The Differences Between Face and Body Lotion

All moisturizers may seem the same at first glance, but there are reasons why lotions are labeled for different parts of the body, such as the face and body.

The Differences Between Face and Body Lotion


Everyone is guilty of it: you don’t have the right moisturizer with you, so you use a hand lotion for your face or a face lotion for your body. Unless you’re sensitive to certain ingredients, the occasional moisturizer mix-up is nothing to worry about. But you shouldn’t make this a habit—choosing the right lotions for your face and body is a critical step in achieving the skin of your dreams. Here are some important differences between face and body lotion that you should know about.

The Basics

Moisturizers are typically made up of three parts: a humectant, an emollient, and an occlusive. Humectants draw moisture to the skin; emollients repair cracks and damage between the skin cells, and occlusives trap moisture. Some areas of the skin are a little tougher than others, and other parts may be more sensitive, so some lotions only have a few of these components.

Facial Moisturizers

Facial moisturizers typically have all three components, as the skin on your face is usually the most sensitive and experiences the most weathering and sun damage. In addition, the skin on one person’s face can be much drier than another person’s, so moisturizers are often formulated very particularly with different skin types in mind. Also, many facial moisturizers contain SPF because, as we mentioned, your face is usually the most exposed to the sun and will need the most protection.

Body Lotions

Much like facial moisturizers, body lotions also come with SPF and are often formulated with different skin-care needs in mind. However, body lotions tend to either be a little thicker and more absorbent, or they focus more on trapping moisture in the skin. You’ll also find that a lot of body lotions that aren’t geared toward fragrance or tanning are geared toward repairing the skin. Body lotions are more focused on the emollient and occlusive portions of moisturizing to repair damaged skin; this is the main reason why body lotions can be on the thicker side. In addition, you’ll also find that these lotions are often marketed to people with eczema, dermatitis, or psoriasis.

Hand and Foot Creams

Hand and foot creams are usually the thickest of the three moisturizers, so they require the most massaging. These lotions are often harder, like salves or balms. This is because you work the most with your hands and feet, so they need the most protection from dryness and irritation. If you try to use these lotions on your face in a pinch, you’ll find them to be a lot greasier and harder to rub in.

Skin needs vary widely from person to person and even between different areas of the body. This is why there are so many differences between face and body lotion. Being aware of these differences can help you optimize your skin-care routine.


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