DEAR FRIENDLY FORMULATOR: I’m traveling and forgot my face moisturizer. Can I use body lotion on my face? — FACE TO FACE

DEAR FACE TO FACE: The general consensus in the skincare world is: Yes, but with caution (some experts even say a resounding No). Believe it or not, it’s not about the cost–although that can be a factor, too. It’s about the fact that the skin on your face is *very* different from the skin on your body (or hands). If you have oily skin or are prone to breakouts, you definitely want to tread lightly applying body lotion to your face as thicker body lotions aren’t absorbed as well and can clog your pores or irritate your skin. Whenever possible, you want to go by the mantra: Face to Face, Body to Body, Hand to Hand.

For starters, the skin on your face is thinner and more hormonal (meaning, it greatly responds to hormonal influences: think “mood swings for your skin”). These changes require a more delicate, nuanced approach in both ingredients and lotion consistency. (And the skin on your face varies from your eyes, to your nose, chin, etc.) Face lotions and creams are formulated to support many different conditions and concerns besides lack of hydration. Body lotions and body butters are generally not–and are made with thicker emollients designed to protect and hydrate your thicker body skin. Even more importantly, body lotions rarely contain SPF protection. Remember, the skin on your face has less of a barrier than the skin on your body. This is crucial in many ways.

ALSO: watch out for fragrances or other possible allergens or irritants in body lotions, body butters and creams (especially generic, less-than-ideal motel body lotions, for example). Some common irritants include: Isopropyl Palmitate, Isopropyl Myristate, as well as a variety of pigments and dyes (even cocoa butter). The MADE SAFE organization screens skincare product ingredient lists for toxins known to be harmful to your health.

TIP: For a list of certified Nontoxic, MADE SAFE FRAGRANCE FREE Lotions, go here.
What’s the MADE SAFE Certification?

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