Health Lifestyle

The Great Skin Care Debate: Oil vs Lotion

4 min read

Which are better for your skin: oils or lotions? See the pros and cons of both below.

When standing at the skin care aisle of your local market, it’s no doubt that you’re probably vortexed by the plethora of moisturizing options. After browsing through pretty labels and maybe a little sampling, you either end up with an oil or lotion in your cart.

What’s the difference between the two? Aren’t they both going to offer the same moisturizing benefits?

This is yet another “skintroversial” topic.

Both options can be incorporated into a facial and body routine, and each contain their own unique benefits for maintaining beautiful skin.

So, what’s the most suitable moisturizer for your skin type, and which will help you “turn back the clock?”


Who doesn’t love a silky body lotion? Luxurious, creamy, buttery and whipped. You name it, they’ve made it.

Lotions are created by blending oil and water together. However, since oil and water do not mix on their own, wax is needed to emulsify them. Depending on the ratio of these three ingredients, the end result ranges from a light-textured lotion to a heavy cream.

The presence of wax in face and body lotion formulas creates an “occlusive” layer on the skin, which locks in moisture. While this sounds ideal for those with dry skin types, wax can potentially build up on the skin, leading to clogged pores and breakouts. Also, since oil is a more active ingredient, and wax is more or less a “filler” ingredient, this waxy build-up may prevent the amazing nutrients from the oil from actually penetrating into the skin.

Another downfall of lotion is that the presence of water in a formula requires some type of preservative to keep mold and bacteria from growing inside the product. Unfortunately, most preservatives on the market today are toxic and not skin-friendly. Truly “natural” preservatives are rare, so checking labels is a must and we encourage you to find the cleanest options! We use Aspen Bark Extract to preserve the integrity of our natural formulas.

Benefits of Using Lotion on Your Skin

  • Replenishes moisture in the skin
  • Leaves skin feeling soft, supple, and hydrated
  • Soothes dry, chapped, and rough skin texture
  • Additional ingredients in lotion formulas include aloe, vitamin E, shea butter, sunflower oil, and extracts, which all have their own beneficial properties
  • Lotions help to repair and alleviate certain skin conditions and sensitivities

Lotions definitely bring something to the table. But as you go through all of that trouble of lathering on your daily moisturizer of choice, you might want to consider if your skin is would receive more benefits from an oil-based formula?


If you’re familiar with Annmarie Skin Care, you know we’re a huge fan of oils. They are the primary base for the majority of our products (with a lot of love and herbs infused into them!).

I like to refer to oils as the ‘crème de la crème,’ because they are an essential component of your typical lotion or cream, and can also be used alone for superior moisturization. In fact, pure oils have been used for thousands of years in ancient beauty rituals from around the world.

Oils have extremely high nutrient and antioxidant levels. They are 100% active and are easily absorbed into the skin since they don’t contain any fillers. As we age, the oil (sebum) that our skin produces starts to deplete, so it only makes sense to replenish the lipid barrier by applying oils that our skin will lovingly soak right up! See, if we don’t lubricate the skin effectively, then fine lines and wrinkles start to show up.

A common skin care myth is that oils will clog pores and make you break out, especially for acne-prone skin types. This is wildly untrue! Oils have the amazing ability to balance the skin, helping to ‘normalize’ sebaceous glands where your skin’s oil is produced. Let’s ditch the oil-free hype because all skin types can benefit tremendously from these gifts of nature.

Benefits of Using Oil on Your Skin

  • Oils hold in moisture and help strengthen your skin’s barrier function
  • Since oils deliver antioxidants, vitamins, and essential fatty acids to the skin effectively, they are the optimal choice for an anti-aging moisturizer
  • They offer incredible healing and cellular repair properties to the skin
  • A little oil goes a long way, making them the more cost-effective choice (applying to wet skin will increase absorption, providing complete coverage in as little as a few drops)
  • No preservative is needed to store oil (Miron glass is recommended for extended shelf life)
  • Oils are easily welcomed by the skin and will not clog pores

Do keep in mind that the quality of an oil also reflects its performance on the skin. Look for oils that say ‘cold-pressed’ or ‘CO2-extracted.’ Always choose organic when possible and avoid chemical additives such as fragrances (parfum). Oils are often infused with herbs, so if the ingredient on the label is names of flowers and plants, you’ve likely found a good quality oil. Your skin is just waiting to take in all the juicy benefits!

Next time you need to re-stock your moisturizer, experiment with what responds and works best for your skin type. We recommend oils because of the amazing benefits, but some people also love using lotion on their faces and have great results. And if you’re interested in trying a few oil-based beauty elixirs from AnnMarie Skin Care, our Clean Beauty Trial kit is just $19.99 + free shipping! Check it out now, here.

Winter, Ruth. ‘A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients: Complete Information About the Harmful and Desirable Ingredients in Cosmetics and Cosmeceutical’. Harmony; February 10, 2010.
Aguino, Kathy. ‘Skin Care Oils: Natural Plant Oils For Your Face, Body, And Hair’. Amazon Digital Services. November 29, 2014.