Do you know a “one size fits all” kind of person when it comes to their skincare 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?
Perhaps you're the sort of person who has multiple different products for multiple different purposes? A fragrance free face lotion for the face, perfumed, thick body butter for the body and something else for everything else in-between.
So, what is right? Can you use a body moisturizer on your face? Or should you always moisturize your face with facial lotions and creams and save the body lotion to moisturize the rest of the body?
Do We Really Need Face Creams and Body Lotions?
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 completely eradicate stretch marks and cellulite and give us the body of a teenager once again. But others most certainly aren’t just all hype.
Ask any skin care specialist or dermatologist, and they'll tell you (as will we) - we all need to use products that not only suit our skin type, but that suit the specific skin area too. There really is a need to use certain types of moisturiser on certain types of skin.
Using a body lotion to moisturize your face could end up in clogged pores, sensitive skin and skin that's prone to acne. Using a facial cream on the rest of your body may end up in dry, flakey skin.
Is Using Body Lotion on the Face a Good Idea?
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. The skin on our faces tends to be thinner and more delicate. So it's clear then, that skin in different areas has different needs.
But that’s not to say you can’t do some skin care swaps or doubling up if you need to. So here's more on why we should leave the body lotion where it belongs and choose a moisturizer specific to our faces and bodies (and how to protect and hydrate the skin using the same types of products).
What's the Difference Between the Skin on Your Body and the Skin on Your Face?
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. most delicate 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 creepy. 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 décolletage. 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 décolletage might appear more wrinkled and aged than the skin on our stomachs.
Why Should I Apply Body Lotion and a Face Moisturizer Anyway?
The skin is the largest organ in the human body and is our first line of defence against infections, so all areas of our skin need to remain moisturised and protected. From the soles of our feet to our under eyes, moisturising adds hydration and helps to keep the skin supple, more elastic and more comfortable.
Dry skin feels uncomfortable and sometimes itchy, and can look rough, flaky 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.
Why is it Important to Use the Right Moisturizer on the Face and 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. If you choose a body lotion for your face, it will be too heavy for the face even though it will suit the skin on the rest of the body.
When we're saving space, time and money on face creams, it can be tempting to use body lotion instead, but this will be heavier than face creams and may clog your pores and cause allergic reactions or side effects like irritation, especially if you have acne-prone skin.
Different products designed for different uses may look similar, but they'll contain different active ingredients or contain a lot more moisturizing agents than we need.
Keeping the Facial Skin Happy
It's especially important to use the right product for the under eye area and the skin around your eyes. This area of skin is thinner than the rest of the skin on the face and is very sensitive. It 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.
Oil and the Skin on Your Body and Face
The skin on the face also contains the highest concentration of sebaceous glands. These oil glands secrete sebum, the naturally occurring wax like substance that keeps the skin naturally moisturised.
The face has more oil glands than the body. This means that the face is often more oily than other areas of the body, especially if we have oily skin that's acne-prone, 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.
Use Body Moisturizer on Body Skin
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 tend to 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 skin on your 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 lotions are designed to be thicker, but less oily 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.
Using a Moisturizer for Your Face on Your Décolletage
Look out too, for moisturising creams that are suitable for the skin of the décolletage. 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 décolletage, even during the day.
Avoid Using Body Lotion on Your Face
Our advice is to use the right cream for the right skin twice a day, but if you need to double up occasionally, use our tips in this article to help guide you. (But make it a habit of never using a body product on the thinner skin of the face!)
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.