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Whether you’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 it’s not suited for your complexion is frustrating, stressful, and costly.

“As a dermatologist, the number one question that patients ask is ‘What is the best moisturizer for my skin type?’” says Douglas Altchek, MD, and clinical professor of dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine in New York. “It’s difficult to find a moisturizer that addresses all skin types that is safe and effective with visible results seen quickly.”

A one-size-fits-all approach just doesn’t work; for most of us, facial care is a mystery that remains unsolved, especially when there may be more than one issue we’re dealing with.

“Some have skin prone to premature aging requiring early attention to proper care,” says Judith Hellman, MD, a Manhattan-based board-certified dermatologist. “Some complicated conditions exist simultaneously,” 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.

What’s more, high maintenance routines—using several sequentially applied products—is just not possible for those with busy schedules. But simple, consistent daily care is possible—once you find the right products for your skin type, your regimen will require little time and effort while yielding maximum results.

We spoke with a team of experts who provided the best moisturizer recommendations for varying skin types, and rounded up the top dermatologist-recommended products below. Keep scrolling to read why each of these made the cut.

Best for Aging Skin: Tatcha Dewy Skin Cream

Dewy Skin Cream - Tatcha
Credit: Sephora

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. “The product’s active ingredient, red algae, increases skin moisture, moisture retention, and improves elasticity,” she shares with Health. Not only is red algae known to support the skin’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. 

 Best for Oily Skin: Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum

Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum - Biossance
Credit: Sephora

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 “delivers big results without irritation” and “restructures the skin’s barrier by regulating oil production.” 

 Best for Dry Skin: CeraVe Skin Renewing Cream Serum

CeraVe Skin Renewing Retinol Cream Serum
Credit: Ulta Beauty

“For my patients with dry skin, I tend to favor the CeraVe line,” 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 “excellent combination of retinol—a vitamin A derivative—with ceramides to hydrate the skin.”

Best for Acne-Prone Skin: RoC Deep Wrinkle Serum

RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Facial Serum
Credit: Amazon

A game changer for acne-prone skin, the RoC Deep Wrinkle Serum is an over-the-counter acne solution that’s gentle enough to use on a daily basis. The unique formula includes jojoba oil and witch hazel—both known for fighting skin bacteria—alongside RoC’s potent retinol that minimizes deep wrinkles and fine lines. “It works so well, I sometimes switch my younger acne patients to the product,” 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

Oxygenetix Oxygenating Moisturizer
Credit: Amazon

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, “help increase cell turnover, improve your skin’s natural moisture, and combat inflammation.” It’s a great option for those with acne-prone skin, says Vasyukevich, because it’s “fragrance free and all natural, therefore it eliminates the potential of an allergic reaction or break outs.”

 Best for Mature Skin: Kate Somerville +Retinol Vita C Power Serum

Retinol Vita C Power Serum Kate Somerville
Credit: Sephora

This topical serum addresses mature skin concerns, such as thinning, discoloration, and wrinkling. “There are many factors that go into choosing the right product [for aging skin],” 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 “at addressing multiple issues such as fine lines and discoloration.” 

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, it’s also vital the product is housed in a dark bottle, because “when vitamin C is exposed to light, it gets deactivated in the bottle making it useless by the time it makes it to your skin.”

Best for Sensitive Skin: OleHenriksen Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Crème

Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Crème - OLEHENRIKSEN
Credit: Sephora

For those with sensitive skin, this nighttime formula is a suitable alternative to retinol-containing creams. “It’s a functional analog of retinol meaning it has the exact same effect as topical retinol, but with one huge exception,” Dr. Ilyas added. “It’s less irritating because it’s also an inflammatory agent.” 

Best Option With SPF: Elta MD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum Sunblock

Mineral-Based Zinc Oxide Formula, 1. 7 EltaMD
Credit: Amazon

If there’s one thing all skin specialists agree on, it’s that sun damage prevention is key. “The reality is that much of the sun exposure that triggers these changes in the skin occurred during childhood or young adult years,” Dr. Ilyas says. But while most premature skin aging can be blamed on childhood exposure to ultraviolet rays, it’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. 

Best for Combination Skin: bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream
Credit: Amazon

 

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 “the light-weight formula prevents that cake-y make-up look and doesn’t clog pores, providing coverage without product build up.”

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