If your skin is typically dry—that is, if it’s persistently parched and not just a seasonal or circumstantial dehydration—then you need to use products that factor for such sensitivity. Your skin’s outermost layer—its defensive one—retains less moisture, and your natural oil production could be lesser than your oily or otherwise “normal” friends. Dry skin is more susceptible to cracking, roughness, aging, and even infection.
While you need a thick but gentle moisturizer to keep it hydrated, you also need a gentle cleanser that doesn’t further compromise the defensive barrier of the skin. It needs to clean without stripping the oil production you *do* have.
You’re often smart to shop for products labeled “gentle” and “sensitive”, but should note whether they have high amounts of fragrances or dyes, which can further aggravate the skin. Obviously, avoid drying products like toners and astringents—anything with alcohol, really—and lay off the drying, deep-cleaning masks. (You should definitely use hydrating sheet masks, though.)
Here are five sensitive-and-dry-skin cleansers we love, all a good foundation for your skincare regimen.
Sundari Cream Cleanser
With the addition of two floral ingredients—comfrey and chamomile—this cleanser pulls dirt and grime from the skin while nourishing and fortifying the capillary walls beneath the skin. This leaves you with smoother, softer complexion, aided by gentle exfoliation from jojoba beads. This cleanser carefully lifts dry, cracked, and peeling skin, making way for the healthier, hydrated cells underneath.
Billy Jealousy White Knight Gentle Cleanser
Free of any irritating additives, White Knight employs amino acids to clean your pores of any gunk, without stripping the natural oils that are so precious in drier skin. Meanwhile, it dissolves dead skin cells to reveal a brighter, smoother, and youthful complexion; and it nourishes and calms the skin in the process, thanks to essential oils like eucalyptus, bergamot, and lavender.
Eucerin Gentle Hydrating Cleanser
Surely you recognize Eucerin from the drugstore aisles, which is a safe place to look for some of the best gentle cleansers. You’ll note that many of them, like this one, tote non-comedogenic formulas (meaning they’ve been clinically proven to not block pores), and they’re often void of scents, dyes, and harsh detergents. Eucerin’s gentle cleanser is as hydrating as it is cleansing, so that you rid of bad oil buildup without expelling any natural moisture.
Murad Refreshing Cleanser
Murad’s dry-skin cleanser is packed with naturally nourishing ingredients like cucumber extract (to calm and hydrate the skin), as well as ginger and algae extracts (to soften rough patches and smooth complexion). Many women with dry skin prefer it because it’s strong enough to remove makeup; just think of what it’ll do with the grime that builds up on your face throughout the day. Even then, it’s gentle enough that it doesn’t dry out the skin and strip necessary moisture—instead, it promotes hydration while it cleans.
Cerave Hydrating Facial Cleanser
Another drugstore staple, you’ve probably seen CeraVe in more friends’ bathrooms than any other cleanser. And for good reason: Most dermatologists will endorse their products—for dry skin and otherwise—since so much thought goes into each formula. As for this dry-and-normal skin blend, ceramides seep into the skin to preserve moisture, and hyaluronic acid helps surface natural moisture from deeper layers of the skin. It’s so effective at cleansing sensitive skin without dehydrating or irritating it, that the National Eczema Association endorses it.
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.