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Body oil vs lotion: Which one is better to moisturise skin?


Body oil and body lotion are widely used by women of different skin types. But is body oil better than body lotion?

Our skin mostly loves moisture. Without it, the skin will feel dry and sometimes itchy. Keeping it moisturised or oiled is important not just for a soft and smooth feel, but also because our skin is a protective layer for the body. But when it comes to picking the right skincare product to moisturise your skin, what should you choose – a body oil or body lotion?

What is a body oil?

Body oils are formulations primarily composed of natural oils, such as coconut oil, almond oil, or jojoba oil. These oils are rich in fatty acids and nutrients that help to hydrate and soften the skin, says dermatologist and cosmetologist Dr Kisalay Saurav. Body oils are particularly effective in sealing moisture into the skin and providing a protective barrier against environmental stressors.

Bottle of essential oil
Body oils mostly consist of natural oils. Image courtesy: Freepik

What is a body lotion?

Body lotions are water-based formulations that contain a combination of water, oils, and emulsifiers. They have a lighter texture and are easily absorbed into the skin, making them suitable for all skin types, including oily or acne-prone skin. Lotions often contain additional ingredients such as humectants and occlusives, which help to attract and retain moisture in the skin, leaving it feeling soft and supple.

Body oil vs lotion for skin

The main difference between body oils and lotions lies in their composition and consistency. While body oils are oil-based and provide intense hydration and nourishment, lotions are water-based and offer lightweight moisturisation with a non-greasy finish. People with dry or sensitive skin may benefit more from body oils, while those with normal to oily skin may prefer lotions for their lighter texture, shares the expert.

Ultimately, the choice between lotions and oils depends on your skin type and preferences. For dry or mature skin that requires deep hydration, body oils are an excellent option. They penetrate deeply into the skin, delivering essential nutrients and leaving it feeling soft and supple.

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On the other hand, lotions are suitable for daily use on all skin types, providing lightweight hydration without clogging pores or leaving a greasy residue.

Body lotion next to roses
Is body lotion better for your skin? Image courtesy: Freepik

Can you use lotion and body oils at the same time?

Both body oils and lotions can be used as part of your daily skin care routine, either separately or together.

  • If you are using both the products simultaneously, apply the body oil first to lock in moisture, followed by the lotion to seal in hydration.
  • You can mix a few drops of body oil into your lotion for added nourishment and hydration.

The frequency of use for body oils and lotions depends on your skin’s needs and preferences. People with dry or dehydrated skin may benefit from using body oils daily, especially after bathing or showering, to replenish moisture. Body lotions, on the other hand, can be applied as needed throughout the day to maintain hydration and keep the skin feeling soft and smooth, says Dr Saurav.

Who should avoid body oils and lotions?

While body oils and lotions are generally safe for most people, there are certain circumstances where they may not be suitable.

  • Individuals with sensitive skin or specific skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis should exercise caution when using these products, as some ingredients may cause irritation or exacerbate existing skin issues.
  • Those with acne-prone skin should be cautious about the formulation. Opt for oil-free or non-comedogenic formulations to avoid clogging pores and triggering breakouts.

So, depending on your skin goals and any skin issue, pick the body oil or lotion.

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