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Face or Body? Do We Really Need Different Creams for Different Areas of Our Skin?

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Do you know a “one size fits all” kind of person when it comes to their skin care products? Perhaps you’re one yourself? The type of person who uses one one bottle of moisturising cream for everywhere - hands, body, face…

Or the kind of person that believes that anything other than one pot that does it all, just means that you’re being sucked into some kind of marketing hype and it’s all just a waste of money.

Some skin care product hype might well be a little bit of a marketing ploy to make us part with our money. Such as expensive body creams that promise to eradicate stretch marks and cellulite. But others most certainly aren’t.

Perhaps the most basic is the topic of this article (don’t you love it when a plan comes together?). There really is a need to use certain types of moisturiser on certain types of the body.

But that’s not to say you can’t do some skin care swaps or doubling up if you need to. Here’s everything we know about what moisturiser to use and where...

Not all moisturisers are created equal

And neither is our skin…

Our skin tends to differ in thickness in different parts of our body, especially as adults after we’ve lost our baby soft, peachy skin.

If you think of the skin under your eyes, you’ll probably think of thin skin. And you’d be right. The skin under our eyes is the thinnest skin we have. Feel your under eye skin now, gently. If you squeeze it really gently, you'll feel that it’s soft and almost crepey. It might even stay squashed together or pulled upwards for a few seconds.

Now think of the skin on your heels. Pretty tough, huh? The skin on well used areas, such as the feet, tends to be hard, worn and thick, which is nothing like the skin under our eyes.

Then there’s all the skin in between, such as the legs, hands and decolletage. The skin on our legs is quite robust, often used to being shaved or waxed. Our hands might feel more dry than the skin on our arms. Our decolletage might appear more wrinkled and aged than the skin on our stomachs.

Why we need different moisturisers for different areas

The skin is the largest organ in the human body and all areas of our skin need to remain moisturised. From the soles of our feet to our under eyes, moisturising helps to keep the skin supple, more elastic and more comfortable.

Dry skin feels uncomfortable and sometimes itchy, and can look rough, flakey and irritated. Using a moisturiser helps to replenish lost moisture and keeps the skin happy.

But as a general rule, not all moisturisers and creams are suitable for all parts of the body.

Because our skin is thinner or thicker in certain areas, it’s best to use a cream that’s been developed for that area.

This is especially important for the under eye area. This area of thin skin is very sensitive and can react to moisturisers and other products that are not meant for use around the eye. The skin under the eye is also very delicate and the last thing you want is irritants around the eye area.

Also, when we blink, the muscles around the eye can move skin care products further towards the eye, and cause irritation, watering, itching and soreness in the eye itself. So it’s always best to stick to an designated eye cream.

In terms of the face in general, always use a cream that’s been developed for use on the face. The skin on the face is more sensitive to the skin on the body, and therefore needs a more gentle moisturiser.

The skin on the face also contains the highest concentration of sebaceous glands. These glands secrete sebum, the naturally occurring wax like substance that keeps the skin naturally moisturised.

This means that the face is often more oily than other areas of the body, especially if we have oily skin, or at the end of the day when we’ve been sweating and exposed to dirt, grime and environmental pollutants.

Our faces are also more exposed to the sun, meaning that they can become more sensitive than other areas of the body.

For all these reasons, it’s not recommended that you use a body moisturiser on your face. Body moisturisers tend to be thicker and heavier, meaning they can make the skin on the face too oily, or they can be heavy and irritating, blocking the pores potentially leading to spots and acne breakouts.

Using a body cream helps to keep the skin moisturised but often there’s added extras too. Some body creams contain ingredients that can help to tighten the skin such as caffeine, or exfoliating agents that help to brighten the skin.

Body creams can be used all over the body, but there are areas where you might need a little extra help. The feet can benefit from ultra moisturising, heavier consistency creams.

Also, the hands really do benefit from specific hand creams, rather than just a body cream. Hand creams tend to be thicker than body creams, something that dry hands can benefit greatly from.

Our hands are often exposed to the elements more than our bodies. Plus we wash them more often which can be drying, especially in hard water areas or if we need to use harsh soaps and hand sanitisers in our work setting.

Certainly using a body moisturiser on your hands won’t do any harm, it just might not give the dry skin relief you’re looking for.

Look out too, for moisturising creams that are suitable for the skin of the decolletage. Often exposed to the sun, this area of skin isn’t as delicate as the skin on the face, but it often needs more attention than the skin on the body.

You could also try using heavier face creams designed for night time use on the decolletage, even during the day.

Our advice is to use the right cream for the right area, but if you need to double up occasionally, use our tips in this article to help guide you. You could also try our Sidekick Day Cream for your face and our Midnight Feast Night Cream for your face and decolletage. We know you’ll love them!

Sources:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/8947309_Epidermal_Thickness_at_Different_Body_Sites_Relationship_to_Age_Gender_Pigmentation_Blood_Content_Skin_Type_and_Smoking_Habits

https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/picture-of-the-skin#1

https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/sebum#sebaceous-glands

https://www.allure.com/story/body-lotion-vs-face-moisturizer-differences

 

 


Hannah de Gruchy BSc(Hons)

About Author

Hannah de Gruchy is a freelancer writer who specialises in health and wellness. She has a keen interest in the biology of skin and loves using her words to help separate the real science of skincare from the pseudoscience of some skincare brands. Hannah has a degree in Human Biology and many years’ experience working in laboratories around London. Using this experience, Hannah enjoys turning complex science into interesting, engaging and easy to digest pieces to read. In her spare time, Hannah runs, practices yoga and loves cooking plant based foods.

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