Lotion and moisturizer both hydrate your skin, but are they the same thing? Learn what you need to know about hydrating products to always look your best.

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Lotion And Moisturizer: Everything You Need To Know

Lotion and moisturizer both hydrate your skin, but are they the same thing? Learn what you need to know about hydrating products to always look your best.

In this article, we’ll discuss what you need to know about lotion, moisturizer, and what options you have when your skin needs a little extra hydration.

Table Of Contents

What Are Lotions And Moisturizers?

Woman putting lotion on her leg

Moisturizer is a broad term that encompasses many different products designed to support skin hydration. Lotions and creams are both forms of moisturizer, so let’s look more closely at these two hydrating skincare options in particular.

Lotion is a lightweight hydrating product with a thinner consistency than cream. It’s formulated to provide immediate hydration to the top layer of your skin without leftover residue or a heavy feel.

If you have normal or slightly dry skin, lotion can help hold moisture in your skin and keep it comfortable.

Cream, on the other hand, is thicker and more emollient than lotion. It can help repair your skin’s protective barrier, lock moisture in, and keep environmental pollutants out.

Since they're thicker, creams take longer to absorb into your skin. This extra time means cream can penetrate layers of your skin that lotion can’t reach. A cream might be better if you have dry or flaky skin.

Lotion And Cream: Key Differences

As we mentioned above, lotion and cream are both moisturizing products. To help you decide which one you should use, let’s examine some essential differences between them in more detail.

Water Content

Your skin needs water to stay hydrated, and lotions and creams both contain water. In fact, it’s the first ingredient listed on the label for many brands of moisturizers.

But lotion contains more water with fewer oil droplets mixed in, so it's thinner and easier to spread over your skin. The lower amount of oil also makes it feel less greasy.

Cream contains less water. This makes a rich, hydrating product that takes longer to absorb. But since there's more oil in the formula, you may feel slightly greasy after you use it. That’s why some people prefer to apply moisturizing creams only at night.


Woman getting moisturizing cream out of a container

Because a cream has more viscosity than a lotion, it's thicker and similar to an ointment. This texture allows it to adhere better to your skin, helping create a protective barrier that locks moisture in.

Since it's so thick, you rarely find cream in a pump bottle. Instead, it's packaged in a jar or tube so you can squeeze or scoop it out.

Lotion, on the other hand, is lighter with a thinner consistency that quickly absorbs into your skin. You can pump some into your hand, rub it in on the fly, and go about your day without feeling any greasy residue.

Added Ingredients

Lotions and creams often contain ingredients in addition to water and oil. Each skincare company formulates its products differently, but the included components can affect how you use them.

For instance, sunscreen lotion includes a blend of SPF ingredients to protect your skin from UV rays. And lotions that contain retinol, glycolic acid, or other active ingredients can be used as part of a more intensive skincare routine.

Creams also often come with added benefits, like anti-aging and brightening. And certain creams are formulated with niacinamide or salicylic acid to help improve eczema or psoriasis symptoms.

Should You Use Lotion Or A Different Kind Of Moisturizer?

Woman with lotion and moisturizer on her face

So, should you use lotion or a different type of moisturizer, like a cream? Well, it depends. There isn't one correct answer.

When choosing between lotion and cream, try both! Experiment and see what works best for your skin type. Finding the perfect skincare products for your body and face may take some trial and error.

If you have normal skin, a lotion is a great choice to keep it hydrated all day without feeling oily. The lightweight consistency makes it easy to add to your daily routine.

Creams are excellent for all skin types, but they’re most beneficial for locking moisture into dry or flaky skin. If you suffer from a condition like eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea, moisturizing cream with the right ingredients might help soothe your symptoms.

Creams are also a go-to product for keeping your body smooth. After showering, you can lather with a moisturizing cream to soften your skin.

But honestly, who says you have to choose?

Most people benefit from keeping both cream and lotion on hand since each has its place in a well-rounded skincare routine. When you have both on your shelf, you can switch things up depending on your needs and preferences.

For instance, if you're heading outside and are exposed to the sun, you need a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least 30 SPF. Sunscreen lotion is the best way to go here since it protects your skin without leaving it feeling greasy.

But when winter arrives and the cold wind bites, you might need a stronger defense against moisture loss, even if you don't usually have dry skin. In this harsh season, a thick cream can help protect your skin and keep it from drying out too much.

Ultimately, it's all about finding the right combination of skincare products that work best for you.

What To Look For In Any Skincare Product

A variety of skincare products including lotion and moisturizer

Regardless of what type of skincare product you're in the market for, here are our top tips for finding the ones that can help improve your skin over time without causing irritation.

1) Read The Labels

Don’t buy skincare products without taking the time to read the labels first. You should know what's in your product, how to use it, and the active ingredients that could be beneficial or potentially irritating for your skin.

Make sure the product is free of irritating ingredients that may cause redness and inflammation. You'll also want to avoid products with a lot of alcohol, which can dry out your skin.

Try to choose products with plant-based ingredients, like aloe vera or vitamin E, that can help soothe your skin. For example, at Bodewell, our proprietary formula with 22 botanicals can help nourish and hydrate your skin.

2) Get Specialized Products If Needed

Some lotions and other moisturizer products are designed with specific skin conditions in mind. So, make sure to pick one that fits your needs.

For instance, Eczema Daily Calming Cream is a moisturizing cream formulated to help relieve eczema itch and irritation. And our Psoriasis Calming Cream has 2% salicylic acid to help control the flaking and itch that accompanies psoriasis.

3) Find A Company You Trust

Not all skincare companies are created equal. When choosing products, find a company you trust and believe in.

At Bodewell, we create quality, effective skincare that helps people improve and maintain their skin health. We design our products to help you have better skin days.

4) Keep Your Skin Type In Mind

If you have dry skin, you're going to need different products than if you have oily skin. So pay attention to your skin needs and look for products suited to your skin type.

Some people have combination skin, meaning they have both oily and dry areas. In those cases, it's crucial to find hydrating products that aren’t too heavy.

5) Don't Be Afraid To Experiment

Sometimes, you have to try a few different products before finding the one that works best for your skin.

Start by selecting one that looks promising and give it a try. Do a patch test to ensure you aren't allergic to anything in it. If you don’t notice any irritation or redness, go ahead and apply as directed.

Then, take note of how your skin feels after using it. Watch for a couple of weeks to see if you notice any changes. If it doesn't work out, try something else and keep experimenting until you find what works best for you.

With a little trial and error, you'll soon be on the path to better skin!

Lotion And Moisturizer For Better Skin Days

Woman looking in mirror after using lotion and moisturizer

Lotion and other moisturizers, like cream, all hydrate your skin. However, they have their differences, especially when it comes to water content, thickness, and added ingredients. You’ll want to make sure you understand how to use each of these moisturizing products.

Regardless of what type of skincare product you choose, select one that is suited for your skin type, free of irritating ingredients, and created by a company you can trust, like Bodewell.

You’ll be well on your way to better skin days with the right product selection!


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