Fact: I have the driest, most sensitive skin in the entire world. (That’s probably not an exaggeration, either.) My skin is so sensitive that sometimes, in the middle of the day, as I sit stationary at my desk, it develops a rash, or a hive, or a burning itching patch, completely unprovoked. And when it’s not staging a coup on my sanity, it’s flaking. Oh, how it flakes. I have a strict, five-second window between washing my face and applying moisturizer before my skin tightens and shrivels into a dull, angry mess.
“But use a moisturizer!” you say, and I laugh. My normal nighttime routine currently consists of a hydrating serum, a thick-as-hell cream, an occlusive moisturizer (occlusive formulas basically form a film on the skin to prevent water loss), and then, sometimes, a facial oil on top, just for funsies. And still, I frequently wake up with a dry face. (It’s actually miraculous; I might be an anomaly. Somebody call Guinness.)
Hope is not lost, though. Because throughout my many years of talking to derms, testing moisturizers, and combing the interwebs for advice, I have found hope and relief, mainly in the form of five very excellent, very magical moisturizers. Moisturizers that are specifically formulated to hydrate, soothe, and restore happiness to bedraggled skin, all with clogging pores. And you know it’s true, because not one of these bottles was created for the sole purpose of lookin’ pretty. Scroll down to see our favorites.
Eucerin Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Sensitive Skin Cream
We tend to be skeptical of anything that says “sensitive,” because most sensitive formulas still have ingredients that can irritate skin, but this fragrance-free, alcohol-free, and non-comodegenic formula really does work magic on dry, angry complexions.
Eucerin Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Sensitive Skin Cream, $10; at Ulta
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
The hyaluronic acid in this rich (in a good way!), fragrance-free cream penetrates the surface of your skin to deeply hydrate, while the ceramides and glycerin work to repair your skin’s barrier function.
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, $16; at Ulta
Just two ingredients here: petrolatum and paraffin, both of which are excellent, non-pore-clogging ingredients that lock moisture into skin for 12 hours. Just make sure to apply it over damp skin to really seal in the water.
EltaMD Moisturizer, $12; at EltaMD
Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream
This body moisturizer can actually be used on your face to sooth dry, itchy, sensitive skin (hello, eczema haters), without clogging pores. It’s also fragrance-free and filled with nourishing sweet almond oil for an added boost of awesome.
Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream, $16; at Ulta
Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream
We mean, if it’s good enough for a baby, it’s good enough for us. Formulated with colloidal oatmeal, this thick cream soothes irritated skin and hardcore hydrates it with glycerin and oat kernel extract, without leaving skin sticky or heavy.
Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream, $13; at Walmart