Ever wondered what the real difference is in the moisturizer vs lotion debate? Does it really matter which one you choose?
Let’s take a look at the different types of moisturizers for your own unique skin care so you can make an informed choice.
Skin Care 101: Why You Should Practice Daily Moisturizing
So, why moisturize in the first place? Doesn’t your skin produce its own natural moisturizing oils?
Well, yes. But for many people, it’s simply not enough. And, as you age, your skin needs some extra TLC. There are also many benefits to using a good facial moisturizer on a daily basis
For one, your skin needs water. And moisturizing doesn’t just help to add water back into the skin, it also helps to trap and hold any moisture you already have into your skin.
Skin that’s well hydrated looks plumper and healthier.
Sun damage, wind, cold, sweat, heat, certain makeup – they all dry the skin. When skin dries out, it not only encourages the formation of fine lines and wrinkles, but the skin barrier becomes at risk.
A compromised skin barrier can’t properly protect you from irritants and bacteria. And, dry, cracked skin is also vulnerable to serious irritation.1
What’s The Difference Between Face Lotion And Face Cream?
So now you know that just about everyone should be using a daily moisturizer (men included). But with so many products on the market, what do you choose? Should you choose a cream or a lotion? What if your skin already has too much oil?
To begin with, the word moisturizer is an all-encompassing term for something that brings moisture to your skin. Under this umbrella, you have various types of moisturizers – lotions, creams, ointments, gels, jellies, and oils. The difference between each of these is their consistency and oil content.
Think of these on a spectrum: At one end, you have lotions which are the thinnest and contain the most water. At the other end, you have petroleum jelly, which is a very thick and sticky substance.2,3
Why A Face Lotion?
Lotions have a high water content. They’re a mix of water and oil – but with more water – and are non-greasy. They’re significantly lighter than a cream and are absorbed very easily into the skin.
Lotions can be great for the summer months, or for those with oilier skin types. But some people may not find them quite moisturizing enough for their skin type.
Why A Face Cream?
A cream typically is much thicker and richer than a lotion. Some people don’t like creams, as they don’t absorb as quickly and can feel too thick on their skin.
But if you suffer from very dry skin, a lotion may be too lightweight for your skin’s needs. So a thicker product will feel more nourishing for your skin.
Ultimately, there’s no wrong choice as long as your skin feels well-hydrated – and stays hydrated for hours to come.
Use Different Moisturizers For Different Skin Types
Depending on your skin type, you’ll find that certain types of moisturizers tend to suit you better. But if your skin is still very dry, or you’re breaking out, then it may be time to consider a different type of moisturizer. For example:
If you have blemish-prone or oily skin…
You’ll want to find a moisturizer that doesn’t clog pores. Your skin probably has a fair amount of oil in it already. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t moisturize. Your skin still needs hydration.
If you have dry, aging or sensitive skin…
Dry skin needs to be protected from water loss more than any other skin type. Thicker, oil-based creams do the best job at sealing in this moisture to deeply hydrate the skin.
A moisturizer for dry skin will also be filled with rich emollients that help soften and smooth the skin, reducing that flaky appearance.
Those with sensitive skin or dry skin conditions, like eczema, have dry and cracked skin that can compromise the skin barrier. So it’s especially important to use a deeply hydrating moisturizer.4
Added Ingredients for Different Skin Types
Aside from deciding on the consistency and thickness of your moisturizer, it’s important to also consider other ingredients that are added to skin care products. These ingredients are there to further help your particular skin type.
Here are some of the most common:
- Hyaluronic Acid (HLA) – a popular ingredient in dry skin or anti-aging moisturizers, HA is an extremely effective humectant (moisture-binder). In fact, it can retain more than 1,000 times its weight in water.5So it’s super-hydrating and very effective at plumping up the skin.
- Salicylic Acid, Lactic Acid, and Glycolic Acid – These three acids are known as chemical exfoliators, but they’re far gentler than using a “scrub” to exfoliate dead skin cells. You’ll commonly find them in moisturizers for dry skin, aging skin, or blemish-prone skin.6
- Glycerin – This popular moisture-binding ingredient is used to soothe dry, scaly skin.7
- Jojoba Oil – Naturally rich in skin-nourishing tocopherols (vitamin E).8
- Argan Oil – Deeply hydrating and good for sensitive, irritated skin types.9
- Aloe Vera – This natural source of salicylic acid is also filled with antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E. Aloe vera is great for aging and sensitive skin types.
Hydration 101: Always Stay Moisturized
The bottom line is that however you find it, hydration is key for healthier, younger-looking skin. Sometimes, it can take a little bit of trial and error to find the right moisturizer for your own unique skin.
But knowing about the consistency of moisturizers, and the extra ingredients that can help, is a great place to start.
Look for products sold by a company that offers a satisfaction guarantee, so you have the chance to try things for yourself.
A moisturizing facial cleanser can also be helpful in keeping skin hydrated. You don’t want your cleanser to dry out your skin any further. You should also invest in a good body lotion and hand lotion to help keep the rest of your skin just as healthy.
Finally, finding a good moisturizer for men is also important. Men’s skin is just as affected by moisture-loss, though many men don’t use a daily formula. If you’re looking for moisturizers for men, the same rules apply – consider your skin type, and then try a few variations until you find a moisturizer that meets your needs.
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