Body Lotions: Medical grade vs high street brands

Hannah Wilson

There’s nothing better at the end of a long day than slathering yourself with your favourite body lotion to give your skin the hydration it needs… but which one should you be using? 

Just like the medical grade skincare products we offer for the face, our trusted brands also offer a few medical grade body lotions. If you’re curious about what these could do for you and if they’re worth the extra money, we’re slathering on all the facts in this article. 

From what prescription-only products in the Obagi Medical and ZO Skin Health ranges could offer you whole-body hydration, to how they compare to the high street brands, this is your ultimate guide to all things body lotion! 

In it, we’ll put a few key players under the microscope ZO Body Emulsion, ZO Cellulite Control, and Obagi KèraPhine® Body Smoothing Lotion so if you’ve been considering purchasing any of these products, you won’t want to skip this one…  

Ready to give your body the same TLC you give to your face? Our Face Dr Skin Experts can help you choose the best products for you:


Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

  • Why use body lotion?
  • What is Obagi KèraPhine® Body Smoothing Lotion?
  • What is ZO Body Emulsion?
  • What is ZO Cellulite Control?
  • What high street brands compare with these products?
  • What are the pros and cons of each?
  • Do I need a prescription to buy medical grade body lotions?
  • Who would benefit from choosing medical grade?
  • Who would benefit from choosing high street brands?
  • Summary: Should I try medical grade body lotion or a high street brand?


Why use body lotion?


Medical grade vs high street body lotions


Great question! Most of us require some sort of moisturiser or hydrator on the face to help keep skin hydrated, feeling smooth, free from blemishes and protected against the elements. But with the skin on our body we don’t always see obvious signs of distress, or worry quite as much about its appearance. 

However, the skin on your body can be prone to dryness, so a regular moisturising routine can help keep it looking and feeling great. Some of the most common causes of dryness include:

  • Weather: Dryness can occur often in winter due to cold winds and central heating in your home, as well as during summer due to high temperatures and more exposure to UV rays from the sun. 
  • Dehydration: Even if you drink enough water to quench thirst, you may not be drinking enough to hydrate your skin. Studies show hydration is key for skin, and the NHS recommends you drink 6-8 cups of fluid a day.
  • Medication: Some medications can result in less moisture to the skin, which requires an additional product to help keep it healthy.
  • Lifestyle factors: Stress and a poor diet can impact our body’s skin health.

Body lotion is also recommended to maintain skin elasticity as you age, to encourage skin cell turnover, and to correct any skin that’s become so dry it’s flakey and rough. 

While our Skin Experts only offer skincare advice with the face in mind (not body skincare advice) they can prescribe the following three products for any specific concerns you have.


What is Obagi KèraPhine® Body Smoothing Lotion?


Obagi KeraPhine Body lotion


We are authorised stockists of the Obagi Medical range and the Obagi Clinical range, which contains products to help with different skin issues from hyperpigmentation to the signs of ageing. You can learn about the brand and their products in our article, Obagi skincare; Everything you need to know.

Obagi KèraPhine® Body Smoothing Lotion is their most popular body lotion product, formulated with the active ingredients glycolic acid and lactic acid to transform rough, bumpy and dry skin by smoothing, exfoliating, and removing any dead skin cells to reduce dryness. 

Anyone with keratosis pilaris (sometimes referred to as ‘chicken skin’) on the arms and thighs will find this product particularly useful, as it has been clinically-proven to improve skin in both these areas. 

Obagi KèraPhine® Body Smoothing Lotion costs £63. 


What is ZO Body Emulsion?


ZO Skin Health Body Emulsion


ZO Body Emulsion is a body treatment formulated to exfoliate away dead skin cells, strengthen the skin’s protective barrier, restore hydration, reduce the appearance of dark spots and uneven skin, and contains a 12-hour time-release antioxidant complex to protect skin long after use. 

With multiple 5* reviews on our website, it’s a popular choice for keeping skin soft and supple. Plus, ingredients like retinol, glycerin and antioxidants like vitamin C, help stimulate collagen production and protect against environmental damage. 

ZO Skin Health prohibits authorised clinics like ourselves from displaying their exact prices online, but as a rough guide of what to expect, ZO Body Emulsion costs around £70+/-. 


What is ZO Cellulite Control?


ZO Skin Health Cellulite Control


Cellulite is a common skin condition whereby skin becomes slightly more lumpy and dimpled on fleshy areas like the thighs, buttocks and abdomen. It’s commonly accepted now that it is not possible to completely get rid of cellulite, but it is at least possible to improve its appearance, and that’s what ZO Cellulite Control does. 

This soothing body cream is primarily a hydrator, but also contains a “breakthrough blend of ingredients” formulated to reduce the appearance of any contours on the skin, resulting in a visibly smoother, more toned appearance. 

ZO Skin Health prohibits authorised clinics like ourselves from displaying their exact prices online, but as a rough guide of what to expect, ZO Cellulite Control costs around £70+/-. 

