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Store shelves are lined from floor to ceiling with moisturizer options. How can you know which type of product — lotion, cream or serum — is right for you? Learn more about these products, so you can find the best skin care for you.

Lotions, creams and serums may contain humectants to moisturize and hydrate, as well as emollients to help seal in moisture and protect your skin. One of the biggest distinctions between these three is consistency.

Lotions are usually thinner in texture, because they contain greater amounts of water than oil. Creams, however, are oil-based and thick, containing deeply moisturizing ingredients. Serums are water-based, designed to be used in conjunction with both lotions and creams. And although they offer incredible benefits to the skin, serums are generally optional.


Because lotions are lightweight and made with minimum amounts of oil, they’re ideal for normal to oily skin. Drier skin types typically require more hydration. Lotions get absorbed quickly and can be used day and night. You’ll find a wide array of formulas.


Because of their thick and rich consistency, creams provide dry and sensitive skin with extra moisture. Moisturizing creams contain many healing ingredients, including oils, plant extracts, hydrators and humectants, and they provide the skin with a protective layer, sealing in moisture and fending off environmental damage. They also give skin a smooth, velvety appearance and certain anti-aging creams will even improve the depth of fine lines.

Cream is also beneficial for combination skin that shows a slight shine during the day but requires more moisture than a lotion can provide. Use cream sparingly or strictly on the driest parts of your skin (such as the cheeks and neck).


One of the biggest benefits of serums is that they’re designed to penetrate deeper into the skin. They contain less “oils, wax and heavy lipids,” and are lighter, according to Daniel Maes, Ph.D., vice president of research and development at Estée Lauder, in Notebook. In addition, serums deliver high concentrations of skin-nourishing ingredients.

Bottom line

Many people find that with seasonal changes they need to switch moisturizers. For instance, normal skin can get oily during the summer (thereby needing a lighter moisturizer) but might need extra hydration in the winter (from a cream).

You might want to consult a skin care specialist about which combination of products is best to use. For example, some moisturizers can hamper the effectiveness of serums. “In the case of products formulated with alpha and beta hydroxy acids, the oils used in creams and lotions can interfere with the acidity of the active ingredients, making them less effective,” dermatologist Natasha Cook, M.D., tells Notebook.

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Topix Ultra Lite Moisture Dew Lotion ASAP Daily Moisturizing Silver Lotion DCL Dry Skin Hand and Body Lotion
Topix Ultra Lite Moisture Dew Lotion - for combination/oily skin
types. An oil-free, light textured, mild general purpose moisturizer for
the face. Won't clog pores, excellent for use on skin that is oily or
acne prone.
ASAP Daily Moisturizing Silver Lotion contains 20 ppm of SilverSol Nano Silver combined with coconut oil, Vitamin E and Hyaluronic Acid is a light lotion formulation that is not too heavy and absorbs quickly.

Recommended for skin that is normal / combination with oily t-zone. Coconut oil and hyaluronic acid hydrate the skin while the silver particles treat redness, inflammation, active blemishes and overall sensitivity.

ASAP Daily Moisturizing Silver Lotion
is more effective than Benzoyl Peroxide at reducing p. acne bacteria on the skins surface without the side effects of dryness, irritation and bleaching. This lotion kills only the bad bacteria causing issues and leaves the good bacteria on the skin intact.
This product has been phased out by DCL Skin Care effective March 2016. The closest replacement is DCL Hydro Lipid Body Lotion

Dry Skin Hand and Body Lotion

Effective lotion containing both urea and lactic acid.
DCL AHA Revitalizing Lotion 10 GlyDerm Lotion 5 Gly Derm Lotion Lite 5
Lotion 5%
Our Price: $34.00
Lotion Lite 5%
Our Price: $34.00
Recommended Alternatives:
Glytone Exfoliating Lotion 11
GlyDerm Lotion Plus 10%

Elegant translucent lotion specifically designed to relieve visible signs of dry skin. Followed with an application of a light moisturizer the skin will be left feeling smoother looking healthier and appearing radiant.
GlyDerm Lotion 5% allows for a low dose glycolic acid in a time
released formula to exfoliate dead skin cells while also hydrating the
skin and providing for gentle remodeling without the irritation and
redness typically associated with glycolic products. Excellent for
sensitive skin and teens.
GlyDerm Lotion Lite 5% - 5% AHA Indication - Normal, combination to slightly oily skin. Lite Lotions and Lite Hydrotone are formulated with no petrolatum or mineral oil.
Used to continue to improve skin appearance or to maintain the in office facials.

