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20 Best Moisturizers for Dry Skin

By February 9, 2021 491 Views


Date: February 12, 2021
By Burt Cancaster


Best Moisturizers for Dry Skin



 Best Moisturizers for Dry Skin


The skin on our bodies varies depending upon its location. Skin is thinner on your face than on your hands or feet. Exposure of the skin on your face and hands to external elements is nearly constant. Sun, wind and other external hazards have more access to the face and hands. Areas of the body susceptible to skin-on-skin contact have more heat and moisture issues. Feet and hands experience heavy and continuous exposure. The feet experience more exposure to extreme pressures than other parts of the body. These differences require various skincare measures to meet the different exposure levels and dissimilar types of skin.

Skincare differs based upon the skin's location and exposure. The area around the eyes has fragile skin that is highly susceptible to sunlight and dry air, requiring the most significant protection and care. The rest of the face also requires considerable care due to thin skin layers, high concentration of sebaceous glands that secrete oils, and potential exposure to external elements. Moisturizing different areas of the body varies with location.

This article examines moisturizers for the body, face, hands, and sensitive areas. It identifies the top 25 moisturizers for sale that best target skin differences and exposure levels. The best five moisturizers for each body area are rank-ordered.


Top Dry Skin Lotion & Cream Brands


Top Brands


Below is a list of the top 20 dry skin moisturizers arranged by categories. Each category lists the top five products and links to a summary of the product. The categories include body, face, hands, and sensitive skin moisturizers.

Best Body Moisturizers

  1. Aquaphor Healing Cream
  2. Lubriderm Advanced Therapy Lotion
  3. Lantiseptic Dry Skin Therapy
  4. Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion
  5. Cavilon Extra Dry Skin Cream

Best Face Moisturizers

  1. Amlactin Daily Moisturizing Lotion
  2. Aveeno Moisturizing Lotion
  3. Collagen Beauty Cream
  4. Bon Vital Facial Therapy Moisturizing Creme
  5. TriDerma Facial Redness Repair

Best Hand Moisturizers

  1. Cavilon Moisturizing Hand Lotion
  2. Provon Moisturizing Hand & Body Lotion
  3. Sween Hand and Body Lotion
  4. DermaDaily Moisturizing Lotion
  5. Therabath ComfortKits

Best Sensitive Skin Moisturizers

  1. Eucerin Moisturizing Lotion
  2. Sensi-Care Body Cream
  3. LubriSilk Dry Skin Care Lotion
  4. Thera Moisturizing Body Cream
  5. McKesson Vitamin A & D Ointment



Best Body Lotion for Dry Skin


Body moisturizers target rough and dry areas to smooth and promote healthier skin. Lotions and Creams favor thicker formulas to provide a lasting protective barrier. They work in both extreme winter and summer conditions. The design of most of these applications is to last 24 hours before needing to reapply.



#1     Aquaphor



Manufactured by Eucerin, Aquaphor is the #1 recommended brand by dermatologists for dry, cracked skin. It absorbs quickly into the skin and provides a protective barrier. It is fragrance-free and contains no preservatives. Formulated with 41% petrolatum, it offers healing therapy for dry, cracked, and irritated skin. Aquaphor is available in a 9-gram pack, 3.5-ounce jar, and a 14-ounce jar.

Product Number: 63608

Ingredients: Petrolatum, Mineral Oil, Ceresin, Lanolin Alcohol, Panthenol, Glycerin, Bisabolol

Additional Information

pdf logo    Material Safety Data Sheet for Aquaphor Lotion





#2     Lubriderm Advanced Therapy Lotion


Lubriderm Advanced Therapy Lotion

Lubriderm from Johnson & Johnson hydrates extra-dry skin. Its fortified formula contains Vitamins B5 and E. It is a non-greasy mix that quickly absorbs and moisturizes for up to 24 hours.

