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Moisturizing Dry Skin: Moisturizers and Ingredients to Moisturize Dry Skin

Learn the importance of moisturizing dry skin. Discover ingredients like humectants, emollients, occlusives and our best creams for moisturizing dry skin.

Woman with dark skin applying moisturizer to dry skin

Moisturizing is often regarded as an important part of any skincare routine – regardless of your skin type (even if you have oily skin you can use a moisturizer for oily skin)… Different people have different skin types but dry skin in particular benefits from moisturizing. Dry skin is typically characterized as feeling dry, uncomfortable and tight. It may also look and feel rough or show signs of flaking skin patches. Dry skin can be a result of climate and your environment – you may find that you only experience dry skin in the winter.

How Do Moisturizers Work?

First and foremost, you may be wondering – how do moisturizers work to help parched skin? Moisturizers are designed to provide a seal over your skin’s surface to keep water from escaping. A moisturizer can help to hydrate the skin, improve the skin’s moisture barrier function, smooth over the appearance of skin texture and leave skin with a luminous glow. Moisturizing can also temporarily plump the skin with hydration to make fine lines and wrinkles look less visible. All of these qualities make them a great product to include in a skincare routine for anyone with dry skin.

What Ingredients to Look for in Moisturizer for Dry Skin?

The most important part of choosing a moisturizer for dry skin is to look at the ingredient list. Some of the most common ingredients found in moisturizers include lanolin and shea butter, hyaluronic acid, and oils like Jojoba Oil and Rosehip Oil.

Humectants, Occlusives and Emollients 101

Did you know that most of the ingredients in moisturizers are often divided up into three different categories – humectant, occlusive, and emollient.

Humectant ingredients hydrate your skin as they help to attract water to the skin to help with hydration. They also work by drawing in the water in humid air to help moisturize the top layer of the skin (epidermis) in addition to helping you shed dead skin cells. Some examples of humectant ingredients include Hyaluronic Acid and Lactic Acid.

Occlusives work well and in harmony with humectant ingredients – they essentially help to power each other up as they help to prevent moisture loss so skin stays hydrated.

Occlusives are another type of moisturizer which is mostly oil based and serve the function of maintaining skin water content by creating a hydrophobic barrier over the skin and blocking trans-epidermal water loss.

Occlusive ingredients are typically thick and provide an almost “barrier” around the outside of the skin – some occlusive ingredients to look for include Lanolin, Dimethicone and Petrolatum. Occlusive ingredients are especially great for dry skin – Lanolin, Mineral Oil and Silicones (e.g.: dimethicone) have been shown to reduce trans-epidermal water loss.

Emollient ingredients are what give moisturizers and creams a soft and sensorial texture which can smooth the look of skin’s surface and soften the skin. Emollient ingredients essentially help to smooth over and fill in any little cracks that cause dryness with hydration. Some emollient ingredients can also be occlusive ingredients so you can get the benefits of both in one.

Emollient ingredients are often oils – think jojoba oil, rosehip oil, or coconut oil. Emollients can also take the form of ingredients popular in anti-aging products like ceramides, vitamin c, and retinol.

How to Pick the Ideal Formula of Moisturizer for Dry Skin

Not all moisturizers are created equal – they often come in different textures and consistencies and certain moisturizers are targeted towards different skin types.

Whilst gel, liquid and lotion moisturizers are often lighter in consistency and well suited for those with combination and oily skin types, while those with a dry skin type may benefit from a cream or an ointment (rather than a lotion).

If you have extremely dry skin you may try to incorporate an oil into your skincare routine. Oils can help to prevent the evaporation of water from the top surface layer of your skin. For double hydration you may like to use both a facial oil that doubles as a serum and use it in conjunction with a moisturizer. For hydrating skin benefits we recommend including Advanced Génifique Face Serum, which is formulated with both Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin C.

Lancôme’s Best Moisturizers for Dry Skin

When selecting a moisturizer for dry skin, Lancôme offers a range of different face creams – Our Absolue creams come in both a soft cream and rich cream versions – two different textures for two different sensorial experiences. Both are great options as moisturizers for dry skin, but the rich cream in particular has a slightly thicker consistency, to help seal moisture into the skin. For a rich overnight cream there’s our Advanced Génifique Night Cream.

Advanced Génifique Night Cream works to restore hydration and plumpness while you sleep making it a great moisturizer option for dry skin. Featuring a Triple Ceramide Complex and humectant Hyaluronic Acid our night cream helps repair the skin’s moisture barrier overnight and instantly locks in hydration lasting for 72 hours**. The formula provides hydration whilst remaining light in texture and formula — It delivers rich moisture while melting on the skin to absorb without an oily or greasy feel. Simply use a pea sized amount of product and watch as the moisturizer transforms at skin temperature to soften and melt into the skin as you apply it, instantly soothing and hydrating the skin. A key benefit is skin moisture barrier support. When the skin barrier is strong, it helps to lock in hydration and defend against external aggressors. A weakened or damaged skin barrier can leave the skin susceptible to moisture loss which can cause dehydration and dullness.

Our Absolue Creams contain a trio of humectant, occlusive, and emollient ingredients in the formula including Glycerin, Squalane, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter and a blend of Essential Oils including Meadowfoam Seed, Apricot, Passionfruit, Rice Bran. The moisturizer also contains our famous Grand Rose Extracts – Lancôme Rose Extract, Rose Essential Oil and Rose Concentrate. The luxurious facial creams are ideal for those with all skin types –especially those with dry skin as they provide skin with radiance and up to 24-hour hydration. Skin surface cell renewal is improved and skin's moisture barrier is protected.

Absolue Creams feature a unique, transforming texture that visibly revitalizes skin with moisture, firmness and plumpness. As the sensorial experience unfolds the formula starts out as a thick hydrating face cream, then transforms to a thin serum-like lotion during application and then to a thick layer which plumps skin with moisture. Wrinkles and fine lines appear diminished for younger-looking, smooth skin that is brighter, radiant, toned and more even. Once again skin surface cell renewal is improved and skin's moisture barrier is protected.

Moisturizing Tips for Dry Skin

Picking the best moisturizer to suit you and your dry skin type is just one portion of moisturizing dry skin – but there are also a couple of techniques that can help support your moisturization and hydration efforts. After cleansing dry skin with a gentle cleanser gently blot and pat your skin dry with a towel – avoid vigorous rubbing so that some moisture remains. Follow up with your moisturizer to help “trap” moisture in your skin.

Shop moisturizers, day creams, and night creams.

** In a clinical study on 24 women, after 72 hours

1 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-skin/symptoms-causes/syc-20353885
2 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-skin/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353891
3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5849435/
4 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/wrinkles/in-depth/wrinkle-creams/art-20047463
5 https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-basics/dry/dermatologists-tips-relieve-dry-skin
6 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5849435/#__sec8title
7 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5849435/#__sec8title
8 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5849435/#__sec8title
9 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5849435/#__sec8title
10 https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-basics/dry/dry-skin-relief
11 https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/what-to-do-about-dry-skin

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