Are you looking for the perfect moisturizer that’s safe for your skin type? Here’s our guide to the best hydrating moisturizers for sensitive skin.
1. Tolérance Extrême Emulsion
Avène Moisturizer for Daily Moisturization
Avène Tolérance Extrême Emulsion
This gentle and fragrance-free moisturizer contains six simple but effective ingredients that soothe and moisturize the skin without leaving behind a greasy feeling.
This lightweight, oil-free moisturizer is perfect for combination, oily, and sensitive skin types. Two key ingredients are the Avène thermal spring water, which soothes and softens the skin, and squalane, which hydrates and acts as an antioxidant.
- May not be moisturizing enough for drier skin types
In addition to the ingredients mentioned above, this gentle moisturizer contains glycerin and capric triglyceride, which both further help hydrate the skin.
Avène Thermal Spring Water, Squalane, Behenyl Alcohol, Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Sodium Acrylates C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Water
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Moisturizers: The Slippery Road"Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.
Sage Journals. "Safety Assessment of Glycerin as Used in Cosmetics"Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.
2. Mineral SPF Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid
La Roche-Posay Moisturizer for Daily Sun Protection and Moisturization
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral SPF Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid
This product is a moisturizer and mineral sunscreen in one, and is great for daily use. SPF 30 protects the skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays, and hyaluronic acid works to hydrate.
This sunscreen is formulated with hyaluronic acid, which helps maintain moisture levels in the skin. It also contains glycerin and vitamin B5 (panthenol), which further moisturize and soothe the skin. This sunscreen uses 100% mineral filters (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide), which are generally better tolerated by sensitive skin.
- Dermatologist tested
- Not water resistant (use a water resistant sunscreen when swimming or sweating)
- May leave a white cast on some skin tones
In addition to the ingredients mentioned above, this sunscreen contains senna alata, a tropical leaf extract. This ingredient provides antioxidant protection, defending against free radicals that can accelerate the development of signs of aging.
Titanium Dioxide (5.5%), Zinc Oxide (10%), Water, Glycerin, Isohexadecane, Isononyl Isononanoate, Dicaprylyl Ether, Peg-30 Dipolyhydroxystearate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Dimethicone, Caprylyl Methicone, Ethylene/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Triethylhexanoin, Silica, Poly C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Chloride, Caprylyl Glycol, Panthenol, Diethylhexyl Syringylidenemalonate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Aluminum Stearate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Chlorphenesin, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Alumina, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Tocopherol, P-Anisic Acid, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Propylene Carbonate, Cassia Alata Leaf Extract, Maltodextrin.
American Academy of Dermatology. "Is Sunscreen Safe?"Accessed Aug. 23, 2021.
ResearchGate. "Hyaluronic Acid, a Promising Skin Rejuvenating Biomedicine: A Review of Recent Updates and Pre-clinical and Clinical Investigations on Cosmetic and Nutricosmetic Effects"Accessed Aug. 23, 2021.
3. Toleriane Ultra Night Moisturizer
La Roche-Posay Moisturizer for Nightly Moisturization
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Night Moisturizer
This gel-cream moisturizer is one of the best La Roche-Posay products for sensitive, dry skin. It contains intensely moisturizing ingredients, and has been formulated without potentially irritating ingredients.
This night moisturizer is packed with ingredients that help restore the skin’s moisture barrier. The shea butter is anti-inflammatory and has antioxidant effects, and is intensely moisturizing. Glycerin, squalane, and vitamin E also help moisturize and soothe the skin.
- Dermatologist tested
- Suitable for sensitive skin
- Some reviewers complain about the packaging
This moisturizer has been tested on allergy-prone skin, and is free of any ingredients that may potentially cause irritation, including fragrance and drying alcohols.
Aqua/Water/Eau, Glycerin, Squalane, Propanediol, Butylene Glycol, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter/Shea Butter, Pentylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Dimethicone, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Polysorbate 20, Tocopherol, Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester, Allantoin, Toluene Sulfonic Acid, Dimethiconol, Xanthan Gum, Carnosine, Disodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils"Accessed Aug. 19, 2021.
4. Skin Recovery Replenishing Moisturizer
Paula's Choice Moisturizer for Daily Moisturization
Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Replenishing Moisturizer
This creamy moisturizer provides the deep hydration that drier skin types need. It also contains replenishing ingredients that fight the signs of aging and improve the skin’s texture.
This product is one of the all time best Paula’s Choice moisturizers. It contains a beneficial blend of emollients, peptides, antioxidants, and other replenishing and moisturizing ingredients that deeply hydrate the skin to soften and smooth. It is also suitable for sensitive skin.
- No SPF for daytime use
One of the main ingredients in this moisturizer is hyaluronic acid, which attracts and maintains moisture to the skin. It also contains moisturizing evening primrose oil, a non-fragrant plant oil containing antioxidants that protect the skin.
