moisturizer vs cream

Moisturizer vs Cream: Which is Best for Your Skin?

We all want our skin to be soft and hydrated but how to accomplish this is increasingly perplexing. With every new product that is added to the market comes claims and loads of pseudo-science that is nothing short of confusing. So what is the truth? Read on to find out what moisturizers and face creams are, how they work, and determine which might be best for you. 

Related: Skin Purging: Why and What is It?

What Are Moisturizers?

The hands-down remedy for dry skin is moisture. Moisturizers do this by holding water onto the outermost layer of your skin. They protect your skin from the ill effects of dryness, the environment, and age. There are different types of moisturizers to suit the varying skin types, levels of dryness, and part of the body. Moisturizers designed for the face are specially formulated for the delicacy of facial skin and are a far broader market than general-use moisturizers.  

Terms You Need to Know

When you read the labels of most moisturizers, you may encounter words or terms that may be unfamiliar. The list of ingredients is divided into these main categories:


These may include glycerin, urea, or alpha hydroxy acids, and their role is to draw moisture from your immediate environment and hold it onto your skin. Humectants are 'water-loving' substances that are pretty effective, but for the aesthetically pleasing result you're seeking, they should be paired with other ingredients. 


These are moisturizers that hydrate and soften the skin by filling in spaces between skin cells and lubricating the skin. Emollients can be water-based or oil-based. The oil-based emollients will leave some of the product on your skin, making them great for people with dry skin conditions. The water-based emollients are lighter-weight and work well for people with normal, oily, or acne-prone skin. Examples of emollients are mineral oil, lanolin, and petrolatum. 


These include shea and cocoa butter, beeswax, plant butters, and petrolatum. 


Of course, your skincare will have some preservatives in the ingredient list to prevent bacteria growth. Your moisturizer may also have vitamins, minerals, fragrances, and plant extracts.

Are you confident about the appearance of your skin? The power to perfect your skin is now in your hands. Visit Perfect Image to learn more. 

There are a variety of moisturizers to suit different skin types:

Types of Moisturizers

  • Non-comedogenic Moisturizers. These won't clog the pores of your skin, which will reduce the potential of acne due to blocked and inflamed pores. Some non-comedogenic moisturizers are also labeled non-acnegenic, which means they are also formulated to treat acne. 

Most non-comedogenic moisturizers are oil-free and lightweight. 

  • Protective Moisturizers. Of course, all moisturizers provide some level of protection for your skin. The same substances that 'hold' water onto your skin create a protective barrier. Protective moisturizers may contain sunscreens, antioxidants, or occlusive emollients. Sunscreens protect against sun damage, antioxidants fight the activity of free radicals that can destroy your skin's collagen, and occlusive emollients prevent moisture loss by creating a layer of oil. 
  • Specialized Moisturizers. If you have a specialized issue, you may want a moisturizer that targets it. The most popular moisturizers of this kind promise to fight the effects of aging, fade stretch marks, and add a bronze glow to your skin. Moisturizers will accomplish these with the ingredients they include.  

If you are looking for anti-aging help, look for moisturizers with alpha-hydroxy acids, copper peptides, coenzyme Q10, and retinoids. These will reduce wrinkles, stimulate collagen production, protect from sun damage, and repair existing sun damage.

Related: Knowing the Difference Between Fine Lines and Wrinkles

What are Creams?

Creams are typically thicker in consistency than most moisturizers and are basically a blend of oil and water - mainly oil. Creams are sometimes available as Day Creams or Night Creams, with specific formulations for your skin's needs during the day and overnight. In either circumstance, creams leave the skin ultra-hydrated. Creams are an excellent remedy for excessively dry or cracked skin.  

Types of Cream

  • Day Cream. These will mainly hydrate your skin and protect it from the damage of UV rays and other contaminants in the environment. Day creams contain less oil and are lighter than night creams, which allows your skin to breathe throughout the day. They also provide nourishment that may improve the look and feel of your skin.  
  • Night Cream. The main goals of night creams are to lavishly nourish your skin overnight and restore the damage of daily life. They renew lost moisture and provide even more vitamins to the skin than day creams do. This is because the skin is better able to absorb the nutrition overnight while you sleep. 

Night creams are heavier and thicker than day creams and are highly concentrated. They contain vitamin C, alpha hydroxy acids, and retinol to strengthen your skin.  

Related: All About Exfoliation: How Much is too Much?

Which is Best For You: Moisturizer or Cream

After discussing the functions, ingredients, and effects of each, it would seem that you could benefit from both moisturizer and skin cream. There should be room in your daily skincare routine for both kinds of products. After cleansing at night, use a night cream while your skin is still damp to lock in that moisture. In the morning, after gently washing your face, use a high-quality moisturizer. Again, this will lock in moisture and become a base for your makeup. 

On days when you don't wear any makeup, consider using a day cream after the morning cleansing and a moisturizer at some point during the day if you need it. You may also use a layer of moisturizer if you take an airline flight (before and after) or when you have a breakout.  

Your skincare routine doesn't have to be elaborate, but it should be consistent and include cleansing, exfoliation, toning, and moisturizing. The moisturizing can be achieved with a moisturizer or a skin cream. 

Did you know you can have a professional strength chemical peel at home? We bring the spa experience to your home! Visit Perfect Image to learn more.

← Older Post Newer Post →