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Body Cream vs. Body Lotion

author image Beth Richards
Beth Richards, a freelance writer since 2002, writes about health and draws from her 25 years as a licensed dispensing optician. She has authored several books, writes for national magazines including "Country Living" and "Organic Family" and is a health and wellness features writer for several publications. She is earning a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Maryland.
Body Cream vs. Body Lotion
Body cream and body lotion both moisturize. Photo Credit nensuria/iStock/Getty Images

It's said that oil and water don't mix, but when it comes to understanding the differences between body lotion and body cream, the mixture of oil and water is the most important part. Each type of moisturizer had its own special composition and its own special set of benefits.


Body cream and body lotion are both used to prevent dry, cracked skin and keep it supple and moisturized. Lotions and creams contain both an oily agent, or phase, and a watery agent. Both help replenish oil in the skin and protect against loss of moisture.

Body Cream

Body cream is heavier and contains a higher viscosity, or sticky mixture of water and oil. According to SkinCarePhysician.com, creams penetrate the skin and provide a barrier that prevents more moisture loss from the skin than lotion. Creams, however, tend to feel greasier. A pharmaceutical or dermatology cream is usually an even mixture of 50 percent oil and 50 percent water. However, the ratio of water and oil in cosmetic cream and lotion varies and is also affected by other ingredients, such as paraffin. Because body cream is thicker, it is usually sold in a tub or jar container.


Body lotions are not as sticky and are more readily absorbed by the skin because they have a lower viscosity than body creams. This form of moisturizer usually has a higher water content, comes in a bottle and can be poured out in a liquid form. Lotion is good for skin that is not excessively dry or when it is preferable not to have a sticky, greasy feeling on the skin.


Use heavy or thick body creams on your hands, feet and legs where the skin tends to be dry. Heavy oil-based creams should not be used on your face unless you have excessive dryness.


The Cleveland Clinic recommends using lighter coverage body lotions during the summer and heavier body creams during the winter when humidity is lower and moisture is depleted from the skin.

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