New Spray Moisturizers Vs. Creme Moisturizers

In a time crunched society, people are always seeking products that are more convenient and less time consuming. Before you purchase a moisturizing spray, you may want to know what the difference is between a spray-on moisturizer and a creme moisturizer.

Originally, spray moisturizers were available for a person’s hair. Now, they are being made and touted by the skin care industry as a convenient moisturizer for the skin. Proven effective for hair; they may be convenient, but are they really an effective moisturizer to ward off dryness of skin?

Spray On Moisturizer

Hair is different than skin. The outer layer of the hair (cuticle) covering the hair protects the molecular layer of lipid that makes hair repel water. But the complex structure of skin is different from hair.

There are two basic categories of moisturizers: humectants (absorb water from the air) and emollients. Emollients soften the skin by delivering the ingredients directly into skin. Unlike humectants, emollients bring moisture to your skin by the ‘composition’ of the product.  A main function of an emollient is to trap moisture in the skin. If you don’t properly apply an emollient, such as a “creme” composition, you may just be trapping moisture outside the skin, eventually leading to dryness.

Moisturizers are a creme or lotion that act like natural lipids found in healthy skin and the deep layers of the skin. Creme moisturizers work by preventing water from evaporating from the skin. Creme and lotions, in a non-greasy formula are easily absorbed into the skin. Cremes are slightly thicker than lotions and are better for those with very severe, dehydrated skin. A spray-on moisturizer mostly contains water and will simply lay atop of your skin and give you a temporary feeling of softness. Not all creme moisturizers are heavy and greasy feeling and skin can be breathable. A common ingredient found in a lot of creme/lotions is mineral oil, one ingredient to avoid when choosing a moisturizer. Water, the main ingredient in a spray on moisturizer, will not give your skin adequate moisture levels.

A key ingredient in creme moisturizers is Dimeticone (also known as silicon fluid), which is a water-repellent substance used to protect the skin. This ingredient is not found in spray moisturizers because it cannot be sprayed or in a mist form.

A spray on moisturizer advertised their product by stating: “The world’s lightest moisturizer ever”. A mist solution to heavy creme moisturizers”. The key ingredients are Water (Aqua), Sodium PCA, Cetrimonium Chloride, Sea Salt, Parabens, Fragrance (Parfum).

The name of a spray on moisturizer being sold is: “Mineral Spray Skin Moisturizer”. It then stated “Refresh & Invigorate Your Skin With A Fresh Spritz of (name of product excluded). The two ingredients listed: Water, Nitrogen as Propellant. Water, the main ingredient, will not give your skin adequate moisture levels. A propellent serves to dispense the contents of an aerosol or liquid. How does this product moisturize your skin? It doesn’t.

For people with extremely dry skin from certain lifestyles as frequent sun exposure, use of tanning beds, frequent swimmers in chlorine and salt water, and eczema; it is vital for them to use a creme moisturizer as their skin will severely dry-out leading to a weathered appearance and speed up the signs of aging the skin.

It’s important to apply moisturizer regularly, at least twice a day and always after cleansing to prevent skin from drying.

Quick, convenient skin care products can result in a disappointing appearance to your skin. A little extra time taken to apply the correct moisturizer is a smart investment for your skin’s health. If you would like to refresh your skin with water and other non-essential ingredients for adequate moisture, then the spritzers may be good for you. Obviously, if a spray-on product is called a moisturizer, it really isn’t.

 Sandy Alcide

Sandy Alcide’s articles have been featured in notable magazines and websites. Sandy is the founder of Motion Medica skin care and the President of the American Athletic Skin Care Association, raising awareness for the rise of melanoma among outdoor athletes. She can be reached at

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