Best Beauty & Skin Care Products

7 Face Cleansers That Work Great on Dry Skin

If you’re battling dry skin, especially during the winter months, you’re in good company. The combination of colder temperatures and decreased humidity can be harsh on skin, leaving it feeling flaky and tight, explains Dr. Marisa Garshick, a board-certified dermatologist at Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery (MDCS) in New York.

Of course, dry skin is not a winter-only issue. In fact, dry skin is considered a skin type, and can be caused by genetics, conditions like eczema or psoriasis or simply because “some [people] make less oil to hydrate and seal the skin,” explains Dr. Papri Sarkar, a board-certified dermatologist in Boston. Skin also becomes drier as we age. “Older patients have drier skin because they have an impaired skin barrier layer, produce less oil and have decreased supporting tissues in their skin,” Dr. Sarkar says.

Whether your dry skin struggles are seasonal or year-round, one thing is for sure: choosing the right skin care products is key, starting with your face cleanser. “Cleansers are designed to eliminate excess oils, dirt, debris and buildup on the skin, but it is important that a cleanser does not strip the skin of its natural oils, as this can subsequently dry out the skin,” says Dr. Garshick. She recommends finding a face wash that gently cleanses, while still supporting the skin barrier and restoring moisture—like one of our favorites, below:

  1. Tula Skincare The Cult Classic Purifying Face Cleanser
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    Tula Skincare The Cult Classic Purifying Face Cleanser

    This all-in-one cleanser is made with a blend of superfoods, including turmeric and blueberry extract, and is rich in probiotics, which can help restore moisture and soothe inflammation, notes Dr. Garshick. “It also contains lactic acid which is a natural exfoliant but also a humectant so leaves the skin looking radiant without drying the skin out,” she adds.

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  2. PCA Skin Creamy Cleanser
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    PCA Skin Creamy Cleanser

    Don’t let the simple packaging fool you—this cleanser is packed with ultra-hydrating ingredients, including aloe vera and nourishing oils. “It’s a great option for those with dry skin and is gentle enough to be used twice daily, in the morning and at night,” says Dr. Garshick. “It contains rosehip seed oil as well as sunflower seed oil which is high in essential fatty acids [and helps] to nourish the skin and provide antioxidant benefits.”

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  3. Obagi Nu-Derm Gentle Cleanser
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    Obagi Nu-Derm Gentle Cleanser

    If your skin is not only dry, but also sensitive and prone to irritation, this is an excellent cleanser to use. It’s gentle on dry skin and cleanses without stripping skin’s moisture. “It contains oat amino acids which help to strengthen the skin barrier as well as sage extract to help calm redness and soothe inflammation,” says Dr. Garshick.

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  4. SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser
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    SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser

    This mild cream cleanser is great for all skin types, especially dry, sensitive skin. “It uses a mild emollient-rich surfactant as well as hydrating ingredients (including allantoin and glycerin) and orange oil, which is soothing on the skin,” says Dr. Garshick. “It is great for those with dry or sensitive skin as it is free of soaps, sulfates, alcohol, parabens and more.”

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  5. HoliFrog Tashmoo Water Lily Nourishing Milky Wash
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    HoliFrog Tashmoo Water Lily Nourishing Milky Wash

    When skin is not only dry, but also inflamed from the elements of your environment, it’s important to use a fragrance-free cleanser that gently removes impurities while hydrating the skin. This one contains a blend of 14 amino acids to help repair the skin’s moisture barrier. It also contains antioxidant-rich blue-green algae, which helps the skin stand up to free radicals, as well as apricot kernel oil, which is a great source of vitamin E.

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  6. Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm
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    Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm

    If you’re looking for a cleanser for dry skin that will help remove your makeup, along with impurities, without stripping the skin of its natural oils, this one is a great choice. “It is rich in fatty acids and linoleic acid from ingredients like elderberry oil and starflower oil as well as many other moisturizing and skin-soothing ingredients,” says Dr. Sarkar.

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  7. Naturopathica Marshmallow Probiotic Sensitivity Soothing Cream Cleanser
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    Naturopathica Marshmallow Probiotic Sensitivity Soothing Cream Cleanser

    As its name suggests, this cleanser contains marshmallow, a botanical known for its skin-soothing properties. It helps cut down on redness by increasing the hydration level in your skin. Other key ingredients include Mediterranean-sourced microalgae, which protects the moisture barrier, and probiotic lysate, which supports the skin’s microbiome.

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Beauty Reporter

Jenn Sinrich

Jenn Sinrich is a freelance writer, editor and content strategist in NYC. Her work can be found in Women’s Health, SELF, Reader's Digest, Health, PureWow and more. When she's not putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), she can be found traveling the world and discovering more about the big apple of a city she's always dreamed of calling home. Follow her on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.