Top Ten

8 Moisturizers for Sensitive Skin That Go Beyond Hydrating

Moisturizers for sensitive skin

If you have sensitive skin, you know that grabbing any moisturizer off the shelf won’t cut it. You want a hydrator that’s gentle and won’t cause irritation, but is still effective enough to deliver results. Thankfully, there are a slew of sensitive, skin-friendly moisturizers with benefits that go beyond hydration.

What Is Sensitive Skin?

“Sensitive skin has an impaired skin barrier function which makes the skin more sensitive and prone to easily drying out,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hadley King. Skin conditions like rosacea, atopic dermatitis and eczema all fall under the sensitive skin umbrella. Skin sensitivity varies by person and can be triggered by something as simple as a beauty product, environmental factors or a bigger skin condition. If you’re noticing redness on the skin, but are unsure if it classifies as sensitive, it’s best to consult with your dermatologist for a proper diagnosis.

How to Care for Sensitive Skin

Caring for sensitive skin is a learned process, but the essential steps are no different than any other skin care routine. Cleansing and moisturizing daily is still a must. Dr. King suggests washing your face once or twice a day, but avoiding harsh detergents that can cause irritation and strip the skin of its natural oils. And proper cleansing goes beyond picking your favorite soap or cleanser—water temperature matters, too. Dr. King’s go-to for cleansing sensitive skin is lukewarm water. This will ensure that the moisture stays in, but the skin still gets cleaned properly.

When it comes to sensitive-skin types, you’ll want to choose products with ingredients that hydrate, calm and heal. King suggests ceramides, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide as three ingredients that are suitable for even the most sensitive of skin. “Ceramides are emollients and are an important component of an ideal moisturizer,” she says. She also likes to recommend hyaluronic acid for her sensitive skin patients for its humectant properties, since sensitive skin can tend to be drier. And when it comes to repair, her go-to is niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3. “It supports the skin barrier [and] improves texture and tone by increasing resiliency,” King explains.

As for ingredients to avoid, King suggests steering clear of active ingredients like retinoids, AHAs and BHAs that may cause irritation. You’ll also want to omit any harsh detergents, dyes, alcohols or synthetic fragrances that may cause your skin to react.

Best Moisturizers for Skin That’s Feeling Sensitive  

Now, if you’re unsure which moisturizers are best for sensitive skin, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we enlist the help of our shoppers to determine which moisturizers offer the most hydration without irritating sensitive skin.

  1. 1. PCA Skin ReBalance
    Buy now with Dermstore

    1. PCA Skin ReBalance

    [listimage brand_id=100137 prod_id=2283]
    This moisturizer was made to calm and repair damage caused by stress, chemical peels and laser treatments, so you know it gets the green light for sensitive skin. The combination of primrose and borage oils help to decrease and calm redness and irritation. And it’s also formulated with Dr. King’s go-to ingredient, niacinamide, to promote a stronger skin barrier.
    Why Dermstore shoppers love it: “I love this moisturizer. I have very red cheeks and I am sensitive to other products. This does not irritate my skin at all, it goes on silky smooth and it absorbs quickly into your skin.”

    Buy now with free delivery
  2. 2. Obagi Soothing Complex Calming Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 25
    Buy now with Dermstore

    2. Obagi Soothing Complex Calming Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 25

    [listimage brand_id=100108 prod_id=75368]
    If you’re looking for a moisturizer with built-in SPF, this one’s for you. It’s free of synthetic fragrances and parabens and it’s even hypoallergenic. The key ingredients allantoin and aloe vera heal and soothe skin. Plus, the slight tint in the lotion is great for blurring imperfections.
    Why Dermstore shoppers love it: “I have extremely sensitive skin including rosacea and have a hard time finding products that do not cause breakouts and redness. I ordered this because I read about a lot of chemicals being left out of it and it has the sunscreen I need. It has worked extremely well on my skin and I like the slight tint as well.”

