The 11 Best Moisturizers for Sensitive Skin of 2023

Our top pick is the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream, which moisturizes and soothes sensitive skin.

In This Article

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Best Moisturizers for Sensitive Skin

Real Simple / Kristin Kempa

Having sensitive skin can make shopping for moisturizer a challenge. The key to finding an effective formula for your skin type is to set your sights on non-irritating formulas that simultaneously hydrate and soothe your skin.

To find the best moisturizers for sensitive skin, we researched the most popular options on the market, considering factors like ingredients and price to narrow down our list to only the best products. We also spoke with Kim Nichols, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of NicholsMD, for expert advice on choosing the best formula for you.

“I recommend that everyone, even those with sensitive skin, integrate moisturizer into their daily routines,” says Nichols. The First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream is our top pick because it checks off all of the expert’s recommendations, and has a dedicated fan base of users who attest to its effectiveness.

Find all our moisturizer recommendations below, and keep scrolling for expert advice on what to keep in mind while shopping for them.

Our Top Picks
Best Overall Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin:
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream at Amazon
Best Drugstore Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin:
Vanicream Moisturizing Cream at Amazon
Best Splurge Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin:
Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream at Amazon
Best Natural Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin:
Honest Beauty Hydrogel Cream at Amazon
Best Moisturizer for Sensitive & Acne-Prone Skin:
CosRx AC Collection Lightweight Soothing Moisturizer at Amazon
Best Gel Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin:
Aveeno Calm + Restore Oat Gel Moisturizer at Amazon

Best Overall Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration

4.9
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration

Dermstore

Who it’s for: People looking for an ultra nourishing formula that can be used on the face and body.

Who it isn’t for: People with oily skin. 

Coming in at the top of our list is the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream, a top-rated option formulated for your face and body. The quick-absorbing, non-greasy formula is loaded with soothing ingredients like colloidal oatmeal, green tea extract, and allantoin, along with hydrating ingredients like glycerin, ceramides, and squalane. It’s definitely made with dry skin in mind, so if your skin is more oily you should check out the Ultra Repair Oil-Control Moisturizer instead.

It’s so sensitive skin-friendly that it’s safe for all ages—even babies. Plus, it’s also suitable for those with eczema or redness. It’s fragrance-free, but there are a few scented options available if your skin can tolerate perfume, like eucalyptus and fresh pear.

Price at time of publish: From $38

Product Details:  

  • Type: Cream
  • Key Ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal, shea butter, allantoin 
  • Size: 2, 6, or 14 ounces

Best Drugstore Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin

Vanicream Moisturizing Cream for Sensitive Skin

4.9
Vanicream Moisturizing Cream

Target

Who it’s for: People looking for a no-frills, budget-friendly moisturizer for sensitive skin.

Who it isn’t for: Those looking for a thin moisturizer for sensitive skin.

The best drugstore moisturizer on our list is the Vanicream Moisturizing Cream, an irritant-free formula designed specially for sensitive skin. Coming in at 16 ounces, it’s the largest on our list, meaning you’ll certainly get the most bang for your buck. 

Likewise, its ingredient list is short but sweet, starring petrolatum (aka petroleum jelly), an occlusive that keeps moisture from leaving the skin. It contains no fragrance, dyes, botanical extracts, or lanolin, and has a Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association. We also love how it has a hygienic and easy-to-use pump applicator.

Price at time of publish: $16

Product Details:  

  • Type: Thick cream
  • Key Ingredients: Petrolatum
  • Size: 16 ounces

Best Splurge Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin

Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream

Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream

Amazon

Who it’s for: People looking for a versatile cream that also targets fine lines. 

Who it isn’t for: Those looking for a large-sized moisturizer that'll last a while.

The Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream dually hydrates your skin and restores your skin’s protective barrier with the help of nourishing squalane, omega fatty acids, ceramides, and plant sterols. What separates it from the pack is its instant and long-term benefits. It contains hyaluronic acid to improve the appearance of your skin on impact, plus it applies beautifully over makeup. 