Water (Aqua), Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate (Emollient), Butylene Glycol (Hydration/Slip Agent), Glycereth-26 (Hydration), Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil (Non-fragrant Antioxidant Plant Oil), Cetyl Alcohol (Texture Enhancer/Hydration), Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate (Emollient), Cyclopentasiloxane (Texture Enhancer), Stearic Acid (Texture Enhancer/Hydration), Glyceryl Stearate (Texture Enhancer/Emollient), PEG-100 Stearate (Thickener), Glycerin (Skin-Replenishing), Cyclohexasiloxane (Texture Enhancer), Dimethicone (Hydration/Texture Enhancer), Panthenol (Vitamin B5/Skin-Soothing), Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 (Skin-Restoring), Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 (Skin-Restoring), Sodium Hyaluronate (Skin-Replenishing), Tocopheryl Linoleate (Vitamin E/Antioxidant), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E/Antioxidant), Tocopherol (Vitamin E/Antioxidant), Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C/Antioxidant), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C/Antioxidant), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (Licorice-Derived Skin-Soothing), Sodium PCA (Skin-Replenishing), Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract (Roman Chamomile/Skin-Soothing Antioxidant), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Hydration), Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C/Antioxidant), Linoleic Acid (Skin-Replenishing/Skin-Restoring), Linolenic Acid (Skin-Replenishing/Skin-Restoring), Pentaerythrityl Tetra-di-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate (Antioxidant), Saccharide Isomerate (Hydration), Hydroxypropyl Guar (Film-Forming Agent), Allantoin (Skin-Soothing), Rosa Moschata Seed Oil (Non-fragrant Antioxidant Plant Oil), Polysorbate 20 (Emulsifier), Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose (Texture Enhancer/Stabilizer), Carbomer (Texture Enhancer), Sodium Citrate (pH Adjuster/Chelating Agent), Trisodium EDTA (Chelating Agent), Batyl Alcohol (Stabilizer), Sodium Hydroxide (pH Adjuster), Phenoxyethanol (Preservative), Chlorphenesin (Preservative), Benzoic Acid (Preservative), Sorbic Acid (Preservative)
5. Skin Recovery Daily Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30
Paula's Choice Moisturizer for Daily Sun Protection and Moisturization
Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Daily Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30
This creamy moisturizer contains mineral-based SPF to protect the skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. It also contains hydrating and replenishing ingredients to soften dry skin.
This SPF moisturizer uses zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, two mineral sunscreens that are suitable for sensitive skin. It also contains a blend of antioxidants, ceramides, and peptides that help to soften, protect, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Some reviewers note it feels greasy on the skin
- Not water-resistant
The ceramides in this moisturizer help to restore the moisture barrier and strengthen the skin, while the peptides help provide anti-aging benefits.
Titanium Dioxide 3.85%, Zinc Oxide 3.12% (mineral sunscreens), Water (Aqua), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate (emollient/texture-enhancing), Isononyl Isononanoate (texture-enhancing), Prunus Armeniaca Kernel Oil (apricot oil/non-fragrant oil/emollient), Cyclopentasiloxane (hydration/texture-enhancing), Glyceryl Stearate (emollient/texture-enhancing), PEG-100 Stearate (emollient/texture-enhancing), Butylene Glycol (hydration), Pentylene Glycol (hydration), Cetearyl Alcohol (emollient/texture-enhancing), Dimethicone (hydration), Glycine Soja Sterols (emollient), VP/Eicosene Copolymer (texture-enhancing), Avena Sativa Kernel Extract (oat extract/skin-soothing), Glycerin (hydration/skin replenishing), Sodium Hyaluronate (hydration/skin replenishing), Allantoin (skin-soothing) , Tocopheryl Acetate (antioxidant), Hydrogenated Lecithin (skin-restoring), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (vitamin C/antioxidant), Superoxide Dismutase (antioxidant), Ubiquinone (antioxidant), Ceramide NG (hydration/skin replenishing), Methicone (hydration), Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12 (skin-restoring), PEG-10 Dimethicone (texture-enhancing), Cucumis Sativus Fruit Extract (cucumber extract/skin-soothing), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (emollient/texture-enhancing), Tribehenin (skin-restoring), PEG-10 Phytosterol (texture-enhancing), Sorbitan Stearate (texture-enhancing), Polyhydroxystearic Acid (texture-enhancing), Alumina (texture-enhancing), Polysorbate 20 (texture-enhancing), Aluminum Stearate (texture-enhancing), Xanthan Gum (texture-enhancing), Caprylyl Glycol (preservative), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer), Ethylhexylglycerin (preservative), Phenoxyethanol (preservative), Chlorphenesin (preservative).
American Academy of Dermatology. "Is Sunscreen Safe?"Accessed Aug. 4, 2021.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Skin hydration is significantly increased by a cream formulated to mimic the skin's own natural moisturizing systems"Accessed Aug. 4, 2021.
What is the best hydrating moisturizer for dry, sensitive skin?
Two excellent options for dry and sensitive skin types are the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Night Moisturizer and the Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Replenishing Moisturizer.
What is the best hydrating drugstore moisturizer?
If you’re looking for a drugstore moisturizer, try the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Night Moisturizer, which is specifically formulated for sensitive, normal, and dry skin types. During the day, consider using the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral SPF Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid for sun protection.
What moisturizer is best for oily, sensitive skin?
If you have oily skin that is sensitive, a great option is the Avène Tolérance Extrême Emulsion. This super gentle daily moisturizer is lightweight and oil-free, and free of common irritants that may aggravate sensitive skin.
The Bottom Line
There are a variety of super hydrating moisturizers on the market that are safe for sensitive skin. If you have sensitive skin, consider adding one of these moisturizers to your skincare routine.