10 Best Moisturizers For Dry Skin Tested & Compared
Running and other workouts have positive effects on the skin by carrying oxygen and nutrients to the skin. However, it sometimes isn’t the best for dry skin, especially in the cold and windy weather. It’s important to apply a good moisturizer before braving the outdoor elements in order to make sure skin is protected and hydrated.
A good moisturizer solves this problem by nourishing skin cells, penetrating deep into the skin’s layers to replenish cells. Many also contain SPF which protect skin from harmful rays which can lead to more serious issues like malignant melanoma. Everyone should add a good moisturizer to their daily routine, but this is especially true for athletes and gym junkies. That’s because we often find ourselves washing our face post workout to get rid of sweat. This can dry out the skin. Put your best face forward and invest in the best moisturizers.
- Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel
- All Day Hydration
- Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream
- Anti-Aging Properties
- Perricone MD Photo Plasma
- SPF 30
10 Best Moisturizers for Dry Skin
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel
The main ingredient in this option is its hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring polysaccharide that is a moisture-binding ingredient that adds hydration to the skin cells, as well as plumping and smoothing for a rejuvenated and fresh.
Other inactive ingredients include water, dimethicone, glycerin, Cetearyl, C13-14, and sodium hyaluronate.
This is a gel-based moisturizer that goes on like a cream. It is extremely lightweight, virtually weightless, and feels essentially like water being applied to the face. It dries quickly, leaving a slightly dewy look that isn’t too shiny or greasy.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel works exceedingly well at hydrating the face, making it among the best for very dry skin, but also for all types of skin. Consumers can feel results after just one use, the skin feeling intense hydration that lasts all day long. It is oil-free and non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog the pores. This makes it great to wear alone or as a primer under makeup. The face is left feeling smooth and visually looks fresh.
- Most effective at delivering all day hydration
- Immediate results with a dewy and fresh feel
- A little product foes a long way
- Weightless formula
- Water based, so not thick and creamy
- Slightly pricey for a drugstore moisturizer
- Doesn’t contain SPF
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream
Olay re-engineered this formula to now include amino-peptide complex II that works alongside ingredients like carob exact to provide anti-aging properties and rejuvenate skin cells. The hyaluronic acid adds water to the skin and keeps skin cells moisturized all day. It also contains niacinamide (vitamin B3) to further add to promoting healthy surface cells.
This is a rich cream moisturizer that is creamier than other options but still feels lightweight once applied. It firms and plums instantly without being tacky or sticky. It’s available in both scented fragrance-free options.
The amino-peptide complex and hyaluronic acid formula are powerful when it comes to performance, penetrating deep into the skin cells. As a result, the skin is immediately left looking plumper and hydrated. It also visibly reduces wrinkles with consistent use since the formula promotes anti-aging. But the disappearance of lines can be seen from day 1.
- Instantly hydrates and reducing appearance of wrinkles
- Best for anti-aging properties
- Long-lasting; little product goes a long way
- Available is drug stores
- A but pricey for a drug store moisturizer
Perricone MD Photo Plasma
The key ingredients in this product consist of alpha lipoic acid, vitamin C ester, and titanium dioxide. The alpha lipoic acid, an antioxidant helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and shrinks pores. The vitamin C ester is used to be a bit more potent than vitamin C, here used to brighten and smooth the skin while treating discoloration.
Other inactive ingredients include water, glycerin, acrylate/sodium and polydimethylsiloxyethyl dimethicone.
The Photo Plasma moisturizer feels like a lotion, being a bit creamy but being more like a gel because of how weightless it is on consistency. It is fragrance and oil free, leaving the skin look revitalized without being overly shiny to look greasy or oily. It also has SPF 30 to protect against the sun and environmental aggressors.
Consumer rave about this product because of how smooth and soft it makes their skin feel. The formula doesn’t weight down the skin and immediately makes the skin look more hydrated. That’s because of vitamin C Ester that is easily absorbed which gives maximum antioxidant benefits. The product glides on well and isn’t sticky. Use at least once a day for eight weeks to see the best results.
