Nurses’ hands and skin go through a lot throughout the day. Many nurses often have shifts that go up to 12 hours. According to the CDC, they can wash their hands upwards of 100 different times per day.

These soaps can often stripe their hands of moisture and leave them feeling dry and irritated.

I thought I would ask different nurses about the kind of lotion they use and what they look for in a lotion. I figured I would ask nurses because of what their skin goes through on a daily basis.

We interviewed 18 different nurses from different parts of the country to get a fair sampling.


Here is what they had to say:


Best Lotion Ingredients for Nurses:

I started off by asking the nurses what they thought were the best lotion ingredients. The nurses said that they like to look for familiar ingredients on the label. The closer the ingredient is to the top of the label, the more concentrated the lotion is with that ingredient.


Here are some of the best ingredients nurses look for:



Water is usually the number one ingredient in lotion. This is because the lotion is made up of water and oils combined together and more water is used than oils.

The nurses said to make sure that the number one ingredient is water. If not, the product might not be lotion and could be a body butter or something similar. The amount of water that a lotion uses is related to how fast it absorbs and even how greasy it is.

The lower the amount of water used, the higher the chance of a greasy lotion.


Common Ingredients:

All of the nurses said that they like to look for common ingredients. Some examples of common ingredients are Jojoba Oil, Argan Oil, Coconut Oil.

Other common ingredients are honey, oatmeal, and lavender. All of the nurses said that they think honey and oatmeal are great for lotions. A couple even said that they only buy lotion with oatmeal because it’s so healing and great for the skin.

A few nurses agreed that lavender could cause skin irritation if used in large amounts.

If you see some ingredients that are uncommon or you’re unsure about, you may want to look at a different lotion.


Sometimes a lotion will have glycerin instead of more common ingredient. Nurses say that glycerin can help moisturize the skin. Glycerin is a humectant and will sometimes even pull moisture out of the air to help moisturize your body.

All of the nurses agree that glycerin won’t clog your pores and is safe to use around acne-prone skin.

These aren’t all the ingredients that are good for your skin. The nurses said that there are literally hundreds of different ingredients that are good for your skin. These are just some of the main ingredients that some companies use.

If you see something questionable, pick out a different lotion. There are hundreds of different kinds of lotion and you will eventually find one that you love.


Worst Lotion Ingredients for Nurses:

During the interview, I asked the nurses to come up with a list of ingredients that they think should be avoided. I call this the worst lotion ingredients. Everyone can use this list of ingredients to avoid in lotion.


Here are the top worst lotion ingredients:



Most alcohols are added to lotion to help with the texture and the feeling of the lotion. The group of nurses pointed out that these alcohols could cause skin irritation in people with sensitive skin.

The most common problems are itchiness, redness, and irritation.

Most people who don’t have sensitive skin probably don’t have to worry too much according to the nurses.



Parabens are supposed to act as a preservative to the lotion to make it last longer. They keep the germs at bay and help prevent mold growth in the lotion.

Some nurses point out that parabens are just fine to use on your skin. Other nurses say that parabens can be bad for you and to avoid them.

Most of the nurses we asked said they like to avoid them. A few nurses said that they don’t mind using them and will continue using them until further research says otherwise.



A large number of nurses said to avoid fragrances in lotion because they can cause skin irritation. They also said that fragrances are not necessary for lotion and are just another added ingredient.



A couple of the nurses said to look for and avoid coloring that is added to the lotion. All the coloring does is just give a lotion a different color. This is a marketing strategy and sometimes the coloring can give skin irritation to certain people.

Just because the lotion is white doesn’t mean that no coloring was added.

Look at the label to double-check that coloring wasn’t added. If you see something like “Red 30” on the label there is a good chance that coloring was added.


Fast Absorbing Lotion for Nurses:

It’s no surprise that nurses need to use lotions that are fast-absorbing. All of the nurses we spoke to told us how important fast-absorbing lotion is for them. Fast-absorbing lotion makes it easier for them to go on with their day. They don’t have to worry about a lotion that sits on top of their skin and transfers to everything they touch.

