Our Top 10: The Best Moisturizer for Dry Skin

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Do you struggle with dry, dehydrated skin? You’re not alone. Dry skin is a common concern that impacts people of all ages, although it’s even more prevalent in older age.

To nourish dry skin and prevent flaking, selecting one of the leading moisturizers for dry skin is a must. Applying a rich moisturizing cream both morning and night will help give you soft, supple skin.

In this article, we’ll go over the best moisturizers for dry skin available today. With formulas that are proven to deeply hydrate the skin, these products can give even the thirstiest skin a healthy glow.

Editor's Choice#2nd Best Choice#3rd Best Choice
Editor's Choice
Our Top 10: The Best Moisturizer for Dry Skin 1
LifeCell All-In-One Skin-Tightening Treatment
Rating: 5 Stars
#2nd Best Choice
Our Top 10: The Best Moisturizer for Dry Skin 2
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair
Rating: 4 Stars
#3rd Best Choice
Our Top 10: The Best Moisturizer for Dry Skin 3
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel
Rating: 4 Stars

The Lineup: The Best Moisturizer for Aging Dry Skin

Our Top Pick: The Best Face Cream for Aging Dry Skin

LifeCell All-In-One Skin-Tightening Treatment

LifeCell All-In-One Skin-Tightening Treatment

The LifeCell All-In-One Skin-Tightening Treatment is the best face cream for dry, aging skin that we’ve come across. With a nourishing yet lightweight formula, this dermatologist-recommended cream offers both deep hydration and rejuvenating benefits.

A variety of anti-aging ingredients contribute to the potent effects of this moisturizer. The most notable ingredients include:

  • Retinol

Retinol is a potent rejuvenating ingredient. It stimulates collagen production and increases skin cell turnover to diminish facial lines and discoloration.

  • DMAE

DMAE is short for dimethylaminoethanol. This compound is often used in skincare products for its anti-inflammatory benefits. It may also enhance the thickness of both the epidermal and dermal skin layers, which may improve dry skin’s resilience [1].

  • Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in the body. It works as a humectant, meaning that it draws moisture into the skin.

  • Vitamin C

A potent antioxidant and anti-aging nutrient, vitamin C can repair free radical damage in the skin. It also plays an important role in the production of collagen [2].

With a blend of renowned anti-aging ingredients, microfillers, and light-reflecting microtechnology, the LifeCell All-In-One Skin-Tightening Treatment can improve the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and discoloration almost immediately after application.

Pros:

  • Fragrance-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Safe for all skin types
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Includes ingredients that deeply hydrate the skin while reducing signs of aging

Cons:

  • Retinol increases sun sensitivity
  • More expensive than other products on this list

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The Best Moisturizer for Dry Acne-Prone Skin

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer product

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

Designed with dry, sensitive skin in mind, the Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer from La Roche-Posay is a hydrating cream with a lightweight texture. It’s free of drying alcohols and won’t clog pores, making it a good choice for dry, acne-prone skin.

The key ingredients in the dermatologist-tested formula include:

  • Ceramide-3

Ceramide-3 is a skin-identical lipid that can help repair and maintain the skin barrier.

  • Glycerin

Glycerin from vegetable sources is included in this cream for its humectant properties.

  • Niacinamide

Niacinamide is a type of vitamin B3 that supports the skin’s moisture barrier and can noticeably improve discoloration. It’s also been shown to help ease inflammation from acne [3].

  • La Roche-Posay Prebiotic Thermal Water

This singular ingredient contains a blend of minerals, trace elements, and selenium, which is a powerful antioxidant.

The Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer offers instant relief for dry, irritated skin. It also has a prebiotic effect on the skin, which supports a healthy skin microbiome.

Pros:

  • Fragrance-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Safe for all skin types, including sensitive, dry, and acne-prone
  • Offers up to 48 hours of hydration
  • Restores the skin barrier in one hour

Cons:

  • Tends to pill when layered with other products

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The Best Gel Formula for Dry Skin

Neutrogena Hydro Boost

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Moisturizer

If you’re seeking one of the best gel moisturizers for dry skin, the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel is worth your consideration. This popular product is designed to provide the fast absorption of a gel and the deep hydration of a cream.