GlyDerm Lotion Lite 5%
is indicated for use to break up and slough off dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. In removing these dead skin cells, the skin functions optimally and pores shrink down. Improvement in skin coloring and overall health. Glycolic acid, when applied topically to the skin, smoothes the appearance of pores, fine lines, increases skin hydration and the skin begins to get a healthy glow.
CELLective Clinical Elite Sunscreen SPF 30 GlyDerm Lotion Lite Gly Derm Lotion Plus 10%
Elite Sunscreen SPF 30
Our Price: $35.00
Lotion Lite Plus 10%
Our Price: $38.50
Lotion Plus 10%
Our Price: $38.50
CELLective Clinical Elite Sunscreen SPF 30 Non-Glycolic formula supports Glycolic acid with added hydration

Elite Sunscreen is formulated with purest pharmaceutical grade 17% Micronized Zinc Oxide to provide the highest level of broad spectrum UVA/
UVB protection.

Gly Derm Lotion Lite Plus - 10% AHA Indication - Normal to slightly oily skin. Lite Lotions and Lite Hydrotone are formulated with no petrolatum or mineral oil. Used to continue to improve skin appearance or to keep the results of the in-office applications lasting longer.

Time Released exfoliating glycolic acid reduces breakouts, fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation as it unclogs pores and controls oil production. Lemon extract supports a bright and healthy tone, leaving the skin with a restored glow. Glycolic acid in a time released state allows for better tolerance of higher concentrations.
Attain smoother, healthier, and younger-looking skin.

Gly Derm Lotion Plus 10% helps the skin retain more moisture to rejuvenate the skin.

Many glycolic acid products simply can't do what they promise. And most over-the-counter brands have been neutralized or buffered. If you want the most effective Glycolic acid formulations available, rely on the power of physician-strength Gly Derm.
Sesha Acne Control BP Lotion Glytone Rejuvenate Facial Lotion 1 DCL AHA Revitalizing Lotion 15
Acne Control BP Lotion
Our Price: $38.50
Control acne with Sesha Acne Control BP Lotion, which utilizes 5% Benzoyl Peroxide increasing skin turnover and clearing pores, thus reducing the bacterial count there as well as directly as an antibacterial. ac.netTM inhibits 5-? reductase to fight overproduction of sebum and regulates cell growth to inhibit inflammation. Formulated for everyday use, niacinamide and tea tree oil control inflammation and naturally promote healing. Step Up System
Used to hydrate sensitive skin and enhance skin tone for a healthy, revitalized complexion. This product has a pH of 3.3 and free glycolic acid percentage of 10%.
This product is no longer available by DCL - We recommend DCL AHA Resurfacing Lotion 20 as a suitable replacement. This product is a little higher strength but a comparable substitution within the DCL line.

Perfect product for normal/combination skin where exfoliation of dead skin cells and evening out of skin tone is desired. 15% Glycolic Acid promotes cellular turnover while promoting a fresh, healthy glow to the skin.
SkinMedica Acne Treatment Lotion Glytone Rejuvenate Facial Lotion 2 Avene D-Pigment Spot Corrector Light Formula
Formulated with the advanced microparticle delivery system, this benzoyl peroxide based therapeutic lotion has the ability to reduce P. Acne bacteria as well as absorb sebum from the surface of the skin. Product No Longer Available. Recommended Alternatives:
DCL AHA Resurfacing Lotion 20
GlyDerm Lotion Plus 10

Rejuvenating Lotion 15 (formerly Rejuvenate Facial Lotion 2)
is used a non-comedogenic hydrator used to enhance skin tone for a healthy, revitalized complexion. A lightweight, rejuvenating lotion that moisturizes while providing gentle skin rejuvenation.
Avene D-Pigment Spot Corrector is a lightweight hyperpigmentation treatment that reduces the appearance of dark spots and restores skin's luminosity. Its highly absorbent texture is enriched with shine-reducing powders to meet the needs of normal to combination skin.
CELLective Peptide Treatment Lotion Glytone Rejuvenate Facial Lotion 3 DCL AHA Revitalizing Lotion 20
AHA Resurfacing Lotion 20
Our Price: $55.00
CELLective Peptide Treatment Lotion with COQ10, Vitamin C and Japanese Green Tea has the light fragrance of natural lemongrass oil. This lotion incorporates peptides, antioxidants and natural hydrating oils to repair damaged skin, promote collagen renewal and increased skin thickness.
New Name...New Packaging

Rejuvenating Lotion 20
(formerly Rejuvenate Facial Lotion 3)
Use this non-comedogenic hydrator to enhance skin tone for a healthy, revitalized complexion. This product has a pH of 3.1 and free glycolic acid percentage of 20.0%.
New Packaging...New Formula

DCL Resurfacing Lotion 20
(formerly called Revitalizing Lotion 20) is a high potency glycolic acid that will exfoliate and help improve the texture of skin. A 20% glycolic acid daily exfoliator that, when used consistently, will even out skin tone, diminish pore size and smooth skin. DCL Resurfacing Lotion is lightweight, absorbs quickly and can be used alone or in conjunction with other treatment products.

