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  3. 10 Best Moisturisers for Dry Skin 2023 | UK Dermatologist Reviewed
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10 Best Moisturisers for Dry Skin 2023 | UK Dermatologist Reviewed

If you suffer from dry skin, investing in a good moisturiser is an absolute must, especially in the winter! So adequate hydration as part of your daily beauty regime is the key to a soft, healthy complexion. Not all dry skin is the same, though, and understanding your skin’s needs whether mature, acne-prone, eczema-prone or combination will help you select the best possible product.


In this article, our buying guide explains how different types of moisturiser and their specific key ingredients can help combat dryness and discomfort. Make sure to read until the end for our top 10 best moisturisers for dry skin, including natural and cruelty-free face lotions, creams, and serums from Kiehl's and The Ordinary, and cult favourites from Japanese and Korea like Hada Labo, all yours with a few clicks from Amazon, eBay and John Lewis!

 

Last updated 14/07/2023
Felipe Partarrieu
Expert
Dermatologist
Felipe Partarrieu

Felipe Partarrieu is a dermatologist, who is GMC registered with a full licence to practise in the UK. Specialising in cosmeceuticals, facial skin care, and hair disorders, we worked with Felipe to bring you top quality information to help you make informed buying decisions and understand more about what goes onto your skin.

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Table of Contents

With Specialist Consultation From Dermatologist Felipe Partarrieu

With Specialist Consultation From Dermatologist Felipe Partarrieu

Felipe Partarrieu is a final year dermatology resident, who is GMC registered with a full licence to practise in the UK. Specialising in cosmeceuticals, facial skin care, and hair disorders, we worked with Felipe to bring you top quality information to help you make informed buying decisions and understand more about what goes onto your skin.

How to Choose a Moisturiser for Dry Skin in the UK ― Buying Guide

Dry skin usually occurs either from a lack of moisture within the layers of the skin, or due to impaired skin barrier function. In this buying guide we show you how to compare different types of moisturiser and their ingredients to combat the cause of skin dryness. 

1

Choose Between a Moisturising Cream, Lotion, Serum or Gel Based on Your Skin Type

Choose Between a Moisturising Cream, Lotion, Serum or Gel Based on Your Skin Type

Moisturisers for dry skin are available in a variety of different topical preparations, such as creams, gels and lotions. Generally, lotions are suitable for most dry skin types, and make great day creams as the thicker consistency locks in moisture whilst remaining light enough to be worn under sunscreen or foundation.


For those with extremely dry skin, or individuals with dry skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, seek out a moisturising cream. Creams have a richer consistency than lotion, and create more of a protective barrier to help keep skin hydrated throughout the day.


If you are prone to acne breakouts or have combination skin with both dry and oily patches, you won’t want a heavy product which may overload the skin. Creams and lotions, if not absorbed fully, sit on top of the skin and clog pores. Instead, opt for a moisturising gel or serum.

Felipe Partarrieu
Dermatologist Felipe Partarrieu

There are plenty of moisturising formulations to suit all tastes and needs and the choice can be overwhelming at times. It's important to remember that not all moisturisers suit everyone, and the skin type is the determinant factor that should lead your choice. 


As a rule of thumb, people with drier skin should prefer moisturisers with a thicker consistency, such as lotions and creams. However, people with combination skin (dry skin with oilier patches) or a tendency to develop acne should stick to gels and serums, as they contain fewer oils and fatty alcohols that could clog pores and cause breakouts.

2

Look for Moisturisers That Contain Key Hydrating Ingredients

Certain hydrating ingredients are more suited for relieving and rehydrating dry skin than others. Here are some of the key ingredients to look for when selecting a moisturiser for dry skin.

Hyaluronic Acid Pulls Moisture from the Air to Rehydrate Dry Skin

Hyaluronic Acid Pulls Moisture from the Air to Rehydrate Dry Skin

Moisturisers containing hyaluronic acid a great choice for rehydrating dry skin. Unlike certain other acids commonly used in skincare products such as AHAs and BHAs, hyaluronic acid isn’t an exfoliant, but a humectant.


Capable of holding up to a thousand times their weight in water, humectants draw moisture from the air into the top layer of the skin. This helps to restore lost moisture reserves and gives skin a plump, youthful appearance


Other common names for hyaluronic acid (known also as HA) that you may find on product labels include sodium hyaluronate, glycoaminoglycan and sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer, which is a modified form of hyaluronic acid. 

Felipe Partarrieu
Dermatologist Felipe Partarrieu

Humectants are substances, both natural and man-made, that attract moisture when applied to the skin. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant that can bind moisture in up to 1000 times its own weight, making your skin appear plumper, dewier, and more hydrated after each use.


In most cases, these agents draw water from the dermis (the middle layer of the skin) into the epidermis. When relative air humidity is higher than 70%, (such as after a rainy day, in tropical climates or in a steam-filled room), humectants can draw water vapour from the surrounding air.

