Moisturize Right - Lotion or Cream?

Moisturizing is an important step in caring for skin. It replaces the oils removed by washing and can add oils and nutrients your skin may be naturally lacking. Deciding which product works best for your skin is often an ongoing process and your needs may change based on your stage in life or even the season.

There are a plethora of lotions, creams, and other moisturizing products available. Many people use the terms lotion and cream interchangeably but there is actually a big difference between the two.  It's important to understand these differences as you decide which is best for your skin.

The main ingredients in both lotion and cream are oil and water. Lotion will usually have more water than oil in it and water will often be the first ingredient listed. This helps the lotion to be absorbed faster and to wash off more easily. Some lotions are formulated for oily skin and may have no oil in them at all, relying instead on other ingredients to bring moisture to the skin.  Lotion will have a lighter feel than creams and a more temporary effect.

Some kinds of oil will be listed as the first ingredient in a cream and this is what gives it a thicker texture. Oils take longer to soak into the skin and have a greater moisturizing effect. This works well for dry skin but can be problematic for skin that tends to be oily on its own. The effects of a cream last longer, sometimes even through one or more washing. This makes it especially ideal for dry hands that are washed multiple times per day.

Different kinds of oils can be used to make lotions and creams and will bring different properties to the product. Some of the heavier oils like jojoba or shea butter offer the most moisturizing effect and can promote healing. These are often found in creams. Others like aloe and palm oil have a lighter feel and are readily available in lotions.
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