Top 16 Best Moisturizers for Sensitive Skin: 2018 Reviews & Guide

Updated a year ago

Sensitive skin means you’re prone to adverse reactions every time you try a new makeup, lotion, or personal care product. Reddened, itchy, dry, acne-covered, and irritated skin gets old really fast. You need one of the best moisturizers for your sensitive skin so you can take back control.

It’s not too hard these days to find top quality moisturizers that protect your face and body and heal your skin. The challenge lies in narrowing down the competition. We researched best-selling moisturizers so we could help you decide which ones will work best for you.

But before we begin the review, here are a few hints on what makes a moisturizer really good for sensitive skin.

Ingredients that help heal and protect sensitive skin

Petroleum-derived products like Vaseline may seem to soothe rough spots, but they aren’t the best solution for sensitive skin. In fact, thick creams and greases will probably wreck your complexion in no time flat. So instead of trying to tackle dry, irritated skin with heavy oils, look for these ingredients instead:

  • Water-based lotions are lightweight and generally non-comedogenic
  • Vitamin E, aka tocopheryl acetate, heals and Vitamin B3, aka Niacinamide, strengthens skin’s defenses
  • Jojoba oil is a plant derivative that mimics sebum, skin’s natural oil
  • Coconut oil is naturally anti-bacterial and heals skin
  • Aloe vera soothes and heals
  • Glycerin is a humectant that draws moisture into skin, and so is grape seed oil and hyaluronic acid
  • Emollients like shea butter, cocoa butter, and beeswax seal in moisture, but might be too thick for use on sensitive faces—they’re better for bodies

Stay away from lotions and creams with synthetic fragrance and dyes since those are among the top five allergens. Isopropyl, SD, and denatured alcohols may make a lotion feel like it sinks in faster, but they can dry out your skin. Parabens have been linked to endocrine problems and cancer. And you may have heard someone say that if you can’t pronounce all those ingredients on the label, put the bottle down. That’s not entirely bad advice if you have sensitive skin.

Earlier, we did a review of the top hand lotions and creams. Now we’re ready to begin our review of the best lotions and creams for sensitive skin. We’ll start with products for your face, then cover body lotions, too.

Moisturizers for your face

Working from the top down, let’s take a look at skin care products for your face first.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Daily Soothing Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin

One of the top lines of cosmetics in the world is made by the French company La Roche-Posay. Dermatologists recommend them, makeup artists use them, and people enjoy them because they are quality products that work as advertised. Their Daily Soothing Moisturizer is free from parabens and preservatives and it has a short ingredient list specifically because they formulated it for sensitive skin.

With a base of thermal spring water, the moisturizer contains helpful components like glycerin, squalene, and cetyl alcohol. Glycerin you may recognize, but what are the other two? Squalene is a natural oil that boosts your immune system. Cetyl Alcohol is a fatty alcohol that helps ingredients absorb into skin. All three of these components help skin soak up and retain water so it looks younger and feels softer.

Eucerin Sensitive Skin Experts Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Face Creme

Eucerin’s Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Face Crème is an unscented, non-comedogenic, alcohol-free moisturizer to apply before bed. The Coenzyme Q10, Vitamin E, and Beta-Carotene work during the night to plump up your skin and erase wrinkles and fine lines. Eucerin says you should see a noticeable difference in 5 weeks or less.

If you have very dry skin, try applying this in the morning. You can wear it under makeup because it absorbs into skin without leaving a greasy residue.

Olay Complete Daily Defense All Day Moisturizer with Sunscreen SPF30 Sensitive Skin

If you spend time outdoors, it’s smart to wear a sunscreen. The Olay Complete Daily Defense All Day Moisturizer has SPF 30 against UVA and UVB rays. Sun damage can irritate your sensitive skin and cause wrinkles, so just avoid the problem by wearing sunblock.

Users say this lightweight formula works well under makeup and doesn’t leave their skin oily. It doesn’t have a fragrance and doesn’t clog pores. The formula contains glycerin, Vitamin B3, and aloe. Unfortunately, it also has methylparaben, although it appears near the end of the list of ingredients.

Lavo Daily Moisturizer Cream

The Lavo Daily Moisturizer Cream is a hot product. It advertises itself as ideal for any skin type, especially acne-prone skin because it calms inflammation and protects pores against bacteria and pollutants. It works well for both men and women, plus it’s fragrance-free and paraben-free, and it was never tested on animals.

The ingredients list includes hyaluronic acid, hops, sage, ginseng, rosemary, allantoin, aloe vera, azulene, wheat germ, hazelnut, safflower and avocado oils, and Vitamin A, B, C, and D. Lavo explains that all these natural components add moisture to skin, soothe and tone it, and shrink pores. It absorbs quickly and leaves a matte finish for wearing under makeup. You can apply it day and night.

Christina Moss Naturals Facial Moisturizer, Organic and Natural Face Moisturizing Cream for Sensitive, Oily or Severely Dry Skin - Anti-Aging and Anti-Wrinkle, for Women and Men

Christina Moss’ Naturals Face Moisturizer is good for day and night use, for both men and women. It’s non-comedogenic, and free of parabens, petrochemicals, sulfates, dyes, synthetic fragrances, synthetic preservatives, and propylene glycol. (This last chemical is another one suspected of irritating sensitive skin.) It’s also cruelty-free.

The moisturizer has a natural scent of licorice because that’s the natural preservative they use. The other ingredients sound just as tasty: (certified organics) aloe barbadensis leaf (aloe vera) juice, prunus armeniaca (apricot) kernel oil, vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil, persea americana (avocado) oil, glycerin (vegetable), stearic acid (vegetable), emulsifying wax made from organic coconut oil and organic almond oil), and pimpinella anisum (star anise) seed oil.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture for Sensitive Skin

Well-known brand Neutrogena sells this Oil-Free Moisture for Sensitive Skin. It has a built-in broad spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin. While it doesn’t have synthetic fragrances, oils, or drying alcohols, it does contain petrolatum, ethylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben.