The Hydro Boost Water Gel features hyaluronic acid as the star ingredient. This natural hydrator works together with glycerin and cetearyl olivate (an ester containing olive oil fatty acids) to soften, nourish, and protect dry skin.

Pros:

  • Non-comedogenic
  • Safe for all skin types
  • Offers 48-hour hydration
  • Gel formula is fast-absorbing

Cons:

  • Contains fragrance

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The Best Moisturizer for Extremely Dry Skin

Cetaphil Moirsturizing Cream for Face and Body

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream

The Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream is formulated for very dry to dry, sensitive skin. It’s a rich, dermatologist-tested cream that’s proven to provide 48-hour hydration while strengthening the skin barrier.

This Moisturizing Cream contains a combination of hydrating, sensitive skin-friendly ingredients, including niacinamide, panthenol (a form of vitamin B5), glycerin, and sweet almond oil. Together, these ingredients strengthen and restore dry skin.

This cream protects against five signs of skin sensitivity: a compromised skin barrier, roughness, irritation, tightness, and dryness. The formula is non-greasy, making it comfortable for daily use.

Pros:

  • Fragrance-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Safe for all skin types
  • Formulated for very dry, sensitive skin
  • Provides long-lasting hydration and protection for the skin barrier

Cons:

  • May leave a shine on combination skin

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The Best Hydrating Face Cream with Ceramides

CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30 product

CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion with Sunscreen

The CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion with Sunscreen is a hydrating day cream that offers the benefits of ceramides and SPF 30. By applying this lotion every morning, you can keep your skin hydrated while protecting it against the sun’s harsh UVA and UVB rays.

This gentle day cream features a blend of moisturizing ingredients, including:

  • Hyaluronic acid
  • 3 essential hydrating ceramides
  • Niacinamide

Together, these ingredients help the skin retain moisture, fight inflammation, and protect the skin barrier. CeraVe uses patented MVE technology to encapsulate ceramides, ensuring that they’re released gradually over time. This results in skin protection and hydration all day long.

Pros:

  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Safe for all skin types
  • Contains SPF 30 to prevent sun damage and premature aging
  • Provides all-day hydration with encapsulated ceramides and other proven ingredients

Cons:

  • Contains parabens

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The Best Moisturizer for Flaky Skin

Aquaphor healing ointment

Aquaphor Healing Ointment

Cracked, parched skin can benefit from the soothing protection of the Aquaphor Healing Ointment. This formula is designed with extremely dry skin in mind and can be used on the face, lips, and body.

The active ingredient in Aquaphor’s Healing Ointment is petrolatum. This skin protectant essentially creates a seal over the skin, protecting it from outside irritants. It also locks moisture into the skin to hydrate and soothe dry, chapped skin [4].

Besides petrolatum, this moisturizing ointment contains mineral oil, lanolin alcohol, panthenol, glycerin, and bisabolol.

Pros:

  • Fragrance-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Safe for all skin types
  • Acts as an effective skin protectant for extremely dry or damaged skin

Cons:

  • Doesn’t absorb into the skin
  • Should be used for patches of very dry skin, rather than as a daily moisturizer

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The Best Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin and Redness

Vanicream moisturizing cream

Vanicream Moisturizing Cream

The Moisturizing Cream from Vanicream is a day and night moisturizer that’s formulated for sensitive skin. It’s ideal for red, cracked, irritated, or itchy skin, as well as those suffering from eczema, psoriasis, ichthyosis, or winter itch.

To accommodate even the most sensitive skin, this moisturizer is free of dyes, fragrance, lanolin, parabens, formaldehyde, botanical extracts, and gluten. It also won’t clog pores, making it a good option for people who struggle with acne.