Product Number: 5280048234

Ingredients: Water, Mineral Oil, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Sorbitol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Polysorbate 60, Stearic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Lecithin, Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxide, Ceteareth-20, Diazolidinyl Urea, Sodium Citrate, Methylparaben, BHT, Retinyl Palmitate, Sodium Pyruvate, Propylparaben, Fragrance, Citric Acid, Ethylparaben, Panthenol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Titanium Dioxide

Additional Information

pdf logo    Material Safety Data Sheet for Lubriderm





#3     Lantiseptic Dry Skin Therapy


Lantiseptic Dry Skin Therapy

Lantiseptic comes in a 4-ounce tube for daily application on severely dry skin, cracked skin, calluses, and reddened skin. Manufactured by Dermarite, Lantiseptic Dry Skin Therapy is a 30% lanolin formulation that lubricates dry skin.

Product Number: 0410

Ingredients: Beeswax (Yellow Wax), Disodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin + IPBC, Lanolin Alcohol, Mineral Oil, Petrolatum, Purified Water, Sodium Borate, Sorbitan Sesquioleate

Additional Information

pdf logo    Material Safety Data Sheet for Lantiseptic





#4     Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion


Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion

Cetaphil prevents dry skin with a fast-absorbing lotion. It softens skin with moisturizing agents and contains Vitamins E and B5. Its long-lasting formula offers a 24-hour duration.

Product Number: 00299391716

Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Ceteareth-20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Dimethicone, Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Anisate, Caprylyl Glycol, Benzyl Alcohol, Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Stearoxytrimethylsilane, Stearyl Alcohol, Citric Acid, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer

Additional Information

pdf logo    Material Safety Data Sheet for Cetaphil





#5     Cavilon Extra Dry Skin Cream


Cavilon Extra Dry Skin Cream

Cavilon softens rough and cracked skin. It offers a lipid-rich formula that protects for up to 24 hours. The mixture is pH balanced and non-irritating.

Product Number: 3386

Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Soybean Oil, PEG Stearate, Dimethicone

Additional Information

pdf logo    Cavilon Product Flyer

pdf logo    Material Safety Data Sheet for Cavilon







Best Face Moisturizers for Dry Skin


Good face moisturizers nourish and treat skin that is oily in parts, normal in some other parts, and sometimes dry. Facial applications often come with cleansers as well as moisturizers. The cleansing agents remove oils that can clog pores, while the moisturizers soothe, soften, and protect. Hydrating skin is essential to keep skin looking young and healthy.



#1     AmLactin Daily Moisturizing Lotion


AmLactin Lotion

Amlactin Moisturizing Body Lotion is the #1 dermatologist-recommended moisturizer brand with AHA. This alpha hydroxy therapy lotion is suitable for facial and body application. It is a gentle exfoliant that deeply moisturizes and leaves dry skin soft and smooth.

Product Number: 1743509

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Ammonium Lactate, Mineral Oil, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Steareth-21, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Steareth-2, Stearyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate

Additional Information

pdf logo    Material Safety Data Sheet for Amlactin





#2     Aveeno Moisturizing Lotion


Aveeno Moisturizing Lotion

Aveeno Body Lotion is a Johnson & Johnson product that comes in an 8-ounce tube or a 12-ounce pump bottle. It nourishes and relieves dry skin for up to 24 hours. This product features colloidal oatmeal and dimethicone to restore and protect the skin. It reestablishes the skin's natural pH level and locks in moisture.

Product Number: 100360003

Ingredients: Water (EAU), Glycerin, Distearyldimonium Chloride, Petrolatum, Isopropyl Palmitate, Cetyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour, Benzyl Alcohol, Sodium Chloride

Additional Information

pdf logo    Material Safety Data Sheet for Aveeno





#3     Collagen Beauty Cream


Collagen Beauty Cream

Mason Natural Collagen Beauty Cream is a daily use product that keeps skin bright and healthy. It maintains dermal elasticity with 100% pure collagen that is anti-aging and nourishes dry skin.

