Which is more moisturizing for your skin? A butter, a cream, salve, oil, or a lotion?
This is a topic I think about a lot in creating my nourishing skincare products.
When I started making my own skincare products many years ago, I had the goal of making a product that could keep my skin as soft as possible and crack free to reduce the chances of getting infections in my legs due to my condition of chronic lymphedema. I wanted something gentle, nourishing, rich, and protective. It also needed to be long-lasting for me so that I could only put it on maybe once or twice a day. My legs are covered in compressions stockings during the day, so i needed something that I could put on in the morning and it would last me until bedtime. What I have learned about skincare along my journey, is that not all creams, lotions, and butters are created equal! Many commercial products have unnecessary additives, toxic chemicals, lots of water! To learn more about what to avoid in cosmetics and skincare, check out the David Suzuki dirty dozen list, or to look up a favourite skincare product, check out the EWG Skin Deep database to learn more. They have an app now too so you can check products on the go!
I used to think the richest product for our skin was a lotion, but surprisingly it's not and I'm about to tell you why. Lotions have a high concentration of water (generally greater than 50% of the content is water), which makes them cheap to produce, but also hard to keep shelf stable without spoiling, hence they have lots of emulsifiers, preservatives, and stabilizers, many of which are toxic substances and known carcinogens. Yuck. Our bodies are 80%+ water, so wouldn't a water-based product be nourishing? Surprisingly the answer is no. The reason is, our bodies were meant to be hydrated from the INSIDE out through drinking fluids and consuming healthy, juicy foods. Our skin doesn't really like water. In fact, our skin has a layer of oil that our own body produces to protect us from the environment. It's called sebum. Without it, our skin cracks, and dried out from exposure to wind and water. Think of professionals who have their hands in water all day or must wash them serval times a day such as health professionals, cooking staff, etc. If water were nourishing on the outside, they should have the softest skin of anyone! But they don't not without slathering on lots of creams, etc.
So, if lotion isn't the most nourishing for our skin, what is? Products that contain mostly oils, plant butters, and waxes are the best for our skin as they mimic the action of the sebum. e.g's being salves, body butters, body oils, creams (with a low water content). Body oils can be a great all over body moisturizer after you get out of the shower. Oils can stain clothing, so it's not the most often reached for moisturizer and something you might not want to use everywhere all the time.
How do you know if a cream has a low water content? Look at the label on the package for clues. Ingredients are listed by weight. If water is the first or second, it makes up a majority of the product. For daytime lasting protection I choose a hand cream or a salve for my hands which has beeswax in it to help give long-lasting protection from the elements throughout the day. I like a body oil for all over moisturizing sometimes and a body butter for rough and dry spots to really provide extra nourishment that can soak in throughout the day or through the night.
PLANTiful has the following products to help nourish your skin:
- Beeswax handcream - currently available in our High tea blend
- Cocolicious whipped body butter - BRAND NEW! Smells amazing! We love how good it feels too!
- Hand salves - we have a dry skin salve and a special eczema salve blend.
- Herbal lip butters - to help soothe, protect, and soften
- Facial serums - to soften and nourish and help protect from UVA/UVB rays