Your Official Guide To The Best, Gentlest Moisturizers For Dry, Sensitive Skin


It's no exaggeration to say that moisturizing is the most important component of taking care of your skin. But if you have dry, sensitive skin, you can't just choose any old face cream to do the job. The best moisturizers for dry, sensitive skin should be hydrating but gentle, free of harsh irritants (like alcohol and artificial fragrance), and full of strengthening and nourishing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or squalane. If a product says it's soothing or calming that's a good sign, too, since sensitive skin types are often prone to redness and inflammation.

If your dry, sensitive skin is a sign of an underlying condition like eczema or rosacea, you'll want to be even more picky about the formula choose. Those with eczema should opt for an irritant-free moisturizer that says it fights itching and flaking; even better if it's been accepted by the National Eczema Association. For rosacea, choose a redness-reducing moisturizer — you'll find a great one listed below.

To avoid exacerbating any existing signs of severe dryness or skin irritation, be careful with your other products, too. It's especially important to make sure you're using one of the best cleansers for dry, sensitive skin, since cleansers tend to be packed with skin-drying sulfates and harsh fragrances.

Outlined ahead are five of the best face creams for dry, sensitive skin, including an option with SPF and a lotion you can apply from head to toe.

The Overall Best Moisturizer For Dry, Sensitive Skin

For those with sensitive skin, there are few better brands than Avène. All of the French pharmacy cult-favorite's products are made with delicate, easily-reactive skin in mind, and infused with their signature thermal spring water that has naturally soothing and restorative properties. This rich day cream from their Hydrance line, made specifically for dry and/or dehydrated sensitive skin, works to strengthen your skin's natural protective barrier, which tends to be compromised in sensitive skin types. It provides maximum, long-lasting hydration uses a blend of glycerin, shea butter, and brand-patented ingredients that prevent moisture loss in the skin.

Reviewers love that it's "rich but not oily," and "does not feel pore-cloggy at all." One called it an "excellent first-aid treatment for sensitive skin," while another says, "This is the best skincare line I have ever used. My skin has truly been transformed by Avene products."

Best Moisturizer With SPF

Wearing a form of SPF everyday is particularly important for those with sensitive skin, since sun exposure can more easily cause damage and irritation. In this moisturizer, Naturopathica combines an SPF of 17 with calming lavender, an ingredient favored by sensitive skin-types for its ability to help soothe irritation. The sun protection comes in the form of zinc, while jojoba oil and squalane keep skin moisturized, and turmeric root helps reduce the appearance of sun spots.

"This moisturizer has helped my dry skin tremendously," one reviewer shares, while another says "I have sensitive skin and this doesn’t irritate my skin at all."

Best Moisturizer For Redness & Rosacea

If you have rosacea or redness-prone skin, opt for a soothing moisturizer like Bioderma's Sensibio AR Anti-Redness Care cream. Made specifically for sensitive, easily-reactive skin, this formula contains a blend of patented redness-reducing technologies and calming ingredients like enoxolone and allantoin, which also work to cool overheating. Moisturizing ingredients like glycerin and canola moisturize skin and strengthen its natural protective barrier, while the formula also wears beautifully under makeup.

"Actually eliminated redness after years of daily issues," shares one reviewer. "Affirmative real significant improvement. Remarkably, it started right away ... Rosacea and adult acne both settled down markedly within 48 hours ... The redness was fully in control in under a week and has remained so. I do still get an occasional pimple ... Otherwise, the rest of the adult acne is gone too."

Best Night Cream

This K-beauty moisturizer can be worn as both a day cream and a night cream. The gentle formula contains only 12 ingredients, all of which are verified "green" by the EWG. It's hypoallergenic, made of mostly natural-derived ingredients, and has an ideal pH balance of five, resulting in a sensitive-skin friendly formula that deeply hydrates for up to 48 hours. Each order also comes with bonus add-on products, including a travel-sized version of this cream and soothing organic toner.

"I am very particular and cautious with what ingredients/products I put on my skin, and this cream definitely meets my non-toxic, simple yet effective criteria! ... It gives a 'glass-skin' finish, thats dewey and youthful; never greasy or oily," one reviewer raves. Another says, "I have very sensitive and dry skin, but this worked perfectly for me."

Best Value Moisturizer

Considering this under-$15 moisturizer can be used on your face, body, and hands, and you get an entire pound of product, it's one of the best beauty values you could possibly find. Free of all the most common skin-irritants (fragrance, dyes, parabens, formaldehyde, etc.) and accepted by the National Eczema Assocation, this thick but non-greasy cream safely moisturizes sensitive skin and helps soothe flaky or irritated areas. Many users that are "allergic to everything" said it's the only thing they've found that doesn't cause a reaction.

With 3,000 reviews, of which over 80 percent were given five-star ratings, it's clear customers are obsessed, saying it's helped with everything from psoriasis to acne. "I am post-chemo and radiation with lots of scars and allergies that are worse since the chemo. This is the first product that I have not reacted to. It is very creamy and concentrated and it soaks into my skin amazingly," shares one reviewer.

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