Lotions vs. Creams
Lotions and creams. They're the same thing, right? They all do the same thing? Not necessarily. While lotions and creams do both moisturize and help to keep your skin feeling soft and smooth, they are slightly different. All products that moisturize your skin have the same goal, obviously. Their jobs are to keep moisture in the outermost layer of your skin. Yes, lotions and creams both do this, but they do so at different levels.
Oil Based vs. Water Based
If they're oil-based, they're an emulsion, also known as a mixture of water into oil. If they're water-based, that means that they're an emulsion of oil into water. Most lotions and creams are water-based, but water-in-oil emulsions are also on the market.
So, When Should I Use What?
You can define the bases like you can with the oil in your car, by the viscosity of the mixture (this is a fancy term that really just means the thickness). The biggest difference between lotions and creams are their composition. Lotions have a low viscosity. So they're thinner. This is why they usually come in a bottle that you can squeeze or pump. Lotions are also usually lighter and a little less oily than creams are. Because of these reasons, people with normal-oily skin types probably only need to use lotion to keep their skin moisturized. Creams are usually thicker and usually come in jars. People with dry skin types should usually lean towards creams. Some people switch to a cream during the colder, drier winter months.
Okay, Now What?
Don't go out and trade in your lotion for a cream, or your cream for a lotion if it's working for you. Everyone's different, and so are their bodies. So, find what works for you and go with it.