What's The Difference Between Creams And Balms In Your Skincare Routine?

A skincare routine is a unique, sometimes sacred, process for each individual — especially for those with sensitive skin. Everyone has preferences of what they like to use to look (and feel) their best with moisturized, healthy skin. And there's never a fear of running out of alternatives, as skincare companies all over the world work to manufacture an abundance of products with a variety of different uses and benefits.

However, there is a downside to having so many options: the indecision when you step into the skincare aisle and have no clue what to choose. It can be overwhelming trying to determine what to buy if you don't know the difference between the types of products. Do you need a lotion? A balm? A cream or an oil? All of the above? 

Let's take a look at some key differences between two skincare staples — skin creams and skin balms — so you can determine which is the best for you and your skin.

What is a skin cream?

When perusing products that rejuvenate your skin, one staple you will see often is skin cream. Skin creams are different from lotions because they are primarily used on your face, or on dry-skin hotspots on your body, as opposed to all over your skin and body.

Looking into the ingredients of creams, they contain more oil than water (via Rocket Pure). This causes them to have a higher viscosity — also known as thickness — compared to lotion. Some creams may be less thick than others depending on where on your body you use them and how often they should be applied. For example, a face cream meant for daily use will not be as thick as a cream for your body.

Many skin and face creams also include ingredients that can help with fine lines on the face. Skin creams are a great addition to your skincare routine if you want to reinvigorate your skin and give your face a youthful glow.

What is a skin balm?

Skin balms, on the other hand, are often used to heal more severely irritated skin (think: areas where you might be chafing or developing a rash). Skin balms have an even higher viscosity than skin creams because they are not formulated with water at all. Balm ingredients usually include beeswax and plant oils, and they can even include fruit or nut butters.

Similar to skin creams, skin balms are not typically meant to be used all over your body — unless they are formulated with body butter. Balms do a great job healing certain areas of the skin that need a little extra attention.

Now that you know the difference between skin creams and skin balms and what they can be used for, your decision-making in the skincare aisle should be a little easier. If you still aren't sure what to try, maybe follow in Cleopatra's footsteps for a honey-based skincare product.