Ceramides Help Replenish the Surface of the Skin

Ceramides Help Replenish the Surface of the Skin

Ceramides are a type of lipid produced naturally by the skin that help to form the skin’s protective barrier. When our natural ceramides are depleted, our skin becomes exposed to environmental aggressors such as irritants or pollutants that leave our skin feeling dry and itchy. 


Skin care products that contain ceramides aid in replenishing our skin’s natural defences for improved moisture retention and less skin irritation, so it's a no-brainer to keep an eye out for them if you're a dry skin sufferer, and especially one with sensitivities. 

Urea Promotes Skin Regeneration

Urea Promotes Skin Regeneration

Urea-containing products are a good option for those who suffer from flaky skin and rough patches caused by extremely dry skin conditions. 


Commonly used for treating conditions such as psoriasis and dermatitis, urea promotes skin regeneration by dissolving the connective cells of the outermost layer of the skin. This causes it to gradually loosen off and peel away, and over time, the build-up of rough, scaly dead skin cells are broken down to reveal the soft, new skin underneath. 

Aloe Vera Soothes Itchy Skin and Inflammation

Aloe Vera Soothes Itchy Skin and Inflammation

If you find your skin is left feeling chapped and painful during the winter months, try a moisturiser containing aloe vera. The gel of the aloe vera plant has been used throughout history to cool and soothe irritation. Furthermore, aloe boasts a high water content which allows it to be readily absorbed by the skin


Although studies are limited when it comes to understanding the healing potential of aloe vera, the skin-calming properties it holds may be due to the fact that aloe vera gel is a natural source of vitamin E, which is a known anti-inflammatory.

Shea Butter Soaks into the Skin Leaving It Feeling Soft and Supple

Shea Butter Soaks into the Skin Leaving It Feeling Soft and Supple

If you are in need of a heavy-duty moisturising cream, seek out one that contains shea butter. Shea butter, or Butyrospermum Parkii, is a type of vegetable fat that comes from the nut of the shea tree. 


Like most ingredients that are rich in nut oils, shea butter slowly soaks into the skin leaving it feeling soft and supple. It also has a thick, creamy consistency which makes it easy to spread and effortless to apply. 

3

Unlike Other Skin Types, Dry Skin Can Benefit from Plant Oils

Unlike Other Skin Types, Dry Skin Can Benefit from Plant Oils

There is a lot of mixed advice when it comes to using oils in skincare. Oils don’t penetrate as deeply into the skin as other ingredients, which gives them the potential to block pores, and if you haven't reacted well to them in the past, you may want to go for an oil-free product. However, many people find plant-based oils to actually be beneficial for dry skin. 


Plant oil extracts in moisturising products create a protective layer to lock in moisture. This minimises water loss due to evaporation, which in turn helps to regulate the skin’s water balance. Some oils to look for are olive, soybean, avocado, sunflower, coconut, safflower, hemp and various other seed oils. And as a bonus, keep an eye out for vitamin E oil to reduce inflammation

4

Avoid Alcohols That Further Dry or Irritate, and Check for Protective Types Instead

Avoid Alcohols That Further Dry or Irritate, and Check for Protective Types Instead

You've no doubt heard that moisturising products containing alcohol are to be avoided – and here's why. Alcohols such as ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, alcohol denat, and methanol are used to increase a product's absorbency. Unfortunately, they can lead to skin drying and irritation which is obviously bad news for moisture-starved skin!


However, and somewhat confusingly, not all alcohols are the same and certain alcohols are completely safe for dry skin. Benzyl alcohol is often used in organic or natural moisturisers as a preservative. It prevents bacteria growth, and, in low concentrations, won't cause irritation.


Better yet, products containing plant-derived fatty alcohols such as cetearyl, stearyl, cetyl and behenyl alcohol actually act as emollients. These alcohols are used to emulsify products and have a waxy consistency that helps protect and moisturise the skin.

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10 Best Moisturisers for Dry Skin in the UK

Now, in ranking order, it's time to reveal our selection of the top 10 best moisturisers for dry skin to buy online in the UK!
Popularity
Products
Image
Price
Click to purchase
Key features
1

