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Can I Use Hand Cream On My Face?

Asking, “Can I use hand cream on my face?” is a lot like asking to use athlete’s foot cream on your balls. Technically you can … but doesn’t it sound gross and ineffective? 

Using hand cream on your face is the same. Moisturizers are made to serve specific types of skin along your body, so it’s always best to follow the instructions on the bottle, and avoid mixing products between your hands and face or feet and balls.

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What’s The Difference Between The Skin On Your Face And The Skin On Your Hands?

One of the biggest differences between the skin on your face and the skin on your hands is your glands.

There are two broad categories of glands in your skin: sweat glands and oil glands. (Oil glands are usually called sebaceous glands, if you’re feeling scientific.) Your face is riddled with oil-producing glands, and your hands are riddled with sweat-producing glands.

One easy way to remember the difference – think back to your first date in high school. You probably had a greasy forehead and sweaty palms when you leaned in for that mediocre first kiss (don’t worry, I bet you’ve gotten better since then when it comes to kissing and hygiene).

The different concentrations of your glands throughout your skin explain why you don’t get acne on your hands, but you do on your face. Those sebaceous glands are partially what cause acne and large pores.

Another difference between the sin on your face and the skin on your hands is the thickness. Because your hands interact with the world around them so much, the skin is thicker and coarser (you might even have some callouses). The skin on your face is thinner and needs to be treated with more delicacy.

What’s The Difference Between Hand Cream And Face Cream?

The difference between hand cream and face cream is not so much in the ingredients, but in the concentration of those ingredients.

Hand cream has to treat thicker skin that doesn’t produce enough of its own moisturizing oils. So creams and lotions made for your hands are thicker and often contain more waxes and oils. They leave that pleasant residue on your skin that protects it from dryness, especially if we’re talking about hand cream for construction workers or other jobs.

Face creams treat thinner, delicate skin that usually produces plenty of its own oils. So they’re made to be thinner, with lower concentrations of oily ingredients. Great face creams moisturize your skin without clogging your pores. They’re also supposed to absorb nicely without leaving behind too much residue.

That’s why swapping the two products isn’t always a great idea. Hear me out, face creams are often more expensive, so why would you waste them on your hands, where they won’t be thick enough to keep your skin moisturized all day? And on the flip side, hand creams will conspire with your facial sebaceous glands to clog your pores. You’re more prone to breakouts when you use hand creams on your face.

The only exception is for guys with extremely dry skin. I still recommend choosing one of the best facial moisturizers for sensitive and dry skin, but if face creams just don’t cut it, an unscented, gentle hand cream might do right by your skin.

Can You Use Hand Cream Under Eyes?

Technically, you can use hand cream under your eyes, but I don’t recommend it, especially if you’re experiencing dryness or irritation.

Your eyelids have the thinnest skin on your body, so you have to be careful about what ingredients you allow near your eyes. Hand creams are often more heavily scented with fragrances than face creams, which means you’re more likely to experience an adverse reaction to the scents in the product (whether they’re natural scents or otherwise).

The normal “patch test your product before you use it” rules don’t always apply when you’re about to rub something on your eyelids. There’s no good way to predict how that thinner skin is going to react.

I know from personal experience that even the gentlest of face creams can cause itching, burning, and more dryness if the skin around your eyes is already experiencing irritation from something unknown. That’s why it’s a safer bet to go with a cream that’s made to treat dryness on your eyelids.

Can You Use Hand Cream On Your Neck?

You can safely use hand cream or face cream on your neck, just be sure to choose products with gentle ingredients (and possibly no scents).

The skin on your neck has an interesting enigma going on. It’s about as thin as the skin on your face, and delicate like the skin on your eyelids, but it doesn’t contain the same concentration of sebaceous glands as the skin on your face. It’s rare that guys experience overly oily necks or lots of neck acne.

So a thicker hand cream won’t clog the pores on your neck, and it’ll help keep the skin there moisturized since your neck doesn’t produce its own natural moisturizers (oil). But the artificial scents and synthetic ingredients may also act as irritants, so you need to choose a gentle hand cream, if you’re dead set on using a hand cream on your neck.

Life hack: when you’re rubbing lotion into your neck, rub upwards from collarbone to jaw, that way you’re not contributing to neck wrinkles and droopy skin underneath your jaw.

Can I Use Hand Cream On My Face? The Final Verdict

You shouldn’t use hand cream on your face unless you have extremely dry skin.

And if you do have extremely dry skin, proceed with caution. There are facial cream options that can cater to your moisturization needs without clogging your pores. Better yet, you could use one of the best moisturizers for acne so that you hydrate your skin without causing more breakouts.

Hand cream is too thick to be effective as a facial moisturizer. You’ll hate the residue it leaves behind and the acne it causes in its wake. It’s great for the skin it’s supposed to be serving – on your hands!

Frank Edwards is a men's grooming & style expert who is "internet famous" for being able to simplify complicated grooming routines into easy, yet effective rituals any man can do. As a professional analyst, he has spent years researching the biggest brands, products, experts, best practices, and breaking news in the space. He takes this analysis, tests it out on himself, and then documents everything in his writing. As a result, his experience-based articles are considered by some to be the gold standard in men's grooming and men's style.