    Buy now with free delivery
  3. 3. NEW! SENTÉ Dermal Repair Cream
    Buy now with Dermstore

    3. NEW! SENTÉ Dermal Repair Cream

    [listimage brand_id=505798 prod_id=83811]
    Addressing texture and tone, this moisturizer renews dry, tired skin. Suitable for sensitive and compromised skin, the formula has proven to calm inflamed and irritated skin. The key ingredient is Heparan Sulfate Analog (HSA), a proven powerhouse in the anti-aging category to help reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

    Buy now with free delivery
  4. 4. La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Soothing Repair Moisturizer
    Buy now with Dermstore

    4. La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Soothing Repair Moisturizer

    [listimage brand_id=100090 prod_id=31711]
    If you have sensitive skin, the fewer ingredients in your products, the better. Fragrances, drying alcohol and preservatives can all be common irritants for sensitive types. This moisturizer—made with healing thermal spring water—is a lightweight yet deeply hydrating formula with a minimal ingredient list. Its unique airtight packaging allows it to be formulated with zero potentially irritating preservatives.
    Why Dermstore shoppers love it: “I have sensitive, dry skin and I use this daily. It’s very light and moisturizes really well without leaving a greasy feeling. No breakouts and I tend to breakout easily.”

    Buy now with free delivery
  5. 5. Avene Skin Recovery Cream
    Buy now with Dermstore

    5. Avene Skin Recovery Cream

    [listimage brand_id=500107 prod_id=42689]
    This gentle cream deeply hydrates while providing relief to inflamed, environmentally damaged skin—thanks to its star ingredient, thermal spring water. This bacteriologically pure water has a low mineral content, a variety of skin-soothing trace elements and has been proven by more than 150 clinical studies as an effective treatment for skin conditions including atopic dermatitis, rosacea, psoriasis and eczema.
    Why Dermstore shoppers love it: “It definitely worked well and is so gentle on my sensitive skin. My dermatitis disappeared after a week or so and I have continued to purchase this.”

    Buy now with free delivery
  6. 6. Epionce Renewal Facial Cream
    Buy now with Dermstore

    6. Epionce Renewal Facial Cream

    [listimage brand_id=501692 prod_id=33936]
    This moisturizer is a blend of gentle and natural ingredients that not only hydrates skin, but also improves texture. First, the anti-inflammatory properties in meadow-foam and flaxseed soothe the skin from redness and irritation. Then the hydrating elements of rosehip, safflower and avocado—all rich in fatty acids—work to improve your skin’s moisture levels and protect against environmental stressors.
    Why Dermstore shoppers love it: “This product was recommended by my cosmetic dermatologist who treats my rosacea with IPL. I love the cream. It never feels sticky under my makeup when I use it in the daytime. I recommend this product for anyone with sensitive skin.”

    Buy now with free delivery
  7. 7. Eminence Organic Skin Care Calm Skin Chamomile Moisturizer
    Buy now with Dermstore

    7. Eminence Organic Skin Care Calm Skin Chamomile Moisturizer

    [listimage brand_id=500221 prod_id=51449]
    With the word “calm” literally in the name, you can expect that this moisturizer will help get rid of redness and irritation. Its blend of chamomile tea and aloe vera juice soothes irritated skin, while shea butter locks in the moisture, bringing back that soft face you’ve been missing.
    Why Dermstore shoppers love it: “Upon the first use, the cream melts into your face so nicely and by the next morning, my skin was visibly less red. I’ve been using for over a month now, and the results are incredible. This is the first time my face has matched the rest of my body!”

    Buy now with free delivery
  8. 8. Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream
    Buy now with Dermstore

    8. Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream

    [listimage brand_id=100157 prod_id=70398]
    Like a tall glass of water for your skin, this face cream offers hydration for up to 72 hours and it’s all because of this key ingredient: hyaluronic acid. Great for sensitive skin, this gentle substance restores and retains your skin’s moisture levels, providing plumpness and hydration.
    Why Dermstore shoppers love it: “My skin has never felt so velvety soft! I frequently receive compliments on how glowy my skin looks. I have dry and breakout-prone skin, so finding the right moisturizer is not easy. This not only gives the moisture my skin needs, but also does not break me out.”

    Buy now with free delivery

Beauty Writer

Andrea Jordan

Andrea Jordan is a lifestyle and beauty writer who is obsessed with skin care. She'd choose a luxurious mask over makeup any day of the week. She loves learning about new ingredients and will never turn down an opportunity to try a new treatment. Her skin care must-haves include water, spot treatment and eye cream.