Product Number: 1840735

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Isopropyl Palmitate, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Palmitate, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Phenoxyethanol, PEG-100, Triethanolamine, Ceteareth-20, Shea Butter, Diazolidinyl Urea, Fragrance (Parfum), Tocopheryl Acetate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Carbomer, Panthenol, DMDM Hydantoin, Disodium EDTA





#4     Bon Vital Facial Therapy Moisturizing Creme


Bon Vital Facial Therapy Moisturizing Creme

Bon Vital Facial Therapy Moisturizing Creme contains anti-aging ingredients and a blend of botanicals and vitamins to restore skin. The formula is pH balanced to restore the skin’s natural level. It does not clog the facial pores and is non-greasy.

Product Number: BVSFTMC4Z

Ingredients: Purified Water, Caprylyl Methicone, Propylheptyl Caprylate, Squalane, Certified Organic Jojoba Seed Oil (Simmondsia Chinensis), Hydrolyzed Collagen, Elastin, Sodium Polyacrylate, Certified Organic Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus Annuus), Grapeseed Oil (Vitis Vinifera), Certified Organic Olive Oil (Olea Europaea), Avocado Oil (Persea Gratissima), Methylisothiazolinone, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Vitamin A (Retinyl Palmitate), Hyaluronic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Vitamin E (Tocopheryl Acetate), Glycerin (and) Water (and) Butylene Glycol (and) Carbomer (and) Polysorbate 20 (and) Palmitoyl Oligopeptide (and) Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Certified Organic Aloe Vera Extract (Aloe Barbadensis), Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

Additional Information

pdf logo    Material Safety Data Sheet for Bon Vital Facial Therapy





#5     TriDerma Facial Redness Repair


TriDerma Facial Redness Repair

This TriDerma MD Facial cream repairs skin damage with healing botanicals and vitamins. It is fragrance- and paraben-free, suitable for sensitive skin. This product treats rosacea and inflammation.

Product Number: 52025

Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Dimethyl Sulfone, Arnica Montana Extract, Isopropyl Palmitate, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, Beeswax, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), C12-C15 Alkyl Benzoate, Allantoin, Behentrimonium Chloride, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin







Best Lotion for Dry Hands


Because hands are in constant contact with the surrounding world and exposed to all kinds of hazards, an exceptional hand moisturizer is essential. Beneficial hand treatments contain all three of the moisturizing components of occlusives to keep moisture in and contaminants out, emollients to soften, and humectants to keep water in the skin. Dry, cracked skin can be very painful since hands are continually touching something. Maintaining healthy hands is a lot easier than attempting to repair damaged and painful ones. The five products below are exceptional in preventing and improving dry hands.



#1     Cavilon Moisturizing Hand Lotion


Cavilon Moisturizing Hand Lotion

Cavilon is a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic formula. This lotion is a favorite of healthcare workers, wearable under latex gloves to protect the skin. Apply disinfectant between hands to moisturize and repair skin.

Product Number: 9205

Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Cetearyl Alcohol (and) Ceteareth-20, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Dimethicone, Tocopheryl Acetate, Stearoxytrimethylsilane (and) Stearyl Alcohol, Panthenol, Farnesol, Benzyl Alcohol, Sorbic Acid, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate, Crosspolymer, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid

Additional Information

pdf logo    Material Safety Data Sheet for Cavilon Moisturizing Hand Lotion





#2     Provon Moisturizing Hand & Body Lotion


Provon Moisturizing Hand & Body Lotion

Provon Lotion comes from GoJo, a respected manufacturer of hand care products. It is an unscented formula available in 8-ounce or 16-ounce squeeze bottles. This unscented formula quickly absorbs and relieves dry, cracked skin. It does not react to latex gloves and is non-greasy. Hypoallergenic and CHG compatible, Provon is a USDA-certified biobased product.

Product Number: 4334-48

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Ethylhexylglycerin, PEG-150 Distearate, PEG-4, Polyquaternium-37, Polyquaternium-39, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Phenoxyethanol

Additional Information

pdf logo    Technical Bulletin for Provon Hand Moisturizer





#3     Sween Hand and Body Lotion


Sween Hand and Body Lotion

Sween offers a non-greasy formula that includes Vitamin E and lanolin to heal damaged skin. This formula is non-occlusive, allowing the skin to breathe. It is compatible with CHG, latex, and nitrile gloves. Manufactured by Coloplast, this lotion soothes, heals, and protects dry skin.

