Should you use a lotion, cream or ointment? I recently ran into this problem. I picked up some hydrocortisone ointment, when what I really wanted was a cream. My husband asked me what the difference was. One I opened the tubes, and showed him it was really quite apparent. But when you’re buying, you really don’t want to buy both just to see the difference. So what is the difference? Basically Creams and Ointments contain a different proportion of oil to water, therefore they are used for different reasons. Ointments have a higher concentration of oil, The more oil, the greasier and stickier the product. Many ointments are similar in to Vaseline. Such as the Footworks Lavender Balm Typically, they have a greasy consistency and can appear to just sit on top of the skin. Ointments work great as a protective barrier for the skin. Skin absorbs a cream more quickly, because it has a lighterweight consistency. It’s usually less sticky or greasy feeling than an ointment. Because the skin absorbs a cream, it usually does not “sit” on the skin. Such as the Skin So Soft Hand Cream. Although it does perform a minimum barrier on top of the skin, it is more effective at being absorbed into the skin. You might be wondering, so what’s the difference between a lotion, and creams. A lotion is lighter weight thana cream. Basically it has more water than a cream. Because lotions are thinner in consistency than creams, they are absorbed quicker into the skin. Such as the Senses Cucumber Melon Body Lotion. Therefore they don’t provide as much of a barrier, but do provide more moisturization to the skin. So which should you use? It basically depends on your goal. If your goal is to create a barrier that “sits” on top to protect your skin, choose an ointment. If your goal is to hydrate your skin with more moisture, choose a lotion. If your goal is to do both, choose a cream. As a Podiatrist, once told me to protect feet choose a cream. An ointment is to thick, a lotion is to thin, but a cream is just right.