Lotions vs Creams

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Achieving and maintaining beautiful skin can be confusing when presented with so many choices.  Determining whether you want or need a lotion or a cream can be daunting.  Both have the same goal: to keep moisture in the outermost layer of your skin.  Both are mixtures of oil and water but there can be a notable difference between the two in both appearance and performance.

Lotions have a higher water to oil ratio and are great for normal to slightly dry skin. They tend to feel lighter, have less viscosity and are less greasy.  They can also be more easily absorbed into the skin and are normally sold in bottles or tubes.

Creams on the other hand have a higher oil to water ratio and are great for dry to very dry skin.  They have a heavier, richer feel, have a thicker consistency and are usually sold in jars due to their higher viscosity.  Creams provide more of a barrier on your skin that helps to hold in valuable moisture.

To understand these differences, picture the products this way.  We have added water at one end of the moisturizing spectrum and petrolatum at the other end to help you visualize the benefits:

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In terms of moisturizing, or locking in moisture, the benefit increases as you move from left to right.  You can see that creams contain a higher level of oils that form the moisture barrier on your skin.  So depending on your needs, you can choose products from within this spectrum.  And, dermatologists suggest using your choice of products immediately after showering in order to lock in moisture from the shower in your skin and create a barrier that stops you from losing water quickly.