Product Number: 0406

Ingredients: Water, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Propylene Glycol, Acetyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Ethylhexyl Glycerin, Lanolin oil, Beeswax, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Stearyl Alcohol, Benzethonium Chloride, Quaternium-15, Fragrance

Additional Information

pdf logo    Material Safety Data Sheet for Sween Hand Lotion





#4     DermaDaily Moisturizing Lotion


Derma Daily Moisturizing Lotion

DermaDaily with Aloe Vera is a dermatologist-tested formula that smoothes and treats dry skin. It works on sensitive skin to enrich and replenish the natural oils and moisture to rejuvenate skin cells and promote personal health. Made by DermaRite in the USA, DermaDaily comes in a 7.5-ounce bottle with a flip-top cap.

Product Number: 00122BB

Ingredients: Water, Mineral Oil, Carbomer, Petrolatum, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Stearic Acid, Isopropyl Palmitate, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Propylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Triethanolamine, Fragrance, Titanium Dioxide, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Citric Acid

Additional Information

pdf logo    Material Safety Data Sheet for DermaDaily





#5     WR Medical Therabath ComfortKits


WR Medical Therabath ComfortKits

Therabath ComfortKits meet FDA Class II medical device standards. The kit also meets CE/ETL standards. Therabath offers a warm paraffin treatment to soften dry skin by drawing moisture within the body to the skin surface. After treatment, hands feel soft and appear younger-looking. Specially formulated hand lotions follow the wax therapy for comprehensive treatment for dry skin. Manufactured in the USA, WR Medical products come with a five-year warranty.

Product Number: 2400

Kit Contents: Two Insulated Mitts with heavyweight ultra-plush terry velour, Thinsulate-lined for maximum comfort and warmth with easy-to-use hook and loop closure, machine washable; 100 disposable liners; 4-ounce sanitizing spray for cleansing skin before paraffin application; 4-ounce Intensive Hydrating Cream.

Intensive Hydrating Cream Ingredients: Deionized Water, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Glyceryl Monostearate, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Phenoxyethanol, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Aloe Barbadensis, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone

Additional Information

pdf logo    Material Safety Data Sheet for 4-ounce Intensive Hydrating Cream





Best Moisturizers for Sensitive Skin


People with sensitive skin should avoid moisturizers that contain certain ingredients. Avoid formulas relying on alcohol as an active ingredient or a significant portion of the contents. Alcohol can sting and exacerbate dry and cracked skin. Also, avoid fragrances, coloring, or antibacterial agents that often cause sensitive skin to react. Preparations with lactic acid or urea are often irritating to sensitive skin. Some cleansing ingredients like alpha-hydroxy, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid may also be irritants. Some preparations may use these elements in their formula but in small quantities to reduce any adverse reactions. Most people find the moisturizers listed below suitable for sensitive skin.



#1     Eucerin Moisturizing Lotion


Eucerin Healing Lotion

Available in cream or lotion, Eucerin is fragrance- and dye-free. It will not clog pores, and its formulation supports dry, sensitive skin. This dermatologist-recommended product relieves eczema and psoriasis and heals severely dry skin. Manufactured by Beiersdorf, Eucerin provides 24-hour moisture.

Product Number: 72140011020

Ingredients: Water, Mineral Oil, Isopropyl Palmitate, Sorbitol, Propylene Glycol, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Polyglyceryl-4, Diisostearate/Polyhydroxystearate/Sebacate, Cetyl Palmitate, Magnesium Sulfate, Aluminum Stearates, Phenoxyethanol, Lanolin Alcohol, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate

Additional Information

pdf logo    Material Safety Data Sheet for Eucerin Healing Moisturizing Lotion





#2     Sensi-Care Body Cream


Sensi-Care Body Cream

Sensi-Care treats chronic dry skin. It is a moisturizing body cream with emollients that smooth and soften skin and humectants that retain moisture. It is useful for all age groups and contains the active ingredients petrolatum and dimethicone. This product comes in a 3-ounce tube with a flip-top reclosable lid. It is a clear cream from Convatec that is CHG compatible for wearing with exam gloves.

