SKINCARE TIPS & ADVICE
Can You Use Body Lotion on Your Face?
Although they may seem similar, body moisturizer and face moisturizer aren’t always interchangeable. Ahead, discover the key differences between face and body moisturizers and learn some cues that can help you determine whether a product is suitable for use on your face, body, or both.
Facts About Face Lotion vs. Body Lotion
- Body lotions and face lotions are two different types of skincare products that are generally meant to be applied on different parts of the body.
- When choosing a face or body moisturizer, it’s essential to read the product packaging carefully to see whether the product is designed for use on your face, body, or both.
- Some body moisturizers, such as CeraVe Moisturizing Cream and CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion, are suitable for use on your face.
- Multi-purpose body moisturizers offer a convenient option for anyone looking to simplify their skincare routine. If you decide to use a body lotion or body cream on your face, we suggest trying our lotion and moisturizer formulas, which are developed with dermatologists, fragrance-free, and gentle on skin. They also contain beneficial ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides.
What’s the Difference Between Body Moisturizers and Facial Moisturizers?
In most cases, body moisturizers are meant to hydrate the skin on your body and facial moisturizers are designed to address the needs of facial skin. Face and body products can differ in their texture, formulation, intended usage, and concentration of ingredients.
Besides hydrating your skin and helping it retain moisture, face and body moisturizers can also provide targeted solutions for skin concerns specific to each area. For example, many face creams help target visible signs of aging and uneven skin tone or provide weightless hydration for oily skin. They’re often more lightweight than body moisturizers, which typically have a thicker, creamier texture ideal for the skin below your neck. Some body moisturizers can also help address skin concerns (such as bumpiness or flakiness) on dry areas like the elbows or knees.
Understanding Facial Skin vs. Body Skin
Facial moisturizers and body moisturizers often aren't interchangeable because they're formulated for skin in different areas, each with a number of distinct characteristics and needs. Understanding these characteristics can help you pick the right products for your face and body. Here are a few of the main differentiators to consider.
Research shows that facial skin is generally thinner than the skin on the rest of your body.1 In fact, the skin around your eyes is typically considered to be the thinnest and most delicate skin on your entire body. Therefore, it’s possible that the thinner skin on your face may be more vulnerable to signs of damage or irritation from external aggressors. Facial skin may also be more likely to show visible signs of aging first—such as wrinkles, fine lines, sagging, or dark spots.
Pores are tiny openings that allow your skin to release sweat and sebum (natural oils) through the skin’s surface. They can be found anywhere on your face or body where oil glands are present on the skin. With that said, visible pores tend to be more prevalent on your face, where you have the most sebaceous glands.
Your sebaceous glands create an oily substance known as sebum that helps keep your skin lubricated. However, when too much sebum is produced, it can clog your pores and result in various skin concerns, such as blackheads and whiteheads. According to the Cleveland Clinic, clogged pores can occur anywhere on the body but are more common on people’s faces.2
Unprotected exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can contribute to premature signs of skin aging, such as fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. Areas that get the most sun exposure are generally considered to have a higher risk for sun damage—such as your face, neck, and forearms. To help protect your skin from the sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays, it’s essential to follow a daily sun protection routine that includes a face and body sunscreen with broad-spectrum SPF 30 or above.
CeraVe Tip: No sunscreen blocks out UV rays completely. We recommend avoiding sun exposure during peak hours and wearing protective clothing. You should always reapply sunscreen at least every two hours throughout the day (as well as after swimming or sweating). Additionally, water-resistant sunscreen should be used when sweating or spending time in water.
According to studies, sensitive skin is more common on the face compared to the rest of the body.3 There are many possible reasons for this, but it may be linked to the fact that facial skin is thinner than body skin and has more nerve endings. On the other hand, although body skin is generally thicker, certain areas (such as your hands, feet, knees, and elbows) tend to face more wear and tear from daily activities—such as frequent hand washing and friction from clothing. This can also cause dry, itchy, or sensitive skin in these areas.
Can You Use Body Lotion on Your Face?
Some body moisturizers are suitable for use on both body and facial skin, but this is product dependent. It’s important to read the label on your lotion, cream, or ointment carefully before applying body moisturizer on your face to confirm how (and where) the product should be applied.
If the product packaging says that the formula is suitable for use on your face, you may want to consider your skin type next. For example, individuals with acne-prone skin, sensitive skin, or eczema-prone skin may want to consult a board-certified dermatologist before using body moisturizer on their face. In general, people with these skin types may want to opt for moisturizers that are fragrance-free, allergy-tested, and non-comedogenic (meaning the formula won’t clog your pores). For eczema-prone skin, it can also be beneficial to look for seals of acceptance from reputable organizations, such as the National Eczema Association (NEA).
Can CeraVe Body Moisturizers Be Used on Your Face?
CeraVe offers a range of moisturizer options to fit a wide variety of skin types and preferences. When it comes to CeraVe body moisturizers, many of our formulas are non-comedogenic (meaning they won’t clog your pores) and suitable for use on your face. However, this doesn’t mean that all of our body formulas can be used on your face or vice versa (always check the product label). Learn more about our multi-purpose body moisturizers below.
3 CeraVe Moisturizers You Can Use on Your Face and Body
CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion
Lightweight lotion for normal to dry skin
CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion is an ideal choice for gentle yet effective moisturizing. This lightweight moisturizer with hyaluronic acid and ceramides is oil-free, non-greasy, and fragrance-free, making it suitable for all skin types. It can be used daily to hydrate your skin and help restore its natural barrier. Plus, our Daily Moisturizing Lotion is also accepted by the National Eczema Association and features MVE Delivery Technology, which continuously releases moisturizing ingredients for all-day hydration.
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
Barrier-restoring cream for normal to dry skin
Another multi-tasking moisturizer that can help streamline your skincare routine is CeraVe Moisturizing Cream. This barrier-restoring moisturizing cream offers all the benefits of our Daily Moisturizing Lotion but features a rich yet non-greasy cream texture. It’s formulated with useful ingredients for dry skin, such as hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and petrolatum—plus our MVE Delivery Technology. The barrier-restoring cream can be used daily on your face or body to help restore the appearance of smooth, supple, and healthy-looking skin. It can also make an excellent moisturizer for those with eczema-prone skin and diabetic skin, as it’s accepted by the National Eczema Association and American Diabetes Association.
CeraVe Healing Ointment
Ointment for very dry skin
If your skin is extremely dry and in need of special care, we recommend adding CeraVe Healing Ointment to your daily routine. This intensely hydrating ointment can be applied as needed to help temporarily protect and soothe very dry skin. The formula is non-comedogenic, fragrance-free, lanolin-free, and features beneficial ingredients such as petrolatum, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides. Similar to the above body moisturizers, CeraVe Healing Ointment is accepted by the National Eczema Association. Many people with dry, flaky skin on their face use this ointment in the evening after their night cream or lotion to help seal in much-needed moisture (also known as “slugging”).
For help choosing the right products for your specific skin type and skin concerns, use our Find My Skincare Solution tool.
- Cochran ML, Lopez MJ, Czyz CN. “Anatomy, Head and Neck: Eyelid.” [Updated 2023 Aug 14]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan.
- “Clogged Pores.” Cleveland Clinic, 19 Apr. 2022.
- Farage MA. “The Prevalence of Sensitive Skin.” Front Med (Lausanne). 2019 May 17;6:98. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2019.00098. PMID: 31157225; PMCID: PMC6533878.
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