Drunk Elephant

Lala Retro Whipped Cream

Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream 1枚目

£59.50

High

A Whipped Moisturising Cream With a Blend of 6 Rare African Plant Oils

2

Hada Labo

Gokujun Hyaluronic Lotion Moist

Hada Labo Gokujun Hyaluronic Lotion Moist 1枚目

£13.85

Mid

A Moisturising Serum With 3 Different Types of Hyaluronic Acid

3

CeraVe

PM Moisturizing Facial Lotion

CeraVe PM Moisturizing Facial Lotion 1枚目

£45.63

High Mid

Best Choice Lotion for Sensitive and Eczema-Prone Skin

4

L'Occitane

Shea Ultra Rich Comforting Face Cream

L'Occitane Shea Ultra Rich Comforting Face Cream 1枚目

£28.80

High Mid

Best Dry Skin Moisturiser for Mature Skin

5

Yes To Coconut

Ultra Hydrating Moisturising Coconut Oil Stick

Yes To Coconut Ultra Hydrating Moisturising Coconut Oil Stick 1枚目

£9.99

Low Mid

A Handy Cream Stick Moisturiser Packed With Nourishing Coconut Oil

6

Eucerin

Urea Repair Face Cream for Dry Skin

Eucerin Urea Repair Face Cream for Dry Skin 1枚目

£8.24

Low Mid

A Lightweight Lotion With 5% Urea for Extremely Dry Skin

7

The Ordinary

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 1枚目

£9.98

Low Mid

Top Choice for Combination Dry and Oily Skin

8

Kiehl's

Ultra Facial Cream

Kiehl's  Ultra Facial Cream 1枚目

£22.10

High Mid

A Moisturising Cream to Keep Skin Hydrated for up to 24 Hours

9

Pure Chimp

Natural Face Cream

Pure Chimp Natural Face Cream 1枚目

£9.95

Low Mid

A Natural Oil-Rich 100% Vegan Moisturiser

10

Nature Republic

Soothing & Moisture Aloe Vera 92% Gel

Nature Republic Soothing & Moisture Aloe Vera 92% Gel 1枚目

£8.99

Low Mid

A Soothing 92% Aloe Vera Moisturising Gel

If you don't see the product you're looking for, you can request that it be listed.
No.1

Drunk ElephantLala Retro Whipped Cream

Lala Retro Whipped Cream Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£59.50
High
Reference price
£59.50
High

A Whipped Moisturising Cream With a Blend of 6 Rare African Plant Oils

If you’re after for a moisturising cream that really packs a punch, we really recommend the Lala Retro Whipped Cream from Drunk Elephant. This retro-style whipped moisturising cream has an airy consistency, with a combination of ceramides, hyaluronic acid and no less than 6 different rare African plant oils!


The superior moisturising formula protects, rejuvenates and repairs parched skin, providing deep multi-layered hydration that doesn't just sit on the surface. It's higher in price than some, but it's extremely popular for a reason and we believe it to be truly the best for dry skin.

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No.2

Hada LaboGokujun Hyaluronic Lotion Moist

Gokujun Hyaluronic Lotion Moist Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£13.85
Mid
Reference price
£13.85
Mid

A Moisturising Serum With 3 Different Types of Hyaluronic Acid

A Japanese cult favourite, Hada Labo’s Gokujun Hyaluronic Lotion contains three different types of hyaluronic acid for an ultra boost of hydration. Despite the name, it’s more of a serum than a lotion making it suitable for use with your usual daily moisturiser.


For best results, use immediately after washing your face. Gently pat down the skin allowing some moisture to remain, then apply the serum. The hyaluronic acid formula sucks up any residual water drawing it down into the layers of the skin. 

No.3

CeraVePM Moisturizing Facial Lotion

PM Moisturizing Facial Lotion Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£45.63
High Mid
Reference price
£45.63
High Mid

Best Choice Lotion for Sensitive and Eczema-Prone Skin

As the name suggests, CeraVe's PM moisturising lotion works best when applied before bedtime. With a formula containing hyaluronic acid and 3 essential ceramides, it delivers a steady stream of moisture to soothe the skin while you sleep.


A good choice for those with eczema-prone, sensitive and acne-prone skin, it's hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic and free from any oils or fragrances. The high concentration of ceramides helps to reinforce the skin's natural barrier, protecting it from further irritation.

No.4

L'OccitaneShea Ultra Rich Comforting Face Cream

Reference price
£28.80
High Mid

Best Dry Skin Moisturiser for Mature Skin

As we age our skin becomes thinner and less able to retain moisture. This means that those with mature skin are more likely to suffer from the effects of dryness. With around a quarter of the total product comprised of shea butter, L'Occitane’s Shea Ultra Rich Comforting Face Cream ensures skin feels nourished and comfortable all-day long.


The combination of shea butter and seed oils gives this product a slightly higher melting point, so make sure to warm it up by rubbing it between the palms of your hands for smooth application. 

No.5

Yes To CoconutUltra Hydrating Moisturising Coconut Oil Stick

Ultra Hydrating Moisturising Coconut Oil Stick Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£9.99
Low Mid
Reference price
£9.99
Low Mid

A Handy Cream Stick Moisturiser Packed With Nourishing Coconut Oil

In need of a little extra hydration during the day? Yes To Coconut’s Ultra Hydrating Moisturising Coconut Oil Stick is a convenient mess-free way to moisturise on the go. It's made from 98% natural ingredients, and is also vegan and cruelty-free. 


