The 10 Best Ceramide Moisturizers to Buy in 2020

Give your skin the hydration it craves

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First Look

Best Overall: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer at Amazon

"Powered by a potent combination of ceramide 3, prebiotic thermal water, glycerin, and niacinamide for restorative hydration."

Best Budget: CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion for Normal to Dry Skin at Amazon

"Combines ceramides 1, 3, and 6-II to provide 24-hour hydration and help restore the protective skin barrier."

Best for Sensitive Skin: BeautyStat Cosmetics Universal Pro-Bio Moisture Boost Cream at Amazon

"A surprisingly lightweight formula that locks in moisture, aids the protective skin barrier, and guards against environmental toxins."

Best for Eczema and Psoriasis: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream at Amazon

"Target dry, itchy, and flaky skin with this one powerful, affordable cream."

Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Paula's Choice CLEAR Oil-Free Moisturizer at Dermstore

"Does a great job of gently and effectively moisturizing the skin without adding shine."

Best for Dull Skin: Mario Badescu A.H.A. & Ceramide Moisturizer at Amazon

"Alpha hydroxy acids, ceramides, and squalane effectively hydrate and tone the skin, giving it a smoother and brighter appearance."

Best for Aging Skin: Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Capsules Line Erasing Night Serum at Ulta

"Pairs hydrating and restorative ceramides with retinol, an ingredient proven to help minimize wrinkles, to create the ultimate anti-aging serum.”"

Best for Body: Cetaphil Ultra Healing Lotion with Ceramides at Amazon

"“Uses sunflower oil to soften rough skin and ceramides to restore the skin’s moisture barrier for 24 hours."

Best for Hands: EltaMD So Silky Hand Crème at Amazon

"Includes ceramides to help repair the skin barrier, jojoba esters to hydrate the skin, vitamin E to protect against free radicals, and sclareolides from clary sage to target pigmentation."

Best for Hair: Palmer's Natural Fusions Ceramide Monoï Hair Food Oil at Amazon

"Replenishes the components of the hair follicle that give hair its strength and coats fragile hair in a protective barrier to prevent further breakage."

If you struggle with excessively dry skin, there are certain skincare ingredients that can provide much-needed relief. Ceramides, for instance, are an excellent place to start.

Ceramides are lipids, or fats, that are found naturally in your epidermis. They help form the skin barrier, which helps the skin retain its moisture by preventing water evaporation. When your skin lacks the proper ratio of ceramides, its barrier can be compromised, causing issues like dryness, itching, irritation, and redness.

Luckily, you can effectively replenish your skin’s ceramide balance with topical moisturizers. In fact, studies suggest that ceramide cream moisturizers can lead to increased skin hydration, decreased transepidermal water loss, and the maintenance of skin barrier function that protects against irritants, allergens, and microbes. Ceramides are generally considered safe for all skin types because they are found naturally in the human body. 

Below are some of the best ceramide moisturizers on the market. Regardless of your skin type, budget, or area of the body you’re hoping to target, you'll likely find a product that fits your specific needs.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

This daily moisturizer helps all skin types achieve hydrated, healthy-looking skin. The oil-free formula is powered by ceramide 3, which is an essential ceramide naturally found in the skin. It also contains moisturizing glycerin, prebiotic thermal water, and soothing niacinamide. This ingredient combination replenishes the skin’s moisture for up to 48 hours and helps restore the skin's natural protective barrier after a single hour.

This non-comedogenic, fast-absorbing moisturizer won’t clog your pores, and because it’s free of both fragrance and parabens, it’s also an excellent choice for folks with sensitive skin. 

Best Budget: CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion for Normal to Dry Skin

CeraVe is a household name in the world of ceramide-rich skincare, with many moisturizing products that are soothing to your skin and kind to your wallet. This particular lotion has a unique, lightweight formula that makes it an excellent choice for both normal and dry skin.

Its combination of ceramides 1, 3, and 6-II provides 24-hour hydration and helps restore the protective skin barrier you need for healthy, glowing skin. This moisturizer contains hyaluronic acid to further retain the skin’s natural moisture. It’s oil-free, non-comedogenic, fragrance-free, and safe to use on your face, hands, and body.

Best for Sensitive Skin: BeautyStat Cosmetics Universal Pro-Bio Moisture Boost Cream

While some moisturizing creams feel heavy and greasy, this pick from BeautyStat is surprisingly lightweight and leaves zero shiny residue behind. Instead, it locks the moisture you need directly into your skin with hyaluronic acid, aids the protective skin barrier with ceramides and pomegranate sterols, and guards against environmental toxins with probiotic bifida extract and Ganoderma, a ferment from mushrooms.

