Low humidity and cooler air in winter means one universal truth: ashy, dry and cracked skin. It's an inevitable effect of the season because our skin loses water. You might find yourself scratching the backs of your hands, legs and scalp more frequently than before, at this time of the year. Luckily, moisturisers are an inexpensive way to keep your skin looking soft, supple and pampered.
Dr Samar Khalil, general and cosmetic dermatologist at Skin Experts Polyclinic in Dubai, says your existing moisturiser might be failing to do its job if your skin feels tight, looks rough, itches, flakes or seems dull.
Not any product will do, though. Dry, sensitive skin benefits from moisture-attracting, -locking and -adding ingredients. Look for humectants, like urea, ceramides and hyaluronic acid, and emollient, like mineral oil and petroleum jelly. In winter, you'll be better off opting for thicker creams and ointments, instead of lightweight lotions. But, if you don't like layering, there are plenty of lotion options, too, says Dr Khalil.
Besides topical treatment, Dr Khalil also shared tips on retaining moisture: "Showers should be kept short, and the water shouldn't be too hot because this can strip off the natural oils found in our skin. You should also avoid over-exfoliating with a loofah, harsh soaps and detergents".
And, of course, the best time for application is immediately after a shower, "when the skin is still moist" to lock in as much of hydration as possible. A common misconception by patients, she notes, is finding a cure for dry skin by drinking more water. There's no correlation between the two, unless one hasn't consumed water for days!
We asked the pros to share their favourite face and body moisturisers that work for moderately dry to eczema-prone skin types. Check out their recommendations below, all of which can be easily purchased on Amazon. Make sure you're subscribed to Prime for more savings on free, next- or same-day delivery.
1. Best Overall: CeraVe Moisturising Cream
An all-rounder, pocket-friendly moisturiser, the CeraVe face and body cream supplies the skin with three essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid. This gentle daily moisturiser is Dr Khalil's pick and can be used anywhere for 24-hour dry skin relief. It also holds the National Eczema Association's (NEA) seal of acceptance. It doesn't leave behind a greasy residue but, rather, absorbs quickly into the skin. Reviewers on actives like tretinoin have added it to their skincare routine. Some even say that the moisturiser helped them clear up bumps.
2. Best Body Lotion: Eucerin Urea Repair Plus 10% Urea Body Lotion, 250ml
Dr Khalil recommends this urea-concentrated body lotion by Eucerin, for immediate dry skin relief. Its key ingredient, urea, is keratolytic, which means it slowly dissolves the outer layers of a scaly skin patch and restores moisture. You'll find relief for 48 hours, and the body lotion is even suitable for mature skin, and those with diabetes and psoriasis. Besides urea, the formula contains ceramides and glycerin. If you suffer from dry skin all over the body, this is your best pick.
3. Best for Eczema-Prone Skin: La Roche-Posay Lipikar AP+ M Replenishing Balm, 2 x 400ml
If you're eczema-prone and need a solid moisturiser to have your back this winter, try the Lipikar Baume AP+M by La Roche-Posay. Dr Khalil says it helps reduce scratching and rebalances the skin's microbiome. Plus, it aids in spacing out the number of flare-ups and relapses. The balmy formula has niacinamide for soothing itching, shea butter for restoring the hydrolipidic film and an active complex for rebalancing the microbiome. Apply this to the face and body once every day. In this pack, you're getting two 400ml bottles.
4. Best for Dry Skin: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturiser
Dr Anna Zakhozha, a specialist dermatologist at 7 Dimensions Medical Centre in Dubai, picks La Roche-Posay's Toleriane facial moisturiser for dry skin types. It repairs the skin barrier in an hour and hydrates for up to 48 hours. You'll find ceramide-3, a skin-identical lipid, glycerin and niacinamide in the formula, all of which restore the skin barrier. Since it's meant to be a daily moisturiser, the cream is lightweight, non-greasy and absorbs quickly, say reviewers. People do notice some pilling of the product - suggestions for this include using a pea-sized amount, exfoliating and applying on damp skin.
5. Best Budget: Cetaphil Moisturising Cream for Dry/Sensitive Skin
A budget find for a full-body moisturiser is the Cetaphil Moisturising Cream. Dr Khalil prefers the blend of niacinamide, pathenol and glycerin in it, which strengthens the skin barrier. Like its expensive counterparts, this tub of 16oz (473 ml) cream also provides intense 48-hour hydration, is fragrance-free and doesn't clog pores. Reviewers opt it for the whole family and recommend it for all seasons. Those on skin-drying acne medication give it five stars, too.
6. Best for Babies: Mustela Stelatopia Emollient Balm, 200 ml
Mustela's Stelatopia Emollient Balm, Dr Zakhozha's pick, is formulated to soothe a baby's eczema-prone skin. Made from naturally derived ingredients that are hypoallergenic and gentle, the moisturising balm has a rich, creamy texture for relieving irritation and itching. Parents in the reviews vouch for the product with five-star reviews, adding that the cream has been helpful in reducing dryness and eczema flares. The brand suggests application twice a day, with a massage for maximum effect.
Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.