The right moisturizer goes a long way when it comes to treating sensitive skin. “Daily moisturizing is the best thing you can do to relax nervous skin,” Peredo says, as it helps strengthen the protective barrier to moisture in your skin. Your skin normally retains water, but when water passes through the surface of the skin (called transepidermal water loss), the moisture barrier is weakened, rendering the skin more vulnerable and dry.
Which is why ingredients matter when it comes to choosing the right moisturizer. Both Peredo and Jaliman recommend avoiding any fragrant or formaldehyde moisturizer because these are allergens that can quickly irritate sensitive skin. Look for ingredients which contain anti-inflammatory properties such as chamomile and aloe vera, instead. Also good for hydration are fatty acids such as shea butter and hyaluronic acid, water molecules which bind the skin.
Now you’ve come to the right place if you’re unsure which moisturizers are best for sensitive skin. Below, we enlist our shoppers’ support in deciding what moisturizers provide the most hydration without scratching sensitive skin.
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Soothing Repair Moisturizer
If you have sensitive skin, the fewer ingredients, the better. Fragrances, drying alcohol, and preservatives may all be common for sensitive types of irritants. Crafted from soothing thermal spring water, this moisturizer is a lightweight and deeply hydrating formula with a limited list of ingredients. Its special airtight packaging allows it to be formulated with zero preservatives which are potentially irritating.
Dermalogica UltraCalming Barrier Repair
This waterless moisturizer based on silicone contains the UltraCalming Complex (made from oats and other active botanicals) signature of Dermalogica, designed to target exactly what causes the skin to become irritated. It also includes an anti-ozonate complex composed of evening primrose oil and emollient silicones to help strengthen the lipid barrier in your skin and to resist potential irritation.
Avene Skin Recovery Cream
Via its prime ingredient, thermal spring water, this gentle cream deeply hydrates while offering immediate relief to inflamed, environmentally damaged skin. This bacteriologically pure water has a low mineral content, a wide variety of skin-soothing trace elements, and has been proven as an effective treatment for skin conditions including atopic dermatitis, rosacea, psoriasis and eczema through more than 150 clinical trials.
Nia 24 Intensive Recovery Complex
This rich cream helps repair and reinforce your skin barrier with Pro-Niacin, a source of vitamin B-3 that helps to stimulate the natural repair mechanism of your body. By helping to create a stronger skin layer, this moisturizer helps shield your skin from the environment (aka the causes of your sensitive skin) while locking in much-needed moisture for longer.
Epionce Renewal Facial Cream
This moisturizer is a mixture of gentle, all-natural ingredients which work not only to hydrate the skin but also to improve its texture. Firstly, in meadow-foam and flaxseed, the anti-inflammatory properties soothe the skin from inflammation of redness. Then the rosehip, safflower, and avocado hydration elements — all rich in fatty acids — work together to increase moisture levels in your skin and provide extra protection against environmental stressors.