moisture barrier. "While cells repair and rebuild at all stages of sleep, the majority of cell turnover and regeneration occurs during deep REM sleep," explains Dr. Howard Sobel, via Martha Stewart


Therefore, you need to drink lots of water and moisturize your body before going to sleep to keep your skin hydrated overnight and wake up to softer skin the following day. Aside from moisturizing your face, neck, and chest, slather lotion over your feet. Bedtime is the perfect time to moisturize your feet because doing so in the morning before putting on shoes will make your feet soggy and negate the intended hydrating effect, Podoactiva warns. If you want to smooth out foot cracks and calluses, moisturize your feet in the evening.