Can someone use lotion (NOT CREAM NOR VASELINE) on SHABBOS LICHATCHILLA?
This is a gray area question, because lotions come with different thicknesses (different viscosity levels). Essentially there are three levels of thicknesses regarding memareiach (smoothing). 1. If the item is thick and doesn’t lose its shape, (i.e. wax, Desitin, Chapstick, lipstick) it may not be smeared min hatorah. 2. If it doesn’t hold it’s shape but it isn’t very loose it is still prohibited m’drabonon, because it may get confused with the d’orayso things. 3. If it is like a liquid, such as baby or cooking oil, then it is permitted because that will not get mixed up with a solid. There is controversy among the poskim as to how thin the lotion, soap, cream or liquid has to be in order to be exempt from memareiach even on a rabbinical level. The question though is, at what point is a cream, lotion, or liquid soap considered like oil and permitted. Some poskim say that if it pours it is permitted, others say that it has to be watery, exactly how watery it has to be is not clear. The opinion of R. M. Heineman shlit”a (Kashrus Kurrents 2004) is that if the liquid has a viscosity level of 600 or less then it is permitted.
Aside from this, there is another issue with using lotion in regard to healing minor ailments on Shabbos. Therefore, it would depend on who and what it is being used.
If you have specific situation, let me know.
Shulchan Aruch O”CH 314-11, M:B 314-45, See Kaf Hachayim 314-43, Ben Ish Chai 2- Yisro 15, that is has to be very watery. Also see M’bais Levi 6 pg. 43 (7), and Chut Shani 1-pg. 117, that it has to be “thin”. On the other hand see Ma’aseh Ish 2 pg. 105, and Orchos Shabbos 17 ftnt. 40 that R’ Eliyashiv was shown a thick soap and permitted it. Also see Shmiras Shabbos Khilchoso 14- 18.