Skin Lotion, Cream, or Ointment: How to Choose the Best Moisturizer


Dermatologists often recommend using a daily skin moisturizer, especially in the winter. Picking a moisturizer that is right for you can be overwhelming. Many people want what’s best for their skin, but with so many brands and variations of products, how do you choose what to use?

A few simple questions about your skin type and a little product knowledge can help determine which moisturizer will work for you. Is your skin dry, oily, or a combination of the two? Do you know the difference between a lotion, cream, and ointment and which works best for your skin type?


Moisturizing Lotion

Of the three types of moisturizers, a lotion has a greater percentage of water in the formula and is thinner in consistency. It is easy to spread, quickly absorbed, and feels very light on the skin. Lotions are reasonably hydrating without feeling heavy and work well for those with oily skin. Even those with dry skin may use a lotion during the summer months when the air is hot and humid. Most facial moisturizers fall into this category.


Moisturizing Cream

A cream is typically formulated with half water and half oil. Heavier than a lotion, a skin cream tends to be less greasy than an ointment and is easy to spread over large areas. A cream helps moisturize dry skin without feeling too heavy and is most beneficial to those with normal and dry skin. Creams are frequently recommended by dermatologists to help treat dry skin, eczema, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. Many step up their moisturizer to a cream during the cold dry winter months for additional skin hydration.


Skin Ointment

An ointment is the heaviest of the three made primarily with 80% oil and 20% water. Ointments form a barrier that help seal in moisture into the skin. Best used for extremely dry skin or areas that may be susceptible to dryness such as the elbows and feet, and for those who suffer from eczema, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. Skin ointments also help protect, relieve, and prevent chapped skin during the cold winter months. Ointments are typically greasy, and probably not appropriate for those with oily skin.


Additional Skin Care Tips

  • It is important to match your skin type to the moisturizer.
  • Seasonal changes can also affect the condition of your skin and may require changes to your moisturizer.
  • Always moisturize after a shower or bath and after exfoliating or shaving.
  • Look for non-comedogenic on the label, which means that it won’t clog your pores.
  • For sensitive skin, avoid ingredients that may be irritating. Consider products that are fragrance-free, paraben-free, lanolin-free and formaldehyde-free.

Vanicream™ Moisturizers come in a variety of formulations and sizes to meet the needs of those with sensitive skin. Learn more about Vanicream™ Lite Lotion , Vanicream™ Skin Cream and Vaniply™ Ointment.  

Vanicream™ Moisturizers carry the seal of acceptance from the National Eczema Association and have been awarded five out of five stars.