I recently had an enquiry from a customer who wasn't sure what the difference was between a balm and a moisturiser, in terms of what and where it should go on their skin.
The main difference is this. A balm will have a wax base. Beeswax or Carnauba wax are the two most popular used in the natural skin care industry.
A wax base will act as a barrier on the skin, blocking out external factors such as pollution, dirt and chemicals, ie. chlorine when swimming and also provides a deep level of soft moisturising qualities to the skin at the same time. During the production of making a balm, the wax is melted to a certain temperature, then blended with the oil to emulsify. Oils such as olive oil and antioxidants like vitamin E are our favourites for this, due to the purity and richness they hold when combined with a wax.
The structure of the balm will enable it to penetrate into very fine lines, wrinkles and cracked skin, so you only use about a third of the amount compared to any moisturiser. If you're going to use a balm to get right into tight, dry areas of your body, a little goes a long way! Test a small amount on your driest body part, then go from there.
My advice for the areas of the body a balm works best are: the feet, cracked heels, inflamed skin, dehydrated skin, sunburn, burns, scars, nail area, extremely lined and deep wrinkled skin and neck décolletage (as a nightly ritual).
Apply daily to the affected area and wait a couple of weeks for improved, softer and less damaged skin.
Moisturising the skin with a moisturiser, lotion or cream also has a place for all skin types.
They are designed to sit on the top layers of the skin, spreading to larger areas and providing a lighter barrier to pollutants.
These types of moisturisers are made up of water, glycerine and a light oil and emulsifier. These ingredients interact with each other so the molecules provide an elastic consistency, compared to a balm. They feel light and often silky on the skin. Skin loves to absorb these ingredients quickly, much faster than a balm. The texture is lighter which is designed for large areas of the body such as legs and arms, ideal for after waxing treatments, after shower, a quick touch up during the day.
Depending on your skin type, your skin will want a balm or a moisturiser or both. Don't ever assume one will do both actions for you. This is a common mistake!
They both have their purpose and are designed to target different parts of the body. A balm is medicinal on the skin, it is created to heal those parts of the skin that a moisturiser cannot. A moisturiser is fantastic for every day moisturising, as a quick go to product when needed.
If you have a concern about a particular body part you may think a balm requires; I have included below the benefits and effects according to skin type and concerns.
SKIN RELIEF BALM. Skin type: Inflamed, sensitive, dry, dehydrated.
Concerns: Eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, cradle cap, sunburn, dry cracked lips, nappy rash.
LAVENDER BALM. Skin type: Dry, sensitive, dehydrated.
Concerns: Stretch marks, pregnancy itchiness, sunburn, burns, wounds, scaring. Antiseptic.
AUSSIE MINT BALM. Skin type: Dry, normal, dehydrated.
Concerns and properties: Cracked heels, bruising, cuts, abrasions, aches and pains, arthritis pain, muscle aches and dryness. Antiseptic, anti microbial, anti inflammatory, circulation booster.
LEMON MYRTLE BALM. Skin type: normal, dry, dehydrated.
Concerns and properties: Dry skin, mood elevator. Anti microbial.
Please see Product description and ingredients in the product page for BALMS