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Can you use hand cream on your face?

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For some people, it’s a simple situation. One pot of cream in the bathroom that will suit everywhere. They use it on their hands after washing them, all over their body when they get out of the shower or bath and on their face after cleansing. 

But for others, it’s the other extreme. Their bathroom sinks, cupboards, baths, dressing tables, bags, cars and desks are filled with a whole range of different creams and lotions. Each bottle, tube or tub (or multiple bottles, tubes and tubs) for a different area of skin. Or for a different time of day or skin condition. Some even as ‘just in case’ moisturisers for those days when their skin feels contrary.

So, what’s right?

Should we all be a one size fits all and use one moisturiser all over? Do we really needdifferent creams for different areas of our skin

Or should we separate it all out and have separate moisturisers for our hands, face and body? 

Here, we take a look at one aspect of this conundrum - can we use hand cream on our faces? Or should what’s meant for the hands, stay on the hands, and what’s meant for the face, stay on the face…?

Hand cream vs face cream

If you have a hand cream to, ahem,hand, then take a look at it right now. The chances are, it’ll have instructions along the line of, “apply liberally as needed to the hands”.

Also, I’m willing to bet that if you opened it and had a little sniff, it’ll smell lovely. It might be fragranced with florals such as rose or lavender and the smell will be really quite strong. Squeeze a little bit out and I’m predicting that it has quite a thick texture. 

Rub it into your hands and notice how it feels. It’s probably taking a fair while to absorb into your skin, and it may even leave a (somewhat satisfying) slight greasy film over your skin.

Now, in contrast pop to your bathroom and find your facial moisturiser. The instructions on this bottle or tub will more than likely tell you to apply apea sized amount to your face and neck. If it’s adaytime facial moisturiser, it’ll suggest using it in the morning after washing your face and before applying makeup.

If it's anight time facial moisturiser, it’ll suggest applying it aftercleansing and removing makeup before going to bed. 

Whether it’s a daytime or a night time cream, it probably won’t smell too much like the floral scents of hand cream. If it’s scented with essential oils or plant botanicals, then it might do, but it’ll be more subtle.

Also, if you squeeze a bit out onto your fingers, its texture will feel different. It’ll feel lighter and less greasy than your hand cream, especially so, your daytime moisturiser. (Night time moisturisers tend to be a little heavier as it doesn’t matter so much about shine when we’re asleep.) 

When you apply your facial cream, whether in the morning or at night, it will absorb into your skin quite quickly. (Again, your night time cream may absorb a little slower than your daytime one.) You can try this experiment for yourself by applying a small amount to the back of your hand and rubbing it in. 

The skin on our hands vs the skin on our faces 

This is all because hand creams tend to need to do more work than our face creams. Our hands are our work horses. They type for us, muck out horses for us and chop onions for us. They might also come into contact with harsh detergents when we wash up or if we work with certain chemicals. 

We wash them much more frequently than we wash our faces. Especially so at the moment, since the coronavirus has forced us to do so. Plus we might be using harsh alcohol based hand sanitisers too. 

As a consequence, the skin on our hands tends to bemuch thicker than the skin on our faces. Therefore, it needs a more heavy duty cream. This is why hand creams are much thicker than facial moisturisers. 

Also, the skin on our hands tends to be less sensitive than the skin on our faces. It can toleratestrong fragrances and thicker, greasier lotions. Heavy duty creams, when used on our face, can cause the pores to block.

These pore blockages can then lead to irritation, excess oiliness, spots and acne breakouts. When was the last time you had spots on your hands? It’s not common, is it? Acne breakouts aren’t confined to the face. It can affect the chest and back, but it’s unusual to experience acne spots on the hands. 

So, can hand cream be used on my face?

I think you might have realised the answer to the question of using hand cream on your face by now. But for the avoidance of doubt, we wouldn’t recommend it. 

The skin on our faces has different needs to the skin on our hands. It needs something more targeted to our specific skin type too. Hand creams tend to cater for all hands (although some are more geared towards very dry skin). 

Moisturisers developed for use on the face tend to be more specific. For example, we might need a different facial moisturiser if our skin was oily to if our skin was very dry. 

But not if you useSönd skin care products! Our range of alkalising cleansers, moisturisers and other skin care products are designed to support and nourish all skin types. Allfacial skin types, that is. 

If you have oily skin, dry skin, acne prone skin or you suffer with eczema or psoriasis, Sönd skin care will help you. 

As for if you want to use our facial products on your hands… Well, that one’s up to you. But our advice? Stick to one (or two) moisturiser for your face, one for your hands and one for your body. All of your beautiful skin will thank you for it! 


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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