When you have dry, sensitive skin, few moisturizers seem to help alleviate flaky patches and bring hydrating relief. While your friends with oily and combination skin may be cursing certain lotions that they say are so thick they cause breakouts, on you they may not even begin to address the problem that is dry, itchy, and even painful skin, that only gets worse once temperatures drop.
The key to finding a great moisturizer for dry, sensitive skin lies in a careful examination of its ingredients. If your product contains alcohol, it’s a no-no — and is guaranteed to strip your complexion of natural oils. Ingredients like ceramides, glycerin, and essential oils can provide long-lasting hydration while actually forming a barrier that traps moisture and protects your skin throughout the day and night.
But not all moisturizers — even those marketed for dry and sensitive skin types — are created equal. We asked women with dry, sensitive skin to give a shout-out to their all-time favorite moisturizers — the only lotions they trust will eliminate flakes and heal dry skin. Here are their top choices.
1 )First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Face Moisturizer
This vegan moisturizer is free of irritants like alcohol, artificial fragrances and colorants, and mineral oil and is deemed safe for sensitive skin and even eczema.
“This is the only moisturizer that can actually help soothe my eczema breakouts,” says Coleen H. “I wear it during the day and at night and I notice a big difference if I go a few days without it. It’s the only moisturizer I’ve ever worn that provides instant relief.”
2) Chuda Healing Hydrating Cream
With ingredients like beeswax, rose and olive oil, and anti-inflammatory propolis (which is known for its healing powers), Chuda Healing Hydrating Cream is the moisturizer you’ll want to take with you to the beach (it can soothe sunburn) and the slopes (same with wind burn).
“This is the thickest, most luxurious cream in the world,” says Dana L. “If my skin gets red and irritated, it actually makes it look normal again.”
3) Nubian Heritage Shea Butter Body Lotion
Dry skin isn’t limited to your face — your body may need hydration, as well, and this African Shea butter body lotion delivers the goods. It’s made with soy milk, vitamin E, frankincense, and myrrh and, according to Samantha R., can transform your skin: “I haven’t had dry, scaly elbows or knees since I started using this lotion. It’s amazing.”
4) Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream Moisturizer
If you don’t mind spending a bit more for a luxury brand moisturizer, some say this is the one that deserves your investment. This celeb-approved Magic Cream relies on hyaluronic acid to seal in moisture, rosehip and camellia oils to make skin brighter and more radiant, and a patented peptide complex that fights free radicals for healthier, more youthful looking skin.
“Some really great anti-aging moisturizers aren’t hydrating enough for my very dry skin, but this covers all the bases,” says Anna P.
5) Nyakio Soothing Oil
Your skin may be so parched that it requires an additional moisturizing step prior to moisturizer — and that’s where Nyakio Maracuja & Yangu Soothing Oil comes in. Free of sulfates, chemicals, and ingredients like mineral oil, this cold-pressed oil is applied after your toner and will absorb into the skin in seconds, leaving it smoother, more hydrated, and better protected against the elements.
“This oil is just gorgeous,” says Kiki D. “Your skin feels like glass after using it and it calms inflammation.”
6) Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream
It would be a sin for me not to include one of my all-time favorite creams for dry skin — this Korean beauty classic, which is infused with ceramides to strengthen skin, prevent chronic water loss, and give it an intense boost of hydration. A little goes a long way (I’ve been able to stretch one tube of cream over three months), it’s safe for all skin types, and it’s free of 10 bad-for-you ingredients like parabens, sulfates, and artificial fragrances and colors. If my skin is feeling even dryer than usual, I pair it with Dr Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid (which I apply as a serum beforehand) and my complexion immediately takes on a glow-from-within radiance.