Top Tips for Choosing the Best Body Lotion from Realms Bath & Body Line

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Advice on choosing the right lotion depending on age, skin type; what ingredients to look for and what to avoid

With lotions, one size does not fit all.

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Realms Bath & Body Line, maker of fine handmade lotions and soaps, offers top tips on how to choose the best body lotion. “With lotions, one size does not fit all,” says Terry Kaye, founder of Realms Bath & Body Line. “It’s important to pick a lotion that matches your skin type.”

For users who have normal skin, they’ll want to choose a water-based moisturizer that leaves skin with a non-greasy feel. These contain lightweight oils or silicone based ingredients. For dry skin, choose an oil-based moisturizer. If skin is very dry or cracked, opt for a petrolatum-based product. And, if skin is oily, it still needs to be moisturized, but it’s important to look for a water-based product that’s labeled noncomedogenic so it doesn’t clog pores. For sensitive skin, it’s good to avoid fragrances, dyes and acids. Any or all of these can be irritants. And as people get older, skin becomes drier, so in addition to choosing a petrolatum base, look for lotions with antioxidants or alpha hydroxy to lessen wrinkles. The Mayo Clinic staff has published a good article on choosing the right moisturizer.

The goal of a moisturizing lotion is two-fold: to hold water in the outermost layer of skin and to protect that layer from damage. There are two types of ingredients that work to meet that goal: humectants and emollients. Humectants work best in humid climates because they take moisture from the air and hold it inside the outer layer of skin. Humectants will soften scaly, thick skin and make it feel malleable. Humectants to look for on ingredient labels include certain ureas, glycerin, propylene glycol and butylene glycol.

Emollients work by replacing space in skin cells left by diminishing fat cells called ceramides, which are the molecules credited with helping to prevent skin’s moisture loss. Studies have shown that people who have eczema and psoriasis have markedly fewer ceramides than people with normal skin. By using products that contain natural or synthetic ceramides, users can boost the skin’s defenses. Oils that are high in ceramides include safflower oil (78%), grape seed oil (73%) and sunflower oil (68%).

Other moisturizing ingredients to look for are essential fatty acids. The body does not produce these on its own, so these nutrients must either be absorbed from one’s diet or externally, from body lotions. Shea butter, olive oil, avocado and almond oil all are all good essential fatty acids and these are also present in such foods as salmon, mackerel, walnuts, soy and flaxseed. Hyaluronic acid is another moisturizing ingredient. It’s very effective at keeping collagen and elastin moisturized and active, helping skin look plump. And for skin prone to breakouts, hyaluronic acid is a lightweight, non-greasy ingredient good for oily skin. Sodium PCA, another type of humectant, is found naturally in the proteins of human skin and binds water to cells. Sodium PCA has excellent water-absorbing properties and is another good ingredient to look for in moisturizers.

To learn more about ingredients in moisturizers, an informative article can be found here: Another article to check out on good lotion ingredients is

There are also ingredients to avoid in lotions. Some of these are being investigated as potential carcinogens.

Phthalates are commonly found in skin moisturizers, used to stabilize the fragrance, make a lotion easier to spread and enhance absorption. Though there hasn't been a conclusive human study, most experts agree that many findings from the numerous animal studies may be relevant to humans. The animal studies suggest there is a potential for phthalates to cause birth defects and human studies are now looking at the relationship between phthalates and asthma. Common phthalate chemical abbreviations are DBP and DEP.

Diazolidinyl urea or iodopropynyl butylcarbamate is chemically related to imidazolidinyl urea and is a formaldehyde releaser used as a preservative. Formaldehyde is classified as a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Sufficient evidence that formaldehyde causes nasopharyngeal cancer in humans has been reported by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Labels on various skin care products may not list formaldehyde, but the following ingredients break down and release formaldehyde: diazolidinyl urea (or 3-diol diazolidinyl urea) 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1 (or bronopol) DMDM hydantoin.

Parbens are also something to keep an eye on. These are also known as methylparaben, propylparaben, iIsoparaben, butylparaben. Parabens are a group of chemicals widely used as preservatives. There have been implications over the past decade that these are a potential cancer risk, though more studies need to be done.

“With any lotion, reading the label is key,” says Terry. “The FDA requires manufacturers to list the ingredients in order of volume and if the chemical name is intimidating, search engines provide a quick and easy way to demystify what you are putting on your skin.”

About Realms Bath & Body Line

Realms Bath & Body Line is a cottage industry in business for the past five years in Bellingham, Washington. Its lotions and soaps are made from the finest ingredients available, all of which are not animal tested. Realms lotions are designed for normal-to-dry skin and are shea butter based, with coconut oil, sunflower oil, aloe and silk proteins. To see the entire product line, please visit

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Terry Kaye
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