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Balm vs. Cream: What's the Difference?

Balm vs. Cream: What's the Difference?

Rescue Me Balm is SallyeAnder’s multi-purpose healing salve. No matter the cause, it will soothe and heal irritated and distressed skin. It’s one of those items you’ll want to always keep in your home medicine cabinet. Whether you’re nursing a small cut, scrape, or bruise, feeling a cold sore coming on, wanting to soothe a rash (yes, eczema & psoriasis too!) or burn, or to treat stretch marks and scars, Rescue Me truly comes to the rescue! 

One of the questions we get asked ALL the time is about the difference between Rescue Me balm and SallyeAnder’s Heavy Duty Hand Therapy cream, and which one to choose and when. To clarify, we thought it would be helpful to first explain the difference between a balm and a cream, and second to explain how and why Rescue Me works on a variety of skin issues to help you decide which best suits your needs. That said, we recommend keeping a tin of Rescue Me always in stock, it’s so versatile and you just never know when you’ll need it- an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

The Difference Between Creams and Balms

Creams are made of oil-in-water emulsions, they are thinner, easily applied, and well absorbed by the skin. Beeswax is sometimes added to slightly thicken the consistency of the emulsion, but at a much lower ratio than is used for a balm or ointment. Nourishing herbs and essential oils are added for their scent and/or healing protective qualities. Creams are best used to moisturize and deeply hydrate the skin.

Balms, on the other hand, are purely oil/fat-based preparations used for healing skin trauma and irritated or dry tissue. Herbs, tinctures, and/or essential oils are mixed with the oil/fat base for their unique healing properties; the carrier oil base allows the medicinal properties of the herbs and essential oils to penetrate through the top layers of the skin. Beeswax is added at a higher ratio than is used for a cream, and it not only thickens the consistency of the balm, but also offers a protective, sealing quality that forms a barrier on the area of the skin being treated. Butters like shea and cocoa are often added to the oil-base for their inherent healing properties, and also for consistency.  

Balms are best used to spot-treat skin in distress, the medicinal herbs and essential oils will “sit” on the skin working their magic. When being used for a larger surface area of skin, it’s best to rub a small amount between the palms with a little force to warm and soften the balm, which can then be more easily applied over the affected area. 

How and Why Rescue Me Works

What makes Rescue Me potent and multi-purpose is our unique formula enriched with 21 natural ingredients. Each of these has its own set of actions, from emollient (softening and soothing to the skin), antioxidant, and nourishing fatty acids in our base of 4 oils and 2 kinds of butter, to the analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and vulnerary (aka wound healing) actions in the 14 botanicals that make up this balm. Check the list below for a summary of the best-known actions for each ingredient, and you’ll get a sense of why this balm can heal a multitude of skin problems, and even joint and muscle aches. 

Olive Oil- Emollient and anti-oxidant

Castor Oil-Anti-oxidant and anti-aging humectant

Soy Oil-Emollient rich in fatty acids and vitamin E

Rose Hip Oil-Fatty acids promote skin elasticity

Cocoa Butter-Emollient and anti-oxidant

Shea Butter-Emollient for extremely dry skin and blemishes

Beeswax-Anti-inflammatory emulsifier locks in moisture

Canadian Balsam-Helps heal burns and cuts

Centella Asiatica-Aids in healing wounds

Thyme-Ideal for acne, eczema, cuts, bruises and burns

Tea Tree-For acne, athlete’s foot, cold sores and bites

Frankincense-Fights inflammation and infection

Rosemary-Analgesic for acne, dermatitis, eczema

Spearmint-Anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and astringent

Eucalyptus-For the care of burns, blisters, and insect bites

White Camphor-Anti-inflammatory and antiseptic

Vetiver-For the treatment of arthritis, cuts and acne

Clove- Promotes healing of mouth and skin sores

Benjamin-For inflamed and irritated skin

Rose Geranium-Ideal for acne, bruises, burns and more

Cistus Absolute-Anti-infectious, anti-viral, anti-bacterial


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1 comment

  • I recently bought both Rescue Remedy and Heavy Duty Hand Therapy. LOVE them both.
    So glad I decided to try them. Before, I had only used the lip balms so I knew your products to be excellent. I shall remain dedicated buyer of all.


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