Fast-absorbing lotion still works the same way as all other kinds of lotion. The main thing is it’s formulated with ingredients to absorb quickly into the skin. This usually means the lotion has less beneficial oil added to the product.

A common misconception is that fast-absorbing lotion doesn’t do as good of a job at moisturizing. People say that lotion that doesn’t absorb quickly won’t create a barrier on top of the skin. This barrier is said to help with moisture loss. The nurses we talked to told us this was not true and they have never experienced anything similar to this.

Fast-absorbing lotion makes the ingredients get into the skin faster. This helps heal and moisturize the skin without any transferring off of the skin. A lotion won’t do anyone any good unless it’s absorbed into the skin. The faster this happens, the more moisturizing ingredients your skin will benefit from.

The easiest way to find a fast-absorbing lotion is to look on the label or ask someone. Look for a lotion that says fast-absorbing or absorbs quickly. Another thing you can do is to ask a store clerk or send an email to the company. Explain to them how you are a nurse and need a lotion that can be quickly absorbed. Many companies will be happy to answer and some may even send you a free sample to try out!

A few years ago I had a question about the lotion and the company sent me a free coupon through the email.


Long-Lasting Lotion for Nurses:

One of the top things our nurses look for in lotion is a long-lasting brand. Nurses are constantly on their feet and often times get very little breaks throughout the day. The last thing any nurse wants to worry about on their break is putting on lotion.

One of the nurses told me that it’s not uncommon to get two 15 minute breaks throughout the day.

One of the best ways to find long-lasting lotion is to find a brand with good ingredients. I went through some of the ingredients nurses look for earlier. Take that list with you when you go to pick out a lotion. All of those ingredients are very high quality that will provide a long-lasting lotion.

I learned that when nurses love a product, they will tell others about it. Ask another nurse about what kind of lotion they use and see how long-lasting it is. All the nurses I spoke to had a list of what they thought was the best brand. The list ranged from the best shoes to the best lotion.

Another trick is to find the right company and stick with them. I was surprised when most of the nurses said that they like to find a brand and stick with it. I thought they would compare and try different kinds after they found one they liked. The beauty industry is very competitive and companies are always trying to make wild claims to get you to buy their lotion. I found out that a lot of companies use synthetic ingredients to try and cut the cost of the lotion.

Always check the label when looking for a long-lasting lotion. Somewhere the lotion may say something like powerful formula or 12-hour relief. This is a pretty good sign of a long-lasting formula. However, just don’t judge a kind of lotion from the label. I have learned to never fully trust a label, sometimes they will exaggerate a little. See if you can get a smaller bottle or trial container before you commit to purchasing it.


Non-Greasy Lotion for Nurses:

Some of the nurses said to try to find non-greasy lotion. The group said that certain kinds of lotion can take forever to absorb and then leave your skin with a greasy feeling. This leftover greasiness can transfer to everything and even make it hard to pick up certain items.

Non-greasy lotion can be bought anywhere you can buy lotion. Sometimes it can be tricky to find if the company doesn’t put it on the label. If you get your lotion at a cosmetic store you have a better chance of someone knowing what they are talking about.

I never like to get any lotion at a big box store, I always get it online or at cosmetic stores. They will have a better idea of what kind of lotion isn’t greasy.

Your best bet would be to look over the label and find where it says non-greasy. Sometimes you can find this information on the front. Other times you may have to read the small print on the back of the label.

This type of lotion will apply the same as a regular lotion. The only difference is that you shouldn’t get the greasy feeling if you use the right brand.

One of the best ways that you can do it to test your lotion to make sure that it isn’t greasy. You can do this by requesting a sample or even buying a trial size. I always used to ask my friends for some advice on lotion.

The nurses we interviewed said that non-greasy lotion will moisturize the same as a regular lotion. Some of the nurses said that they actually did a test with both kinds of lotion. They found out that both kinds of lotion do an excellent job and moisturized their skin well. But, the non-greasy kind of lotion was preferred by all of them.

The bottom line is that using a non-greasy lotion is a game-changer according to the nurses that we asked.


