Body Lotion Vs. Body Cream: What's The Real Difference?

There are plenty of products on the market that state they're meant to replenish and moisturize your skin. With your skin being so important in not only your appearance but also in your health, it's important to know what it is that you're putting on your skin.

Between gels, creams, lotions, serums, and more, it's easy to get tangled up in what serves what purpose for you and in what order you should apply them. Like the skincare routine that you'd apply to your face, it's important that you know what you're applying to your body and in what order. Especially when dealing with something as important as your skin, more knowledge is always better.

In fact, keeping proper hydration on the skin is crucial to avoid serious skin conditions that are caused by dryness and oiliness (via Johnson's). So, what exactly are body creams and body lotions? When do you use one over the other?

What are body creams?

Plainly put, body creams are ultra-hydrating and contain a higher percentage of oil than their lotion counterparts. Both creams and lotions are a mixture of water and oils; however, creams tend to have a 50/50 ratio of ingredients. Creams may also have much heavier oils and ingredients in order to add even more moisture to your skin than lotions can (via Hutton Klein Dermatology).

Body creams are also known to be thicker in consistency and take more time to be absorbed by the skin. Because of the thick consistency and the high amount of hydration of creams, they are most often used by people with drier skin types that might need extra help to get those hydration levels. Body creams are also optimal in drier seasons — think autumn and winter — on all skin types when the drier winds and colder temperatures harm our skin. Moreover, creams may come in handy when dealing with skin that has various drying skin issues, such as eczema, when you're not using prescribed ointments (via MindBodyGreen).

What are body lotions?

Body lotions, on the other hand, have a water and oil ratio that is heavier on water, making them a lot thinner in their consistency. As reported by Johnson's, body lotions' higher water content allows them to be absorbed by the skin a lot quicker than creams. However, the downside to the higher water content in lotions is that this means lotions will not last on the body as long as creams.

On the contrary, lotions are ideal for those who tend to be more on the oiler skin type, and are mainly useful for the humid months when your skin tends to have a bit more moisture. Another factor to take into consideration is that body lotions are generally less greasy and leave less residue than creams. This is, again, because of the lower oil content in lotions (via Healthline).

Both creams and lotions are vital for hydrated, moisturized skin, and what you use can ultimately be based on personal preference, seasonal temperatures, and your skin type.