This fragrance-free cream helps reduce redness and can help minimize the appearance of fine lines and dark spots over time. Ideal for sensitive and dry skin, this moisturizing cream will give you the healthy glow and soft texture you crave.

Best for Eczema and Psoriasis: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

CeraVe earns a second spot on our list with its ability to target both eczema and psoriasis in one powerful, affordable cream. Dry, flaky skin is at the root of both of these skin conditions, and this rich cream tackles these symptoms effectively with ceramides 1, 3, and 6-II. It also uses hyaluronic acid to reinforce the skin’s protective barrier and lock in both moisture and important nutrients.

This cream is better used for eczema and psoriasis on the body, but you can safely use it in small amounts on your face as well. The formula is fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, and gentle enough for virtually any skin type.

Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Paula's Choice CLEAR Oil-Free Moisturizer

Paula's Choice Clear Oil-Free Moisturizer

Folks with acne-prone skin need to be especially careful with the moisturizer they choose in order to avoid exacerbating clogged pores and additional breakouts. This pick from Paula’s Choice does a great job of gently and effectively moisturizing the skin without adding shine. It’s lightweight but packed with hydrating hyaluronic acid, restorative ceramides, calming antioxidants, and tone-improving niacinamide.

This moisturizer not only fortifies your skin but also reduces natural redness that tends to come with acne-prone skin. It's also oil-free, fragrance-free, and paraben-free. It’s recommended that you use this moisturizer in the evening as the final step of your skincare routine before bed.

Best for Dull Skin: Mario Badescu A.H.A. & Ceramide Moisturizer

If you struggle with dull, lackluster skin, ceramides can help bring that coveted glow back to your complexion, especially in this formula from Mario Badescu. The gentle daily moisturizer uses refreshing lemon and lemongrass extracts, as well as soothing aloe vera gel to help revive dull, congested skin. Plus, alpha-hydroxy acids, ceramides, and squalane effectively hydrate and tone the skin, giving it a smoother and brighter appearance. It’s absorbent, lightweight, and it can help reduce sun spots and skin pigmentation conditions.

After cleansing and toning your skin, apply the moisturizer all over your face, avoiding the eye area. And if you want to rejuvenate your skin while you sleep, use it as a lightweight night cream.

Best for Aging Skin: Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Capsules Line Erasing Night Serum

Elizabeth Arden

Ceramides are a potent ingredient in an anti-aging skin care regimen because effective hydration and skin barrier protection help ward off the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This formula from Elizabeth Arden pairs ceramides with retinol, an ingredient proven to help minimize wrinkles, to create the ultimate anti-aging serum that improves skin texture and tone.

The moisturizer is pre-portioned into easy-to-use capsules that keep the light- and air-sensitive retinol potent until you’re ready to use them. It’s also lightweight, preservative-free, and fragrance-free. Gently twist the capsule tab around twice to open it, then smooth the serum over your face and neck before applying your evening moisturizer.

Best for Body: Cetaphil Ultra Healing Lotion with Ceramides

Ceramides don’t just help the skin on your face. In fact, using a body lotion full of ceramides is one of the best ways to heal rough, dry, and flaky skin. This ultra-healing lotion from Cetaphil, a dermatologist-recommended brand, uses sunflower oil to soften rough skin and ceramides to restore the skin’s moisture barrier for 24 hours.

The non-irritating formula also contains amino acids and allantoin that help soothe and nourish dry, flaky skin. Free of both fragrances and parabens, it’s suitable for every skin type. It’s also non-comedogenic and doesn’t leave behind a greasy residue.

Best for Hands: EltaMD So Silky Hand Crème

Ceramides can be incredibly effective in restoring dry, cracked hands. This moisturizing hand lotion from EltaMD uses ceramides to help repair the skin barrier, jojoba esters to hydrate the skin, vitamin E to protect against free radicals, and sclareolides from clary sage to target pigmentation.

The result? Silky-smooth hands with fewer fine lines and less discoloration. It’s a quick-drying, oil-free formula, so it absorbs fully into the skin without leaving your hands feeling sticky and works to repair for up to 12 hours.