Fragrance-Free Lotion for Nurses:

The group of nurses we interviewed also mentioned that they like to look for fragrance-free lotion. A fragrance-free lotion is a lotion that doesn’t have any kind of fragrance added to it.

This is one of the most popular kinds of lotion because of the movement to go more natural and avoid using synthetic ingredients.

Each of the nurses said that they had a different reason for choosing to use a fragrance-free lotion:

Some nurses said that they have sensitive skin and they wanted to avoid the unnecessary ingredients. It’s not uncommon for a lotion fragrance to have over 100 different kinds of ingredients added to it. Any nurses who have sensitive skin may want to look into using a fragrance-free lotion.

A few nurses told us they couldn’t find a fragrance that they really wanted to wear.

One nurse even told us that they just didn’t even like to have a fragrance in their lotion. They said that it’s very hard to find the right lotion because some fragrances are just too much. They just can’t find a fragrance that they like. Some are too strong to wear and others are to light.

Fragrance-free lotion will do everything that a regular lotion will do. It will absorb the same, apply the same, and moisturize the same. You won’t be able to tell you have a fragrance free lotion except you won’t have a fragrance.

Keep in mind that a fragrance-free lotion can still have a scent to it. The scent will the natural smell of the ingredients mixed together. Usually, this is a very light scent and the nurses said they oftentimes forget they are wearing any lotion.

A few nurses said you should get a scent-free lotion if you don’t want the lotion to smell like anything.


What Kind of Lotion to buy a Nurse:

I asked each nurse what kind of lotion they would recommend someone to buy a nurse as a gift. The most common answer was something plain and basic. They said lotion comes in all different types but most nurses just like regular plain lotion. They don’t need anything added to it.

Here is what they mean by plain and basic:

Most lotion that you can buy on store shelves is full of synthetic ingredients, dyes, fragrances, and parabens. The nurses said to try and avoid all of that and go with something basic.

You might not know what type of skin the nurse has or they might be allergic to an ingredient. Sometimes certain ingredients, such as synthetic ingredients, can cause additional skin irritation. Your best bet is to try and avoid all of that and get a regular lotion.

Even the most basic baby lotion can have a fragrance added to it.

They said your best bet is to go online or to a cosmetic store and ask for the best kind of lotion. You could even ask for a regular plain lotion with nothing else added to it. You might end up spending a little more money but, you will know what you’re buying.

Sometimes these stores even have a generous return policy if the nurse needs to return the lotion that you got them.


Best Lotion Container for Nurses:

At the end of my interview, I asked the nurses if I was forgetting anything.

Well, of course, I was!

A few nurses wanted to say that they looked for special containers that the lotion comes in. I still didn’t know what they were really talking about until I let them explain.

Most lotion that you can buy comes in many different types of containers. The most common ones are pump bottles, tubes, and containers with lids. All of the nurses except one said that they like the pump bottles the best. However, they said that each container had its pros and cons.


I’ll go through the pros and cons that the nurses listed for each container:


Pump Bottle:

The nurses note how fast and convenient that a pump bottle is. All they have to do it push down on a container and the lotion comes out. This is perfect for when they are in a hurry and just need some lotion.

One nurse didn’t like the pump bottle because it can plug up. They also noted that a lot of leftover lotion gets left behind in the container and thrown out when the pump stops working.


This was by far the best container that nurses liked the best.



The tube container is perfect because it gives the exact amount of lotion that you want. Another plus is that you don’t have to touch the lotion to get the exact amount out.

A few nurses noted that a lot of germs can collect on the lid of the tube. They also said that the lotion can dry out some if the lid isn’t snapped on tight.


Container with Lid:

Some nurses said that using a container with a lid takes longer than it should. They also mentioned that you need to have clean hands before you take some lotion out with your hands. Otherwise, bacteria and other germs can spread through the lotion that way.

The good part about a container is that you can control exactly how much lotion you want. One nurse mentioned that it gave them better control over how much lotion they got. The containers are also great for getting out every last drop of lotion. You don’t have to spend forever trying to get the last little bit out.