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The Difference Between Body Butter and Lotion

Words By Martina

Martina is a wellness and skin-health writer, blogger, teacher, mother to twins and world traveler (not necessarily in that order). She believes that life is all about balance and has a special way of taking complicated topics and making them a pleasure to read. Her words are honest, informative and warm. Learn more about your skin health from Martina.

Body butter is often thought of as the luxury product of skincare. We know body butter as the thick, indulgent and moisturizing concoction that we lather on our skin when we want it to feel deeply nourished and hydrated. However, many people also use body lotion for that exact same reason so what exactly is the difference between body butter and lotion?

The Comparisons Between Body Butter and Lotion

The reason for using body butter and lotion might be the same for many of us but let’s take a look at what the actual differences between a lotion and body butter are so you can make a better decision about what your skin actually needs.

Body Butter

  • Thicker and heavier than lotion
  • Made with natural butters and oils such as shea or cocoa
  • Stays on the skin’s surface longer
  • Lower water content
  • Higher oil content
  • Harder to spread on to the skin
  • Deep and intensive moisturizing ability
  • Ideal for very dry and rough skin (or when you want an intensive moisturizing treatment)
  • More likely to clog pores due to its thick and oily texture
  • Can leave a heavy, greasy feel on the skin
  • Creates a barrier on the skin to help protect it from losing moisture
  • Not recommended for the face due to its thick and oily consistency

Body Lotion

  • Thinner and lighter consistency than body butter
  • Does not have to contain a natural butter (and often doesn’t)
  • Absorbed by the skin faster
  • Higher water content
  • Lower oil content
  • Very fluid and spreads onto skin easily
  • Moisturizing ability can vary depending on ingredients in the product
  • Depending on the lotion, can be ideal for most skin types (dry, normal or oily skin)
  • Often is non-comedogenic but depends on the ingredients in the product
  • Feels less greasy (or not at all) compared to body butters
  • If using a shielding lotion like Skin MD Natural, it can form a protective layer on the skin to prevent loss of moisture as well as keep irritants out
  • Skin MD Natural shielding lotion can be used on the face

What Does My Skin Need?

It’s important to know the difference between body butter and lotion when it comes to choosing what is best for your skin. Ask yourself these specific questions to figure out what your skin will benefit from the most. 

✦ Do I want a product to moisturize my skin all over? (lotion)

✦ Do I want to focus on particularly dry areas such as feet, hands or elbows? (body butter or shielding lotion)

✦ Am I prone to clogged pores and breakouts? (lotion, shielding lotion)

✦ Do I have oily skin? (lotion, shielding lotion)

✦ Do I want a product that easily spreads over large areas? (lotion, shielding lotion)

✦ Do I want a product to use daily? (lotion, shielding lotion)

✦ Do I want a product to use once in a while for an intensive treatment? (body butter)

✦ Do I want a product that actively treats and heals eczema, psoriasis, acne or rosacea? (Skin MD Natural shielding lotion) 

We all have different skin which means we all have different needs. Do a skin assessment and be clear on what you want to focus on when it comes to taking care of your skin. Before buying the next luxurious skincare product, know the difference between body butter and lotion so that you can feel confident that you are giving your skin what it needs most.

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