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CC Cream vs BB Cream: What’s the Difference and Which One For Your Skin?

When it comes to hybrid skincare and makeup products, there’s nothing quite like CC creams and BB creams. 

Most makeup is only intended to improve the appearance of skin, but these creams are formulated to benefit the skin by protecting, moisturizing, and strengthening it.

Skin care plus beauty care.

Here’s the basics on BB creams and CC creams.


  • BB creams (for blemish balm or beauty balm) and CC creams (for color correcting cream) are hybrid skincare and beauty formulations generally formulated to do more than one thing.
  • Both have their roots in Asian countries where skin-lightening was desired. They gained popularity in the U.S. in. the early 2000s.
  • BB cream might be thought of as a lighter version of CC cream, though what’s in these creams can vary greatly. Most importantly, they generally offer some color-correcting element plus moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, or anti-aging properties.

What’s the Difference Between CC Cream and BB Cream?

There’s a long list of similarities between CC creams and BB creams, but there are differences, too. 

You might think of these products as like light and heavy versions of each other, with BB cream on the lighter side and CC cream generally being heavier and often with increased tint. 

Broadly speaking, both generally are intended to do more than one thing in the world of skin and beauty care, and they generally contain ingredients selected for specific reasons: anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, sun blocking, foundation, hues, and more depending on your goals. 

Most simply, BB creams are closer to a primer while CC creams are closer to a foundation. However, they’re often both versatile enough to be used interchangeably. BB creams can be used as foundations and CC creams as primers. 

Confused yet? Even more simply, BB cream and CC cream have become marketing lingo more than indicative of a product’s qualities or ingredients, though the key differentiating factor is that these formulations are designed to nourish while enhancing the look of your skin.

That’s one of the main reasons for their widespread adoration: they’re just so versatile.    

What Is BB Cream?

BB cream, commonly marketed as “beauty balm” or “blemish balm”, is a tinted moisturizer that acts as a hybrid skincare product and foundation. Despite being around since the 1960s, BB creams didn’t really catch on in the United States until the last ten years or so. 

Since their arrival, they’ve exploded in popularity

BB creams were originally created as skin-lightening solutions in Asian countries where lighter-colored skin was prized. Today, they can incorporate anti-aging ingredients, moisturizers, sun protection, and more.

To some extent, BB cream has become a catch-all for hybrid formulations that do more than one thing, but their origins are as skincare solutions that had skin-lightening capabilities.

What Does BB Cream Do?

When you know what BB creams are capable of, it’s easy to understand why they’ve become such a staple with cosmetic professionals. 


Technically, a BB cream is classified as a tinted moisturizer. Obviously, this implies that it can be highly effective at moisturizing your skin, and many BB creams contain high concentrations of hyaluronic acid for that reason. This natural substance is found in the eyes and joints to keep them well lubricated and prevent them from drying out. It’s also found in the skin, but levels decrease during the aging process. As a skin care treatment, it’s considered one of the best solutions for moisture retention. 

Skin Protection

BB creams often include a ton of antioxidants, like vitamin C, intended to reduce irritation and help the skin to naturally protect and repair itself from outside damage. Antioxidants can also help to support firmer, more supple-looking skin, leading to thicker and stronger skin that offers up better protection against environmental hazards.

Sun Protection

One of the more ingenious attributes of BB creams is their inclusion of ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These minerals are commonly used in sunscreen and help to block ultraviolet rays and prevent sun damage.

Skin Firming

The outermost layer of your skin is made up of several elements, the largest being ceramides. These fatty acids or lipids are sort of like the glue that holds your skin cells together. 

Over time, both the quality and quantity of ceramides decline due to sun damage and the aging process. Lower quality and lesser amounts of “glue” can lead to sagging skin. BB creams often contain a high concentration of ceramides that help to keep your skin firm and stay in place.


By including mica in many formulas, BB creams can provide an illuminating glow for the skin. Mica works to reflect light, creating a sort of shimmering effect for the skin.

What Is CC Cream?

CC cream, or “color correcting” cream, is similar to BB cream and arrived hot on the heels of BB creams in the U.S. While BB creams offer sheer coverage that lets your skin shine through, CC creams’ coverage is more full and can conceal imperfections even further. 

One way to look at it would be that CC cream is like a heavier version of BB cream, sort of like the difference between a foundation and a primer. 

What Does CC Cream Do?

A lot of the same skincare benefits that are found in BB creams are also found in CC creams. Both products are skincare and cosmetic hybrids, it’s just that CC creams offer up a little bit more in terms of coverage, blending skin tones, and covering minor blemishes.