This cream is also vegan and EWG-verified, so it’s eco-friendly on top of being skin-friendly. And for those with eczema, it has the Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association. This cream is an excellent option for daytime and nighttime use, so long as you don’t mind its steep price tag.

Price at time of publish: From $60

Product Details:  

  • Type: Cream
  • Key Ingredients: Squalane, hyaluronic acid, omega fatty acids, and ceramides
  • Size: 1.69 or 3.38 ounces

Best Natural Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin

Honest Beauty Hydrogel Cream

Honest Beauty Hydrogel Cream

Amazon

Who it’s for: Those looking for a moisturizer for sensitive skin that’s EWG-verified.

Who it isn’t for: Those looking for a moisturizer with a traditional cream texture.

If you're looking for a natural moisturizer for sensitive skin, consider the Honest Beauty Hydrogel Cream. The unique formula starts as a silky cream and transforms into a lightweight water-like texture that feels cooling against your skin. 

It's powered by two types of hydrating hyaluronic acid, plus jojoba and squalane. If you have oily skin, you’ll love the gel consistency, which is a bit less heavy than regular cream. What’s more, the formula has the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) seal of approval, meaning it's free of all ingredients deemed potentially unsafe.

Price at time of publish: $20

Product Details:  

  • Type: Gel-cream
  • Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, squalane, and jojoba
  • Size: 1.7 ounces

Best Moisturizer for Sensitive & Acne-Prone Skin

CosRx AC Collection Lightweight Soothing Moisturizer

Cosrx AC Collection Lightweight Soothing Moisturizer

Dermstore

Who it’s for: People with acne-prone, sensitive skin who need a lightweight, calming formula.

Who it isn’t for: Those who have very dry skin.

Combat breakouts and blemishes with the Cosrx AC Collection Lightweight Soothing Moisturizer. It uses a slew of acne-busting ingredients, including niacinamide, zinc, aloe vera, and green tea. These ingredients work in conjunction with soothing ingredients like madecassic acid and asiatic acid to prevent irritation. 

Reminder: It’s important you use a moisturizer on acne-prone skin and not skip out, “because when acne-prone skin gets excessively dry, excess sebum is produced, further clogging pores and leading to more breakouts,” says Dr. Nichols. A lightweight formula like this Cosrx cream is a great option, as it controls oil production and calms inflammation.

Price at time of publish: $19

Product Details:  

  • Type: Lightweight cream
  • Key Ingredients: Madecassic acid, asiatic acid, niacinamide, zinc
  • Size: 2.7 ounces

Best Moisturizer for Dry & Sensitive Skin

Eau Thermale Avène XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cream

4.2
Avène XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cream

Amazon

Who it’s for: Those with dry, flaky skin who need a major dose of hydration. 

Who it isn’t for: Those who want a lighter cream.

Hydrate and soothe dry skin with the Eau Thermale Avène XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cream, a French formulation you can scoop up without traveling overseas. It contains soothing emollients, amino acids, and antioxidants that work together to protect and nourish your skin’s microbiome.

It has the National Eczema Association’s seal of acceptance, a testament to this rich and velvety formulation’s ability to soothe itchiness—fast. Aside from being suitable for eczema, it’s also a good option for those with atopic dermatitis, as well as those dealing with the effects of inflammation.

Price at time of publish: From $34

Product Details:  

  • Type: Rich cream
  • Key Ingredients: Cer-Omega (omega 6, ceramides, and sterols), Avène thermal spring water
  • Size: 6.7 or 13.5 ounces

Best Moisturizer for Eczema

Eczema Honey Soothing Facial Cream

Eczema Honey Soothing Facial Cream

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who need a moisturizer that’s formulated for eczema.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a moisturizer that comes in a larger size.

