Body Cream vs. Body Lotion: What’s the Difference?
There’s almost nothing more satisfying than slathering a creamy hydrating lotion on your skin immediately after a hot, steamy shower. It may feel luxurious, but we all know how essential it is to hydrate, smooth, and repair dry skin with a daily moisturizing product.
Although we all want soft, supple skin to support our overall skin health, when it comes to moisturizing the skin, there’s an endless array of skin moisturizing options. Therefore, it’s often difficult to know what will work best for you.
For example, two of the most common options for moisturizing the skin are body creams and lotions, yet do we know the difference, or is there any?
In this post, we’ll be giving you some essential information about the differences between body creams and body lotions – and how to choose what’s best for your skin type!
Body Cream Vs. Body Lotion: Is There a Difference?
First and foremost, you may be thinking there’s probably not that much of a difference between body cream and body lotion.
Body creams and lotions moisturize and provide our thirsty skin with much-needed hydration. Both provide a protective barrier on the skin's surface to lock in moisture and protect your skin from harsh environmental factors. And they can help soothe red or irritated skin.
Right? Well, think again.
There’s actually a considerable difference between body cream and body lotion. The difference in a nutshell: thickness.
Simply put, body creams are substantially thicker and heavier than body lotions. The consistency of a moisturizing product is due to several factors, which we will get into later.
For now, know that the desired thickness is usually the determining factor in deciding which product is best for your skin.
Both body creams and body lotions consist of water and oil. The amount of each determines whether or not the product will be categorized as a cream or as a lotion.
Let’s break it down even further!
Most body creams consist of higher oil content and less water. The higher oil content keeps the skin ultra-hydrated and protected. Body creams tend to be the best product for dehydrated skin due to a harsh work environment or environmental factors such as extreme cold or heat.
Body creams can take a lot more work rubbing into the skin due to their thickness, but that’s the main reason it is such an excellent barrier for healthy, hydrated skin. Unfortunately, body creams tend to be noticeably greasy and can leave a residue on your skin.
In addition, due to their heavy consistency and the thicker formula, they can easily cause breakouts and clogged pores.
On the contrary, body lotions have a much higher water content than body creams and much less oil content. Therefore, they are lighter and easier to apply. In addition, body lotions tend to have less of a greasy feel and less residue.
As a result, body lotions are one of the best go-to options for your skin’s daily moisturizing needs. In addition, body lotions are ideal if you tend to have breakouts due to acne-prone skin.
What Are the Benefits of Using Body Cream?
Still, not sure if you should use a body cream or lotion? Below are some of the most common benefits of using body cream, especially if you have dehydrated skin or skin that is prone to skin conditions such as acne or eczema.
Body Cream Keeps Your Skin Hydrated During the Long, Dry Winter Months
Regardless of your skin type, you might want to consider using a body cream to prevent dry, crackling skin during the harsh winter months.
Massaging thick body cream on the driest areas of your skin, including the elbows, knees, and hands, can help the roughest parts of your body stay soft and smooth. Your hands are especially vulnerable to the harsh weather considering how much we must wash our hands.
The combination of water, harsh soap, and dry cold air makes it considerably harder to keep your hands soft; therefore, body creams are the most beneficial in this situation.
Body Cream Keeps Your Ultra-Dry Skin Moisturized
Although body creams are considerably thicker and greasier, creams may be the way to go if you have naturally dry skin tone or sensitive skin. In addition, those with dehydrated skin or skin conditions can seriously benefit from body creams.
Specifically, to support and soothe the overall well-being of your skin by locking in the moisture and providing a barrier for more supple-looking skin.
Body Cream Keeps Your Skin Soft if You Work in Harsh Conditions
Those who work in extremely harsh conditions or in products that dry out your hands and other exposed skin should consider adding a body cream to their skin routine. Body creams are ideal for areas such as knees, hands, and elbows.
However, it is not recommended for use on the face unless otherwise specified by your dermatologist.
What Are the Benefits of Using Body Lotion?
On the flip side, most of us would benefit from opting for the lighter, thinner body lotion to cover all of our daily moisturizing needs.
