Whether you’re preparing for drier weather or simply looking for more ways to protect your skin, the best barrier creams all have one thing in common: They lock in moisture and block out environmental irritants. The nourishing benefits of these thick creams have everyone from dermatologists to celebrities embracing the trend. Below, I’ve detailed the best barrier moisturizers for a wide variety of skin-care needs, budgets, and areas of use, from the face to hands and body.
A Deep Dive Into The Ingredients
One of the keys to finding a solid barrier cream is to look for products that boast restorative ingredients like nourishing plant oils, ceramides, natural fats, and skin-boosting vitamins such as vitamin E and vitamin C. As cosmetic chemist Ginger King told Allure, vitamin E has "moisturizing and healing" benefits, and helps to "strengthen skin barrier function." And as board-certified dermatologist Patricia Wexler explained in Allure, the effectiveness of vitamin C increases when combined with an antioxidant like vitamin E: "Together they can double protection against free-radical damage."
Two other great ingredients to look for are dimethicone — which prevents moisture-loss by forming a hydrating barrier on the skin — and petroleum, which seals the skin with a water-protective barrier. Petroleum is the key ingredient in Aquaphor, and while the product made my list below for use on the body, Emily Ratajkowski told Into The Gloss that she uses it on the face: "When I want my skin to look really dewy, I’ll put Aquaphor under my eyes at night. It just makes my skin feel firmer and moist."
With all that in mind, it's time to shop for the best barrier cream for you. Whether you have sensitive skin or cracked hands, there's a moisture-rich cream below to satisfy your needs.