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CeraVe Skin Smarts Skincare Tips Advice How To Choose A Facial Moisturizer For Your Skin Type


Moisturizers come in many different varieties, including daytime moisturizers with sunscreen, anti-aging night creams, and ultra-lightweight gels for oily skin. But no matter which moisturizer you choose, these products share one thing in common: they are excellent at providing your skin with much-needed hydration. CeraVe’s moisturizers with three essential ceramides help your skin retain this added hydration while addressing specific skin concerns and helping to restore your skin’s protective barrier. Below, we’re uncovering some of the best CeraVe facial moisturizers for each skin type and sharing the top factors to consider when choosing a moisturizer for your skin’s needs.

Common Myths About Facial Moisturizers

  • Myth #1: “I only need a facial moisturizer if I have dry skin - In actuality, this basic skincare step can benefit all skin types, including oily skin and sensitive skin.
  • Myth #2: “Moisturizers will clog my pores” - CeraVe’s facial moisturizers are non-comedogenic, which means they are formulated not to clog your pores.
  • Myth #3: “Using a facial moisturizer will leave my skin feeling greasy” - The ideal facial moisturizer for your skin type shouldn’t leave your skin feeling slick or oily.
  • Myth #4: “I can use my body lotion as a face moisturizer.” - Some CeraVe moisturizers are suitable for use on both your face and body. However, this isn’t the case for all formulas, so it’s important to read the label carefully before applying your chosen product.

What Are the Different Types of Facial Moisturizers?

Before diving into how to choose a moisturizer for each skin type, let’s cover a few basics—starting with the three types of ingredients used in moisturizers: humectants, occlusives, and emollients.
  • Humectants: This type of moisturizer works by attracting hydration to the skin’s surface. Humectants (like hyaluronic acid and glycerin) offer a lightweight moisturizer option that can help keep your skin looking plump, youthful, and supple.
  • Occlusives: Found in many oil-based creams and ointments, these moisturizers work by creating a protective barrier on top of your skin that helps prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL). Occlusives, such as petrolatum, can be used in tandem with humectants to help your skin retain moisture.
  • Emollients: These ingredients help enhance your skin’s smoothness, softness, and flexibility, which can make them beneficial for those with rough, uneven skin texture. You’ll often find both emollients (like dimethicone) and humectants in moisturizing lotions, gels, and creams.

Different moisturizing ingredients can impact the consistency and texture of your facial moisturizer in different ways. Because of this, some ingredients can be better suited to certain skin types than others. Occlusive ingredients, such as petrolatum, have a waxy, semi-solid consistency and thick texture that can be especially helpful for those with very dry skin. Meanwhile, the lightweight nature of many humectants can be ideal for those with oily skin (more on that ahead).

Does Skin Type Matter When Choosing a Moisturizer?

Understanding your skin type is an essential first step when creating a daily skincare routine. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), there are five main skin types: normal, combination, dry, oily, and sensitive—and each of these types has unique needs.1 The AAD recommends identifying your skin type before starting a skincare routine, as this can help you understand your skin’s needs and identify the right skincare products for you.

If you need help figuring out your skin type, consult a board-certified dermatologist for an individualized assessment of your skin. You can also find tips on how to identify your skin type in our skin type guide.

How Do I Choose a Moisturizer for My Skin Type?

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s explore some of the facts you should know when choosing the right face moisturizer for your skin. Read on for a breakdown of each skin type, plus a few of our favorite moisturizers for normal, dry, oily, combination, and sensitive skin.

Normal skin

The normal skin type is characterized by skin that is well-balanced—it’s neither too oily nor too dry. Normal skin may be less prone to skin concerns such as acne breakouts, dryness, or flakiness.

Moisturizer Tip for Normal Skin: Since this skin type already possesses a good natural moisture balance, the right facial moisturizer for normal skin should focus on maintaining the skin’s hydration. You can try an option like CeraVe Ultra-Light Moisturizing Gel if you prefer a weightless, refreshing gel texture or CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion if you prefer a slightly richer lotion texture. Both of these hydrating moisturizers are non-greasy, non-comedogenic, and designed to help maintain the skin’s protective barrier.

Explore CeraVe Moisturizers for Normal Skin

Dry skin

If you have dry skin, it may feel itchy, tight, and sensitive, and appear rough, flaky, or even scaly. Some common skin concerns for those with dry skin include dullness, uneven skin texture, and more pronounced fine lines and wrinkles.

