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Should I Use A Lotion Or A Cream For Dry Skin?

Dr. Deepti Shrivastava 87% (688 ratings)
PG Dip Dermatology (London), Fellow Aesthetic Medicine (Germany) , D.M.C.H, MBBS
Dermatologist, New Delhi  •  27 years experience
Should I Use A Lotion Or A Cream For Dry Skin?

Have you tried one product after another during the dry weather and are still left with dry and itchy skin. Then your skin care product is to be blamed. Creams, lotions and oils all essentially perform the same job of moisturizing your skin. It is how they do it that is different.

There is a wide range of choices available in the market for all three products with individual variations in ingredients including types of oils like coconut, lavender, jojoba, etc., types of value proposition like 24-hour moisture lock, or intense hydrating care and flavors like rose, strawberry and even chocolate that leaves you smelling great.

The main difference between a cream and lotion:
The main difference between the two besides additives is their oil to liquid ratio. Lotions and creams, both contain oils and water. In lotions the proportion of water is more compared to oil. So it is more 'liquid' in nature and is easy to spread on the skin. Creams on the other hand, are thicker because of their higher oil content. They can typically be more 'greasy' in nature because of their consistency.

Choosing between the two:
Lotion and creams, both will do the trick, but it will depend on what you need and when you use it. Give a good thought to your skin. Is it always dry or only during certain times of the year. If your skin dries easily and you can see a white line if you scratch with your nail, you'll need a cream that absorbs more slowly and has benefits that stay longer.

Applying cream then creates a layer of oil that locks the moisture in your skin. The water does not evaporate, and your skin stays hydrated. Lotions are easy to spread on the skin. If your skin is already soft and supple and you simply need a layer to keep the dryness at bay, a lotion is a good choice for you.

Use both lotion and cream:
Morning, before bed, after baths or repeatedly throughout the day? The time you plan on using a moisturizing product will play a part in determining which type you choose. Creams are great to use right after a bath when the skin is soft after absorbing moisture. The cream then creates a protective layer of oil, which allows the skin to stay hydrated longer.

Creams are also great to use during bedtime when you don't have to worry about getting an oily look on your face or body. Lotions are best if you need to reapply during the day, for instance,  you wash your hands and face and need to dab on some quick moisture.

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