Product Number: 324403

Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Petrolatum, Cetyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol Diethylhexanoate, Steareth-2, PVP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Laureth-23, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Carbomer, Diazolidinyl Urea, Dimethicone, Sodium Hydroxide, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methyl-isothiazolinone, Magnesium Chloride, Magnesium Nitrate

Additional Information

pdf logo    Material Safety Data Sheet for Sensi-Care Body Cream





#3     LubriSilk Dry Skin Care Lotion


LubriSilk Dry Skin Care Lotion

LubriSilk formulation supports sensitive skin with a fragrance-free lotion that softens and heals dry skin. The formula is non-irritating and moisturizes while it protects. It protects from exposure to the sun, cold weather, and wind. The product is safe for use by people with allergies. LubriSilk comes in a 16-ounce pump bottle from DermaRite.

Product Number: 00166P

Ingredients: Water, Mineral Oil, Sorbitol, Carbomer, Ceteareth-20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Petrolatum, Lanolin, Propylene Glycol, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Stearic Acid, PEG-40 Castor Oil, Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate, Ethylene Glycol Monostearate, Triethanolamine, Tetrasodium EDTA, Stearyl Alcohol, Citric Acid

Additional Information

pdf logo    Material Safety Data Sheet for LubriSilk





#4     Thera Moisturizing Body Cream


Thera Moisturizing Body Cream

Thera relieves the symptoms associated with dry and cracked skin. It is non-allergenic and non-sensitizing. Manufactured by McKesson, Thera is a unisex product with a creamy consistency that moisturizes and restores to provide healthy skin. It is compatible with CHG for exam glove-wearing caregivers. The formula contains natural compounds to support sensitive skin. This body cream conditions the face, hands, legs, and body and is available in 4-milliliter packets, 4-ounce tubes, and a 32-ounce pump bottle.

Product Number: 53-CRM32

Ingredients: Dimethicone, Aleurites Moluccana Seed Oil, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, SAFFLEX (Consisting of Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Maltodextrin, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Pyridoxine HCl (Vitamin B6), Silica, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Sodium Starch Octenylsuccinate, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Bisabolol, C12-13 Pareth-23, C12-13 Pareth-3, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Oleosomes, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Cetyl Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Dimethiconol, Divinyldimethicone/ Dimethicone Copolymer, Lavender Ylang Fragrance, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-di-t-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Phenoxyethanol, Propylene Glycol, Propylheptyl Caprylate, Purified Water, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Hyaluronate, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract

Additional Information

pdf logo    Material Safety Data Sheet for Thera Moisturizing Body Cream





#5     McKesson Vitamin A & D Ointment


McKesson Vitamin A&D Ointment

Vitamin A&D Ointment from McKesson comes in a 13-ounce jar with a screw-cap lid. This ointment’s active ingredient is petrolatum with 93.5% strength. This unscented white petroleum formula has a HCPCS code of A6250. The cream forms a protective barrier to seal out external elements. It temporarily soothes and moisturizes the skin. The formula is fragrance-free and applies smoothly to the skin.

Product Number: 118-8712

Ingredients: Petrolatum, Corn Oil, Light Mineral Oil, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D

Additional Information

pdf logo    Spec Sheet for Vitamin A&D Ointment

pdf logo    Material Safety Data Sheet for McKesson Vitamin A&D Ointment





Types of Moisturizer Ingredients

  1. Occlusives – form a physical barrier
  2. Humectants – bind water molecules to the skin
  3. Emollients – soften skin

Occlusive Ingredients

Trap moisture in the skin by providing a physical barrier in the form of an oil, wax, petrolatum, butter, or silicone. The moisture level increases by being trapped in the skin. High moisture levels keep skin from becoming dry and unhealthy.

