Whether youâ€™re dry or oily, sensitive or acne-prone, finding the right face moisturizer for your skin type is no easy task. Purchasing a new moisturizer only to find itâ€™s not suited for your complexion is frustrating, stressful, and costly.
â€œAs a dermatologist, the number one question that patients ask is â€˜What is the best moisturizer for my skin type?â€™â€ says Douglas Altchek, MD, and clinical professor of dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine in New York. â€œItâ€™s difficult to find a moisturizer that addresses all skin types that is safe and effective with visible results seen quickly.â€
A one-size-fits-all approach just doesnâ€™t work; for most of us, facial care is a mystery that remains unsolved, especially when there may be more than one issue weâ€™re dealing with.
â€œSome have skin prone to premature aging requiring early attention to proper care,â€ says Judith Hellman, MD, a Manhattan-based board-certified dermatologist. â€œSome complicated conditions exist simultaneously,â€ she continued. Dry skin, for example, is prone to aging in addition to being prone to rosacea, which makes the skin more sensitive to allergic reactions if using the wrong products.
Whatâ€™s more, high maintenance routinesâ€”using several sequentially applied productsâ€”is just not possible for those with busy schedules. But simple, consistent daily care is possibleâ€”once you find the right products for your skin type, your regimen will require little time and effort while yielding maximum results.
- Best for Aging Skin: Tatcha Dewy Skin Cream
- Best for Oily Skin: Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum
- Best for Dry Skin: CeraVe Skin Renewing Cream Serum
- Best for Acne-Prone Skin: RoC Deep Wrinkle Serum
- Best Anti-Aging Option for Acne-Prone Skin: Oxygenetix Oxygenating Moisturizer
- Best for Mature Skin: Kate Somerville +Retinol Vita C Power Serum
- Best for Sensitive Skin: OleHenriksen Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping CrÃ¨me
- Best Option With SPF: Elta MD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum Sunblock
- Best for Combination Skin: bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream
Best for Aging Skin: Tatcha Dewy Skin Cream
This moisturizing cream combats the effects of dry, aging skin by hydrating and restoring damage caused over time, according to San Diego-based esthetician and founder of UltraViolet Skincare, Marci Malbrough. â€œThe productâ€™s active ingredient, red algae, increases skin moisture, moisture retention, and improves elasticity,â€ she shares with ishonest. Not only is red algae known to support the skinâ€™s barrier and draw water to the area, but as Malbrough adds, the product is rich in antioxidants that protect skin cells from environmental exposure, thus slowing the aging process.
To buy: Tatcha Dewy Skin Cream, $68; sephora.com
Best for Oily Skin: Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum
Oily skin is more complex than dry skin and requires a multimodal approach. Marlbrough recommends using a product with niacinamide, which reduces enlarged pores, wrinkles, and fine lines. Peptides provide a similar effect and plant- based phyto-retinoids improve moisture. The combination of the three â€œdelivers big results without irritationâ€ and â€œrestructures the skinâ€™s barrier by regulating oil production.â€
To buy: Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum, $72; sephora.com
Best for Dry Skin: CeraVe Skin Renewing Cream Serum
â€œFor my patients with dry skin, I tend to favor the CeraVe line,â€ says Erum Ilyas, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group and founder of skincare line Ambernoon. She describes the Skin Renewing Cream Serum as an â€œexcellent combination of retinolâ€”a vitamin A derivativeâ€”with ceramides to hydrate the skin.â€
To buy: CeraVe Skin Renewing Cream Serum, $19; ulta.com
Best for Acne-Prone Skin: RoC Deep Wrinkle Serum
A game changer for acne-prone skin, the RoC Deep Wrinkle Serum is an over- the-counter acne solution thatâ€™s gentle enough to use on a daily basis. The unique formula includes jojoba oil and witch hazelâ€”both known for fighting skin bacteriaâ€”alongside RoCâ€™s potent retinol that minimizes deep wrinkles and fine lines. â€œIt works so well, I sometimes switch my younger acne patients to the product,â€ says Dr. Ilyas.
To buy: RoC Deep Wrinkle Serum, $17 (was $24); amazon.com
Best Anti-Aging Option for Acne-Prone Skin: Oxygenetix Oxygenating Moisturizer
The Oxygenetix Oxygenating Moisturizer contains soothing ingredients like grape seed extract, aloe vera, and green tea extract, which according to Konstantin Vasyukevich, MD, of New York Facial Plastic Surgery, â€œhelp increase cell turnover, improve your skinâ€™s natural moisture, and combat inflammation.â€ Itâ€™s a great option for those with acne-prone skin, says Vasyukevich, because itâ€™s â€œfragrance free and all natural, therefore it eliminates the potential of an allergic reaction or break outs.â€
To buy: Oxygenetix Oxygenating Moisturizer, $119; amazon.com
Best for Mature Skin: Kate Somerville +Retinol Vita C Power Serum
This topical serum addresses mature skin concerns, such as thinning, discoloration, and wrinkling. â€œThere are many factors that go into choosing the right product [for aging skin],â€ says Dr. Ilyas. Getting as much as possible out of one product is key for those on a budget. In addition to the age- defying benefits of retinol, the serum also contains vitamin C, which boosts the formula's effectiveness â€œat addressing multiple issues such as fine lines and discoloration.â€
Dr. Ilyas cautions to be smart when shopping for topical vitamin C-containing serums; make sure they are combined with ferulic acid, a compound that neutralizes the free radicals that damage skin cells, leading to premature aging. The combination, she adds, can actually boost the effects of vitamin C nearly eight-fold. According to Ilyas, itâ€™s also vital the product is housed in a dark bottle, because â€œwhen vitamin C is exposed to light, it gets deactivated in the bottle making it useless by the time it makes it to your skin.â€
To buy: Kate Somerville +Retinol Vita C Power Serum, $98; sephora.com
Best for Sensitive Skin: OleHenriksen Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping CrÃ¨me
For those with sensitive skin, this nighttime formula is a suitable alternative to retinol-containing creams. â€œItâ€™s a functional analog of retinol meaning it has the exact same effect as topical retinol, but with one huge exception,â€ Dr. Ilyas added. â€œItâ€™s less irritating because itâ€™s also an inflammatory agent.â€
To buy: OleHenriksen Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping CrÃ¨me, $58; sephora.com
Best Option With SPF: Elta MD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum Sunblock
If thereâ€™s one thing all skin specialists agree on, itâ€™s that sun damage prevention is key. â€œThe reality is that much of the sun exposure that triggers these changes in the skin occurred during childhood or young adult years,â€ Dr. Ilyas says. But while most premature skin aging can be blamed on childhood exposure to ultraviolet rays, itâ€™s never too late to protect our skin from further harm. One of the most popular products among her patients these days is Elta MD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum Sunblock. The healing properties of zinc oxide come without the dreaded white cast found in most sunscreens, and even those with rosacea can benefit from the formula, as the sunblock lessens the redness that comes with the condition.
To buy: Elta MD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum Sunblock, $37; amazon.com
Best for Combination Skin: bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream
Combination skin is when both dryness and oiliness occur simultaneously, Dr. Ilyas explained, where the nose and forehead are oily while the rest of the face is dry. In these instances, BareMinerals Complexion Rescue can be a life-saver. In addition to its moisturizing benefits, Dr. Ilyas says â€œthe light-weight formula prevents that cake-y make-up look and doesnâ€™t clog pores, providing coverage without product build up.â€
To buy: BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream, $33; amazon.com
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