Body Oil vs. Lotion - Which Is Better?

Body Oil vs. Lotion - Which Is Better?

A good moisturizer is a critical component of any proper skincare regimen, helping to keep the skin properly hydrated, healthy, and youthful.  With the plethora of products on the market, however, it can be challenging to know what options offer the best results.  Let's take a look at how moisturizing oils compare with lotions and creams.


At the end of the day, both body oil and lotion moisturize the skin. The difference lies in how they do so, which comes down to a product's ingredients and their inherent properties. 

Body oils rely on - you guessed it - oil to rehydrate dry skin. Most skincare oils mimic those naturally produced by the body, which means they tend to be readily absorbed, penetrating the skin's top layers where it treats the oil much the same as its own. 

Lotions, on the other hand, combine both water and oils or other emollients (moisturizing agents).  They act to deliver water to the skin, rather than the carrier oil.  Lotions typically contain ingredients that function as skin-protectants, which are meant to help the skin retain moisture more effectively.

Benefits of Oils

You can think of moisturizing oils as food for your skin.  With a molecular structure similar to sebum (your skin's natural oil), it is extremely well-absorbed and functions almost identically within the skin itself. In fact, skincare oil can help to re-regulate your skin's moisture barrier, which is responsible for sebum production.  What this means, however counterintuitive, is that those with oily or acne-prone skin can actually reduce the amount of natural oils produced by their bodies by regularly using a moisturizing oil. 

Additionally, skincare oils are generally "cleaner" than other moisturizing products.  Whereas lotions and creams often contain various additives to achieve a desired consistency, deliver additional skincare benefits, or to enhance shelf life, oils are often single-ingredient, blended with plant-based essentials oils, or contain other botanical ingredients. Most oils used as moisturizers are naturally shelf stable for three years or more, meaning synthetic preservatives aren't necessary.  These characteristics make body oils a better fit for many with skin sensitivities, and actually leave less of a "greasy residue" than many lotions and creams.

Benefits of Lotions & Creams

As mentioned, lotions contain water mixed with oils and other ingredients, which make them ideal for actively dry skin. This formulation allows the lotion to both penetrate the skin, while delivering water and other substances that can enhance the skins ability to retain moisture--both in the near and long term. 

Lotions are useful for replenishing the skin once it has already become dry, whereas an oil will perform best when applied to damp skin, such as when you first step out of the shower. As a result, lotions are a good solution when you need on-the-go hydration.

How Do I Choose a Moisturizer?

Body oils and lotions both effectively moisturize the skin, so choosing between them comes down to personal preference.  And, in reality, it's not necessary to use only one or the other.  Skincare oils and lotions can actually complement each other quite well, whether applied in combination or at different times throughout the day.

What Should I Avoid?

No matter which moisturizing product (or products!) you reach for, it's always wise to read the ingredient lists carefully.  Long gone are the days when you have to settle for synthetic preservatives and chemical fragrances, but that doesn't mean you won't still find lurking behind the beauty counter.  Beyond shopping for non-toxic formulations, avoid those that are gel-based or contain alcohol. These preparations will ultimately have the opposite of the desired effect, drying out the skin, and hindering the optimal function of its natural moisture barrier. 

Benefits of Ostrich Oil

Ostrich oil is the result of rendering ostrich fat, a natural by-product of meat production.  Because this oil is derived from an animal source, it is more biologically similar to the oils our own bodies produce, which makes it extremely effective.  With a molecular structure smaller even than that of emu oil, ostrich oil penetrates more deeply into the skin, where it helps replenish vital nutrients, such as essential fatty acids, Omega 3, 6, and 9.  Because ostrich oil is so readily absorbed, it is non-greasy and virtually scent-free within 60 seconds of application.

Ready to give moisturizing ostrich oil a try?  Our 100% natural, all-American ostrich oil is available in travel-friendly sizes, as well as large pump bottles for everyday, all-over hydration.  We also offer different scents, like lavender and cedarwood, which are made using therapeutic-grade essentials oils (and without anything artificial).  


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