  • Petrolatum is an oily substance that blocks moisture from evaporation. It is the best ingredient for holding water. Still, some believe it may be a carcinogen and may cause skin irritations and allergies. It is inexpensive and one of the most-used ingredients in moisturizers.
  • Lanolin is a fatty acid that acts as an emollient to moisturize and soften.
  • Mineral oil is a saturated hydrocarbon that reduces water loss and moisturizes.
  • Lecithin reduces inflammation, promotes cell regeneration, prevents wrinkles, and forms a barrier to protect the skin.
  • Paraffin is an inexpensive wax-based product that softens and smooths skin.
  • Stearic Acid is a natural fatty acid that helps wash away excess oil and dirt from the skin and forms a barrier against moisture loss.
  • Dimethicone is a silicone-based product useful for treating dry, rough, and itchy skin.
  • Cyclomethicone is a silicone that acts as an excellent skin barrier. Found in deodorants, antiperspirants, and lotions, it may irritate sensitive skin.
  • Cetyl Alcohol is a fatty alcohol that soothes and heals dry skin.
  • Lanolin Alcohol is a fatty alcohol that acts as an emollient to soften skin. It may also clog pores, so be careful about facial use.
  • Squalene is naturally produced by the body. In lotions, it acts as an emollient and natural antioxidant. Over an extended time, it reduces wrinkles and scars, lightens freckles, and reverses UV damage.
  • Candelilla is a natural vegetable wax rich in nutrients used as a stabilizer and emulsifier in lotions and creams to condition skin.
  • Carnauba is a vegetable wax that provides a smooth application and radiant appearance.
  • Beeswax is a wax ester, offering an excellent skin barrier to seal in moisture and external protection.
  • Stearyl stearate is a wax ester derived from plants and animals with an emulsifying agent and skin conditioner.
  • Lecithin is a phospholipid that moisturizes, softens, and tones skin.
  • Cholesterol is a sterol that is a natural waxy substance that conditions skin and increases viscosity.

Humectant Ingredients

Humectants attract water molecules and are common moisturizing agents in lotions, gels, serums, and creams. They draw moisture into the stratum corneum, the top layer of the epidermis. Humectant production can be natural or synthetic.

Natural Humectants

  • Lactic Acid is a powerful humectant that loosens the skin to become more flexible and less likely to crack. Avoid this ingredient if you have sensitive skin that is prone to feeling stinging sensations.
  • Honey is an antioxidant great for wrinkles and aging skin. It is also an antibacterial that unclogs pores. It moisturizes and soothes dry, irritated skin.
  • Glycerin is one of the top moisturizing agents in lotions and creams. It draws moisture into the outer layers of the skin.
  • Sodium PCA moisturizes skin and is common in creams, lotions, gels, and shampoos.
  • Aloe Vera is a plant derivative used to treat dry skin.
  • Hydrolyzed products, including wheat, sorbitol, baobab, rice, and oats, act as an emollient to soften skin and as a humectant to make the skin more flexible.
  • Sorbitol comes from plants and fruits to condition and prevent moisture loss.

Synthetic Humectants

  • Urea is a keratolytic that treats dry, rough skin, including eczema, psoriasis, corns, calluses, and nail problems. It removes dead tissue and promotes wound healing.
  • Hyaluronic acid keeps tissue lubricated and cushioned.
  • Glyceryl Triacetate cleanses and prevents odor. Approved by the FDA as a food additive, this synthetic humectant moisturizes the skin.
  • Propylene Glycol is a humectant and conditioner that fights dryness and flaking. It hydrates and smoothes the dermal layers.
  • Hexylene Glycol is a solvent and viscosity agent used in Skincare Products to moisturize.
  • Butylene Glycol is a conditioning agent that improves texture and softness. It acts as a humectant and emollient.

Emollient Ingredients

Emollients provide a surface barrier that allows the skin to rehydrate. They reduce irritation and dryness by moisturizing and softening. They manage dry, itchy, and scaly skin conditions. Moisturizers with emollients treat eczema, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, diaper rash, radiation burns, and diabetic skin.