Skin Protection

Whether it’s ultraviolet rays, blue light, or even pollution, there are lots of environmental hazards that can damage skin. These “free radicals” can result in oxidative damage at the cellular level in your skin, and CC creams often contain antioxidants that help to prevent damage to collagen and elastin in your skin.

Sun Protection

One of the leading causes of premature aging symptoms is direct exposure to sunlight. The damage of ultraviolet rays breakw down collagen and damages the elasticity of skin, resulting in earlier and faster development of wrinkles. CC creams contain ingredients that protect your skin and prevent ultraviolet damage from reaching too deeply into the skin.  

Skin Firming

CC creams sometimes contain hydrolyzed collagen, a peptide that can help to tighten and repair saggy and damaged skin. Additionally, pigments found in CC cream can help to blend off and reduce the overall appearance of wrinkles. 


By helping to blend skin tones with various shades and brightening agents, CC creams are known for helping people achieve that natural, healthy looking glow we’re all after. 

Skin Soothing

When your skin gets irritated for whatever reason, you can experience inflammation. This can lead to acne breakouts, redness, or puffiness. Many CC creams contain anti-inflammatory ingredients to help to soothe distressed skin and reduce the appearance of blemishes or rashes. 

Color Correction

Color correction is literally in the name of CC cream, and for good reason. CC creams contain enough pigment to blend off most minor blemishes, flaws, and scars in skin. As a result, CC creams can be effective as a primer or a foundation. 

Which Is Better for My Skin Type?

Knowing your skin type will make finding the perfect product easier. If you’re unsure of your skin type, that’s okay too: there are basically four different skin types. One of the following will surely sound more like your skin than the others.   

Oily Skin

This skin type is associated with excess sebum, that waxy oil naturally produced by the skin. If you have large pores, have trouble with makeup “sliding”, or your face has a shiny appearance at the end of most days, you very well may have oily skin. 

BB creams might be too strong of a moisturizer and trap or exacerbate oil on your skin, so look for formulations that are lighter on moisturizing ingredients. And, it may be better to use CC creams. Due to their texture, they may be less likely to slip on oily skin. 

Acne-Prone Skin

Acne and pimples are more likely to develop in your sebum-heavy skin. This is common among those with with oily skin, though it’s possible to get acne with dry skin too. When your skin is too dry, it can increase sebum production aggressively to compensate, leading to acne and pimple formation.

If you easily develop and experience acne or pimples frequently, you have acne prone skin. Lighter creams that don’t leave sticky or heavy residue will be the better option for acne-prone skin as they‘re often less likely to lead to clogged pores and breakouts in oily skin. Whatever you try, make sure to cleanse gently at the end of the day.

Combination Skin

Combination skin means your skin is too oily or too dry depending on location and timing. If your forehead, nose, and chin are typically oily, but your cheeks are dry, then you have combination skin. 

While BB cream might be a better moisturizer for dry areas of your skin, CC cream is able to hydrate your skin adequately. 

More importantly, CC cream may be less likely to cause breakouts on the oily parts of your face. 

Dry Skin

Dry skin often feels rough, tight, or itchy and has a tendency to flake or peel easily. BB and CC creams both may be great for you, so long as they contain quality moisturizers and sun protection.

Can I Use CC Cream and BB Cream Together?

One of the main reasons that BB and CC creams are so popular is their versatility. From reputable manufacturers, they can be quality skin care and makeup products simultaneously. Best of all, they can be used in many different ways, including as primers or foundations. Both can hide blemishes and blend skin tones while being sheer enough to let your skin glow through. 

BB creams and CC creams both provide excellent benefits for your skin in addition to working great cosmetically. They don’t have to replace any of your tried-and-true makeup, as both creams are generally thin enough that they can be easily applied over top. 

Due to their skincare benefits, it’s worth a try to incorporate a BB or CC cream daily.



The Role of Inflammation in the Pathology of Acne | NCBI

The structure, function, and importance of ceramides in skin and their use as therapeutic agents in skin-care products | NCBI

Beneficial effects of food supplements based on hydrolyzed collagen for skin care (Review) | NCBI

UV Radiation and the Skin | NCBI

Multitasking BB skin creams becoming popular in U.S. | LA Times

Free Radicals and Extrinsic Skin Aging | NCBI

Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles in sunscreens: focus on their safety and effectiveness | NCBI

Vitamin C in Disease Prevention and Cure: An Overview | NCBI

Efficacy of a New Topical Nano-hyaluronic Acid in Humans | NCBI


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This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.
Consult a healthcare professional or call a doctor in the case of a medical emergency