Cream, Oil, Lotion, and Milk
Choose the Right Skincare: Lotions, Creams, and Ointments Explained
Lotions, creams, or ointments: with so many options available in the market, choosing the one that best suits your skin type can be a challenging task.
In technical terms, they are all emulsions, meaning a mixture of aqueous and oily ingredients. The proportion of these ingredients is what allows differentiating an emulsion as a lotion, cream, or ointment. Besides this distinction, emulsions have their own characteristics that provide benefits for use in specific situations. Discover the differences and advantages of each:
Lotions are emulsions with a high percentage of water in their composition, higher than in a cream or ointment, allowing them to have a liquid consistency. Their fluidity provides a quick, non-greasy, and uniform application over a wide area of the skin. They are suitable for all skin types, but as they do not have an oily finish, they are ideal for oily or acne-prone skin. They are also suitable for areas of the body with more hair.
Creams are thicker than lotions because they have a higher proportion of oil (50% oil and 50% water). However, they present a less thick and more pleasant consistency than ointments, allowing quick and easy application to the skin. They are suitable for hydrating normal and dry skin.
Ointments have the thickest consistency (80% oil and 20% water) as they are composed of more fatty materials, such as liquid paraffin or petroleum jelly. Due to their thickness and high viscosity, they are more challenging to spread than other emulsions, making them ideal for applying to small areas. Ointments have the advantage of forming a occlusive and protective barrier on the skin, allowing active ingredients to penetrate better. They are indicated for moisturizing extremely dry skin.