  • Shea Butter (Butyrospermum parkii) is an occlusive emollient with a butter consistency.
  • Cocoa Butter is a high fatty acid preparation that hydrates and nourishes. It improves skin elasticity and provides a protective barrier.
  • Mineral Oil is an excellent choice for healing cracked skin.
  • Petrolatum forms an excellent barrier to lock in moisture. A fully refined petrolatum that is free of hydrocarbons is safe for the skin. Vaseline is the most popular brand using petrolatum as the primary ingredient.
  • Paraffin is a natural emollient that makes skin soft and supple.
  • Beeswax heals and soften skin. It is useful for dry skin, eczema, and stretch marks.
  • Squalene is a natural antioxidant as well as an emollient. It is effective in eliminating scars and combating UV damage.
  • Glycerin acts as both a humectant and emollient for skin hydration.
  • Octyldodecanol is an alcohol-based emollient that lubricates and forms a barrier.
  • Triglycerides are natural fat substances offering antioxidant management and barrier protection.
  • Menthol provides a cooling sensation that relieves itching.

Moisturizer Consistency

Moisturizers come in three different consistencies. Lotions are thinner and offer the best application for oily to normal skin. Many facial applications have lotion consistency to prevent clogging pores while treating the oily areas of the forehead, nose, and chin. Creams are thicker than lotions and provide a useful application upon the body and under the eyes. Creams provide hydration and barrier protection for normal to dry skin. Ointments have a thick consistency that provides relief for itchy, dry, and cracked skin.

  1. Lotion is 20 to 33% oil-based. The remaining formula contains water-soluble ingredients. The application is light and smooth.
  2. Cream is 50 to 66% oil-based. Creams are thicker than lotions.
  3. Ointment is around 80% oil-based. It has a thick consistency that offers relief for itchy skin.
  4. Butter is 15% solid oil, 12% liquid oil, and 60% water. It offers a solid consistency and tends to have stronger occlusive and emollient properties. Butter applications lie on top of the skin, forming a strong barrier against external elements.



Moisturizing Guide

  • Use light moisturizers for daytime use and a heavier one for nighttime.
  • Use lighter moisturizers for the summer and heavier for the winter.
  • Use a heavy moisturizer on dry skin.
  • Use a light moisturizer on oily skin.
  • Use thick creams for the body and moisturizing lotion on the face.
  • Use heavy moisturizing creams for under the eyes and cheeks of the face.
  • Use butter products on the body, not the face. Most butter applications go by "body butter" names.
  • Avoid lotions with alcohol as the active ingredient for severely dry skin.

Ingredients for Dry Skin

There is a wide variety of ingredients contained in skin moisturizers. Below is a list of standard components arranged within categories according to their designed application for targeting dry skin conditions.

Skin Hydrators

  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Dimethicone
  • Glycerin
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Urea

Skin Moisture Barriers

  • Lanolin
  • Mineral oil
  • Petrolatum

Ingredients for Daytime Moisturizers

  • Sun protection
  • SPF 15 or higher

Body-Friendly Ingredients, but Not Face-Friendly

  • Lanolin
  • Mineral oils
  • Waxes
  • Shea butter

Ingredients to Avoid Using With Severely Dry Skin

  • Alpha hydroxy acids
  • Glycolic acid
  • Retinoic acid
  • Salicylic acid
  • Alcohol-based ingredients

Ingredients to Avoid Using With Sensitive Skin

  • Fragrances
  • Added colors
  • Antibacterial agents

Ingredients to Avoid Using With Cracked Skin

  • Lactic acid
  • Urea



This article presented the top moisturizing products for skincare. It discussed the types of ingredients for different kinds of moisturizers. Note that many moisturizing lotions, creams, and ointments have components that span all three types of moisturizers. Use the Moisturizing Guide outlined above to help select the right moisturizer for individual needs.











Burt Cancaster, Author



Vitality Medical
7910 South 3500 East, Suite C
Salt Lake City, UT 84121
(801) 733-4449
[email protected]



Burt Cancaster Profile



Posted in: Skin Care