Creams vs. Lotions: What is the Real Difference

Skin care is on everybody’s lips and being that i am so passionate about the topic, i love that! But, just like anything else, when something becomes a popular topic, everybody seems to think that they’re an expert (not to say i am… yet). And with the internet filled with so many “experts”, things can get quite overwhelming. We all want great-looking skin which is soft, supple, even and hydrated. But, it is understandable how it could all be so daunting. My mentions are filled with “my friend said this worked great for her skin, should i use it” almost every single day. So, today, i decided to dedicate a few paragraphs to talking about creams vs. lotions. After all, i think it is quite fitting, especially after our talk about dry vs. dehydrated skin… it kinda lends itself.

Whenever i talk to someone who comes to me to consult about their skin, they always come wanting solutions. My first question is always “what is your skin type” and i am always surprised by how many of us don’t know our skin types! do better, guys.. do better. ANYWAY… before i get to the crux of this post, we need to first know the difference between creams and lotions. Its simple really, and i think anybody can tell the difference between the two. The major difference is water content.


Lotions have a higher water percentage and, to put it simply, are droplets of oil mixed in water.

Lotions tend to be light-weight, non-greasy, and are more easily absorbed into the skin. They are excellent for oily, normal to slightly dry skin.

Lotions are normally sold in bottles and have a liquid consistency. The basic rule is to use lotion during the day and in hot summer months, when you want a product to absorb fast and not leave a greasy residue on your skin. Generally, lotions will have at least 70% water.


Cream is a blend of oil and water with a higher oil percentage – basically droplets of water mixed in oil.

Cream may be heavier and richer than lotion and, therefore, thicker in consistency. For this reason, cream is typically sold in a jar but can be found in pump-able bottles as well. It is the better choice for dry to very dry skin and better for normal skin during the harsh winter months. Generally, creams will have more oils than water.

I am going to digress a little bit. Today i was having a conversation with some people in the same field as I. We were just talking about how the industry has been so unregulated and how amazing it is that people actually know nothing about their skin. We live in a world that revolves around the internet and that has its advantages but at the same time, it has major disadvantages. In this context, i did a whole blog post on dry vs. dehydrated skin as i mentioned. I am only mentioning this because it forms the core of my argument; skin needs.


Lets talk about the purpose of a lotion vs the purpose of a cream, for starters. Lets understand that these products are not the same thing and therefore do different things for your skin. Picking the right one is highly dependent on you knowing what your skin needs. Lotions, as we have said, have a higher water content. MelenialSkin Lotions, for example, have water at no less than 70%. What this means is that it is a great product for one to use if they want to hydrate the skin. This you can tell from the feel of the lotion, itself; it is very light-weight, easily absorbed and is not greasy at all. Creams, are similar but also very different. When comparing creams to other moisturisers such as oils and butters, creams could seem lighter. But, in comparison to lotions, creams have a thicker viscosity as well as oil content. So, its safe to say creams moisturise and lotions hydrate.


At the end of the day, the most determining factor that will decide which is the right option for you, is your skin type.


If you have skin that tends to be oily, this is characterised by excess sebum (natural oil) which is secreted by the sebaceous glands, a lotion will be a better fit. Since the lotion is water rich, it will hydrate the skin; leaving it supple but without making it “extra oily” as can some oil-rich moisturisers. This includes those with normal-oily combinations and dry-oily combinations.


Normal type skin is probably the least problematic skin because more or less, everything is performing how it should be performing. If you have normal type skin, Lotions are also your best bet but especially during the warmer months. During the winter months, you may apply creams that will provide you with extra moisture if needed.


Degrees of skin dryness vary. If your skin is only kind of dry, Lotions are ideal. I am a dry normal-dry skin individuals and i find that, especially for my face, lotions do an excellent job. Summer is around the corner and the last thing i need is a greasy face when i go to the beach! Just as for normal skin, lotions are great for us in the summer months, but we may just need creams in the winter!

For those with extra dry skin, i would recommend creams, just for that extra moisture that they present for the skin. If you have extra dry skin that isn’t getting fixed, no matter how much cream you apply, you may be dehydrated. If that’s the case, read by blogpost here and get yourself some water-rich LOTION.


Before i end this post, i just want to re-iterate the importance of hydration. As i have said, many times, oil = moisture and water = hydration. As much as both are important, i am inclined to say hydration is more important than moisture. Simply because the skin cannot be moisturised if it is not hydrated. A simple example is how you should always moisturise the skin while it is damp. If you are moisturising dry skin, you may as well be chucking out your moisturiser into the bin because it is serving little to no purpose. The idea when it comes to moisturising your skin, is to have your skin ABSORB and LOCK IN the moisture that is being introduced to it.

Internally, you keep your skin hydrated by eating healthy, supple foods that are fresh and by drinking as much water as you can. Externally, you hydrate your skin with LOTION. Skin that is dehydrated, will not repsond to any oils because that’s not what the skin is in need of but that is all in the blog post that i have referred you to throughout this whole blog post.

Lotions available at MELENIALSKIN at the following link:

Hydrate the skin and are formulated for different skin types.

Body Balms are available at MELENIALSKIN at the following link:

Deep moisturisers for the skin with ingredients that lock moisture into the skin.


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