Consider This Your Ultimate Guide To The Absolute Best Moisturizers For Dry Skin

by Chelsey Hamilton

While not medically concerning, dry skin can be annoying to deal with and often requires extra diligence to your skin care regimen. To treat it correctly, it's important to use one of the best face moisturizers for dry skin on a daily basis. Your skin will thank you.

To find the best moisturizer for your skin type, start with your level of dryness. Many people only get dry skin in the fall and winter months caused by colder outside temperatures and dry indoor air from central heat, whereas others have chronically dry skin year-round that tends to be more severe. If this is the case, or if flakiness, irritation, or redness accompanies the dryness, you'll want to opt for a thicker cream that offers more hydration. Look for ingredients that absorb moisture into the skin, like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and shea butter, or soothing agents like allantoin, which is also a good choice for treating eczema.

It's also a good idea to choose a moisturizer with SPF in it for daily sun protection — yes, even in the winter, and even if you spend most of your time indoors. If you do pick a moisturizer without SPF in it, make sure you're layering on some form of sun protection before you head out for the day.

Of course, dry skin isn't an across-the-board thing. If you have combination skin — skin that's dry in some parts and oily in others — you might want to try a lightweight, oil-free option. If you're prone to acne, non-comedogenic formulas are the way to go (that means they won't clog pores), and if you have sensitive skin, choose something that's hypoallergenic and made without dyes or fragrances to avoid irritation.

To find out the five best moisturizers for all types of dry skin, scroll on.


An Award-Winning Moisturizer Specifically Formulated For Dry Skin & Eczema

One of the best moisturizers for dry skin on the market is First Aid Beauty's Ultra Repair Intense Hydration Cream, which won Allure's Best Of Beauty award in 2016. It's an intensely moisturizing cream, but it's not too rich — in other words, if you hate that heavy, greasy feeling synonymous with thick creams, this will be a game-changer. If you struggle with eczema or have very dry, flaky skin, you'll love the colloidal oatmeal in the formula, which is known for its soothing and itch-relieving properties. Other key ingredients include shea butter, which is incredibly moisturizing, and allantoin, which helps calm troubled skin. You also get some protection against environmental aggressors thanks to FAB's signature antioxidant booster, and as a bonus, the allergy-tested moisturizer is gluten-free and vegan.

Sensitive skin types will love that its formula is made without alcohol, artificial fragrance, lanolin, mineral oil, parabens, petrolatum, phthalates, propylene glycol, and sulfates. It's worth noting that this skin is suitable for use all over your body, and is even rich enough to moisturize your feet. (If you plan on using it on your face and body, you'll want to buy one of the bigger bottles.) In a nutshell, this face cream is great for everyone, and since a little goes a long way, one jar will last you ages — feel free to use it both day and night.

Available sizes: 1-ounce (sample), 2-ounce (travel), 6-ounce, 12-ounce, and 14-ounce.


A More Affordable Option For Dry, Sensitive Skin & Eczema

Another great choice for severely dry skin and/or eczema is this moisturizing cream from Vanicream. The main difference here is the price tag — for just $13, you'll get a huge 16-ounce (!!!) tube with a convenient (and much more hygienic) pump bottle. Like FAB's moisturizer, this dermatologist-recommended cream can be used on both your face and body. It even has a Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association, so you can trust that it'll help treat even the flakiest, reddest of skin. In addition to eczema, it's also been proven to help with other skin irritations, like psoriasis and ichthyosis.

Since the non-comedogenic formula is quite gentle — it's free of sulfates, phosphates, fragrance, lanolin, and parabens — you should be fine if you have sensitive skin. However, unlike the FAB moisturizer up top, this one does contain propylene glycol, which some people are allergic to (if you have easily irritated skin, always do a patch test before applying a new product on your face). It also contains petrolatum, which some people prefer to avoid.


A Water-Based Gel Cream For Parched Skin Lacking Moisture

Believe it or not, there is a difference between dry and dehydrated skin. Luckily, Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel tackles both. Since this is a water-based gel (not oil-based, like most creams), it's an awesome choice for combination skin. That also makes it great for acne-prone skin, since oil can clog pores, which is often the cause behind breakouts. As someone with both — combination, acne-prone skin — this is one of the only moisturizers I've found that sufficiently hydrates my skin without causing breakouts, and it doesn't feel sticky or heavy at all. This formula has a gel-like texture that absorbs right into your skin, and in addition to being oil-free, there's no added fragrance, either.

The standout ingredient here is hyaluronic acid, a miracle ingredient known for retaining 1,000 times its weight in water. So if you have dry skin that's also dehydrated — which means your skin actually lacks water instead of just oil — this stuff should definitely help.


An Amazing French Pharmacy Formula With SPF

There's a lot to love about this French pharmacy option from La Roche-Posay. First, and most importantly, it offers sun protection with an SPF of 20. (Of course, if you plan on spending the day in the sun, this won't be strong enough — the American Academy of Dermatology recommends an SPF of at least 30 — but if you mostly plan on being indoors, it will be adequate). Next, the formula includes fragmented hyaluronic acid for long-lasting hydration up to 24 hours. It's non-greasy, paraben-free, and suitable for sensitive skin. Expect a gorgeous glow from this stuff — it's non-greasy, but doesn't dry matte, so it's great for people who love that healthy, dewy look.


A Lightweight Night Cream For Dry, Sensitive Skin

Night creams are known for being super heavy, which not everyone loves — and the rich formulas can often aggravate sensitive skin. Enter CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion, which is hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, oil-free, and non-comedogenic. The formula includes hyaluronic acid, which we've talked a lot about, and niacinamide, which is known for its soothing and calming abilities. You'll also find a hefty dose of ceramides that are distributed using controlled-release technology so your skin stays hydrated for up to 24 hours. In addition to keeping dry skin moisturized, this formula will also help repair its natural protective barrier.

The best part about this buy is that, for almost $20, you get not one, but two bottles of lotion, so it's an incredible value.

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