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Butters, lotions, creams, oh my! With all the skin care products out there, it can be hard to know which one does what. Lotion and body butter are two popular options for treating dry skin. Body butter contains hydrating ingredients designed to pump life into parched skin while protecting it from the elements. While it locks in more moisture than lotion, body butter is also more likely to cause oily buildup due to its heavy texture.
Lotion usually consists of a water/oil combo bound together by an emulsifier. Basic moisturizing lotions often contain vitamin E or olive oil as main ingredients. More specialized formulations may contain SPF or medications like calamine. While it shares some of the same ingredients, body butter is generally thicker and heavier than lotion, allowing it to stay on the skin longer. Shea butter may be combined with coconut or vegetable oils to create a super-rich body butter. Cocoa butter, aloe vera gel and mango butter are also found in some formulations.
Benefits and Uses
Understanding the difference between body butter and lotion can save you the drama of breakouts and other icky side effects. When a little extra moisture is all you need, opt for a moisturizing lotion. Because it is lighter than body butter, lotion is more easily absorbed and doesn't stick around to collect pore-clogging debris. Because of its thick, heavy texture, body butter provides longer-lasting hydration and better protection from dryness. Unlike lotion, body butter leaves a thin film on the skin to shield against drying elements like heat and wind. Shea butter, a common body butter ingredient, also has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. According to a study by T. Akihisa et al. in "The Journal of Oleo Science," shea reduced inflammation by more than 45 percent in mice.
Different Skin Types, Different Needs
When choosing skin care products, first consider your skin type. If you’re prone to acne or have oily skin, a light lotion is your best bet. Dry-skinned damsels with wrinkles, cracks or other damage would benefit more from body butter. When applying lotion or body butter, follow the directions on the label for best results. If you develop irritation or breakouts from a product, trash it and try something else.
Most body butter is all-natural and doesn't contain the list of hard-to-pronounce ingredients often found in lotion. Parabens, a family of chemicals used as preservatives in lotion, have been detected in some breast cancer tumors, according to the American Cancer Institute. More research is needed to determine whether a paraben/cancer link actually exists. In the meantime, health-conscious honeys may want to check the label when buying lotion and other cosmetics.