Why did we include it in our review of the best moisturizers? It’s a popular product often recommended by dermatologists. It softens skin without feeling oily. And you can wear makeup on top of it, no problem. Just be aware of its ingredients, and consider mixing it up with an all-natural face cream on days when you aren’t out in the sun.

EltaMD AM Therapy Facial Moisturizer

Customers who use EltaMD’s AM Therapy Facial Moisturizer say it’s creamy but lightweight. The formula absorbs quickly and works up to 12 hours, keeping skin hydrated and soothing irritated spots and redness.

EltaMD says this product was made to relieve skin problems caused by sunburn, acne medications, diabetes, and kidney disease. It’s from from parabens.

There’s also a nighttime version, PM Therapy Moisturizer.

Simple Kind to Skin Facial Moisturizer, Hydrating Moist SPF 15

Simple’s Kind to Skin Facial Moisturizer contains a mild dose of broad-spectrum sunscreen as well as allantoin, glycerin, and bisabolol to hydrate skin. What is bisabolol? It’s a natural fatty alcohol derived from plants like chamomile.

While you won’t find artificial dyes or perfumes in this formula, it does have Vitamins B5 and E in a base of triple-purified water. The water base they use is probably cleaner than what comes out of your kitchen faucet.

The rest of the ingredient list looks pretty good except for the last component: methylisothiazolinone. That’s a preservative that’s been banned in Canada and the EU.

Simple Gel Moisturizer, Ultra Light

For an even lighter-weight moisturizer, try this gel from Simple. It doesn’t contain methylisothiazolinone or parabens. The formula contains glycerin and Vitamins B5 and E.

Users say it’s very light on their skin, it doesn’t feel oily at all, and it doesn’t doesn’t cause breakouts or irritation.

Brickell Men’s Daily Essential Face Moisturizer for Men

While guys could use any of the lotions or creams we’ve covered this far, they may appreciate Brickell’s Daily Essential Face Moisturizer. It’s non-comedogenic and made for any skin type. It doesn’t have petroleum derivatives, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, or color, DEA, glycols, silicones, gluten, or PEGs, and it wasn’t tested on animals.

Instead, this formula is based on mostly certified organic materials like aloe, rooibos (red) and green tea, jojoba oil, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, white willow bark extract, and Vitamins B3 and E. It also contains peppermint, lemongrass, and eucalyptus oils. (If you have very sensitive skin, test it before using it over a large area.)

Users say they love this lotion, and it works exactly as described, leaving their skin soft and hydrated.

Baxter of California Oil Free Moisturizer

Baxter of California’s Oil-Free Moisturizer’s formula helps your face heal faster from breakouts and nicks from shaving. In fact, you may have had this lotion on your face after a hot towel shave at the barber’s because it’s so soothing.

Although it contains aloe vera, chamomile, and green tea extracts, it’s fragrance-free. A small amount goes a long way, and it absorbs quickly into skin. Some women have been known to borrow this from their partners.

Moisturizers for your body

Chances are you don’t have sensitive skin only on your face. Here are our top picks for the best moisturizers for your body, too.

Kiss My Face Sensitive Skin Moisturizer with Olive Oil and Aloe Vera, Fragrance Free Body Lotion

Kiss My Face started selling vegan, cruelty-free, all-natural products in the 1980s. Their Sensitive Skin Moisturizer is pH-balanced and free from fragrances, phthalates, parabens, and gluten. It’s based on olive oil, grape seed oil, oatmeal, and aloe vera.

Users report a noticeable difference when they use this lotion. They say their skin feels softer. Their only complaint is that the consistency is a bit thick.

BareBaby Organics Organic Baby Lotion – Naturally Unscented for Normal, Dry or Sensitive Skin

When Dr. Kent & Kim McCorkle had children, they were dismayed by all the chemicals in baby skin care products. They started their own line—BareBaby Organics, and never looked back. Their Organic Baby Lotion is free from skin irritants like fragrances, dyes, gluten, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, and petroleum products.

Instead, their formula is based on aloe vera, coconut and olive oils, and shea butter. You can use it on your baby or enjoy it on your own skin. Users say a little goes a long way. It helps people with itchy dry skin as well as eczema sufferers.

Hempz Sensitive Skin Herbal Body Moisturizer

Hempz Sensitive Skin Herbal Body Moisturizer is based on pure hemp seed oil, shea butter, and oatmeal. It’s free from parabens and artificial fragrances and dyes. Users say it smells like oatmeal cookies, and goes on smooth without feeling greasy.

Hemp seed oil is from the cannabis plant, but doesn’t cause psychoactive effects. It’s 100% legal to buy and use in the USA.

Cetaphil Restoraderm Eczema Calming Body Moisturizer

Cetaphil is a brand name often recommended by doctors. Their Restoraderm Calming Body Moisturizer is made to heal eczema and other skin disorders. It’s free from parabens, nut oil, and artificial fragrances and it’s safe enough to use on babies.

Its ceramide formula seals in moisture to resolve dry, itchy skin. If you suffer from eczema, consider using this lotion in combination with Cetaphil’s Calming Body Wash.

Conclusion

We hope we helped you discover the perfect moisturizers today to take good care of your sensitive skin. It’s not your fault that you have it, but you have the power to manage it. You can cut down on redness, dryness, and breakouts with a little loving care each day. Come visit us again soon to catch up on new reviews of the best in skin care products.