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10 Best Winter Moisturizers for Sensitive Skin

Brand courtesy / First Aid Beauty
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When winter rolls in, your sensitive skin needs more than the light creams you use in the summer. It’s time to switch to heavier, richer moisturizers that provide a protective barrier against wind and cold air.

Cold weather isn’t just tough on skin as a matter of opinion—there’s real science behind it. Low temperatures, strong winds, and even snow can dry out your skin and weaken the protective barrier. This can lead to redness, dryness, and irritation, especially if your skin is already sensitive. That’s why it’s a smart move to add a winter moisturizer to your skincare routine, particularly one formulated for sensitive skin.

What to look for in a winter moisturizer if you have sensitive skin

Everyone, especially those with sensitive skin, should use a winter moisturizer rich in occlusives and emollients, free of fragrances and alcohol.

Think of occlusives like a cozy blanket over your skin. They create a barrier on your skin that seals all that good moisture in and adds an extra layer of defense against the cold air and harsh winds. Some classic occlusives are petrolatum (which is in a lot of heavy-duty creams), beeswax, and even mineral oil. Then, there are emollients. If the cold weather has made your skin rough or flaky, emollients will smooth it out. They fill in the cracks in your skin barrier, which often suffers in winter. Ingredients like ceramides, cholesterol, fatty acids, and squalane are some of the best emollients.

But here’s the kicker: if you’ve got sensitive skin, avoid moisturizers with a lot of fragrances or harsh alcohols. These can make your skin more irritated and undo all the good work your moisturizer is trying to do.

And about humectants like hyaluronic acid or glycerin. While they are effective in the summer, they are not the best choices in the winter. Why is that? Well, because humectants can dehydrate your skin if the air humidity is low, which is common in the cold season. If you must use humectants, make sure you also use occlusives to ensure your skin doesn’t lose moisture.

Winter moisturizers for sensitive skin

We scoured countless Reddit and forum threads, consulted dermatologists, and listened to the experiences of those with sensitive skin, evaluating over 200 moisturizers of various price points and formulas.

Our goal was clear: to find the best winter moisturizers for sensitive skin that are not just skin-friendly during the cold months, but also effective in protecting and soothing your skin against winter’s harshness.


CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream has earned its status as a cult favorite, and for good reason—it has over 100,000 five-star reviews on Amazon. Its gentle formula, safe for sensitive skin, is infused with a blend of ceramides and cholesterol, designed to fortify the skin’s barrier, heal cracked patches, and seal in moisture. The cream’s lightweight texture glides smoothly across the skin, absorbing quickly without the greasy after-feel. Just a dime-sized amount is all it takes to seal your skin in long-lasting, comforting moisture.

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream


First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream is another outstanding choice for sensitive skin looking for serious moisture and repair during winter. It’s packed with 0.50% colloidal oatmeal, a skin protectant that calms itchiness and redness, and shea butter, which moisturizes and repairs with its rich fatty acid content. The cream is clinically proven to double skin hydration right after the first use. Whether it’s for your face, hands, or feet, this cream delivers intense hydration and protection—exactly what sensitive skin needs to combat the dry, cold winter air.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream


La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

This cream has become an internet sensation, backed by thousands of glowing reviews. Its formula is a powerhouse blend of glycerin, niacinamide, and ceramides, all known for their ability to soothe sensitive skin and shield it from winter’s harsh elements. For best results, apply it to moist skin both in the morning and at night. This routine will not only strengthen your skin’s resilience but also maintain a healthy glow throughout the tough winter months.

La Roche Posay Toleraine Double Repair Face Moisturizer


Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer

When the winter weather dries out your skin, probiotics come to the rescue by balancing the skin’s microbiome. This is particularly helpful for those with sensitive or reactive skin, as probiotics can soothe redness and reduce breakouts. Guess what? This moisturizer is packed with a generous amount of probiotics and has a gel texture that feels hydrating as it melts, being a real treat for your sensitive skin. Plus, it contains squalane, which covers your skin with an occlusive film that retains moisture. And the best part? It now comes in a handy 15mL travel size, perfect for moisturizing your skin on the go.

Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer


Drunk Elephant Protini™ Polypeptide Cream

Drunk Elephant Protini™ is one of the best creams to use at night in the winter months to nourish and strengthen your sensitive skin. It’s packed with a diverse blend of peptides, growth factors, and amino acids. These are the kinds of ingredients that make your skin behave younger and stronger. They send signals to your cells to rebuild the moisture barrier and accelerate the skin’s natural repair process. This overnight treatment reverses the damage accumulated during the day and prepares your skin to better withstand the next day’s challenges, like harsh winds and cold air. The innovative dispenser also caught our attention; it guards the formula against external contaminants and allows for a smooth, exact application.

Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream


Le Mieux Essence Moisturizer

This lightweight moisturizer is a savior for sensitive skin, especially during winter. It has the first ingredient hyaluronic acid and then goes straight into peptides, ceramides, shea butter, and a plethora of antioxidants. So you have hydrators, anti-agers, replenishers, softeners, and protectors in one formula. Pretty cool, right? Besides, the moisturizer doesn’t feel heavy, works well under foundation, and is non-irritating, meaning you can use it even if your skin is prone to breakouts.

Le Mieux Sensitive Skin Savior Essence Moisturizer


Paula’s Choice C5 Super Boost Moisturizer

A daily dose of this vitamin C-enriched moisturizer will give your sensitive skin the protection it needs to take on the cold weather. Vitamin C is a winter skincare essential for several reasons—it delivers much-needed antioxidant protection, restores the skin’s moisture barrier, and makes the skin produce more proteins that assist with healing. Moreover, the moisturizer contains other winter-friendly ingredients, such as squalane, peptides, cocoa butter, and vitamin E, all of which soothe and hydrate the skin.

Paula's Choice C5 Super Boost Moisturizer


Purito Centella Unscented Recovery Cream

Got sensitive skin prone to acne? Purito Centella Recovery Cream is your best bet in the drier winter months. It contains a generous amount of 50% Centella asiatica, which is a restorative ingredient that provides the right amount of lightweight hydration while healing breakouts. In addition, the cream is loaded with ceramides, squalane, and shea butter, all emollients that soften cracked skin.

Purito Centella Recovery Cream


Etude House SoonJung 10-Free Moist Emulsion

For those who like lightweight moisturizers without a strong scent, Etude House SoonJung 10-Free Moist Emulsion is a winner. The texture is weightless but still delivers intense, long-lasting hydration with panthenolmadecassoside, squalane, and green tea. The moisturizer is hypoallergenic and was made with sensitive skin in mind.

Etude House SoonJung 10-Free Moist Emulsion


SkinCeuticals Hydra Balm

This balm addresses severely dry and sensitive skin and is our go-to moisturizer in the winter because it’s full of occlusives and contains a slew of soothing ingredients. In fact, SkinCeuticals Hydra Balm is made in a base of petrolatum, which is the most effective moisture-sealing occlusive that can reduce moisture loss by nearly 98%. And if that wasn’t enough, the formula also packs squalane, aloe vera, and bisabolol to max out moisture and soften the skin.

SkinCeuticals Hydra Balm

Read Next: The Best (And Worst) Skincare Ingredients To Use In Winter

Who wrote this?
Picture of Ana Vasilescu
Ana Vasilescu
Ana Vasilescu is the founder of Women's Concepts and a certified skincare consultant. She has over five years of experience working in the beauty editorial industry and over a decade as an acne sufferer. With a background in dermatological research, Ana brings a wealth of expertise to a diverse range of topics, from buzzy ingredients to anti-aging and acne advice. She holds a BA in Sociology and Political Sciences. Find her on LinkedIn or Instagram.
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