The Best Moisturizers for Sensitive Skin, According to the Pros

Aside from a year or two during puberty, I’ve never had problems with my skin. Of course, I do get the occasional zit here and there, but that only happens after I eat fried chicken or something just as greasy and savory. I would chalk it to genetics (the visages of my parents were always flawless), but my brother has gone through the wringer. His skin is very sensitive, often prone to breakouts, rashes, and a whole mess of stuff that I thankfully never had to deal with. When I reach for a very light pre-serum after I wash my face, he reaches for a moisturizer prescribed by a dermatologist.

All good moisturizers should hydrate, absorb, spread evenly, and safeguard from free radicals and pollution. For most dermatologists, the key ingredients are hyaluronic acid, which hydrates the epidermis and locks in moisture, and ceramides. “It is essentially the mortar between the bricks that we call skin cells,” says Dr. Muneeb Shah, dermatology resident at Campbell University in North Carolina who has become a TikTok star with over 10 million followers.

Still, everyone’s skin is different, and, therefore, so should everyone’s grooming regimen. “In general, ointments are best for the driest, cracked skin, while light lotions are sufficient for overall healthy, hydrated skin,” explains Dr. James Y. Wang, a double board-certified dermatologist and dermatopathologist, and founder of Metropolis Dermatology.

For those with sensitive skin, anything subpar just simply won’t cut it. “A mediocre or standard moisturizer will try to cover the skin with a hydrator without regard to other factors, such as spreadability, absorption, and tolerability,” Yang adds. “Sensitive skin can be inflamed at baseline and prevent the absorption of the moisturizer. In addition, retinol, AHA/BHA, and fragrances can inflame sensitive skin, and should be avoided.”

Basically, look for labels with hyaluronic acid and ceramides, and steer clear of anything scented or that has exfoliants. My brother has definitely taken to this practice, and though his skin is not as good as mine, it is slowly getting there. And if you, too, are going through the same scenario, we asked the Dr. Yang, Dr. Shah, and Dr. Joel Lamm, a board-certified dermatologist and Ever/Body’s supervising physician, to relay their recommendations on the best moisturizers for sensitive skin.

Moisturizing Lotion


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“Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is formulated to gently cleanse and hydrate the skin,” says Dr. Lamm. “It contains hydrating ingredients such as niacinamide and vitamin B5.”

Daily Moisturizing Lotion for Dry Skin

According to Dr. Lamm, this facial cleanser “is a gentle hydrating formula that contains hydrating ingredients such as ceramides and hyaluronic acid.”

Facial Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid

“This is perfect for the most sensitive skin that wants only pure hydration without extra ingredients,” says Dr. Yang. “It lacks preservatives and fragrances that can irritate skin.”

Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

La Roche-Posay

“This is an oil-free face moisturizer containing a high concentration of prebiotic thermal water, ceramides, and niacinamide,” says Dr. Yang, who adds that it’s “one of the longest-lasting moisturizers” out there.

Cold Cream Intense Moisturizer

Eau Thermale Avène

“For sensitive skin, this cream feels like heaven,” Dr. Yang. “It is gentle and the thermal spring water base soothes irritated skin.”

Hydro Boost Gel-Cream


“This is a feel-good, daily-use moisturizer that is effective without feeling heavy,” says Dr. Yang. “It spreads easily, absorbs fast, and minimizes the amount of unnecessary ingredients.”

Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide Face Cream

Along with being fragrance-free, Dr. Shah recommends this Skinfix face cream because it contains glycerin, a lipid complex, and shea butter.

Ultra Facial Cream

The glycerin, squalane oil, and hydroxylpalmitoyl sphinganine in Kiehl’s fragrance-free face cream is why it is recommended by Dr. Shah.

Daily Moisture


“Skinceuticals Daily Moisture is a lightweight moisturizer for normal to oily skin that contains vitamin E, which can help soothe sensitive skin,” says Dr. Lamm. 

Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2


Dr. Lamm also likes SkinCeuticals’ Triple Lipid Restore treatment, which “contains cellular lipids that nourish dry skin while also providing anti-aging benefits.” 

Barry Samaha is the style commerce editor at Esquire, where he covers all things fashion and grooming.

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Source : Esquire