“Similar in formula, they are closely related but not necessarily identical,” says board-certified dermatologist Ava Shamban, M.D., founding father of SKINFIVE. So whereas they do typically comprise moisturizing properties, you would not need to use a barrier cream the identical manner as a moisturizer (extra on that later). Sure, some manufacturers will identify their fatty-acid-rich moisturizers “barrier creams,” however simply know that the 2 aren’t so interchangeable.
“Barrier creams are usually thicker than regular moisturizers and usually form a thin layer on top of the skin instead of melting and disappearing into the skin when applied,” says Rodney. “If you are looking to hydrate dry and itchy skin, you want to use a moisturizer. If you are looking for an added layer of skin protection against wind or harsh weather over already moisturized skin, you can use a barrier cream.”
Think of it this manner: Barrier lotions do not precisely hydrate your pores and skin, however they do hold hydration locked inside. Shamban agrees: “They do more than introduce moisture; they have protectants and actives to work on decreasing inflammation, fighting redness, reducing itch, repairing and strengthening intracellular building blocks of the stratum corneum layers,” she says.