If your beauty cabinet is cluttered with bottles and jars of various cleansers, serums, and lotions, you may be wondering if any of these skincare products double duty. For instance, can a face moisturizer double up as a body moisturizer?
Face and body lotions may look alike. They're usually thick, creamy, and come from pots, tubes, or bottles. But there is a difference between the two.
According to dermatologists, using a body cream from head to toe isn't actually a good idea. That's because moisturizer made for the body is different to that made for the face.
Here are a few things you should know about these products before slathering them all over.
An important beauty lesson everyone should know: there is a difference between facial skin and body skin - a big one! That's right. There are several reasons why facial and body skin need to be cared for differently.
For starters, the skin on your face is much thinner than the rest of your body (particularly around the eye area).
Your face also contains the highest concentration of sebaceous glands - those responsible for producing oil. That's why your face is more prone to breakouts than your body, as oil production can clog pores, which leads to blackheads, whiteheads, and other types of acne.
The amount of oil your skin produces depends largely on hormone changes, environmental conditions, and even the type of skincare products you use.
Your body, on the other hand, is more exposed to harsher conditions than that of your face. Take your hands, for instance. You may wash them several times a day or more in harsh soap that can quickly cause dryness. The skin on your body may also get drier and more irritated than the skin on your face, because of hot showers, friction from clothing, and sweating.
Because your body and facial skin have individual traits, the moisturizing products used need to serve vastly different purposes.
Facial moisturizer, for instance, are typically focused on catering for your skin type and specific skin concerns, like oily skin, fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. Whereas body moisturizer addresses issues like dry skin, cellulite, spider veins, and psoriasis.
Face lotion and body moisturizer are two separate types of skincare products. Take a walk down or scroll through the skincare aisle of a beauty store and you'll see there are many different offerings. Some for anti-aging, others for hydrating, and many for sun protection. There's a lot of choice - you just need to select the right daily moisturizer both for your face and body.
According to cosmetic chemist Ginger King, body formulas tend to be much heavier than face creams. They usually contain thicker emollients to hydrate, nourish, and protect.
They "tend to contain a lot of butter, oil, and film formers [which are chemicals that seal in the moisture," she says, noting that these ingredients are non-comedogenic and too heavy for the face. As a matter of fact, some body moisturizers can even irritate the facial skin due to their fragrance content.
You'll often find face creams contain specialized active ingredients that cater to different skincare concerns. Hyaluronic acid targets dry skin, while retinol addresses aging skin. Glycolic acid sloughs away dead skin, while coconut oil promotes dewy, healthy skin.
If you're stuck and don't have a better option, you can use body moisturizer on your face. However, it is generally not recommended by dermatologists, especially if you have acne-prone or oily skin.
Board-certified New York City dermatologist Shari Lipner explains that thicker moisturizing formulas do not absorb as well into thinner facial skin. So using it on your face may simply irritate the skin and clog your pores - resulting in zits!
She also points out that "most body products do not have sun protection," which is vital for any skin that’s exposed to the sun - and your face is! Face creams usually contain spf to protect your skin while you're outdoors. It may only be spf 15, but anything is better than nothing!
If you have an inflammatory condition, such as psoriasis or eczema, you should definitely avoid smothering your facial skin in body cream. Thick moisturizer will only worsen the disease.
Don't use a product like hand cream either, as these tend to be thicker than body cream.
"Hand creams, in general, are thicker than body moisturizer because it’s specific to the hands and not supposed to glide off," says King. "Body moisturizer needs to spread to cover the full body. With a concentrated product like hand cream, it may cause even worse breakouts."
While body and face products are an important part of your skincare routine, they shouldn't be doubled up for head to toe hydration. They may share similar ingredients and both be oil-free, but they are still two very different products. Using the right product on the right area of your body will give you better results.
If you're looking for products designed for the face and body, try Truly's Anti-Aging Face + Body Kit. The bundle includes a facial cleanser, facial serum, body polish, and body cream to give the skin on your face and body all the TLC it needs. These four products all contain vegan collagen, retinol, and tons of antioxidants. For best results, use all these products daily as part of your beauty and wellness routine.
So to answer your question, it's not a good idea to use the same moisturizer for your body and face. Doing it every now and then in emergencies certainly won't kill you, but you don't want to make a habit of it. It is always better to use a skincare product specifically targeted for your face or your body. For a personalized skincare routine, visit your dermatologist.