- Performs very well at hydrating the skin
- Skin is left smooth with a healthy glow
- SPF 30 protection; protects against pollution, wind and UVA and UVB damage
- Anti-aging properties
- Weightless formula
- Expensive for a moisturizer
Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture for Combination Skin
Hypoallergenic and fragrance, alcohol and oil-free, this option features a special formula for combination skin. It does not include hyaluronic acid but does feature SPF protection that helps prevent signs of a aging caused by the sun.
Ingredients include water, glycerin, stearyl alcohol, dimethacrylate, Methylparaben, and other inactive ingredients.
This is one of the most lightweight options on this list. It is a cream, but goes smoothly and isn’t thick. It is sheer and doesn’t leave the face looking shiny. It also won’t clog pores. Instead, the face is left feeling silky smooth. It is great for wearing alone or under makeup.
This is the best option for a consumer with combination skin. It hydrates dry areas impressively well, without making more oily areas like the T-zone look greasy. It provides all hydration, needing just one pump of the product to cover the entire face and neck area. It won’t cause breakouts, great for those with acne-prone skin. It’s great for sensitive skin as well and absorbs and dries quickly.
- Affordable, yet reliable brand
- Best for combo skin
- All day hydration
- Non-greasy formula
- Available in drug stores
- Not the best for normal skin
La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense UV
Active ingredients in Hydraphase Intense UV includes Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, as well as other inactive ingredients like dimethicone and spring water that has antioxidants. This moisturizer is paraben free, making it a good options for those with sensitive skin. It also has fragmented hyaluronic acid that quickly absorbs into the skin for an immediate plumping effect that penetrates deep to hydrate and keeps the skin hydrated all day. It also is equipped with SPF 20 to serve as sunscreen and protect against sun damage on the skin.
Slightly creamy, but still lightweight, this moisturizer is lightweight and non-greasy. It actually feels refreshing when applying, and leaves the skin smooth. After applying, it leaves a slight “glow.” It doesn’t make the face look oily, but more like a replenished skin look at is slightly moist.
This option does a great job at plumping the skin immediately after application thanks to its hyaluronic acid. The skin is left feeling hydrated right after putting on, and this feeling lasts all day. Surprisingly, acne spots tend to fade when using this product, so expect clear and glowing skin. This makes it a great option for those who often battle breakouts or who have oily, as well as very dry skin.
- Super hydrating
- Comes with SPF 20
- Paraben free
- Container makes it hard to end product out when it’s almost finished
Clinique Moisture Surge Intense
With ingredients like whey protein, love fruit extract, aloe leaf extract, caffeine and water, Clinique Moisture Surge Intense deeply nourishes the skin and hydrates the skin. As a result, even the most dry,cracked and flaky skin is left feel silky smooth. Other inactive ingredients include citric acid, peg-8, palmitoyl hezapepetide-12, butylene glycol and sucrose just to name a few.
This formula consists of a gel-cream texture. That makes it not as thick as creamy moisturizers, with the gel giving it more of a water feel to it when hitting the face. With that said there is some creaminess to it, which helps to allow for it to go only smoothly. It also dries quickly and is not sticky.
It’s recommended to use the Clinique moisturizer twice a day, in the morning and at night after cleaning the face as part of a daily routine. But just one use leave the skin looking fresh, plump and hydrated. It leaves the skin glowing without looking oily or shiny. It doesn’t cause breakouts and quickly combats dry patches, ideal for the winter or those with eczema.
- Leaves the skin glowing and provides 24-hour hydrations
- Skin is left smooth without looking shiny
- Best for those with very dry skin
- A little product goes a long way
- A little on the pricier side for a moisturizer
- Jar is a bit small, even though not a lot of product is needed
Curel Hydra Therapy Wet Skin Moisturizer
Curel Hydra Therapy Wet Skin Moisturizer features ceramides complex that repairs the moisture barrier while hydrating the skin, treating dryness and replenishing the skin’s natural ceramide levels. Other ingredients include shea butter, orange peel oil, eucalyptus leak extract, and other nonactive ingredients.
