If you’re someone who suffers from dry skin then you know it can be one of the hardest skin problems.
Cold weather and wind can also aggravate dry skin, leaving skin feeling tight, flaky and oh-so-uncomfortable.
But fortunately if you’re predisposed to dry skin you don’t have to just suffer through it these days, with brands like CeraVe, Avène and Paula’s Choice offering incredible products that suit any budget.
WHAT CAUSES DRY SKIN?
“Skin dryness results from evaporation of water through the skin barrier, in what is known as ‘trans-epidermal water loss’,” specialist dermatologist and founder of Southern Dermatology Dr Ryan De Cruz says.
“This occurs when the outermost layer of the skin is excessively leaky, primarily due to reduced skin barrier proteins and lipids known as ceramides.
“When deficient in ceramides and other lipid particles, our skin cells separate out and water molecules evaporate into the air.
“This constant leakage of water causes dehydration which presents as dull, flaky, irritable skin.”
BEST OVERALL MOISTURISERS FOR DRY SKIN
If I was going to be stranded on an island and could only bring one beauty product with me it would be this moisturiser, which recently became available at Adore Beauty alongside CeraVe’s other best-selling products.
CeraVe’s Moisturising Cream has a cult following on TikTok where one user describes it as “literally liquid gold” for very dry skin.
I first started using it back in 2018 when I was on acne medication which left me with severely dry skin and this was the only moisturiser that made a difference.
It can be applied all over the body, however, nowadays I prefer to use it just on my face at night, applying a thick layer that leaves me with plump, soft skin when I wake up in the morning.
Want another reason to buy this moisturiser? It also regular gets mentioned as a (much) cheaper dupe for La Mer’s Crème de la Mer, a $535 moisturiser beloved by celebrities like Beyonce and Kim Kardashian.
Like Crème de la Mer, CeraVe’s Moisturising Cream contains glycerin as well as skin-loving ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid.
If there ever was a brand that fit the expression “TikTok made me buy it”, it would be First Aid Beauty. Ultra Repair Cream is one of their top rated items, with over 7000 five star reviews at Sephora and an average 4.5 star rating from 25,000-plus reviews on Google.
Customers love its skin-loving ingredients like colloidal oatmeal and the fact that it’s fast-absorbing while having a gorgeous “whipped texture”.
TikTok users say the moisturiser, which can be used on the face and body, is a “game changer” and a “life saver”, with one describing it as “the moisturiser that changed my life”.
If you’re looking for a deeply moisturising face cream that’s packed full of organic ingredients, try out this one from Mukti.
The Marigold Hydrating Creme is formulated with kakadu plum to brighten and promote elasticity, cornflower to cool and soothe and gotu kola to boost collagen stores and decrease inflammation.
This sort of face cream is designed for those with very dry, mature and sensitive skin types as it does a great job at soothing and calming the complexion.
Containing hyaluronic acid, olive extract and moisture-locking beeswax, this moisturiser is like a drink of water for your face — and it’s also Amazon’s best-selling moisturiser that specifically targets dry skin.
The much-loved moisturiser rebranded last year with new sustainable packaging that’s 100 per cent recyclable.
Its gel formula means that it absorbs quickly into the skin, leaving it feeling supple and well hydrated.
Priced under $30 it’s one of the most affordable moisturisers on this list and has plenty of shoppers raving about how well it works too.
“My favourite moisturiser. If Neutrogena stopped producing this product, I would die,” one five star reviewer says of the “holy grail” product.
BEST DRY SKIN MOISTURISERS FOR FACE
This is another hardworking moisturiser with a cult following that includes Victoria Beckham and Adele.
It’s 100 per cent certified natural and contains plant oils, lanolin and beeswax as well as pansy, camomile and calendula extracts.
Cetaphil’s Optimal Hydration range moisturises your skin just as well as its classic products, but with the addition of skin-loving ingredients.
Their Healthy Glow Daily Cream has hyaluronic acid and niacinamide as well as soothing blue daisy, vitamin E and vitamin B5.
This best-selling moisturiser comes highly recommended by users for a reason. A hefty dose of high and low molecular weight hyaluronic acids provide time released hydration, while damask rose extract helps to support your skin barrier.
Customers say it’s ideal for those with oily and combination skin, praising it for being lightweight and non-greasy.
This lightweight moisturiser is intensely hydrating. Containing Glacial glycoprotein (derived from sea glaciers) and squalane, this cream is Kiehl’s most popular product worldwide.
“Have been using this for many years (and it) feels so natural. Easy to be absorbed by skin, yet not leaving an oily film,” one five star review reads.
“This cream saved my skin! I used to have very dry and cracked skin, and one of my friend suggested this cream for me, and I’m in love since then,” another five star reviewer says.
This rich textured moisturiser contains a proprietary blend that includes hyaluronic acid and evening primrose oil to soothe dry skin.
