From ArticleWorld

A lotion is a thickened liquid that represents an oil-in-water emulsion, although there are also water-in-oil emulsions that are somewhat greasier to the touch. Lotions can be applied to unbroken skin for medical or nonmedical purposes but should not be applied to mucus membranes or to open wounds or abraded skin.


Lotions are sometimes used without added medication or with aloe vera for the purposes of relieving dry skin. While the skin may feel smooth and without dryness shortly after application of a lotion, lotions can actually dry out the skin in the long run. Many lotions contain a moderate amount of alcohol in them that are drying to the skin if used on very dry skin or with repeated use. Creams generally do not contain alcohol and are better for dry skin.

Some lotions contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid for the prevention and treatment of acne. Antifungal lotions are used to treat topical yeast infections, although, because they add to the moisture in the affected area, the use of lotions for fungal infections should be followed by the topical application of any type of powder to keep the skin dry.

Steroid lotions contain hydrocortisone and are used whenever the area to be covered is too great for a small tube of cream. This type of lotion is used for allergic-type rashes such as poison ivy or eczema. Calamine lotion is a fairly thin lotion that dries quickly and soothes areas involved in an itchy or uncomfortable rash such as that of chicken pox, poison ivy or eczema. Calamine lotion contains almost no lubricating ability.

Lotions can contain antifungal agents or other medications for the treatment of scalp rashes, such as that from Candida microorganisms. While marketed as “shampoos”, these products are actually lotions.

Lotions are the most common vehicles for the application of sunscreen. They have the advantage of being cooling, carry some durability if one gets wet and can be applied in a very thin layer so that is cosmetically preferable to creams, oils or ointments.