Difference Between Cream & Gel

Cream vs Gel

Creams and gels are commonly used for various skin and beauty applications, but they have distinct differences. This article will clarify these differences based on their physical properties and usage, which will be helpful for those who are unsure whether to use a gel or cream for skin application.

Key Takeaways

  • Gels have a jelly-like appearance and are transparent, while creams are not transparent.
  • Gels are absorbed by the skin more quickly than creams and are usually oil-free, whereas some creams may contain oil.
  • Both gels and creams are water-based, but they may have different colors and consistencies due to varying thickening agents.

What is Gel?

A gel has the appearance of a jelly and is transparent. It looks like a cross between a solid and a liquid, and does not behave like either. In reality, they are closer to liquids than solids but behave like a solid because of the presence of cross-linking of molecules that prevents a steady state of flow. Most of the gels are water-based and are known as hydrogels. Gels can be made of many substances by adding thickening agents and water, which is why we see so many types of gels in the market these days. The thickening agents used in gels are often polymers or polysaccharides. Gels are found in various beauty products, medications for skin application, and even in toothpaste. The skin absorbs gel quickly once applied.

What is Cream?

Creams (crèmes) are more familiar, as they have been available for a long time. Most of the creams are water-based, though some may contain a bit of oil. Creams also use thickening agents to give them a smoother appearance. Creams are thicker than gels and take more time to get absorbed by the skin. There are creams that contain oil, such as lanolin or petrolatum, and those that do not have oil. Creams used to be applied to the hair before the introduction of hair gels, which have become popular due to their disappearing effect once applied to the hair.

What is the difference between Cream and Gel?

  • A gel has the appearance of a jelly and is transparent, while a cream is not transparent.
  • Gels are mostly colorless and disappear when applied to the skin, while creams may have a color base but also become invisible once rubbed onto the body. However, gels get absorbed through the skin faster than a cream.
  • Gels are usually oil-free, while some creams may have an oil mixture.
  • Both cream and gel are water-based.
  • Gels come in different colors, while creams are usually white but can also be colored.
  • Both gels and creams are not oily, making them ideal for facial products and those with oily skin.
  • The expiration period of a gel or cream is mentioned on the packaging. Neither lasts longer than the other, and their effectiveness decreases once expired.

In conclusion, there are several differences between creams and gels, from their appearance to the ingredients used to make them. Both are effective, but the choice between them depends on individual preferences and needs.

Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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