Wondering what’s better, ZO Skin Health or Obagi? We’ve broken down everything you need to know about these two brands right here: ZO Skin Health vs. Obagi; what's the difference?

If any of these products catch your eye, you can jump straight to booking your free consultation with one of our Skin Experts, here:



What about body lotions I can buy from the high street?


If you’re in two minds whether or not to opt for a prescription-only body lotion or choose a high street brand instead, we’re here to help. Ultimately, high street products will be less effective over time due to the lower quantities of the active ingredients mentioned above, so although they are not comparable in terms of results, if medical grade skincare doesn't fit your budget then high street brands can be a suitable alternative. Here are a few popular bestsellers which could help with some of the skin issues you face. 


Facetheory Glycomide Body Cream B1


Facetheory Glycomide Body Cream B1


While Obagi’s KèraPhine® Body Smoothing Lotion offers 15% glycolic acid, Facetheory’s Glycomide Body Cream B1 contains 9% glycolic acid, so it could offer some of the results you’re looking for such as encouraging the removal of dead skin cells and producing a soft, smooth skin texture. 

With ingredients like rice bran oil, organic jojoba oil, and ceramide 3 a lipid that works to bind skin cells together to retain more moisture it’s great for skin hydration. 

Facetheory’s Glycomide Body Cream B1 is priced at £10.99 on their website.


Paula’s Choice Skin Smoothing Retinol Body Treatment


Paula’s Choice Skin Smoothing Retinol Body Treatment


Much of ZO Body Emulsion’s power comes from the retinol included in its formulation, so if you’re looking for a less intense high street version, Paula’s Choice Skin Smoothing Retinol Body Treatment could be one to try out. 

This hydrating lotion uses a lower amount of retinol (0.1%) but still has positive reviews about the results it could offer; firm skin, a more even skin tone, a smooth skin feel, and anti-ageing properties.

Paula’s Choice Skin Smoothing Retinol Body Treatment is priced at £33.00.


Nivea Q10 Goodbye Cellulite Body Cream Gel


 Nivea Q10 Goodbye Cellulite Body Cream Gel


If you’re looking for a high street version of ZO Cellulite Control, Nivea’s Q10 Goodbye Cellulite Body Cream Gel can offer another option. It works to firm skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite while leaving skin soft and smooth. 

With positive reviews, it may be a good choice if you’re looking for an affordable body lotion that also minimises the appearance of cellulite.

Nivea Q10 Goodbye Cellulite Body Cream Gel’s price varies, but is around £13.50 on some websites.


Do I need a prescription to buy medical-grade body lotions?


The products in our range from Obagi Medical and ZO Skin Health are available on a prescription-only basis as they contain some strong ingredients that could be harmful to some skin types, so you will need to speak to an authorised stockist who can give advice. One of our Skin Experts can help with this. 

We offer free video consultations so you can chat about your skin issues with an expert, receive the right advice, and purchase relevant products through our website.  


If you ever see these products available to purchase somewhere else online without the need for a consultation, these are most likely counterfeit products without the ingredients mentioned above, therefore they will lack the results you want.  


Who would benefit from using a medical-grade body lotion?


skincare products


When it comes to body lotions, there are a number of reasons you might want to opt for a medical-grade product:

  • For effective hydration if your current high street body lotion isn’t getting you the results you want
  • For specific skin concerns, for example if you struggle with rough or flakey patches of skin that don’t seem to budge with your regular body lotion
  • For those who work and live in very high or very low temperatures and need a little more skin hydration than a high street product can provide
  • For anyone who wants added benefits with their body lotion, such as cellulite control or anti-ageing retinol 

Please note, if you suffer with conditions such as psoriasis it’s always best to speak to your doctor first to determine how severe your condition is, as they may recommend a medical treatment other than what can be offered to you by a skin clinic. 


Who would benefit from using a high street body lotion?


High street products are often the default choice with body lotion, and here are some of the reasons why most people opt for them:

  • For a cheaper price tag
  • If your skin is not sensitive, you may get everything you need from a high street brand
  • For the convenience of being able to pick up products in store rather than ordering them through a skin clinic (although our simple ordering system makes this much easier if you do opt for a prescription product!)


Summary: Should I try medical grade body lotion or a high street brand?


pigmentation sun spots and hyperpigmentation skincare collection


If your skin is feeling rough, dry or flakey, then adding a body lotion to your daily skincare routine could be a great idea. A high street brand can do the trick if your skin doesn’t feel too bad, however if you have already tried this or you’re looking for something that can generate significant results, we would always recommend booking a free consultation with one of our Skin Experts to see if they could recommend a prescription product based on your specific skin needs. 

You will be under no obligation or pressure to purchase from us after speaking with a Skin Expert, our job is simply to find the best products for you and give you all the information you need to see lasting results for your skin. 

Ready to learn more?


Want to read more product and brand comparisons on our blog? Here are some articles that may interest you:  

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