Lotion, Cream or Ointment? What’s The Big Difference?

Winter is all about moisturizing your skin. Dry skin can be flaky and can feel rather itchy and if you are prone to eczema or psoriasis the type of moisturizer that you use can make a big difference.

Moisturizers are a combination of oil and water emollients. There are three classes of moisturizers:

  1. lotions
  2. creams
  3. ointments

Each one differs in their oil-to-water concentrations and their ability to seal in moisture in the skin.


Lotions contain a lot of water so they feel light on the skin and have a creamy consistency.  Lotions however are not designed to be deeply moisturizing. Lotions are much better in the summer when you don’t need a heavy moisturizer because you are not as exposed to indoor heating, dry wind, and the skin has a tendency to sweat more.  If you like using a lotion, changing to a thicker lotion consistency in the winter will help somewhat with keeping the moisture in your skin.


Creams are more comfortable and cosmetically acceptable as they are less greasy and more easily washed off using water.  Night creams are typically more hydrating than day creams, but may be too thick or heavy to wear during the day, hence their name. If you use a night cream during the day this could leave your face very greasy and just feel like the cream is just sitting on top of the skin. Ointments are a semisolid substance usually in a tube or jar and much thicker than a lotion or a cream because it contains more grease than water. 


Ointments are mostly used as a salve which is designed to soothe or heal the skin such as eczema or psoriasis or any other skin condition and usually contains a medical ingredient, unlike a cosmetic lotion or cream.  If you enjoy winter activities staying comfortable in your skin is essential. 

To figure out what moisturizer is best suited to your personal skin care needs and protect the most precious coat in your wardrobe - YOUR SKIN - please contact I.C. Spa Products.