Our top pick? The CeraVe Healing Ointment
Winter may be beloved by many for its association with the holidays and warm drinks, however, ‘tis also the season of very dry skin. Regular lotions and moisturizers won’t be able to satisfy your skin’s moisture needs in the winter because of the dry air accompanying the cool temperature. The solution lies in switching up your skincare routine and replacing your regular moisturizing products with occlusive moisturizers.
But what is an occlusive moisturizer? Occlusives are a class of skincare ingredients designed to provide a protective seal over skin and lock in hydration. Besides occlusives, there are two other kinds of moisturizing ingredients, namely humectants and emollients, which draw in moisture and soften the skin respectively. Some common occlusives are petroleum jelly and beeswax.
Anytime that the air is dry—which is especially true in winter months—the top layer of the skin loses moisture; this leads to dry skin. Besides the seasons, exposure to hot water and harsh chemicals (such as chlorine from swimming pools), certain medical conditions, genetics, and age are some of the leading causes of skin dryness.
To prevent skin from losing moisture, applying an occlusive moisturizer is essential. To help you find the perfect occlusive moisturizer for you, we have curated a comparison list of 6 of the best that are currently available in 2022, enjoy!
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#1 — Healing Ointment by CeraVe
Our rating: ★★★★★
A moisturizing petrolatum skin protectant for dry skin, with hyaluronic acid and ceramides.
What makes it special? The CeraVe Healing ointment is the most popular occlusive available in drugstores. While some people tend to compare it to Vaseline, it is no doubt a more elegant product with 46.5% petrolatum and additional ingredients such as ceramides and panthenol. A pea-sized amount applied at night is enough to have you waking up with moisturized skin. If your body is also dry, feel free to slather some of the ointment over your usual lotion or moisturizer as well. It is best for bringing dry and cracked skin back to life.
Which skin type? Amazing for *all* skin types! Primarily for dry skin, though.
#2 — Ultra-Rich Comforting Cream by L'Occitane
Our rating: ★★★★★
A 25% shea butter moisturizer to answer the essential needs of dry skin.
What makes it special? L’Occitane’s cream is the heaviest one on this list. It has 25% shea butter and is extremely nourishing so it lessens skin tightness. The 25% formula also allows you to have well-hydrated skin for longer—up to one whole day with just one application. Considering its viscosity, L’Occitane’s jar packaging is perfect. However, there is risk of contamination so wash your hands before handling the product or use a spatula or cotton bud.
Which skin type? Dry/dehydrated skin types.
#3 — Thermal Water Rich Water Cream by Uriage
Our rating: ★★★★★
A hydrating shea butter face cream for 24h comfort.
What makes it special?
Uriage’s rich cream contains thermal water from the French Alps and is suitable for all skin types. It is also budget-friendly and easy to apply, so it’s perfect for people who are on the go. If the thermal water ingredient has made you curious, Uriage claims that this water has traveled throughout the French Alps for 2000 years, accumulating vitamins and minerals.
The texture is on the heavy side due to the inclusion of shea batter but it is not as heavy as the L'Occitane Comforting Cream. It is hypoallergenic and gradually releases moisture to the skin throughout the day. However, the scent of this cream is nothing special and it comes in a smaller size.
Which skin type? For dry to very dry skin.
#4 — Barrier Restore Complex fx140 by PRIORI
Our rating: ★★★★★
A moisture barrier restoring complex with Lactic Acid, and Vitamins A, C, E.
What makes it special? PRIORI is the most expensive product on this list but it is best for those with sensitive skin, or those who struggle with acne problems or pimple-prone skin. It’s a premium emulsion that helps restore the natural skin barrier. It contains lactic acid which firms the skin and stimulates collagen production. It has a lightweight texture which suits all skin types and can be used day or night.
Which skin type? All skin types, especially for impaired or damaged skin.
#5 — Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer by Biossance
Our rating: ★★★★★
A rich moisturizer with hyaluronic acid and ceramides to hydrate, plump and smooth skin.
What makes it special? If you are a fan of organic skincare, Biossance is the best choice for you. It comes in a juicy gel formulation made with the highly potent occlusive squalane. It sinks into the skin’s deepest layers within seconds and leaves your skin feeling soft and velvety. It also contains probiotics, ginger, and red seaweed extracts for balancing complexion and reducing redness.
Which skin type? For all skin types, especially those that are dry and dehydrated.
Considerations for choosing the best occlusive moisturizer
Before you buy an occlusive moisturizer, here are a few key things to consider:
- Skin type - Occlusive moisturizers are denser and thicker than regular creams. This can feel heavy and greasy on your skin especially if it is already oily. If your skin is the oily type, choose a light formulation. On the other hand, people with dry to normal skin will benefit greatly from occlusives.
- Skin issues - If you are dealing with medical issues or skin damage, you need to be extra careful with what you apply on your skin. Luckily, occlusives have been found to be beneficial to people with eczema and atopic dermatitis. However, individuals with acne issues need to be careful with occlusives.
- Product texture - Many occlusives are in cream form, but some also come in lotion form. It is important to know which texture you prefer because the absorption time and application method vary.
- Application time - Occlusive moisturizers are usually used at night so they can get absorbed into the skin completely. It is also not ideal for wearing all day because it can prevent skin from breathing underneath layers of makeup.
- Product finish - Most occlusive moisturizers give off a light sheen because of ingredients like butter and oils. However, if you want a matte finish, you can look for that type of occlusive moisturizer.
Now that you know what to look for in an occlusive and you’ve seen our top six occlusive moisturizer picks, go ahead and get one (or more!) to quench your thirsty skin this winter.
This post was written by guest author, Katie Pierce, and edited by Calum Torrington.
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