Moisturizer is the foundation of any good skin care routine — but if you have sensitive skin that's prone to dryness, shopping for the right one can be difficult. When it comes to narrowing down the best face moisturizers for dry, sensitive skin, the most important thing is to stay away from potentially-irritating ingredients. The most common culprits are synthetic fragrance, which can cause redness and rashes, and sulfates, which are known to be drying. In general, the simpler (or shorter) the ingredients list, the better a product will be for sensitive skin.
If your sensitive skin errs on the dry side, it's not just a matter of avoiding common known irritants. You also want to make your moisturizer will provide enough moisture and/or hydration to help treat dryness and flaky patches. To make things simple, look for a label that says it's moisturizing, hydrating, soothing, or protecting. Even better if it specifically states that it's formulated for use on sensitive skin (if it says it's safe for use on eczema or rosacea-prone skin, that's also a good sign).
Below, you'll find five of the most popular moisturizers that dermatologists and those with dry, sensitive skin swear by — whether you're looking for an option with SPF or something you can use on your whole body.
1. Best Daily Moisturizer For Dry, Sensitive Skin
Beauty experts with sensitive skin know there's one brand they can always count on: Avène. The centuries-old French pharmacy brand makes all of their products with sensitive skin in mind, and their Skin Recovery Cream is, across the board, one of the best moisturizers for dry, sensitive skin you can buy. It has a simple list of ingredients and contains no fragrance, alcohol, sulfates, preserves, or parabens. Using a combination of glycerin, parcerine, and the brand's signature soothing mineral water, it moisturizes skin, calms irritation, and provides a protective barrier that will help guard your sensitive skin from external aggressors.
Implementing its concept of Sterile Cosmetics, Avène also ensures their products are produced and manufactured in a completely sterile process that prevents the risk of contamination. This includes everything from formula, to lab facilities, to the products' packaging.
2. Best Rich Moisturizer For Dry, Sensitive Skin
For a bit of a richer option, consider First Aid Beauty's Ultra Repair Cream. Its ingredients list is a bit more complex, but that's because it contains a host of ingredients that provide even more nourishing benefits to the skin. Colloidal oatmeal works to relieve itching and irritation; shea butter deeply moisturizes; allantoin soothes and calms; and the brand's signature Antioxidant Booster helps protect skin from environmental aggressors. It's safe for use on eczema-prone skin, and can even help relieve the most common associated symptoms, like rashes and flaking. Plus, it comes in a big tub that should last you a while.
3. Best Moisturizer With SPF For Dry, Sensitive Skin
By now, you should know the importance of wearing some form of SPF every day — especially if you have sensitive skin. If you like a two-in-one product that combines moisturizer with sunscreen, try this UV Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 30+ by EltaMD. It was formulated with dry and post-procedure (aka, sensitive) skin in mind, and uses mineral-based zinc oxide for its sun protection. It's free of fragrance, parabens, and other known irritants, and contains hyaluronic acid to restore moisture to dry skin.
4. Best Moisturizer For Dry, Sensitive Skin Prone To Redness
This cream should be a lot more popular, but SVR is still a bit of a lesser-known French pharmacy brand that hasn't yet quite made its way into the mainstream American market. If you have dry, sensitive skin prone to redness, the formula can't be beat. The Sensifine AR Moisturizing Soothing Anti Redness Care cream uses a unique "firewall" technology that helps regular over-heating and redness by providing long-lasting relief to the skin, which keeps further heat-induced redness at bay. The cooling effect and slight green tint work to instantly soothe skin and neutralize visible redness, and the lightweight formula feels like nothing on your skin.
5. Best Value: An Affordable Moisturizer For Your Face, Hands, & Body That Comes In A Huge Tub
Recommended for those with skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, ichthyosis, and more, Vanicream's Moisturizing Skin Cream is the best choice if a great value is what you're after. Not only does it come in a huge, 16-ounce tub (with a convenient pump top bottle), but it can be used on your face, hands, body, and feet. It only contains a handful of moisturizing ingredients, and like the other formulas on this list, contains no fragrance, parabens, dyes, or other known irritants. It also comes in a lighter-weight lotion version, in case you're after something a bit less rich.
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