NIA 24 Sun Damage Repair for Chest and Hands CELLective Clinical Retinol Transforming Night Cream NIA 24 Treatment Catalyst
Treatment Catalyst
Our Price: $71.00
This nutrient-rich cream delivers intense moisture while it improves the appearance of photo-damage on the decolletage (chest), shoulders and hands.
Age spots and discolorations visibly diminish with this proven brightening complex. Enhances skin barrier function to accelerate repair and increase resistance to damage and moisture loss. Daily use results in significant improvement in overall tone, texture and resilence. Contains 2.5% Pro-Niacin and brightening agents.
CELLective Retinol Transforming Night Cream is one of our "must have" products. This cream is recommended for use by everyone from a teen with acne to mature skin with deep wrinkles and sun damage. Encapsulated retinol (Vitamin A) stimulates cell regeneration to enhance skin tone, texture and reduces the appearance of discoloration, age spots and blemishes. This is a unique retinol based cream that is combined with powerful peptides, lightening and brightening agents, antioxidants and DNA Repair.

**This retinol cream is equivalent in strength to a 0.035% Prescription Strength**

NIA24 Treatment Catalyst is a skin fortifying oil that contains patented Pro-Niacin, proven to visibly improve skin tone, texture & hyperpigmentation.

This nourishing formula delivers an immediate dose of moisture and radiance while reducing the overall appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
PyratineXR Lotion PREVOX intensive anti-aging therapy Actifirm Z-Peel Plus 15%
15% Z-Peel PLUS
Our Price: $82.00
NEW...1 oz Starter Tube

NEW! Breakthrough formula for Rosacea Sufferers.
PyratineXR Effective and Well-Tolerated
A new study published in the June 2010 issue of Journal of Drugs in Dermatology demonstrates that PyratineXR moisturizing lotion PRK-124 is effective for rosacea patients and well-tolerated.

PREVOX is an anti-aging skin treatment that is simple, pure and effective. PREVOX is a technological first to combine multiple functional antioxidants in a single product. PREVOX is THE ONLY advanced non- prescription skin treatment available that is based on biomedical research that has been clinically proven to reduce the visible signs of photo-aging. Limited Stock Available on the Actifirm Z-Peel 15% PLUS

The first all in one product harnessing the power of Actifirm's patented exfoliating enzyme combined with "multisphere" beads to gently exfoliate the skin every day.
PCA pHaze 16 C-Strength 15% with 5% Vitamin E NIA 24 Skin Strengthening Complex Repair Neova DNA Repair Factor Nourishing Lotion formerly DNA Repair Factor Nourishing Lotion
This item is no longer available. Recommended replacement products:
CELLective Clinical Sheer Berry Antioxidant Serum
PREVoX Antioxidant Cream
CELLective Clinical DayGUARD Active C&E with BioPeptides

A stable and effective vitamin C and E topical for minimizing fine lines, skin strengthening and brightening. Use day and night for maximum skin renewal.
Neither heavy nor too light, this fortified cream visibly reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by enhancing the skin's barrier function, accelerating repair and delivering continual moisturization. Neova DNA Repair Factor Nourishing Lotion formerly DNA Repair Factor Nourishing Lotion
is a progressive, regenerating formula that effectively identifies DNA
damage and speeds its repair and combats the consequences of premature,
intrinsic and photo aging.
PCA C-Strength 20% with 5% Vitamin E -  pHaze 16+ Neova DNA Total Repair gloTherapeutics Super Serum
DNA Total Repair
Our Price: $102.00
Super Serum
Our Price: $117.00
A stable and effective vitamin C and E topical designed to brighten dull, resilient skin and minimize fine lines and wrinkles. Use day and night for maximum skin renewal. Neova DNA Total Repair offers the most advanced and powerful therapeutic intervention for UV-induced DNA damage. Neova DNA Total Repair is formulated with three repair enzymes - Photolysomes, Endosomes and Mitosomes - all liposome encapsulated. GloTherapeutics Super Serum features the ultimate anti-aging complex to help firm, tighten, renew, repair and strengthen, thereby supporting cell matrix. Skin will appear more youthful and structurally healthy.

This is a truly unique anti-aging serum that addresses several fundamental concerns that stem from skin that is starting to lose its vibrance, tone and clarity. As we get on in years, fine lines start to creep up around the corners of the eyes, on each side of the mouth and forehead. Some women start to notice brown spots they never had before that make the skin look uneven. ALL these areas of concern are addressed in just one product, Super Serum by gloTherapeutics.