When you have delicate skin, trying out even the simplest skin care products, like moisturizer, is a risky business. Your best bet is to avoid ingredients such as synthetic fragrance (essential oils can also be a gamble), high concentrations of potentially irritating acids, and anything else to which you have a known allergy. To help make things easy, you'll find six of of the
best dermatologist-recommended face moisturizers for sensitive skin rounded up ahead. They all provide long-lasting hydration and skin-repairing benefits, but their gentle formulas shouldn't cause any unwanted reactions or flareups of conditions like eczema.
Using moisturizer consistently can help with your skin sensitivities, too, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Erum Ilyas tells Bustle. "Once our skin dries out and the barrier function it serves starts to break apart, our skin becomes inflamed and more sensitive to the environment," he explains.
One caveat: With sensitive skin in particular, do
not put a new product on your face without doing a patch test first. Apply a small amount to your inner arm or wrist, wait at least 24 hours, and watch for any signs of a reaction (burning, itching, redness). If nothing shows up, go ahead and slather the product all over your face/body.
With that in mind, scroll on to shop six of the best
best moisturizers for sensitive skin, as recommended by dermatologists. We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team. 1 La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer
“In addition to locking in moisture and hydrating/smoothing/plumping the skin, it’s essential to repair the skin barrier. [So] my top two facial moisturizer picks are
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer and EltaMD Barrier Renewal Complex Face Moisturizer." — Dr. Jennifer MacGregor, M.D., board certified dermatologist, Union Square Laser Dermatology
This oil-free, fragrance-free moisturizer contains glycerin,
a humectant that helps attract moisture, ceramides, which serve to restore the skin's natural protective barrier — crucial for people with sensitive skin — and the brand's signature thermal spring water, which has soothing benefits. It has a nice, lightweight consistency, too, so it won't leave your skin feeling suffocated or greasy. 2 EltaMD Barrier Renewal Complex Face Moisturizer
Dr. MacGregor's other top pick,
EltaMD Barrier Renewal Complex is another fragrance-free, ceramide-rich moisturizer that'll help keep your sensitive skin strong. Other key ingredients in here include hyaluronic acid, which draws moisture to the skin, anti-inflammatory niacinamide (a vitamin B3 derivative) to reduce irritation and promote a more even skin tone, and enzymes and antioxidants to encourage skin cell turnover, among other things.
As its name suggests, Barrier Renewal Complex works to repair your skin barrier to ward off aggressors that can cause irritation and flareups, but it also helps create a softer, smoother, and generally clearer complexion.
3 Mustela Stelatopia Emollient Face Cream
“This is marketed as baby care and every Stellatopia cream/balm by Mustela makes an awesome face moisturizer! I’m currently using the
Mustela Stellatopia balm for extra dry skin after my weekly peels. I recommended getting the ones in a tube if you are dry; anything thin enough to go through a pump will not [offer] enough moisture.” — Dr. Jennifer MacGregor, M.D. 4 Avene Skin Recovery Cream
“What I love about [
Avène Skin Recovery Cream] is that it moisturizes and helps repair [the] skin barrier without feeling heavy. It contains glycerin and shea butter for hydration and Parcerine — a proprietary ingredient which calms skin irritation and redness. In addition, it is fragrance- and paraben-free." — Dr. Robyn Gmyrek, M.D. 5 EltaMD PM Therapy
EltaMD PM Therapy Face Moisturizer is a lightweight but effective moisturizer which contains ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin to restore and repair skin. It also contains niacinamide (vitamin B3) which is anti-inflammatory and reduces redness. In addition, it is oil-free, fragrance-free, and non-comedogenic, making it safe for sensitive skin.” — Dr. Robyn Gmyrek, M.D., board-certified dermatologist, Park View Laser Dermatology 6 Colleen Rothschild Beauty Sheer Renewal Cream Colleen Rothschild Beauty Sheer Renewal Cream "is a great moisturizing option for sensitive skin. With lactic acid and fruit extracts, it gently accelerates cell turnover while hydrating the skin, supporting the skin barrier and locking in moisture. It absorbs quickly without a greasy finish, and it's free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates and formaldehyde.” — Dr. Hadley King, M.D., FAAD, board certified dermatologist Experts: Dr. Erum Ilyas, board-certified dermatologist, Montgomery Dermatology, LLC, and founder of sun-protective clothing line AmberNoon Dr. Jennifer MacGregor, M.D., board certified dermatologist, Union Square Laser Dermatology Dr. Hadley King, M.D., FAAD, board certified dermatologist Dr. Robyn Gmyrek, M.D., board-certified dermatologist, Park View Laser Dermatology
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