Your forehead feels tight and the skin on your cheeks is flaking... but your favorite face cream is sitting on a counter miles away, and the bottle of Jergen's on your in-law's bathroom counter has never looked more appealing. You think to yourself, "Can I use body lotion on my face?" Although it sounds like a no-go, depending on your skin type and the body lotion at hand, the answer is often "yes."
"Usually, you can apply body lotion to the face," says Ivy Lee, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Pasadena, California. "The exception is for individuals prone to acne and eczema where they are more likely to experience an acne flare or irritant/allergic reaction, respectively." That's because "face lotion or cream is usually more likely to be non-comedogenic, meaning the formulation should not clog pores and induce acne, and hypoallergenic, meaning it does not include common allergens since facial skin is more sensitive to irritants and allergens."
So as long as you don't have acne, eczema, or a history of sensitive skin, you're in the clear to put body lotion on your face. Just steer clear of ones that exfoliate. "Exfoliating acids such as lactic acid, salicylic acid, or glycolic acid can be safely used on facial skin," says Dr. Lee. "However, the body lotion formulations usually contain a higher percentage of the exfoliating acids compared to its facial lotion counterpart," meaning they'll be too strong to use on your face.
As you consider applying a body lotion to your face, keep consistency in mind. Consistency is one of the biggest differences between face lotion and body lotion, explains Michael Renda, DO, a trauma surgeon and co-founder of Alexis Lauren Collective, a luxury skin-care destination in Miami. So if your skin wouldn't do well with a thick face cream don't apply a thick body lotion.
Overall, remember that your skin-care routine is what you make it, and whether you want to have a multi-purpose lotion to use regularly or are without your face cream and in a pinch, you can put body lotion on your face as long as you don't have acne, eczema, or a history of sensitive skin.
"I am a big fan of simple skin-care regimens and products that can serve multiple purposes like a moisturizer that works for both the face and body," says Dr. Lee. "Find one you love the feel of and can afford. Then buy it in bulk and in a travel size."
3 moisturizers you can use on the face and body
This lightweight lotion is made with three essential ceramides that help to strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier. It’s great for use on the face and body.
Made to soothe dry skin on the face and body, this cream is intensely hydrating. It’s formulated with shea butter and colloidal oatmeal to smooth, soothe, and hydrate skin after one use.
This face and body cream uses shea butter and glycerin to intensely hydrate and soothe dry and extra-dry skin.
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