Can you use hand cream for your face?

hand creamThere’s a lot of us who like to stay put under the covers for just a bit longer while the alarm clock keeps ringing, but that extra bit of rest comes at a price. Because then you have to get up in a hurry (usually about 20 minutes after you were planning to get up) and you have just 10 minutes to get ready, wash yourself, put on your make-up… (Some people do this on the subway. I tip my hat to them. Making a perfect line of eye liner with all that shaking? That’s impressive.)

Caught up in this morning stress, it’s probably occurred to you to secretly use your hand cream for your face too while you were at it, in order to save time…

Oh no! What have you done?! I know the cosmetics industry isn’t the most altruistic one around and sometimes it creates needs just to make money, but in this case, there are separate hand products and face products for a good reason.


By their nature, the skin of your face and that of yours hands aren’t the same. The skin on your face is more delicate, and the skin on your hands is thicker. When you think about it, aside from occasionally being a little dry, your hands never have any big skin problems… No pimple trouble, no complexion trouble… or any of those other issues that are characteristic of the face. Skin is actually different everywhere, which means different care and different formulas.

We don’t go easy on our hands, either, exposing them to soap every time we visit the toilet (yes, that’s really necessary), to liquid dish washing soap (yes, I do the dishes… my mum did teach me well, haha), to more soap before and after eating… (Yeah, that’s really necessary too.)

All in all, we have to wash our hands at least some 15 times a day, if it isn’t more than that, while we clean our faces twice a day, in the morning and in the evening… (yes, in the evening is really necessary too, even if you don’t feel like it.)

hands washingSo the skin of your hands has to put up with a lot more abuse than that of your face. All this washing disturbs the hydrolipidic film of the epidermis, that protective layer that can regrow itself less and less well as we age… As a little side note: if you want evidence of the existence of your hydrolipidic film (which consists of water and fat), just look at your smartphone or iPad. See those fingerprints on the screen? That’s hydrolipidic film.

This film is natural and indispensable! Hence the need to moisturise and nourish your hands with products that need to be richer and more protective.

Hand creams and face creams may have the same basis and have ingredients in common, but have different concentrations of them, and that’s what makes all the difference.

Hand creams need to be barriers protecting our hands from things like frequent washing and cold. For this, they need to have high concentrations of wax, greases, oils, occlusive agents… most of which are well known for their comedogenic effects, i.e. for facilitating the forming of blackheads (comedones).

If you use them on your face, you risk actually causing blocked pores and pimples. (Not very sexy, is it?) So you can use your face cream on your hands, but don’t do it the other way around. Although there is one little exception: if you have very dry skin on your face, this hand/face cream misuse shouldn’t be a problem.

And look on the bright side of this necessity: you have a new excuse to go cosmetics shopping in Sephora for instance!

Naturally, hand, foot and body creams are all in the same category… I wonder if any of you use your foot cream on your face. No? ok don’t get me wrong, I am not making fun of you, it is  just because… oh, all right, I admit it, I did that when I was  16 ! alright, I said it, happy now? I’m a curious guy! I’m a doubting Thomas! I need to see things before I believe them! And yes, I got lots of little pimples for my trouble…

What about you? Have you ever used body or hand products on your face or the other way around? Have you thought about it or does the very idea sound weird to you? Did you try it anyway? Did you notice the pimples and blackheads appearing?

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  1. lorna says

    hello, the cosmetist
    I tried using my occitane hand cream on my face ( as it was the only cream available for my camping holiday), I definitely had pimples a few days later, from this time, I have never used it again, that was a lesson I won’t forget

    • the cosmetist says

      hi lorna, I dare say you are far from being the only one in this case 😉 it all depends on the type of hand cream, and your skin type;)

  2. Alex says

    Thanks for the article.
    Being the naive person I am, every day and night I’ve been scrubbing my face to get rid of blackheads, and at night I’m too lazy to get my cream I just use my hand cream on my face. Then I wonder why I wake up spotty and my nose is covered in blackheads :P.

    • says

      HI alex, yeah you have your answer. why don’t you keep your face cream next to your hand cream?, so next time, it will be easier for you to use the right one 😉

  3. suzi says

    i have a mixed skin type very sensitive and breaks out easily but i took the risk and used a brazil nuts hand cream i am surprised that it makes my face very very soft the only problem is it doesnt contain any SPF so i only use it at nite.

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