Your skin is feeling dry and just needs a little love – but what product does it need? Does it need moisturizer or lotion? Is moisturizer better than lotion? What is the difference between them anyways and how do you know which one your skin actually needs? With all these questions, it’s time to get down to the truth.
What Is the Difference Between Moisturizer and Lotion?
With so many different skin products out there like lotions, moisturizers, creams, ointments – this list could go on – it’s no wonder that we get confused with what the differences actually are and what product our skin really needs.
Moisturizers exist to give your skin hydration and moisture, keeping your skin healthy and comfortable. They do this by replenishing the water content in the skin¹. Obviously, water alone isn’t a good moisturizer because it evaporates too quickly so other ingredients are added to create the right combination. What’s important to know is that all forms of lotions, creams, body butters, serums and ointments are actually just different types of moisturizers. Think of moisturizers as the big umbrella of products that help to soften and rejuvenate your skin. What makes them all different is the varying amounts of water-based and oil-based ingredients (usually vaseline) which result in varying thicknesses and textures.² Here is the spectrum of skin care products based on their amounts of water vs. vaseline.
Water → Lotion → Cream → Ointment → Vaseline
However, it’s worth mentioning that sometimes people use the term moisturizer as a specific term for a skincare product that is slightly thicker and heavier than lotion.
Looking at the spectrum, lotions are the products with the highest amount of water-based ingredients to form a light texture. Where creams and ointments are thicker and heavier, lotions usually have a very silky and light feel to them. This is why we use lotion on the body because it is the easiest to cover large areas of skin. Because of the high water content of lotions, they evaporate the fastest when applied to your skin.
However, there is a relatively new type of lotion on the market called a shielding lotion which doesn’t use vaseline-based ingredients and instead uses breathable, non-comedogenic ingredients that help to trap your skin’s own moisture in while still letting it breathe naturally. The best part is that while it is a lotion and has a light and silky feel to it, it actually provides high levels of moisturizing capabilities and is perfect for extremely dry or cracked skin, even skin that is affected by eczema or psoriasis. The lotion creates a layer of protection on the top of your skin, which is different to conventional lotions, protecting it from irritants that could potentially dry out and irritate your skin even more. It doesn’t evaporate and instead bonds with the top layer of your skin so it’s long-lasting.
Gloves In A Bottle is a shielding lotion for your hands because our hands need more moisture than most other parts of our body while Skin MD Natural is specifically formulated for the face and the body.
Is One Better Than the Other?
Now that we know that a lotion is just a type of moisturizer, and that there are lots of different moisturizers out there, is one better than the other? When referring to moisturizer as a thicker skin care product, you need to consider how dehydrated and damaged your skin is and how much of an area you need to cover. It would be hard work (and very greasy) if you needed to cover your entire body with an ointment! It’s for this reason that if you need to cover a large area of skin, lotions are usually your best bet. If you need to target smaller or more dehydrated areas of skin, then a moisturizer or cream would be better. However, don’t forget that there are also shielding lotions to consider which go on like a lotion but provide much more moisturizing and protective power for your skin.
Whichever you decide to use, keep an eye on your skin and if it doesn’t look completely hydrated and rejuvenated with the product you’re using, it might be time to switch it up and try something new.