Wait, Can You Not Use Body Lotion On Your Face?

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Most people know that the skin is the biggest organ in the body but vastly underestimate its complexity. In fact, it's the first line of defense from a lot of potentially harmful stuff, like chemicals, extreme temperatures, bacteria, and more (via Medline Plus). It's also outfitted with some pretty cool tools to help it do its many jobs, including oil glands, sweat glands, nails, and hair. But how we treat the skin affects its ability to do said duties. 


All that said, it's pretty obvious that skin's look and feel depend on where it is on the body. Therefore, consider how incredibly different skin can be from person to person and it's easy to see why so many people don't know the best way to care for their particular type. It is ultra-important to at least follow some basic guidelines, as how we treat our skin — especially on the face — will affect the aging process sooner than you think. One of the most important guidelines is using site-specific lotion.

Here's why it's important to use face-specific lotion

The skin on the face is extremely different from anywhere else on the body. All it takes is a touch or glance to figure that out. For starters, the skin on the rest of the body is much denser than facial skin (via Acne.org). In addition to being thinner and more delicate, the skin on your face also features pores that are smaller, plus a lot more oil glands. These extra oil glands are what make the face more prone to acne than other parts of the body.


Using the wrong type of lotion can throw the facial skin's delicate chemistry out of whack and exacerbate existing problems, such as acne, dryness, psoriasis, eczema, and rosacea. Body lotion is made specifically for the thicker-skinned parts of the body, like the feet, legs, and arms. Body lotions also typically contain a lot of fragrances to make them smell nice. As a result, these formulations can be too intense for the face and can cause a host of unfortunate side effects like breakouts, itchiness, redness, burning, dryness, or discoloration (per Healthline). Using body lotion on the face a couple of times isn't likely to do much damage, so it's alright in a pinch. But it's certainly not what experts recommend for normal skincare regimens.


Use these types of products on the face, instead

Most people don't walk around with their faces covered up (COVID-19 masks notwithstanding), and as a result, the face is more often exposed to factors that can cause the skin to become dry, burned, or otherwise adversely affected. That's why facial creams — which are indeed creamier than the average body lotion — are packed with important tools like sun protection and moisturizers designed to shield skin from drying elements. Cleveland Clinic recommends using a face cream starting in your 20s to help preserve collagen and elastin. Doing so can potentially push back the aging process and preserve youthful skin for longer.


Facial skin cream selection should also take into consideration the skin type, be it oily, dry, or somewhere in between. People who are acne-prone should not be using the same type of cream as someone who isn't, for example: if you are acne-prone, Forbes recommends Origins Clear Improvement Moisturizer. The ideal cream for people with dry skin should include lactic acid, ceramides, and glycerine, while those who are prone to acne should steer clear of waxes, oils, and petrolatum, per Cleveland Clinic.

How to select and apply a body lotion

Body lotions aren't even one-size-fits-all. In fact, some will be downright detrimental to people of certain skin types. People with sensitive skin, for example, should avoid any body lotion containing fragrance. Instead, choose one that's hypoallergenic and fragrance-free to avoid unwanted allergic reactions or irritation (via Manhattan Dermatology). Anyone with oily skin should select an oil-free version free of pore-clogging culprits, like mineral waxes or oils. Those with extra-dry skin would do well to choose a body lotion that has glycerin, urea, lanolin, hyaluronic acid, etc. because those ingredients are designed to hydrate the skin. If you're unsure of your skin type or have a skin condition, consult a dermatologist to pinpoint the best lotion type for your needs.


As far as application goes, conventional wisdom says that the best time to apply body lotion is immediately after a shower, at least once every day. Before applying, blot the skin dry with a towel instead of aggressively rubbing it dry. This will keep the skin moist, allowing the lotion to lock it in for the best results.