The Best Products For Dehydrated Skin

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If you are experiencing dehydrated skin, there are ingredients that can “instantly help,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Tess Mauricio, who spoke to Bustle for this article. Dr. Mauricio tells Bustle that the best products for dehydrated skin contain hydrating aloe and hyaluronic acid, barrier-strengthening ceramides, and moisturizing glycerin. “Steer away from bar soaps and harsh scrubs which can further strip the skin of much needed moisture,” she says. Also, note that even “great ingredients like retinol, vitamin C, and glycolic acid when overused can dehydrate skin, so best to start these slow and work up to daily use as tolerated,” Dr. Mauricio adds.

Though the terms dry and dehydrated skin are used interchangeably, they are not the same thing, explains Dr. Mauricio.“Dry skin is a skin condition or skin type. This usually is more intrinsic and genetically determined when your skin does not produce the normal amount of sebum or oil.” Meanwhile, dehydrated skin is usually caused by external and environmental factors like the weather, the consumption of alcohol or caffeinated drinks, and certain medications (such as diuretics). Even too-hot showers and the wrong skin care products can dehydrate your skin. That said, most ingredients that treat dry skin can also treat dehydrated skin, and vice versa.

Keep scrolling to shop five of the best products for dehydrated skin, including a moisturizer, cleanser, facial mist, and heavy-duty ointment.

1. Doctor’s Pick: Best Moisturizer

According to Dr. Mauricio, “Cerave Moisturizing Cream is a dermatologists’ favorite for dry and itchy skin because it contains proven ingredients, hyaluronic acid and ceramides, which replenish essential barrier components. CeraVe is highly recommended for those with very dry and eczema-prone skin because it hydrates and restores the skin’s protective barrier function.” Naturally, then, this affordable cream is an excellent choice for dehydrated skin, with its fragrance-free formula that can be used on both the face and body. It even has the National Eczema Association (NEA) Seal of Acceptance, meaning it’s gentle enough for just about everyone.

2. Doctor’s Pick: Best Ointment

“I don’t leave home without this multipurpose healing ointment,” says Dr. Mauricio. “Aquaphor contains 40% petrolatum, glycerin, and one of my favorite calming ingredients, bisabolol. It’s the ‘go to’ ointment to treat and prevent dry, rough, scaly, and itchy skin. It adds and locks in moisture. It is also an occlusive which seals in our skin’s moisture barrier. It’s great for cracked dry lips and great for cracked, dry, and irritated hands from washing all the time,” she explains.

Dr. Mauricio adds, “I also recommend an overnight treatment for severely dry and cracked skin where you apply a generous amount [of Aquaphor] to the affected areas [on your body], cover with plastic wrap and leave on overnight, then wash off excess in the morning. This is a great instant rescue for the skin.”

3. Best Basic Cleanser

Vanicream’s popular and affordable cleanser is excellent for people with dry and/or dehydrated skin, as well as all sorts of skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis. It’s free of common irritants like soap, gluten, fragrance, sulfates, and parabens, and using it can calm reactive skin while still effectively cleansing dirt, makeup, and pollution from your face. (It’s also got the stamp of approval from the National Eczema Association.) This will leave your skin feeling soft and refreshed, not dry and stripped. A little product goes a long way, too, so its under-$10 price tag makes it an amazing value.

4. Best French Pharmacy Cleanser

Another great option to cleanse your dehydrated skin is La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser. With a soothing ingredients list that contains dermatologist-approved ceramides and glycerin to alleviate any discomfort caused by dehydration, along with calming niacinamide and the brand’s prebiotic thermal water, this creamy cleanser does its job wonderfully without removing any moisture from your skin. The non-foaming formula is free of fragrance, sulfates, and oil, and it comes in a big, 13.5-ounce bottle.

5. Best Serum

This Glow Recipe serum contains two of the ingredients Dr. Mauricio recommends, glycerin and several types of ceramides. It’s rich in lots of other soothing and hydrating ingredients as well, like avocado oil, rice milk, allantoin, and niacinamide. It has a luscious, milky texture that feels comforting on tight, dehydrated skin, and it instantly makes your skin feel softer and more nourished. Safe for sensitive skin, this serum can be used to help quell redness and other forms of irritation, too.

6. Best Facial Mist

In addition to drinking more water, bringing a face mist along with you — especially when in dry areas — can be helpful for treating dehydrated skin, suggests the expert. Avène’s thermal spring water is made with mineral-rich thermal spring water sourced from the brand’s namesake town in France, which has long been used to soothe, hydrate, and generally calm peoples’ skin. This big bottle is handy for keeping in your fridge, but it also comes in a 1-ounce bottle that’s essential for traveling.

Editor’s tip: To really lock moisture into your skin when going about your routine, and to amplify the effects of your hydrating moisturizer and serum, mist a layer of thermal water spray onto your face between each step.

7. You May Also Like

Dr. Mauricio says Kopari Organic Coconut Melt is one of her favorite products for patients with very dry (or dehydrated) skin to incorporate into their bathing regimen. She says, “I recommend applying a generous layer to the skin before going in the shower to prep the skin and allow the moisture from the shower to lock in moisture and restore skin’s suppleness [...] It contains 100% organic, unrefined coconut oil combined with fatty acids, vitamin E, and proteins for the ultimate all-over hydration.” It doesn’t hurt that this multipurpose oil smells amazing, either.


Dr. Tess Mauricio, M.D., F.A.A.D., Board-Certified Dermatologist, CEO, M Beauty Clinic

Studies referenced:

A double-blind study comparing the effect of glycerin and urea on dry, eczematous skin in atopic patients, by Marie Lodén, Anna-Carin Andersson, Chris Anderson, Ing-Marie Bergbrant, Thomas Frödin, Hans Ohman, Mari-Helen Sandström, Tore Särnhult, Ewa Voog, Berndt Stenberg, Eva Pawlik, Anna Preisler-Häggqvist, Ake Svensson, Magnus Lindberg;