Packed with nourishing coconut oil and shea butter, the multi-use cream stick melts upon contact with the skin for quick absorption that won’t leave behind a greasy residue. A fantastic product to take with you on days out, just slip it inside your backpack or handbag ready for when you need it!

No.6

EucerinUrea Repair Face Cream for Dry Skin

Urea Repair Face Cream for Dry Skin Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£8.24
Low Mid

A Lightweight Lotion With 5% Urea for Extremely Dry Skin

It can be difficult to find a moisturiser to effectively treat extremely dry skin that doesn’t feel too thick or heavy. For those on the lookout for a light daily facial lotion capable of putting that much needed moisture back into the skin, we recommend Eucerin’s Urea Repair Face Cream for Dry Skin.


The formula contains 5% Urea, the active ingredient that helps replenish natural moisture reserves to reduce roughness and discomfort. This product has been clinically tested and is also free from colourants and allergens to minimise the risk of skin irritation to fragile skin.

No.7

The OrdinaryHyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

Reference price
£9.98
Low Mid

Top Choice for Combination Dry and Oily Skin

This hyaluronic acid moisturising serum from The Ordinary is our top pick for those with combination or oily skin with dry patches. The lightweight consistency won’t clog pores, penetrating down into the deepest layers of the skin.


If you are suffering with particularly parched patches of skin, the dropper bottle allows for targeted treatment. Remember, a little goes a long way so you’ll only need to use one or two drops for the entire face. If you’re in need of some extra hydration, follow up with a moisturising lotion or cream.

No.8

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream

Reference price
£22.10
High Mid

A Moisturising Cream to Keep Skin Hydrated for up to 24 Hours

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream is their bestselling facial cream product for good reason, and has been specially formulated to balance skin moisture levels for up to 24 hours of ultra-hydration.


Despite being rich in plant oils such as avocado, olive and soy bean, this cream boasts a unique lightweight texture that doesn’t feel greasy. It also contains salicylic acid, which is good for treating acne and blackheads. However, be aware that this ingredient may cause some irritation to sensitive skin.

No.9

Pure ChimpNatural Face Cream

Natural Face Cream Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£9.95
Low Mid
Reference price
£9.95
Low Mid

A Natural Oil-Rich 100% Vegan Moisturiser

If you prefer using natural products in your skincare routine, check out Pure Chimp’s Natural Face Cream. 100% vegan and cruelty-free, the combination of plant oils, shea butter and jojoba wax makes for an incredibly rich moisturising cream, scented with a banana aroma.


This cream does contain vitamin E oil which can help to reduce inflammation. However, the high percentage of oils in this product can leave it feeling a bit greasy. To avoid blocked pores, we recommend applying gradually in small amounts to ensure no unabsorbed product is left behind on the surface of the skin.

No.10

Nature RepublicSoothing & Moisture Aloe Vera 92% Gel

Soothing & Moisture Aloe Vera 92% Gel Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£8.99
Low Mid
Reference price
£8.99
Low Mid

A Soothing 92% Aloe Vera Moisturising Gel

Dry skin is prone to becoming chapped, itchy and painful. If you are in need of some skin relief, we recommend Nature Republic’s Soothing & Moisture Aloe Vera 92% Gel. Enriched with 92% aloe vera, the cooling gel absorbs almost immediately for instant soothing and hydration.


Although it's not as hydrating as some, and it doesn't specify the alcohol-derived ingredient used, it’s still a great choice for relaxing tight, weather-beaten skin in winter and for calming sunburned skin. Suitable for top to toe use, try using this gel as a hair serum, nail treatment or aftershave balm! 

Constantly Searching for Products That Really Work for Dry Skin?

Constantly Searching for Products That Really Work for Dry Skin?

Dryness can be a real pain, especially during the colder months, so we've put together a series of buying guides focusing specifically on dry skin to help you find the products that really work for you. Check them out below!

Summary

Finding the right moisturiser can go a long way to relieve the symptoms of dry skin, giving it a smoother texture and leaving your face feeling soft and comfortable. Although you may still need to try a couple different products to discover the perfect one, we hope this article has given you some helpful tips and advice to save you time when shopping for a moisturiser online! 


Aurthor: Wren Mann

Top 5 Moisturisers for Dry Skin

No. 1: Drunk ElephantLala Retro Whipped Cream

No. 2: Hada LaboGokujun Hyaluronic Lotion Moist

No. 3: CeraVePM Moisturizing Facial Lotion

No. 4: L'OccitaneShea Ultra Rich Comforting Face Cream

No. 5: Yes To CoconutUltra Hydrating Moisturising Coconut Oil Stick

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The descriptions of each product are referenced from content available on manufacturer, brand, and e-commerce sites.
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