The ingredient list for this Moisturizing Cream is short: purified water

  • Petrolatum, a skin protectant
  • Sorbitol, a humectant
  • Cetearyl alcohol, an emollient (softens and soothes dry skin)
  • Propylene glycol, a humectant
  • Ceteareth-20, an emulsifying ingredient
  • Simethicone, a skin conditioner and anti-foaming agent
  • Glyceryl stearate, an emollient
  • PED-30 stearate, an emulsifying agent
  • Sorbic acid, a pH adjuster
  • BHT, an antioxidant/stabilizer

For those of us who are intimidated by a long list of ingredients, the Vanicream Moisturizing Cream is a breath of fresh air.

Pros:

  • Fragrance-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Effectively protects and hydrates sensitive skin
  • Can be used to help heal various skin conditions, like eczema and psoriasis

Cons:

  • The formula may be too thick for some users

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The Best Thick Moisturizer for The Face and Body

Weleda Skin Food

Weleda Skin Food

The Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Cream from Weleda is a nourishing moisturizer for dry, rough skin that’s been around since 1926. It contains a unique combination of plant extracts in a base of natural oils and beeswax to moisturize skin anywhere on the body.

Some of the most notable ingredients in the Weleda Skin Food cream include:

  • Sunflower seed oil
  • Lanolin, which has a similar texture and composition to sebum in human skin
  • Glycerin
  • Sweet almond oils
  • Rosemary leaf extract
  • Matricaria flower (chamomile) extract
  • Calendula flower extract

This dermatologically-tested, natural moisturizer smooths and hydrates the skin. It can be used throughout the day for relief of dry, rough skin and even eczema.

Pros:

  • Paraben-free
  • Contains natural plant-derived ingredients
  • Gives the skin a healthy, luminous appearance
  • Softens and smoothes rough, dry skin

Cons:

  • Contains fragrance (although it’s free of synthetic fragrance)
  • Not a good choice to wear under makeup

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The Best Anti-Aging Moisturizer for Dry Skin Types

SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore product

SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore

Triple Lipid Restore from SkinCeuticals is a powerful moisturizing and rejuvenating cream. It’s designed to provide anti-aging benefits along with deep hydration for all skin types.

One of the main features of Triple Lipid Restore is its patented lipid ratio of 2:4:2. The cream contains 2% pure ceramides (1 and 3), 4% natural cholesterol, and 2% fatty acids. This ratio restores the skin’s barrier while visibly improving signs of aging including enlarged pores, laxity, and unevenness.

Along with the patented lipid ratio, this fragrance-free moisturizer contains a blend of essential oils including lavender, rosemary, and peppermint oil. This provides hydration while leaving your skin feeling fresh.

Triple Lipid Restore promotes the skin’s natural repair process. With a lightweight, fast-absorbing formula, this cream can even cut down the retinoid adjustment period by up to one week.

Pros:

  • Fragrance-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Safe for all skin types, including post-op skin
  • Contains essential fatty acids, natural cholesterol, and ceramides to hydrate skin, protect the skin barrier, and reduce signs of aging
  • Shortens the retinoid adjustment period

Cons:

  • More expensive than other products on this list

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The Best Moisturizer for Eczema and Irritation

aveeno eczema therapy itch relief balm

Aveeno Eczema Therapy Itch Relief Balm

The Aveeno Eczema Therapy Itch Relief Balm is specifically formulated for dry, eczema-prone skin. With a unique combination of colloidal oatmeal and ceramide, it’s a non-greasy balm that can immediately soothe itching and irritation.

As a steroid-free eczema cream, this Itch Relief Balm contains colloidal oatmeal as the active ingredient. Colloidal oatmeal is an FDA-approved skin protectant that traps hydration in the skin. Ceramide contributes to the formula by protecting the skin’s protective barrier.

Pros:

  • Fragrance-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Safe for all skin types
  • Provides immediate relief for itchy skin and eczema
  • Can help prevent eczema flares

Cons:

  • May be too thick for people who don’t suffer from eczema

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Leading Skincare Ingredients for Dry Skin

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is beneficial for people with dry skin because it enhances skin hydration, locks in moisture, and fights inflammation [5].

