Best Facial Moisturizer For Dry Sensitive Skin: 9 Experts Picks

Mar 15, 2023 - Views: 397

Rating: 4.9 - 51Votes

Weather, heredity, harsh cleaners, and other factors are common causes of dryness and sensitivity of the skin.

Why not protect it with the best facial moisturizer for dry sensitive skin?

According to dermatologists, there is an art to getting the most out of your moisturizer. 

So read on for the full details, which include the list of the 9 best moisturizers for dry sensitive skin, shopping advice, and instructions on how to use them.

What is the best facial moisturizer for dry sensitive skin?

What is the best facial moisturizer for dry sensitive skin?

What Is A Facial Moisturizer and How Does It Work?

A face moisturizer is known as a lotion, ointment, cream emulsion, or balm containing emollients to keep skin hydrated.

It draws moisture "into the skin, rather than just to its surfaces," according to Dr. Annie Chiu, a board-certified cosmetic and general dermatologist and the founder of The Derm Institute in California. 

Lotions are lighter as well as less greasy, making them excellent for normal to slightly dry skin, according to Chiu. 

Meanwhile, creams offer "a stronger barrier to keep your skin hydrated," which makes them suitable for sensitive or dry skin. Gels and ointments, like petroleum jelly, keep skin moisturized by locking in moisture.

Moisturizers help bring hydration to your skin

Moisturizers help bring hydration to your skin

Best Facial Moisturizer For Dry Sensitive Skin

While selecting a moisturizer for dry sensitive skin, we must ensure that it is moisturizing without creating irritation. 

With that in mind, here are the best hydrating moisturizer for dry skin recommended by dermatologists

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Moisturizer

Chiu, as well as physician Dr. Barry Goldman and licensed aesthetician Jean Dachnowicz of New York City's Goldman Dermatology, suggested Neutrogena Hydro Boost for individuals with dry skin. 

"It treats dryness and makes the face feel hydrated," Goldman and Dachnowicz explained. 

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Moisturizer

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Moisturizer

Glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and dimethicone (a silicone-based substance that produces a barrier) are all noteworthy compounds that attract moisture to the skin.

Generally, Neutrogena’s product is the best gel moisturizer for dry skin on our list!

Aquaphor Healing Ointment

Aquaphor is well-known as an occlusive moisturizer that is beneficial for "cracked, flaky, or scaly skin," according to Goldman and Dachnowicz. 

This ointment is fragrance-free and contains occlusive substances such as glycerin and mineral oil, making it suitable to be utilized as a hand cream, lip moisturizer, and other products in addition to a face moisturizer. 

Aquaphor Healing Ointment

Aquaphor Healing Ointment

Aquaphor may work the best to form a barrier that retains moisture when compared to lotions or creams; nevertheless, this moisturizer might be too heavy for some skin types and clog pores.

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

CeraVe moisturizing cream is popular among individuals suffering from eczema and other chronic skin disorders, making it an excellent choice for those who have sensitive skin. 

It hydrates the skin for 24 hours and helps rebuild the protective skin barrier with hyaluronic acid and ceramides, making it one of the best moisturizer with ceramides.

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

This rich, fast-absorbing, non-greasy, moisturizing cream was developed with dermatologists and is appropriate for dry and very dry skin on the face and body.

Especially, it uses the brand's patented MVE Delivery Technology to release a consistent stream of moisturizing ingredients throughout the day and night.

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream was named the "best daily moisturizer for dry skin" by Goldman and Dachnowicz. 

It is made with a dermatologist-recommended mix of panthenol (vitamin B5), niacinamide (vitamin B3), and moisturizing glycerin to help sensitive skin.

Besides, this daily-use cream, enriched with sweet almond oil, has been clinically shown to give powerful and long-lasting hydration for 48 hours, and 97% of customers said that their skin seems more moisturized over time.

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream

Tree to Tub Deep Hydration Face Cream

Unlike creams that only coat the surface of the skin, this unique blend with Shea Butter and Hyaluronic Acid provides deep hydration and shields skin from dryness. 

While Green Tea, Rose Water, and Ginseng, naturally brighten the skin and prevent excess oils from clogging pores, Tea Tree, Aloe Vera, and the Balanced Vitamin Complex (B5, B3, C, E) get instantly to work on replenishing critical skin nutrients.

Tree to Tub Deep Hydration Face Cream

Tree to Tub Deep Hydration Face Cream

Though this best vegan moisturizer for dry skin is suitable for all skin types, it is especially moisturizing for people with really dry skin (or who live in arid climates). 

Luckily, it comes in an easy-to-use jar (with a small spatula) so you do not have to dip your fingers in it.

Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream

Dr. Ife Rodney, founding director of Eternal Dermatology + Aesthetics stated that the Vanicream is “excellent” since it is "free of lanolin, parabens, formaldehyde, and perfumes that typically irritate dry, sensitive skin."

Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream

Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream

This multi-purpose cream, which has received the National Eczema Association's Seal of Approval, helps offer long-lasting hydration to dry, itchy, irritated skin.

It is suitable as a night cream, for massage, after bathing, swimming, showering, or sun exposure, before being subjected to harsh wind and cold, and many other things. 

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

First Aid Beauty's fragrance-free cream contains colloidal oatmeal, an emollient that "helps reinforce your skin barrier and provides moisture to it," according to Goldman and Dachnowicz. 

It also leaves skin feeling hydrated, smooth, and comfortable after just one application, making it among the best skin moisturizer for dry skin.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

Furthermore, Chiu stated that this is a fantastic alternative for those who suffer from dry skin in the winter, and the brand claims that it is also beneficial for those who suffer from eczema and redness as well.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

Dr. Hope Mitchell, a board-certified dermatologist in Perrysburg, Ohio, recommends La Roche-Toleriane Posay's line for dry skin. 

It is "excellent for hydrating dry skin associated with redness" because it contains calming niacinamide, water-attracting glycerin, dimethicone, and moisturizing ceramides.

However, remember that redness is different from rosacea. If you get this skin condition, you will need to go for the best moisturizer for rosacea.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

She recommends this moisturizer for acne-prone skin, especially if you're using drying acne treatments like benzoyl peroxide. Additionally, it is a good alternative for those who have mixed skin, which requires various moisturizers.

Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer

For those looking for a "rapid absorbing moisturizer," Chiu advised this "special gel formulation" from Biossance. 

This probiotic-infused moisturizer mitigates the impact of daytime stresses, leaving skin significantly brighter and more even. It also promotes moisture and minimizes the appearance of pore size.

Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer

Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer

Furthermore, as part of Biossance's commitment to high standards for both the skin and environment, all products are cruelty-free, vegan, and devoid of parabens, synthetic fragrances, and PEG.

Once again, let’s look at our top picks for 9 best moisturizers for dry sensitive skin and their outstanding features:

Product

Best for

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Moisturizer

Best gel cream

Aquaphor Healing Ointment

Best for extremely dry skin

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

Best drugstore

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream

Best for dry skin

Tree to Tub Deep Hydration Face Cream

Best vegan

Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream

Best for sensitive dry skin

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

Best fragrance-free

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

Best for dry acne-prone skin

Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer

Best for moisturizing

How To Buy The Best Facial Moisturizer For Dry Sensitive Skin?

Buying a skincare item for any skin type is difficult, especially sensitive skin as it is easy to get irritated or break out.

If you intend to get a moisturizer, follow this buying guide: 

Ingredients

What makes a good moisturizer? It must be ingredients.

You should also pay great attention to the moisturizer's ingredients. These ingredients (as well as the products themselves) typically fall under the following categories:

Humectants

Humectants attract water to the skin's surface and "tear away dead skin cells, further enhancing moisture penetration," stated Chiu. 

Hyaluronic acid is undoubtedly the most popular — and vital — humectant since it absorbs moisture from the air like a sponge and sucks it into the skin. 

Sorbitol, urea, glycerin, glycerol, aloe vera gel, and lactic acid are also some popular humectants included in moisturizers.

Emollients

Emollients are available in gels, creams, ointments, and lotions, and they are useful for dry and aging skin when natural lipids have been depleted. 

Isopropyl palmitate, shea butter, and colloidal oatmeal are examples of common emollients.

Occlusives

These ingredients form a physical barrier on the skin, preventing water loss and protecting it from harmful irritants.

Waxes such as silicone and beeswax, as well as oils such as olive oil, mineral oil, lanolin, and dimethicone, are several typical occlusives.

Nevertheless, occlusive ointments may block your pores if you have acne-prone skin, according to Goldman and Dachnowicz.

Some ingredients should be included in moisturizers

Some ingredients should be included in moisturizers

Importantly, your moisturizers should avoid ingredients like fragrances, exfoliants (glycolic acid, salicylic acid), and denatured alcohols (SD alcohol, ethyl alcohol) as they may irritate your sensitive skin.

Texture

"Creams and ointments are your great friends if you have oily, and greasy skin because they are oil-based, have a thicker consistency, and provide more moisture than lotions," notes Noelani Gonzalez, director of cosmetic dermatology at Mount Sinai West. 

In the summer, you may use a lighter lotion, particularly if it contains potent moisturizing elements. 

However, for individuals who suffer year-round dryness or a condition like eczema, a thick moisturizer or ointment should be a mainstay in your routine.

Consider your moisturizer type

Consider your moisturizer type

Base

When you have dry skin, it usually signifies that your skin lacks the ability to produce enough oil to keep itself hydrated.

Then, an oil-based moisturizer will replenish the oil your skin needs, like Nivea Soft Crème 100Ml, which includes jojoba oil in a combination with vitamin E.

If you are looking for something oil- or petroleum-free, another typical base for moisturizer is water.