This is probably the most unique option on this list because of how it works. This is a wet skin moisturizer, which means its designed to be applied when the skin is wet post-shower. Instead of feeling like a creamy, thick lotion it has a thinner texture that is more like a cleanser or soap than a lotion. It is non-greasy and fragrance-free.
This option is extremely effective because of its delivery method. It’s designed to be applied post-shower when the press is open. This means the product immediately gets absorbed into the skin to penetrate deep into the cells to hydrate. This product is dermatologist recommended and helps treat dry and cracking skin as a result of eczema.
- Unique water activated moisturize with ceramide comlex
- Performs well at treating dry skin
- Hydrates the entire body
- Great for those with eczema
- Affordable price
- Can be harsh for those with sensitive skin
- Too thin consistency means not as hydrating or soft to touch skin
RoC Multi Correxion 5-In-1 Daily Moisturizer
This moisturizer features four main active ingredients: Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, and Octocrylene. It includes the company’s HEXING technology to aid in firming the skin, evening skin tone, and preventing wrinkles and fine lines. This tech is made of a molecule that acts directly at cells to help reverse the signs of aging.
This is a lightweight formula that leaves the skin soft and smooth. It absorbs well and is great for wearing underneath makeup without feeling like the pores are clogged. It isn’t oily and won’t irritate or cause redness to the skin.
Major results are not seen overnight, but consistently using this product for as little as four weeks yields major results, especially when it comes to treating fine lines and preventing wrinkles. The best part is this moisturizer treats in the skin in 5 ways. This includes hydrating dry skin, improving radiance, restoring elasticity, treating wrinkles and brightening dark spots and discolorations. It works extremely well for treating discolorations. It also is great for use on the neck, making it a versatile product for slowing down signs of aging.
- 5-in-1 moisturizer for a versatile product
- Contains SPF 30
- Great at treating wrinkles
- Contains slight fragrance
Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion for Dry Skin
This option is great for those looking for natural ingredients at a drug store price. It includes colloidal oatmeal as its main “Active Naturals” ingredient, used to restore the skin’s pH and maintain the moisture barrier of the skin. Other nutrients include proteins, B6, thiamine, enzymes, lipids and antioxidants to combat dry skin.
This moisturizer feels nice and smooth on the skin without being greasy. Ut can feel a bit sticky after it dries, which is it’s only downside.
This product works well at keeping the skin hydrated all day without needing to reapply. It’s also great on other dry areas like the elbows and hands, especially in the cold and brutal winters. It treats cracked skin, leaving it silky and smooth with consistent use. The oatmeal really is credited for making the skin very soft. It performs well for a drugstore product.
- Non-greasy formula
- Lots of hydration ingredients
- Dermatologist recommended brand
- Drug store, affordable price
- Bland smell
- Can cause irritation for those with wheat allergies
- Pump stops working well the less product the bottles features
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
This moisturizer has all the essential ceramides including ceramide 1, 3 and 6-11, the lipids that bind together with protective cells in the outer layer of the skin to restore and maintain its natural protective barrier. Its other main ingredients is hyaluronic acid for retention of the skin’s natural moisture.
This cream is non-greasy, so there is no oily look after application. It is a bit thicker in texture than other options but dries very fast after applying. It also doesn’t leave that thick lotion feel.
This moisturizer is developed with dermatologists, and also dermatologists recommended based on its effectiveness. The combo of ingredients results in hydration all day with just one use. It features the company’s patented MultiVesicular Emulsion technology that slowly delivers the ingredients into the skin over time, so it continuously is working all day to hydrate. It’s gentle on the skin, causing no irritation, and great for those with eczema.
- Features three ceramides for hydration
- All day hydration with slow release of ingredients
- Not thick or heavy on the skin
- Dries quickly
- Great for the whole body
- Some may breakout with acne
- Better used on body than face
The Criteria We Used For Our Evaluation
The best moisturizers for dry skin should perform well at hydrating the skin at its very least. But there are so many products on the market that it can be hard to tell which really do work. This includes both drugstore and higher end products.