Best for Hair: Palmer's Natural Fusions Ceramide Monoï Hair Food Oil

Your skin isn’t the only part of your body that can benefit substantially from ceramides. In fact, these lipids can help to both nourish and strengthen your hair as well. This cocktail of hydro-ceramides and Tahitian Monoï helps to replenish the components of the hair follicle that give hair its strength and coat fragile hair in a protective barrier to prevent further breakage. It’s an excellent botanical combination for promoting optimal growth and protecting new hair growth. It’s free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, and gluten, so it’s safe for even the most sensitive scalps.

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for a solid one-size-fits-all ceramide moisturizer, you really can’t go wrong with La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer. It provides the moisture and skin protection you crave and skips over any potentially irritating ingredients. However, if you want more bang for your buck, CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion for Normal to Dry Skin is an excellent choice, too.

What to Look For in a Ceramide Moisturizer

Additional Ingredients: Most ceramide moisturizers contain other beneficial ingredients for the skin. However, people with sensitive skin or skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema should be wary of the ingredients they're putting on their skin. Certain chemicals can causes allergic reactions, so ask your dermatologist which ingredients to avoid before choosing a moisturizer.

Ceramide Type: The top layer of your epidermis contains nine different types of ceramides which are conveniently named ceramide 1 through ceramide 9. While they're similar in nature, certain skin conditions can result in significantly fewer ceramides in the skin. If you have psoriasis, you may want to opt for a moisturizer with higher levels of ceramides 1 through 5, which are usually deficient in people with psoriasis. Talk to your dermatologist about which ceramides to look for in your moisturizer.

Targeted Anatomy: Depending on the body part you're moisturizing, you'll want to look for qualities that best cater to that region. Hand and body moisturizers may be thicker and greasier than facial moisturizers. Pay attention to the label when shopping to ensure you're getting the exact formula you need.

What Experts Say

“Ceramides are a type of lipid, or fat, that are natural components of the epidermis. Ceramides contribute to the formation of the skin barrier, a combination of lipids that prevent the evaporation of water from the skin to keep it hydrated. Hydrated skin is supple, healthy, and contributes to the appearance of a youthful visage. Dehydrated skin can become red and irritated, and is prone to conditions like eczema. Dry skin also accentuates features of mature skin, such as lines and wrinkles. It is important to note that dry skin is different from dehydrated skin, in that dry skin implies a reduction in sebum or oil. Sebum lubricates the skin, prevents dehydration, and makes the skin and hair feel smooth and soft. Ceramides are popular skincare ingredients because they are generally considered safe for all skin types because they are normally found in our bodies, and when added to products they help to hydrate the skin and relieve symptoms associated with dry skin, like itching, redness, and scaling.” Brendan Camp, MD, a board-certified dermatologist

“Dry skin is easily treatable with a variety of moisturizers. Some good ingredients to look for are ceramides, dimethicone, petrolatum, and hyaluronic acid. Apply on damp skin such as after a shower for the best effect of locking in the moisture. Lotions are the thinnest and weakest, followed by creams that are stronger, and ointments which are usually a bit greasy but the strongest. Straight oils are preferred by some people and also work well.” Rebecca Baxt, MD, a board-certified dermatologist

“Ceramides are molecules commonly found in the skin as components of the lipid bilayer (waterproof barrier) of our skin’s cell membranes. Robust, healthy amounts of ceramides make up healthy amounts of sphingomyelin, which keeps our cell membrane barriers intact. This protects cellular hydration and also helps to support the barrier function, keeping unwanted invaders out. Ceramide as an ingredient is great for everyone, but it is especially helpful for older people, as our natural ceramide production dips with age. This is especially true in postmenopausal women. Ceramides are lipids themselves, so they create a hydration barrier on the surface of the skin which prevents trans-epidermal water loss, a measure of healthy barrier function. Product manufacturers claim that ceramides in their products are carried down beneath the surface to act as building blocks for sphingomyelin in skin cell membranes. Ceramides are valuable tools in skin moisturizing, but not the only valuable tool. Also helpful are petrolatum, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, dimethicone, microcrystalline wax, colloidal oatmeal, and several other well-researched common moisturizer ingredients. — Jessica Krant, MD, a board-certified dermatologist

Why Trust Verywell

As a seasoned health writer, Alena Hall understands how important it is to know exactly what you’re getting in a wellness product. Over the years, she has reviewed dozens of products, from athletic recovery aids to homeopathic essential oils to ever-trendy CBD topicals, to help readers like you discover products that can help you live your best life.

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  1. Spada F, Barnes TM, Greive KA. Skin hydration is significantly increased by a cream formulated to mimic the skin's own natural moisturizing systems. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2018;11:491-497. Published 2018 Oct 15. doi:10.2147/CCID.S177697