Body butters and body lotions are products that people apply to maintain moisture in the skin. Body lotion is more practical for regular use, but body butter has a more intensive function.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both body butter and body lotion. One type of moisturizer may be more appropriate depending on the situation and skin type.

The main takeaways for these products are:

  • Body butter is better for rougher skin that needs a more intensive moisturizer.
  • Body butter is often more natural, whereas lotions are more refined.
  • Body lotion is not as thick, so it spreads more easily and absorbs into the skin faster.

Read on to learn about the similarities and differences between body butter and lotion. This article also explores how people can combine these products.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

A person applying lotion to their legShare on Pinterest
Lucas Ottone/Stocksy

Body butter and body lotion are both emollient products that people apply to soften and smooth the texture of their skin.

Body butter is a skin moisturizer that uses fats as raw materials. Manufacturers often use shea butter as the main ingredient, a type of fat that comes from the Butyrospermum parkii plant.

Other fat products that can go into body butter include:

How often a person should apply body butter depends on the condition of their skin.

If the skin is dry or cracked, it may be best to apply body butter daily. However, if the skin is oily or does not need such frequent use, people may wish to limit use to one to two times each week or to use as needed.

Body lotion has a higher water content than body butter. It is an oil-in-water emulsion, meaning manufacturers distribute oil into the water. This method makes body lotions lighter than body butter, which makes them easier to apply.

Body lotions can vary slightly depending on what manufacturers have designed them for. Some types specifically target the face, while others are for more widespread use on the body.

Body lotion is more appropriate for regular use. A study from 2017 suggests applying moisturizers such as body lotion to the skin between one and three times each day, depending on the severity of the dryness.

The study also found that only half of the moisturizer remains on the skin after 8 hours.

The main difference between body butter and body lotion is that body butter mostly contains natural fats, whereas body lotion goes through more processing stages and contains more water.

Body butter can be a preferable option in certain situations. Research has found that body butter is often appropriate for sensitive skin and can ease dry skin conditions, such as mild to moderate eczema, in 2 weeks.

However, body lotion has the advantage of a higher water content, making the product easier to spread. It also enables fast absorption into the skin. Because it is lighter, body lotion is also less likely to clog pores than body butter.

Body butter and lotions are moisturizers made to help smoothen and soften the skin and reduce fine lines. These products give the appearance of healthy skin, which can benefit a person’s self-esteem and quality of life.

Moisturizers are particularly useful when easing the symptoms of dry skin, which can include:

  • itching
  • pain
  • stinging
  • tightness
  • tingling

Both moisturizers have similar functions, but they vary slightly in intensity.

As each product serves the same function, to rehydrate the skin, there would be little point in using both body butter and lotion at the same time.

However, a person may choose to alternate products, using body butter when the skin is drier than usual, but sticking to lotion for regular use.

Body butter and body lotion should be appropriate for sensitive skin, depending on the formula.

For example, a 2018 study of 34 female participants found that shea butter did not cause any complications for those with sensitive skin. These results may be due to the rawness of the shea fat as the main ingredient. However, there are many body lotions that dermatologists have designed for sensitive skin, which are also appropriate.

Additionally, body butter may be better for dry skin types, as it is a thicker product.

Body lotions can be better for oily and combination skin as they are lighter on the pores. Additionally, lotions are better for areas of skin with more hair.

Read more about skin care from our hub.

Body butter can soothe dry and cracked skin, but it can also clog pores. Body lotion is not as intense, but it is useful in maintaining moisturized skin through regular use.

It is important to remember that a product may be effective for one person but not for another if they have different skin types.

A dermatologist can advise which treatment a person should use with skin conditions such as eczema or acne. Body butter may be less irritating for sensitive areas, but a heavier product may cause more damage than good when the skin is likely to break out.

Body butter and body lotions are both types of moisturizers that a person can apply to the skin to keep it hydrated. Hydration gives the skin a more healthy appearance.

When deciding on a new skin care product, there are many things to think about. A key consideration is individual skin type.

Body butter tend to be more natural, as they are usually less processed, and use plant fats as the main ingredient. They are also more intensive as they are much thicker and take longer to absorb into the skin. However, it is best not to use body butter too frequently.

Body lotions have higher water content. They do not moisturize as effectively, but they are easier to spread, faster to absorb, and less likely to clog pores. People can use body lotion more frequently than body butter.

A person should contact a dermatologist if they have a skin condition and want to try a new product.