Moisturizers often also have other positive skin features such as sunscreen, anti-aging, and wrinkle treatment. While these are great bonus features, combating dry skin should be its main selling point.
To determine which are the best at doing exactly this, we used a set criteria that is detailed below.
Quality: Consumers don’t want to buy a product that contains harsh chemicals and other bad ingredients, especially since it will be applied to the face. What ingredients does this option contain? The most popular ingredient for treating dry skin is hyaluronic acid. The best moisturizes commonly feature this ingredient as well as other vitamins to plump and add moisture to the skin cells. It’s important that the product doesn’t cause any skin irritations and be suitable for those with sensitive skin. Bring an option suitable for eczema is also a good indicator that it performs well against combating dry skin.
Consistency: The consistency of a product mainly is based on personal preference. Is the option cream or gel-based? What is the pros and cons of each? Just because creams are thicker than gels doesn’t mean that the product is heavy. Gels typically feel more like water being applied to the skin, which often leaves a dewy look.
Efficacy: How well does this product really work at hydrating and preventing dry skin? At its core, the product needs to deliver when it comes to moisturizing. Having all day hydration is also key so that the consumer doesn’t need to reapply often.
Value: Is it worth the price tag? There are both drugstore and higher end brands on the list. Sometimes a drugstore product can outshine a more pricey option. Then there are other times that the consumer gets what they pay for when it comes to other fancy features like reducing wrinkles and improving skin elasticity.
Other Important Factors To Consider
Performance and price point are among the two most important criteria to look at when shopping around for the best moisturizers. But these aren’t the only things that matter.
While all these moisturizes treat and prevent dry skin, a consumer’s skin type plays a major role in how the product works. It’s important to read the label to make sure the product is suited for skin type such as combination skin, very dry or oily. Combination skin options typically work well at hydrating dry areas without creating excess shine and oils for the T-zone problem areas. Options for oily skin may cause more dryness for those with already dry skin. Before purchasing any moisturizer, make sure to know the right skin type to avoid irritations or underperformance.
More Than Just For Dry Skin
Everyone should use moisturizer, even if they don’t have dry skin. That’s because the skin’s moisture barrier is constantly being broken down by factors like dehydration, sun, pollution, sweat and dirt. Moisturizer can prevent developing wrinkles or may winkles appear to look worst. The skin can also look dull and dry without having any on.
Using a product that contains hyaluronic acid is a great way to add moisture to the skin, repair the moisture barrier and prevent dryness.
Hyaluronic Acid is a carbohydrate molecule that naturally occurs in our bodies. It is found in our connective tissue, as well as in our skin. Popular in skincare products such as moisturizer, hyaluronic acid delivers moisture to the skin. It can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water and works by grading and holding moisture that is absorbed through the skin.
Usage and Side Effects
Moisturizer is used best after washing the face with a cleanser, and while still damp. Those with very dry skin may wish to reapply during the day, as well as follow a bedtime routine post face wash with an application.
Keep in mind that some options work differently across different skin types and sensitivity levels. Some products may irritate some and not for others. Those with sensitive skin should look for an option made specifically for sensitive skin. If a moisturizer causes redness, itching or irritation, stop using immediately.
Q: Can you use a moisturizer with acne?
A: Yes, it is safe to use moisturizer even when there is acne present. Moisturizing the skin can actually prevent acne since moistened skin loosens sebum built up inside pores.
Q: Can you use face moisturizer on the body?
A: Yes, you can as long as it doesn’t irritate the skin. Moisturizers are commonly used on the face and neck. There are also options made specifically for the entire body.
Q: How often should I apply moisturizer for dry skin?
A: It should be applied to clean damp skin in the morning daily, as well as a nighttime for severely dry skin
Q: What are symptoms of dry skin?
A: Very common in the winter, dry skin cracks, flakes, feels tight, rough and looks dull.
Q: What ingredients should be avoided in skincare products for dry skin?
A: Never use options with alcohol. Do not over exfoliate and use products made specifically for dry skin.
Q: How fast can I see results when treating dry skin with moisturizer?
A: This depends on the product, with some seeing significant results after one application. Use daily to see results.
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