As easy as it would be to apply the same drugstore lotion to your body, feet, arms, face and everywhere in between, this isn’t exactly going to give you great skin.
You see, tubes of eye creams don’t have the same effect on your feet. And special jars marked foot-only lotion, will not benefit your back. If you are interested in hydrating your skin in these dry, chilly temperatures synonymous with winter, you might want to read on. As it turns out, specific creams go to certain areas on the body for a certain reason.
Curious? Below we break down why it’s not OK to put hand lotion on your feet.
All skin is not the same
Skin is the largest organ on your body, and although skin is in the same general category—skin is not the same. It has microclimates that require special attention due to the different characteristics and needs from skin-to-skin. And generally speaking, it all depends on the issues or conditions you are attempting to treat.
Translation: One size does not fit all. For example, skin on the eyelids, cheeks and legs are the thinnest. Whereas, skin on the palms, soles and elbow are the thickest.
Okay, so what is in these lotions or moisturizers that can’t be used everywhere?
Great question. Essentially, there are three categories of ingredients for moisturizers: humectants, emollients, and occlusives.
These are ingredients that attach to water and help the skin maintain its healthy moisture level and supple feel. Common humectants you might know include: hyaluronic acid, glycerin, glycols, and lactic acid.
The nice thing about humectants is they can be used all over, but are especially good for the eyes, neck, chest, back of hands, and any other thinner area of skin.
These oil-based substances fill the rough patches of the skin for a smoother feeling. You’ll notice emollients in the form of squalene, caprylic, coconut oil, lanolin, and caprylic triglyceride. Emollients are what you want to use in cold, dry weather.
Occlusives are the waxes, petrolatum, butters, and heavy silicones of the world that keep everything inside. Occlusives act as a water-resistant protector and will help to heal patches of dry skin.
However, if you have acne-prone skin, you should avoid this.
Sounds like I can use all of them… which one do I need for certain body parts?
A good rule of thumb: Lotions have more humectants, cream-based lotions have more occlusives, and emollients act as primary moisturizers. Basically, you can use the same lotion for your whole body apart from the face, neck, and lips. Meaning the same lotion you apply to your legs can work for your stomach and arms.
The skin on your face and neck is not as thick or strong and is exposed to the most sun on your body. You also make a lot of expressions on your face so the wear and tear is more dramatic than other parts of your body. The skin around the eyes is also the thinnest and most sensitive on your body—for this, use an eye cream with non-irritating ingredients for tolerability.
Lips also require their own products. Here, the epidermis is much thinner and lacks sebaceous glands and pigment. For this, consider a lip balm high in SPF.