Lotions, Cream, Balms & Serums: What’s The Difference?

Buying a moisturizer might seem simple, but for some, it’s not.  It can get confusing and overwhelming, especially when there are multiple skin issues to contend with. 


There are the body lotions, creams, butters, balms and serums. Facial creams and lotions with options for sensitive, oily, dry and combination skin.  What about ingredients for anti-aging, shine-free, sunscreen, dark spot, fine lines and wrinkles? The confusion just builds. 

No matter what kind of skin you have, you need to moisturize daily, from head to toe. Skin is our shield and moisturizing will keep it healthy, hydrated, soft, smooth, and supple.  As Wellness Advocates with a strong belief in prevention, moisturizing keeps skin healthy while reducing the likelihood of further damage.

So how do you know which moisturizer is best for your skin?  Here are some straightforward guidelines, tips, and strategies to help choose. The right moisturizer that will keep your skin healthy and glowing.

MOISTURIZING 101

  • Our moisturizers are made natural plant oils, butters, and extracts that are beneficial and healthier for your body. 
  • Moisturizing creams and butters are thicker than a lotion. 

    Creams contain more plant oils than butters.  These plant oils are rich and thick (avocado, rice bran, and neem) and have a higher amount of fat for added emollience.  A body butter has a higher amount of butters (shea, mango, kokum, cocoa) to oils. 
  • Ointments and balms are made with a wax (beeswax or carnauba, a plant wax). Wax is used in order to protect skin and lock in moisture. 

    Rich oils, extracts, and some therapeutic healing and repair ingredients are included.  Ointments are your go to for open wounds, cracked skin, cuts, scrapes, bites, stings, rashes, and burns.  Once healed, you can switch to a cream, lotion, or body butter.
  • When it comes to buying a serum, there are oil-based and water based. Our serums are oil-based.

    Oil based serums are applied on top of or after a cream or lotion.  They provide your skin with added moisture because they are formulated with a higher concentration of active ingredients for added emollience.

    This makes them a great instrument for targeting specific skincare concerns such as severe dry skin, rosacea, acne, psoriasis, eczema, wrinkles, skin discoloration, hair loss, dandruff, and so much more.
  • Climate conditions should play a huge roll in choosing a moisturizer and it should change accordingly.  Seasonal changes like winter and summer, dry air verses humid conditions are things to consider.
  • Moisturize after every shower and every evening before your head hits the pillow.  Skin is most receptive to repairing itself from damaged caused by daily aggressors at night. 
  • Certain areas of the body have fewer sebaceous glands and require added moisturization; under eye skin, around lips, elbows, knees and feet and hands.

Body Moisturizing Guidelines

  • In the summertime or in hot humid climates, use a lightweight lotion as a daytime moisturizer and a cream or butter at nighttime. For dry cracked heels or skin conditions that need repair and healing, use a balm at nighttime.
  • During the drier winter months or in dry climates switch over to a cream or butter for daytime and nighttime. Again, for dry cracked heels or skin conditions that need repair, use a balm at nighttime to restore, repair and heal the surface.
  • For skin that is naturally dry, choose a cream or butter for both day and nighttime application.
  • How does your skin feel?  Pay attention to how your skin feels and increase the application accordingly. If it’s itchy or feels taut and tight, apply it more often.
  • Repair creams and balms. More is better when it comes to repair and healing.  Generally, we instruct our clients to apply these every day and as often as necessary to relieve pain and discomfort and to naturally repair and heal the surface.

    Because our products are made with natural ingredients, they are safe to use as often as necessary.  Always apply after showering and before your head hits the pillow.  Once skin has repaired or healed, switch to a cream or lotion and use your repair products several times a week as a maintenance option.
  • Eczema and Psoriasis.  We suggest using a thick cream such as Neem Cream that is formulated with therapeutic oils and butters to bring instant relief to the pain and irritation. 

    For skin that is cracked, split, chaffed, or has with sever scales, we recommend ProCure Eczema & Psoriasis Relief Balm.  This incredible balm protects the skin while it locks in moisture (seals the surface with wax) to repair and heal the skin.  Once the skin has healed, you can switch to our Neem Cream.

Written By: Mary Ellen Wank, Wellness Advocate and Founder of LATIV, Natural Skin Revival

October 28, 2019 7:08 am

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