Yet, if you use one of those, keep an eye on the extra components, as those will make the formula moisturizing, instead of the base itself.

How To Use Facial Moisturizer For Dry Sensitive Skin?

To properly apply moisturizer for the greatest results, follow this four-step guide:

A complete guide on applying facial moisturizer

A complete guide on applying facial moisturizer

Step 1: Cleanse your skin with a gentle and nourishing cleanser

"You want to make sure you are applying products on a clean surface devoid of bacteria, cosmetics, and other buildups," explains board-certified dermatologist Marisa Garshick, M.D.

Step 2: Apply other skincare products

If you follow a full-fledged skincare routine that involves toners, essences, serums, and/or treatment products, apply them while your skin is still damp, from the lightest to heaviest consistency. 

Step 3: Apply your moisturizer

Apply your moisturizers carefully

Apply your moisturizers carefully

Go for a quarter-size amount and ensure to cover all of your exposed skin, including your hairline, neck, ears, and decolletage. 

Keep the following tips in mind:

  • Use moisturizer to damp skin to help lock in moisture, suggests board-certified dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD.

  • Do not rub or press too hard.

  • Apply in an upward motion to create a modest lifting effect.

  • Creams should be applied by gently patting them into the skin.

  • Apply moisturizers that are gel or water-based in circular motions.

  • If you apply too much product, simply remove it with a clean, moist washcloth.

Step 4: Apply your sunscreen and makeup

Complete your morning skincare routine by adding sunscreen and, if desired, makeup. There is no need to do this step at night.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What ingredients should a moisturizer for dry, sensitive skin contain?

If you have sensitive, dry skin, go for a richer moisturizer and opt for hydrating elements like hyaluronic acid and dimethicone. 

Proteins, urea, glycerin, and propylene glycol all also aid in drawing water to your skin while mineral oil, lanolin, and petrolatum serve to lock in moisture.

2. How frequently should you use face moisturizers for sensitive skin?

Dr. Rodney advises to moisturize everyday with a moisturizer after washing your face twice a day. Formulas with SPF, in particular, should only be applied in the morning.

3. Is coconut oil or shea butter a good moisturizer for sensitive skin?

Although coconut oil and shea butter are frequently found in moisturizers, if your skin is sensitive, they might not be the best choice for you.

Shea butter is so rich in fatty acids that it possesses an oily texture and may be excessively greasy. Besides, coconut oil is highly comedogenic and will almost certainly clog your pores. 

If congestion develops, these substances may have an adverse effect on sensitive skin.

Wrapping Up

Dry skin, no matter where it appears on your body may be aggravating—especially when those dry flakes, patches, and itchy places appear on your face. However, the best facial moisturizer for dry sensitive skin, may rehydrate parched skin, relieve irritation, and smooth it out. Not sure how to purchase the right one for you? Then follow our handy instructions!

Rating: 4.9 - 51Votes

13 Comments

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  1. Kim Goyal

    Kim Goyal

    Facial Moisturizer for someone with sensitive dry neurodermatitis skin? Looking for some recommendations since most moisturizers Ive tried werent moisturizing enough. Preferably something affordable. Thanks!

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    1. Cody Phillips

      Cody Phillips

      Try a balm like aquaphor, Vaseline, or CeraVe healing ointment

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      1. Kim Goyal

        Kim Goyal

        I'll look into it thanks!

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  2. Neela Kannan

    Neela Kannan

    Thank you so much for such an informative piece of information

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    1. Barcodelive

      No worries. Happy to help

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  3. jack

    jack

    This is a shot in the dark but I need a moisturizer specifically for dry, sensitive skin and bonus points if it evens skin tone as I have pretty severe hyperpigmentation. Please no "for all skin types!" bull because it's a LIE (unless you have similar skin to mine and it's worked for you hehe). I've been using pure argan oil and it works but it's expensive and I have to apply it throughout the day for my skin to stay hydrated. Can anyone help me?

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    1. Hanuman Shroff

      Hanuman Shroff

      have you tried the cerave AM/PM facial lotions? they contain niacinamide, which is great for fading hyperpigmentation

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    2. Eduardo Evans

      Eduardo Evans

      You should try rose hip seed oil! Its supposed to be great for dry skin with hyper pigmentation

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  4. Nilam Munshi

    Nilam Munshi

    i am in need of a drugstore facial moisturizer for dry sensitive skin. any brand recommendations?

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    1. Sona Mistry

      Sona Mistry

      CeraVe moisturizer (the one in the tub) works super well for my skin in winter and is certified for those with eczema!

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    2. Leila Gilbert

      Leila Gilbert

      Vanicream facial moisturizer. I used cerave facial moisturizer for awhile and it started to sting badly.

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    3. Ragini Narayanan

      Ragini Narayanan

      Nivea and Aveeno!

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    4. Mohit Arya

      Mohit Arya

      Aveeno calm & restore! holy grail for me

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