As implied by its brand name, this moisturizer was formulated specially for eczema-prone skin. It works by forming a thin, protective barrier on your skin to restore it with key nutrients while simultaneously delivering hydration. It’s loaded with soothing ingredients like oat kernel extract, aloe vera, honey, panthenol—the list goes on—plus glycerin and hyaluronic acid for moisture. 

It has the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Approval, and is gentle enough to be used every day. The only con is that it comes in a small 2-ounce jar, so you should expect to replace it fairly often. There is the option to subscribe to it though, so you can get it on a regular basis without thinking about it.

Price at time of publish: $20 

Product Details:  

  • Type: Cream
  • Key Ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal, aloe vera, honey, rosehip seed oil, and oat kernel flour
  • Size: 2 ounces

Best Moisturizer for Redness

Cetaphil Redness Relieving Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 20

4.2
Cetaphil Redness Relieving Daily Facial Moisturizer

Amazon

Who it’s for: People looking for a tinted moisturizer that neutralizes redness. 

Who it isn’t for: Those looking for a moisturizer they can use both day and night. 

Neutralize redness in a flash with the Cetaphil Redness Relieving Daily Facial Moisturizer. Best for daytime use, this drugstore formula is tinted to reduce the appearance of redness and even out your skin tone. (To complete the regimen, use it with the Cetaphil Redness Relieving Night Cream.)

The formula also works to soothe your skin with licorice and allantoin, both of which have anti-inflammatory properties that may calm irritated skin. It even contains two types of mineral SPF—which is a little under the dermatologist-recommended SPF 30, but certainly better than going sans sunscreen.

Price at time of publish: $18

Product Details:  

  • Type: Tinted cream
  • Key Ingredients: Titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, allantoin, caffeine, licorice extract
  • Size: 1.7 ounces

Best Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin With SPF

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer With SPF

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer With SPF

Walgreens

Who it’s for: People looking for a moisturizer that performs double duty with SPF.

Who it isn’t for: Those who prefer physical SPF blockers over chemical ones.

Looking for a two-in-one moisturizer that hydrates sensitive skin and offers UV protection? The La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer With SPF has you covered (literally). The oil-free cream uses SPF 30, which is the exact number dermatologists recommend for everyday use. 

Not only does it protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays, but it also replenishes moisture sans irritation with glycerin, niacinamide, and allantoin. If you need to moisturize at night as well, consider the brand’s Toleriane Dermallergo Night Moisturizer.

Price at time of publish: $21

Product Details:  

  • Type: Cream
  • Key Ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, niacinamide, ceramides, glycerin, and allantoin
  • Size: 2.5 ounces

Best Gel Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin

Aveeno Calm + Restore Oat Gel Moisturizer

Aveeno Calm + Restore Oat Gel Moisturizer

Amazon

Who it’s for: People with oily skin who prefer a lightweight gel texture to heavier cream formulations.

Who it isn’t for: Those with very dry skin looking for a rich moisturizer. 

If you don’t love the heavy consistency of a cream, the Aveeno Calm + Restore Oat Gel Moisturizer might be perfect for you. It’s free of essential oils and fragrance, instead featuring a mix of protective antioxidants and soothing ingredients like oat kernel extract and panthenol. 

Its texture is lightweight yet still creamy, which is a great option for the spring and summer months or a year-round solution for those who have oily skin. Plus, it’s UL ECOLOGO Certified, so it has a lower environmental impact compared to other products.

Price at time of publish: $20

Product Details:  

  • Type: Gel cream
  • Key Ingredients: Oat kernel, feverfew
  • Size: 1.7 ounces

Best Night Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin

CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion

CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion

CeraVe 

Who it’s for: Those looking for a lightweight, calming formula for nighttime use. 

Who it isn’t for: Those looking for a thick cream. 

Soothe your sensitive skin overnight with the CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion. The oil- and fragrance-free formulation is a perennial bestseller for its lightweight, non-greasy feel that’s easy to spread. 