Moisturizer Tip for Dry Skin: People with dry skin may benefit from choosing a thicker moisturizer formula (such as a face cream) that’s gentle, fragrance-free, and formulated to keep essential moisture in your skin—like CeraVe Moisturizing Cream. This barrier-restoring moisturizing cream with three essential ceramides releases a steady stream of moisturizing ingredients for long-lasting hydration. The rich yet non-greasy formula helps restore the skin’s natural moisture barrier, which may be compromised in individuals with dry skin, according to the Cleveland Clinic.2

Explore CeraVe Moisturizers for Dry Skin

Oily skin

Oily skin types are usually prone to visible shine, greasy-feeling skin, clogged pores, and acne breakouts. These skin concerns are believed to be the result of excess sebum (oil) in the skin.

Moisturizer Tip for Oily Skin: If you have oily skin, it’s generally best to look for moisturizers that are lightweight, oil-free, and non-comedogenic—such as CeraVe Ultra-Light Moisturizing Gel. This refreshing, water-based gel formula feels weightless on your skin and features beneficial ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and niacinamide. Plus, it layers well under makeup and sunscreen and doesn’t leave behind a sticky or greasy residue on your skin.

Explore CeraVe Moisturizers for Oily Skin

Combination skin

As the name suggests, people with combination skin typically have skin that feels drier in some areas and oilier in others. This frequently manifests as increased oiliness around the T-zone area (the forehead, nose, and chin) and dryness around the cheeks.

Moisturizer Tip for Combination Skin: This skin type usually benefits from light to medium-weight moisturizers that are well-rounded enough to address the mixed needs of combination skin. We recommend applying a gentle facial moisturizer for combination skin—like CeraVe Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30—in the morning, followed by a barrier-restoring nighttime moisturizer (such as CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion) before bed.

Explore CeraVe Moisturizers for Combination Skin

Sensitive skin

Sensitive skin tends to be triggered by external factors and various irritants, resulting in redness, burning, itching, or stinging. Although it’s usually referred to as a skin type in and of itself, it’s important to note that any skin type can experience sensitivity. In other words, you can have dry sensitive skin, oily sensitive skin, and so on.

Moisturizer Tip for Sensitive Skin: According to the Mayo Clinic, people with sensitive skin may want to avoid moisturizers with harsh ingredients or potential irritants, such as fragrance.3 For daytime, we suggest applying a fragrance-free, gentle face moisturizer with sunscreen—like CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion. This formula continuously hydrates and helps protect sensitive skin from harmful UV rays (but always remember to reapply as needed). In the evening, you can try CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum, our hydrating facial serum that helps smooth skin and provides up to 24 hours of hydration. Next, apply an allergy-tested facial moisturizer for sensitive skin, like CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion.

Explore CeraVe Moisturizers for Sensitive Skin

What Should I Look for in a Facial Moisturizer for All Skin Types?

Choosing a facial moisturizer according to your skin type is crucial, but there are also some must-haves to look for in any moisturizer formula. Regardless of your skin type, CeraVe recommends using a facial moisturizer that is:
  • Developed with dermatologists
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Formulated with beneficial ingredients (such as ceramides)
  • Fragrance-free
  • Allergy-tested
  • Gentle on skin
  • Contains broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher (for daytime)

If you’re not sure where to begin, try our AM/PM moisturizer duo. Suitable for all skin types, CeraVe’s AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion and PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion are designed to help keep your skin hydrated, comfortable, and healthy-looking. CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion features hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen to help protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays during the day. In the evening, our PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion with niacinamide works to help hydrate, calm, and soothe your skin.

How Do I Choose a Moisturizer for Aging Skin?

Your skin’s ability to retain moisture naturally diminishes with age, but the right moisturizer can help boost hydration and leave your complexion looking brighter with less noticeable fine lines. To help target visible signs of aging, look for a moisturizer that features beneficial anti-aging ingredients like retinol and peptides.

Moisturizer Tip for Mature Skin: One great moisturizer option for mature skin is CeraVe Skin Renewing Day Cream. This daytime moisturizer with encapsulated retinol and SPF 30 sunscreen helps prevent sun-induced signs of aging while improving the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and rough texture. For your nighttime moisturizer, try CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream. This moisturizer with peptides, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid is designed to soften and renew the look of tired skin.

Explore CeraVe Moisturizers for Mature Skin

Should You Use Moisturizer if You Have Acne-Prone Skin?

It’s a common misconception that you should skip facial moisturizer if you’re prone to acne breakouts. On the contrary, research suggests that moisturizers can help support your clear skin routine, especially when using drying acne treatments (such as benzoyl peroxide).3

Moisturizer Tip for Acne-Prone Skin: CeraVe recommends choosing lightweight, non-comedogenic formulas that are suitable for acne-prone skin, like our AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion and PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion. With that said, everyone’s acne is different, so it’s important to consult a board-certified dermatologist if you have any questions about the best face moisturizer for your acne-prone skin.

Explore CeraVe Products for Acne-Prone Skin

For help choosing the right products for your specific skin type and concerns, use our Find My Skincare Solution tool.

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