How is Hand Cream Different From Body Lotion?

Your bathroom is probably full of various creams and lotions.  And if you are like many women, you probably even have different creams and lotions for each part of your body.  But why?

We are going to answer this question in a series of blog posts so you understand what you really need and why.  In this post we are going to focus on the difference between a cream and a lotion.  Is there really that much of a difference?  How do you decide which is best for you?  For example, why bother buying a special hand cream when you can use your general body lotion on your hands too?  

Just like not every part of your body is alike, not all of your skin is alike.  Since we use our hands differently from how we use our feet, the Creator designed each body part to be ideal for its use.  Therefore, for example, the skin on your feet tends to be thicker than on the rest of your body, whereas the skin on your hands is actually thinner than on the rest of your body.  That’s why it is best to use a cream or lotion designed for specific body parts. So what about a cream versus a lotion?

Most body lotions contain a higher percentage of water than a cream. They are formulated to be more viscous, meaning thinner, in the sense that they can be more readily spread over large areas of your body and absorbed faster by the skin.  Additionally, since there is so much less oil than water in a lotion, it is lighter weight and less greasy which further enables it to be absorbed more quickly by the skin.

Using body lotion on your hands will actually  shortchange your hands since your hands need special attention.  The skin on one’s hands has fewer sebaceous glands, which means it produces less natural oil than the skin on most of your body.  That’s why hands can become dry and chapped very quickly.  Furthermore, since the skin on your hands tends to be more delicate than elsewhere, it requires more moisturizing in order to prevent drying, particularly during the winter months. 

Creams are different.  They are also a blend of oil and water but the proportions are different – they often have a 50-50 ratio.  Consequently hand creams are thicker and therefore better able to soften, relax and sooth hands than a body lotion can.  Also the thicker consistency acts as a barrier to outside negative influences, such as dirt and harsh weather, while providing a lingering source of hydration for the tender skin of the hands. 

Here’s a little chart to sum it all up:

Benefits of Lotions

  • Smears easily over the entire body
  •  Excellent for normal to slightly dry skin
  • Less greasy residue
  • Faster absorption
  • Ideal for daytime use

Benefits of Creams

  • Much higher ratio of oil to water than lotions
  • Easy to apply to specific areas
  • Prevents dry cracked skin
  • Provides barrier to outside dirt, cold, wind, etc.
  • Stronger hydration
  • Better results for individual body parts, as opposed to general use

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