In general, body lotion is the best option for most skin types to support their skin’s hydration. Below are some of the benefits of using body lotion and why.
Body Lotion Is Best for Oily Skin Types and Acne-Prone Skin
Body lotions are usually the best option for most skin types besides dry skin because those skin types still need hydration, just not the extra thick moisture sealing hydration that body creams provide.
Even with oily skin, you can still have dehydrated, cracked skin, which is why adding a light body lotion to your routine will help support moisturized, well-hydrated, more youthful-looking skin.
Body Lotion Is Best for All Over Body Moisturizing
Body lotion's lightweight and commonly water-based formula are perfect for most skin types to use for all over body moisturizing. In addition, lotion is less likely to clog pores and contribute to congestion in acne-prone areas such as the back and shoulders.
However, even though body lotions are the best for most areas of the body, it is still recommended to use a moisturizer specifically designed for the face instead of your body lotion.
Body Lotion Is Best for Humid, Arid Climates or for Daily Use.
As much as we hate to admit it, we all sweat during the day regardless of the outside temperature, which is why a thinner body lotion is best for daily use. The same is true for humid, arid climates: you only want to use more water-based lighter lotion to help your skin stay hydrated even while you’re sweating.
Adding thicker creams to your skin during the day or when humid only adds to the greasy, sticky residue left on your skin from sweat.
Additional Tips To Keep in Mind
There are a few more factors to consider when deciding between using a body cream or a body lotion, such as:
There’s No One-Size-Fits-All
What may work for someone else may not work for you. For example, just because you have oily skin may not mean that body lotions work best for you and vice versa.
Read The Label
Not all body creams and lotions are the same formula, so always check the product ingredient list to see the amount of oil to water and determine if the product is best for you.
Find products with nourishing ingredients, such as Jojoba oil, to hydrate and nourish the skin deeply. Witch Hazel is another excellent ingredient in your body lotion to support the softening of the skin.
In addition, find a body lotion with Tea Tree Oil to help calm and cool irritated, rough skin caused by dryness.
Ask Your Dermatologist
Check with your dermatologist if you still aren’t sure if you should use a body cream or a body lotion. They can help you determine what is best for your skin type and if there are any additional factors to consider.
Our Smooth Operator: Ultra-Hydrating Body Lotion is an ultra-juicy body moisturizer ideal for hydrating all skin types.
With key ingredients such as Tea Tree Oil to calm and cool dry skin, witch hazel consists of anti-inflammatory properties to clear and soften skin and Jojoba oil to deeply hydrate and help nourish the skin. Our formula is perfect for hydrating, soothing razor burn, and softening stubble.
The best part?
It’s compact, packable, and comes in a TSA-approved tube which is perfect for getting you where you need to go without the fuss and mess of filling travel-friendly containers with your favorite products. We know the secret to doing it all is doing less. And the same goes for keeping your beauty routine minimal and practical!
If you want to find more ways to keep your self-care routine minimal and clutter-free, take our Declutter Quiz to get a personalized bundle of compact, time-saving products to help you cut your clutter and get on with more important things!
It’s more than possible to simplify your skincare routine without sacrificing self-care.
To effectively understand the difference between body creams and body lotions and which is best for you, keep in mind that body creams are much heavier and thicker, and body lotions are thinner and lighter on your skin. After determining your skin type, you will know whether body creams or body lotions are best for you.
Furthermore, don’t forget the additional factors when deciding, including work conditions, seasons, and any pre-existing skin conditions that may be present.
Think carefully about all of the above factors when choosing a body cream or body lotion. What works for one person’s skin may not work for you!
Join the #alleyooptroop and let us know if you prefer body cream or body lotion and why! Have you tried Smooth Operator: Ultra-Hydrating Body Lotion or any other products? We’d love to hear about your experience!
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Dry skin - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic
Jojoba Oil: An Updated Comprehensive Review on Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Uses, and Toxicity | NCBI
Antioxidant and potential anti-inflammatory activity of extracts and formulations of white tea, rose, and witch hazel on primary human dermal fibroblast cells | NCBI