What separates this formula from the daytime moisturizer is that this one is thinner and does not contain SPF. Plus, according to the brand it continually works through the night, potentially giving you even more moisturizing benefits. Hero ingredients include niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides. 

Price at time of publish: $16

Product Details:  

  • Type: Lightweight cream
  • Key Ingredients: Ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide
  • Size: 3 ounces

Final Verdict

Overall, we recommend the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream, a sensitive skin-friendly formula that you can use in the morning and evening on both your face and body. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly drugstore pick, you can’t go wrong with the Vanicream Moisturizing Cream, a less expensive option with a leaner ingredient list.

How to Shop for Moisturizers for Sensitive Skin Like a Pro

Type

Moisturizers can fall into three different categories: occlusives, emollients, and humectants (though there are formulations that contain all three.) To determine which one meets the unique needs of your sensitive skin, Dr. Nichols recommends going to a board-certified dermatologist for recommendations based on your specific skin type and concerns. Here’s her breakdown of the three different types: 

Occlusives: “Occlusive moisturizers are typically very thick and act as a barrier to the skin, locking moisture in.” (Example: petrolatum)

Emollients: “Emollients come in many different forms, are typically oil-based, and are designed to balance skin’s microbiome and restore lipids.” (Example: squalane)

Humectants: “Humectants are typically water-based and work to attract water from the dermis to the top layer of the skin, hydrating from the inside out.”  (Example: hyaluronic acid)

Ingredients

Standout ingredients to look for in a moisturizer for sensitive skin are hyaluronic acid, glycerin, ceramides, and niacinamide. “These ingredients help to hydrate without irritation and soothe inflamed skin,” says Dr. Nichols. She recommends steering clear of harsh scrubs, as well as exfoliants like salicylic, glycolic, and lactic acid to prevent potential irritation. 

Skincare Concerns

If you’re dealing with eczema, psoriasis, and (or) atopic dermatitis, sensitive skin-friendly moisturizer “can and should be used daily to keep skin healthy and protected,” says Dr. Nichols. 

And as mentioned earlier, it’s also important to use a moisturizer on acne-prone skin. (We recommend the Cosrx AC Collection Lightweight Soothing Moisturizer.) Contrary to popular belief, not putting anything on your acne and letting it get excessively dry can force your body to produce extra sebum and thus lead to even more breakouts, says the expert.

Questions You Might Ask

Should people with sensitive skin use moisturizer?

Yes! Dr. Nichols recommends that everyone—including those with sensitive skin—use moisturizer daily. “Sensitive skin can be the result of many different factors, like genetics or other skin conditions, but at its core, easily irritated skin is often accompanied by dry skin,” she says.”Moisturizer is integral to helping protect the skin’s barrier, repair damaged skin cells, and help promote healthy cell turnover.”

How often should people with sensitive skin apply moisturizer?

How often you apply your moisturizer depends on your specific formula, though Dr. Nichols says a good rule of thumb is twice per day, in the morning and evening. Ultimately, you should follow the instructions outlined on the product packaging, as some moisturizers are uniquely formulated for daytime use or nighttime use.

How do you know if moisturizer is irritating your skin?

Clear signs that your moisturizer is irritating your skin include “redness, flaking or peeling, blotchiness or rashes, swelling, and itchy or burning sensations on the skin,” says Dr. Nichols. She recommends testing new products on a small area of your skin to see if any irritation occurs (a process known as patch testing) before incorporating it into your skincare regimen.

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Marisa Petrarca, a freelance writer specializing in beauty and lifestyle content. She has over five years of editorial experience, and her work has appeared in Cosmopolitan, POPSUGAR, SELF, and more. To write this article on the best moisturizers for sensitive skin, she considered the ingredients and formulations of dozens of formulas to come up with the best options. She also spoke to Kim Nichols, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Greenwich, Connecticut, for expert advice on choosing the best formula.

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