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15 dermatologist-approved skin care products for dry skin

Banish dry skin for good with these soothing picks.
Charday Penn / Getty Images

Cold weather, frequent hand-washing or using hand sanitizer can take a major toll on your skin and lead to painful, cracked skin that's hard to manage.

And while washing your hands is especially important during Covid-19 pandemic, Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Yoon-Soo Cindy Bae tells Shop TODAY that using a moisturizer afterward is the best way to manage dry skin.

"First and foremost, always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to help remove germs. Or use a hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available," she explained. "Use a hand moisturizer or emollient immediately after washing your hands every single time to keep your skin healthy, soft and hydrated. Don’t worry that using a hand moisturizer will impact the effectiveness of the cleansing. It won’t."

If your skin is naturally on the dry or sensitive side, Bae recommends looking for moisturizers that are labeled as hypoallergenic and fragrance-free.

Shop these dermatologist-approved picks for the best hand creams, cleansers and face moisturizers below.

Best hand creams for dry skin

After washing your hands or using hand sanitizer, she says you should follow with a hand moisturizer to keep them soft and hydrated.

"Cracks in the skin can be a potential entryway for germs," said Bae, which is why moisturizing to prevent these cracks is so vital.

La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume b5

This multiuse cream can be used on your hands, face, body and lips. The brand recommends applying it two times per day to soothe dry skin and irritations.

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream

This little bottle is easy to take while you're on the move. The formula is fragrance-free and includes concentrated levels of moisturizing glycerin that will leave your skin feeling softer and smoother.

Vaseline Original Petroleum Jelly

The Vaseline Original Petroleum Jelly is ideal for extremely dry skin, especially rough patches on knuckles or elbows. It's also great for protecting minor cuts from bacteria.

Vanicream Moisturizing Ointment

If you want the moisture without the greasy feel, Vanicream Moisturizing Ointment gets Bae's approval. It's ideal for sensitive skin as it's free of irritating dyes and fragrances, she notes. According to the brand, it's uniquely formulated to provide moisture and helps prevent water loss from your skin.

Aquaphor Healing Ointment

Bae says this drugstore favorite is made with lanolin, which is a good option if you have chapped hands. The Amazon bestseller has over 31,000 verified five-star reviews. One user even said they saw "dramatic improvement in the feel of (her) skin to the touch," after using the product.

Best cleansers for dry skin

Bae says stress can often exacerbate skin conditions, including your complexion.

"The first place where it can show up is your face with acne breakouts and increased skin sensitivity," she pointed out. "It can also exacerbate skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis and many other inflammatory conditions like hives."

After showing with warm — never hot — water, you should use a gentle cleanser and pat your face dry. Following the cleanser, you'll want to moisturize.

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

Perfect for normal to dry skin, this popular drugstore staple incorporates hyaluronic acid and essential ceramides to restore and refresh your skin's natural moisture. This moisturizer was also designed by dermatologists and is accepted by the National Eczema Association. CeraVe also has a popular foaming cleanser that delivers similar results.

Tula Super Calm Gentle Milk Cleanser

Packed with natural ingredients like ginger, aloe, cucumber and probiotic extracts, Tula's gentle formula is sensitive and nourishing enough for even the most distressed complexions.

Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser

The Vanicream Gentile Facial Cleanser is great for those with sensitive skin. It's also free of fragrance, parabens, preservatives and dyes.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser

Hydrate and cleanse at the same time with this deeply nourishing cleanser. Bae says it's a great formula because it doesn't dry out skin despite delivering a thorough cleanse.

Avène Gentle Milk Cleanser

This face wash will gently remove impurities, oil and makeup without the need for harsh scrubbing. The key ingredients, hyaluronic acid and antioxidants, also help moisturize to leave skin feeling soft.

Best moisturizers for dry skin

Dry skin can trigger inflammatory conditions like eczema, psoriasis and acne, says Bae. To take care of your skin, Bae recommends looking for a fragrance-free moisturizer that will tackle dryness while suppressing the extent of these flare-ups.

"Look for products with moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid or glycerin," said Dr. Bae when asked what to look for in a good facial moisturizer.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

Dry skin emergencies are a thing of the past thanks to this rich moisturizer from First Aid Beauty. Gentle enough for all skin types, it's formulated with protective ingredients like shea butter and colloidal oatmeal.

Weleda Skin Food

Almost 17,000 verified (and satisfied) Amazon reviewers can't be wrong about Weleda's "ultimate" moisturizer. Made with natural ingredients like rosemary and chamomile extracts, sunflower seed and almond oils and beeswax, Skin Food is perfect for hydrating dry, rough skin and leaving you with a natural glow.

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

At under $8, this cream-based formula from The Ordinary is loaded with essential amino acids and hyaluronic acid that'll leave you with "non-greasy" hydration all day.

Vanicream Moisturizing Face Cream

Another affordable option is moisturizing cream that may last you weeks. It was awarded a seal of acceptance from the National Eczema Association and provides lasting hydration for dry skin.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Face Gel Moisturizer

This unique moisturizer absorbs quickly so you can wear it under makeup. It's packed with hyaluronic acid for all-day hydration.

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