Niacinamide

Niacinamide, or vitamin B3, strengthens the skin’s protective barrier by preventing water loss and enhancing the lipids naturally found in the skin [6].

Shea Butter

Shea butter is one of the most popular ingredients in the best moisturizers for dry skin. It works as an emollient, meaning that it softens and soothes dry, chapped skin.

Aloe

Commonly used for sunburned skin, aloe vera is a fast-absorbing and moisturizing ingredient. Ideal for both dry and oily skin, it alleviates inflammation and locks moisture into the skin.

Fatty Acids

Fatty acids are found in some of the best skincare for dry, aging skin. For people who regularly struggle with dry, flaky skin, fatty acids help regulate the skin’s oil production and provide balanced hydration.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid improves skin elasticity, helps the skin retain moisture, and even lessens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles [7].

Woman moisturizing face in the bathroom

FAQ

Which moisturizer is best for very dry skin?

For very dry skin, look for a thick, nourishing moisturizer that can restore the skin’s protective barrier and is safe for sensitive skin.

How can I hydrate my dry skin?

If you have dry skin, make sure to moisturize your skin after every time you wash your face. You should also wear a moisturizer under makeup to prevent dryness and flaking.

What is best for very dry skin on face?

Moisturizing ingredients and skin protectants including petrolatum, colloidal oatmeal, and ceramides are ideal for very dry skin on the face.

Should I use a moisturizer if it contains fragrances or oils?

You should avoid moisturizers that contain synthetic fragrances, as they can irritate the skin. Certain oils can benefit dry skin, but make sure that the formula is non-comedogenic and sensitive skin-friendly.

How can I protect the skin barrier?

A variety of ingredients found in skincare products can protect the skin barrier, including niacinamide and ceramides.

What are the benefits of squalane and antioxidants for the skin?

Squalane is an emollient, so it softens and smoothes dry, irritated skin. Antioxidants offer protection against oxidative stress from free radical damage, which can speed up the skin aging process [8].

Conclusion: What is the Best Moisturizer for Dry Skin?

People who struggle with dry, chapped skin may have different needs for daily moisturizers. One individual may need a cream that fights eczema flares, while another may need a lotion that’s safe for even the most sensitive skin.

In any case, we recommend a fragrance-free, paraben-free moisturizer with ingredients that are proven to benefit dry skin. To help keep your skin young and fresh, consider using a moisturizer that fights signs of aging while deeply hydrating the skin.

imagecta_text
Editors Choice
Our Top 10: The Best Moisturizer for Dry Skin 4

LifeCell

Our #1 Recommendation

  • Over One Million Sold
  • Clinically Proven and Effective
  • Best Selling Treatment 10 Years +
  • Cruelty-Free (Not Tested On Animals)

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Our Top 10: The Best Moisturizer for Dry Skin 5

References

1 – https://www.verywellhealth.com/dmae-what-should-i-know-about-it-89941#toc-skin-care-products
2 – https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/collagen-synthesis#:~:text=Vitamin%20C%20is%20absolutely%20essential,structural%20strength%20cross%2Dlinking).
3 – https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/niacinamide
4 – https://www.besthealthmag.ca/article/the-truth-about-petrolatum/
5 – https://health.clevelandclinic.org/vitamin-e-for-skin-health/#:~:text=Rub%20pure%20vitamin%20E%20oil,enough%20in%20your%20sebum%20production.
6 – https://www.cbc.ca/life/style/everything-you-need-to-know-about-using-niacinamide-on-your-skin-1.5056788#:~:text=Applied%20topically%2C%20%22niacinamide%20can%20improve,Li%20explains.
7 – https://www.byrdie.com/what-is-hyaluronic-acid
8 – https://www.kiehls.com/skincare-advice/antioxidants-in-skincare.html

Avatar for Alina Jumabhoy
About Alina Jumabhoy

With almost 10 years of experience writing for the skincare industry, Alina brings her unique perspective into all of the in-depth reviews and articles she writes.