A woman using moisturiser

Body Moisturizer: What Is It, Does It Work, And Is It The Best Option For You?

Does body moisturizer work? This is our comprehensive guide for everything you need to know.
Updated: January 16, 2023
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We all want to achieve the best skin possible for our face, but an area we can often neglect is our body. This is understandable, after all, everyone gets to see your face when you walk down the street, and unless you’ve recently become a nudist (no judgment here!), only a lucky few will gaze upon the rest of your body.  Does body moisturizer work to bring your body skin up to the same level of quality as your face?

However, more and more of us are starting to take the skin on our bodies more seriously. Nobody wants to have dry patches or hard-to-remove rough spots, or generally feel uncomfortable in their own skin, and thankfully there’s an abundance of helpful products available to aid with all of these things.

We wanted to investigate this more fully. What is body moisturizer, does it really work, and should we be using it? Let’s dive in.

What is a body moisturizer and how does it work?

Everyone knows that during the day our skin can be confronted with a range of different challenges. From dryness, tightness, various forms of irritation, and damage from environmental pollutants. These elements prove that we should all have a solid skincare routine that allows us to best manage these issues, and in our opinion, body moisturizer can be an incredibly useful component.

But what is it, exactly? Good question. In essence, body moisturizer is very similar to face moisturizer. It can come in many forms, from gels, creams, oils, and ointments. The purpose of a body moisturizer is to keep the skin hydrated and healthy and to prevent dryness from developing.  Body moisturizer is an essential part of our body skincare routine, which you can learn about by clicking here!

It works by preventing the outer layer of the skin, which is called the stratum corneum, from losing too much water over a certain amount of time. This helps keep the skin moisturized and balanced. It does this via its powerful ingredients. For example, occlusives are used to form the protective seal; Acids such as bionic acid and hyaluronic acid work by sucking existing water from deeper skin levels up to the surface; Cracks in the skin are smoothed by emollients, like glycerin; Finally, gluconolactone and ceramides act to repair the skin’s natural protective barrier.

Additionally, this process of water retention also acts to create somewhat of a fortifying shield against outside environmental hazards such as dust, pollution, and other particles. Pretty sweet, huh?

Is it really needed?

That completely depends on what you’re looking to achieve. However, if we were to give our professional advice, we’d say absolutely yes.

Of course, we aren’t for one minute suggesting that people can’t have great body skin without using products, but the reality is, most of us are living in hectic urban environments with a lot of problematic forces working against our general skin health. Your morning and evening commute, coupled with stuffy and crowded workspaces, combined with physical exertion all contribute to your skin feeling strained and stressed.

Body moisturizers can even the playing field. When used on a daily basis, either in the morning or at night, they will refresh and protect the skin from all types of obstacles. They also play a vital role in strengthening the natural skin barrier that helps to stop further unnecessary harm.

We place body moisturizers in a central spot in our daily skincare routine because they really do provide so many fantastic advantages.

The benefits of body moisturizer

Speaking of advantages, let’s go over some of the biggest benefits body moisturizers can give us.

As mentioned above, the absolute biggest advantage of using moisturizers regularly is their ability to retain precious water in the skin to keep it healthy and refreshed. This also works in tandem with keeping the skin’s natural protective barrier strong and resilient to outside and environmental factors.

Other helpful benefits include the softening of dry skin, the soothing of sensitive skin, and the overall improvements to the skin’s tone and texture. Not only does your skin feel better, but it also looks better too.

Are there any disadvantages?

Unfortunately, nothing is perfect in life, and moisturizers are sadly no different. While we firmly believe the positives outweigh the negatives, there are some potential issues that can be caused by using moisturizers in certain conditions.

Firstly, people with already naturally oily skin may find that using moisturizers, especially the creamier types, can make their problems worse. The purpose of moisturizers is to retain water, but oily skin actually needs to get rid of some in order to become balanced. In this scenario, using a moisturizer will only trap that excess oil in the skin, which can then lead to the clogging of pores and breakouts in the future. If you have oily skin, we’d suggest looking for products that can assist in drying the skin.

Next, while we all enjoy the hydrating and soothing elements that moisturizers provide, this can sometimes have a downside. Our skin goes through a natural regeneration process that involves the shedding of dead skin and the growth of new cells. These dead cells lie on the surface of the skin and are removed naturally, but when moisturizer is used, it can delay this process and trap those cells in places they don’t belong, which can lead to irritation and sensitivity. Always be aware of the condition of your skin before deciding to use various products.

Can you use body moisturizer on your hair? Here’s what you should know

Since body moisturizer, body oil, and body lotion all provide pleasant and beneficial advantages to our skin, it’s natural to wonder if they can do the same to our hair. Well, here’s the truth.

We do not recommend the use of body moisturizers on hair. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, compared to products like specified hair lotion, body moisturizers are much thicker and contain more moisturizing elements, which will just make the hair greasy if applied. It can also increase hair fall rate, as its weighty texture can be too stressful on delicate follicles. Finally, it’s possible that the various ingredients within body moisturizer could react negatively with the hair, causing patches of discoloration, which isn’t great!

Can you use body moisturizer on your face? Here’s some more information

Does body moisturizer work for your body?  Absolutely.  For your face, that might be a different story.  This is another easy trap people fall into, but again, we’d strongly suggest you don’t apply body moisturizer on your face, and here’s why.

The skin on our body is different from the skin on our face. In general, our body skin is much, much thicker than on our face, and can therefore take more of an impact. Body moisturizer/lotion is designed to treat body skin appropriately, and contains ingredients that may be too harsh for the facial area. Using body products on the face can lead to damage, irritation, sensitivity, and other unpleasant side effects. Only use products for their selected purpose, otherwise, you may cause unnecessary discomfort.

When is the best time to use body moisturizer? Our opinion

In our humble opinion, we’d suggest the best time to use body moisturizer is either in the morning or in the evening before bed.

If applied in the morning, the skin will be refreshed and protected for the challenges of the day ahead. However, the soothing and rejuvenating effects of the body moisturizer if used in the evening will give the skin a well-needed sense of relief and healing, while also preparing it for the following day.

Of course, this decision is completely up to you and how your schedule plays out, but be sure to allow ample time for the moisturizer to be absorbed and get to work before doing anything else. Leaving a good half an hour for this process should be enough.

In conclusion

Does body moisturizer work?  Well, we think body moisturizer (body oil, body lotion) is a truly amazing product that brings a host of benefits to the skin.

Moisturizers are a staple of our skincare routines and should be used regularly to keep the skin as healthy and strong as possible.

Take note of your personal skin type before deciding to use body moisturizer, as those with oily skin may experience problematic results.

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This article has been reviewed by the in-field experts on our Medical Content Advisory Board to ensure everything is up-to-date and accurate.