It also works to minimise wrinkles and improve overall skin texture, with one five-star reviewer writing: “This is the best moisturiser I have ever used. It softens and smoothes my dry skin so well.
“It also soothes my skin if I’ve over done it with actives. I use it morning and night and adore it.”
This dermatologist recommended moisturiser is specifically formulated for sensitive skin. Founded in 1900, Eucerin has over 100 years of work in the skincare industry and plenty of glowing reviews to boot — it has over 28,000 five star ratings on iHerb alone.
Ingredients include Eucerin’s coenzyme Q10, vitamin E and betacarotene, with the moisturiser non-comedogenic, fragrance-free and alcohol-free.
“I can’t tell you how much I love this product. It is rich and thick without being greasy. I have been using it for almost three months now and I can notice a world of difference,” one five star review reads.
Clinique’s Moisture Surge range has always been a popular choice for dry skin and this stronger version of the original Moisture Surge moisturiser is great if you need some extra TLC.
The oil-free cream gel contains hyaluronic acid, cica and activated aloe water to leave skin feeling hydrated.
“Love this moisturiser! Worth the money. It is really hydrating for dry skin,” one five-star review reads.
Containing eight peptides, eight amino acids, three ceramides, collagen and hyaluronic acids this moisturiser promises to instantly boost skin hydration.
Suitable for all skin types, the gel-like moisturiser promises to support your skin’s barrier and elasticity.
Featuring a 30 per cent hyaluronic acid complex this fluffy light moisturiser is seriously hydrating for the skin.
It also contains Pentavitin®, which can provide up to 72 hours of hydration even after washing off the moisturiser.
BEST DRY SKIN MOISTURISERS FOR BODY
This intensely moisturising balm has achieved cult status for a reason. The multipurpose cream can be used all over the body or to target specific dry patches of skin, as well as roughness and redness.
It contains five per cent panthenol, also known as vitamin B5, shea butter, glycerin, madecassoside and copper-zinc-maganese.
“I never normally write reviews ever, but honestly this product is beyond amazing that I had to say something!” one five star review reads.
“Honestly I’ve never had a product work so quickly before (I saw results within the first day, my skin redness was noticeable reduced and I felt overall hydrated).”
If there ever was a moisturiser that smelt like a tropical holiday in a tub, it would be this one.
I’m on my fourth tub of this and although I may have winced at the price the first time I bought it, I can say it is 100 per cent worth the money.
Forget what its catchy name may imply Bum Bum Cream can be used all over the body and despite its thick cream formula, absorbs into the skin quickly.
Did we mention the smell? Expect notes of vanilla, caramel and pistachio. With Brazilian ingredients like cupuaçu butter, guarana, Brazil nut, açaí oil and coconut oil leaving skin feeling intensely nourished you’ll understand what all the hype is about after your first use.
Another French skincare brand that won’t break the bank, Avène has a wonderful range of products to target dry skin, but Cicalfate+ has to be my top pick.
It’s designed to specifically repair cracked, damaged and dry skin and suitable for use on the face and body when face skin is irritated.
It contains a high content of Avène’s iconic Thermal Spring Water to soothe irritation, as well as copper sulfate and zinc sulfate to limit bacteria.
“This is fantastic for really dry and sensitive skin,” one five star review reads. “A small amount can heal dry and sore skin.”
This all-over body and face moisturiser ticks all the right boxes if you’re looking for a solution to dry skin that’s suitable for sensitive skin.
The dermatologist-tested cream contains niacinamide, panthenol and glycerin, as well as being clinically proven to provide hydration for up to 48 hours.
HOW SHOULD YOU APPLY MOISTURISER?
“Moisturiser is best applied with clean hands to skin that is slightly damp, e.g. after a shower or a bath,” Dr De Cruz advises.
“It should be applied generously and regularly to help rehydrate the skin and trap in water molecules.”
Moisturiser should be applied to the skin after cleansing and on top of any active serums, he said.
“It is the perfect ‘final layer’ of a morning skin care routine, as it soothes the skin, and traps in the active ingredients one is trying to infuse into the skin,” Dr De Cruz said.
Unlike actives such as retinol, you also shouldn’t be concerned about using too much moisturiser and causing a negative reaction.
“There is no such thing as ‘over-moisturising’ – in fact most people do not apply enough moisturiser, and certainly not frequently enough,” Dr De Cruz.
WHAT TYPE OF INGREDIENTS SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR IN A DRY SKIN MOISTURISER?
According to Dr De Cruz, less is best when it comes to ingredients as “in simple terms – the shorter the ingredient list, the better”.
“The ingredients with the greatest amount of clinical research include ceramides, shea butter and niacinamide (vitamin B3) which combine perfectly to rehydrate dry skin, and soothe skin irritation,” Dr De Cruz said.
“I recommend avoiding moisturisers with multiple different fragrances, as these may cause skin allergy and irritate the skin.
“Similarly, moisturisers that are full of preservatives and unnecessary ‘filler’ ingredients with no evidence to support their use, should be avoided.”
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