Carewell's Best Lotions and Moisturizers for Dry Winter Skin, Rashes, and Chapped Lips

Chad Birt

Written by Chad Birt on Thu Jan 04 2024.

Couple drinking coffee on snowy porch.

Dry skin can be a problem any time of year, but it tends to get worse in the winter (more on that below). Since dry skin is one of the most common problems that family caregivers face, we’ve compiled a list of our 8 best products to help soothe and protect dry, itchy skin. 

Below, we explain the link between dry skin and winter, highlight some of our favorite lotions and moisturizers, and answer a few of the most commonly asked skin-related questions. 

Why Does Dry Skin Get Worse In the Winter?

Several weather-related factors increase the risk of dry skin during the winter, according to David Li, MD, MBA, a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of Boston Derm Advocate

“The dry air, low humidity, wind, and temperature difference causes skin cells to loosen their connections to each other, resulting in the loss of moisture. Hot showers are also popular in the winter, which can reduce natural lipids and oils on the skin, and make symptoms worse.” 

Then there’s the fact that most of us spend more time indoors. Increased exposure to central heating and other heat sources, like fireplaces, and wood-burning stoves, can further dry out the skin, creating a perfect storm.

Is Dry Skin More Common in Older Adults?

Dry, itchy skin affects people of all ages, but it’s most common in people 65 and older. Research suggests up to 55% of older adults have xerosis (the scientific term for dry skin). There are two main reasons for this. First, age-related changes affect the skin’s ability to retain oil and water. And, second, many older adults have chronic medical conditions that affect the skin, such as diabetes and thyroid disease.

Carewell’s 8 Best Lotions and Moisturizers for Dry Winter Skin, Rashes, and Chapped Lips

We often hear from family caregivers who need help finding quality lotions and moisturizers. Now that winter is here, the need is even greater. To make your search a little easier, we’ve curated a list of some of our favorite skin products. The featured items are a mix of our highest-rated and best-selling lotions and moisturizers. We’ve included real user feedback whenever possible under the heading “Hear it From a User/Caregiver”. 

1) Medline Remedy Phytoplex 4-in-1 Barrier Cream Cloths

During the winter months, we usually wear more layers. This helps keep us warm, but it can also make diaper changes more of a hassle. Extra layers also increase the temperature of the skin underneath incontinence products, providing a perfect breeding ground for microorganisms like fungi and bacteria.  

These Medline Remedy cloths are the perfect solution. They’re pre-moistened with a protective barrier cream that cleans, moisturizes, and protects the skin for hours at a time. The cream contains dimethicone which helps retain moisture, relieving symptoms of dryness, itching, and irritation.

Key Benefits & Features

  • Paraben-free, hypoallergenic

  • CHG compatible

  • Gentle, soft, and soothing

Hear it from a caregiver

“These cloths work really well on my mom’s buttocks. I started using these when she was released from the hospital. Her skin looks great for 94 years old.”

- Wenness B. 

2) Medline Remedy Phytoplex Lip Balm

Chapped lips are another skin problem that commonly occurs during the winter. The thin skin of the lips ages like the rest of the body, and certain medications and nutritional supplements, like vitamin A, for example, can affect the lips’ ability to retain moisture. Lip balm to the rescue! 

This Medline Remedy lip balm has a 5-out-of-5-star rating from our caregiving community and for good reason. It contains a variety of soothing and moisturizing ingredients, including shea butter, beeswax, jojoba oil, and cooling menthyl lactate. 

Key Benefits & Features

  • Moisturizing

  • Soothes and protects dry, chapped lips

  • Calming citrus flavor

Hear it from a caregiver

“I got a bunch when my daughter was in the NICU and now it’s the only lip balm my household uses! It really does heal your lips and prevent further damage with no drying effect when usage is stopped!"

- Thera D. 

Image Not Available

3) Desitin Daily Defense Cream

Desitin Daily Defense Cream is an excellent choice if your loved one develops a diaper rash or chapped skin in sensitive areas like the buttocks, genitals, or inner thighs. It’s specifically formulated to protect the skin for up to eight hours, making it ideal for those who wear incontinence products at night. Once applied, the cream creates a protective layer that seals in moisture while reducing redness and irritation.

Key Benefits & Features

  • Provides moisturization and protection to the skin

  • Provides noticeable relief from diaper rash and other similar issues within 12 hours of application

  • Helps seal out wetness

  • Provides overnight protection (perfect for those who experience nighttime voids)

Hear it from a caregiver

“I used Desitin when I had both my children so I have a history of using it. It is a great skin barrier and helps prevent skin breakdown.”

- Karen V. 

Desitin® Daily Defense Cream
Desitin® Daily Defense Cream, 4oz

Price: $7.73 - $348.02

4) Calmoseptine Ointment, Skin Protectant

Calmoseptine ointment is one of the most versatile products on this list. It has moisturizing and skin-protecting abilities, but it can also be used to promote healing. Once applied, the ointment provides a soothing, cooling effect safe for use on all areas of the body, including the anus and perineum.

The ointment’s multipurpose formula can be used to prevent and treat diaper rash or to address more serious skin wounds, including minor burns, hemorrhoids, and anal fissures. 

Key Benefits & Features

  • Contains gentle, cooling menthol

  • Antiseptic properties help defend against microorganisms, like fungi and bacteria

  • Anti-itch properties can be used to manage eczema, psoriasis, diaper rash, and more

Hear it from a caregiver

“This ointment works very well. When I notice any redness, it clears it up with one application. The scent smells very clean…and [the ointment] does a great job protecting the affected skin.”

- Laura D.

Calmoseptine Ointment
Calmoseptine Ointment, Skin Protectant

Price: $9.22 - $86.40

5) Desitin Maximum Strength Cream

Desitin Maximum Strength Cream contains zinc oxide for optimal skin protection. It’s safe for use in sensitive areas and can be used to treat various skin conditions, including dryness, chafing, and diaper rash. The cream’s unique formulation retains the skin’s natural moisture and provides a protective barrier. What’s more, clinical studies show that 90% of Desitin users with diaper rash experience relief within 12 hours.

Key Benefits & Features

  • Helps relieve redness, irritation, and sensitive skin

  • Safe people of all ages, from infants to adults

  • Contains the maximum amount of zinc oxide available without a prescription

Hear it from a caregiver

“Desitin is a wonderful product! Desitin Maximum Strength has been working on my Mom’s skin breakdown. This is a great product. I would like to buy it in a tub.”

- Christina H.  

Desitin Maximum Strength Cream
Desitin Maximum Strength Cream

Price: $5.46 - $378.77

6) Baza Skin Protectant Cream

Baza Skin protectant cream is an excellent choice if you need to treat dry skin and irritation caused by incontinence and/or wearing incontinence products. It contains a dimethicone and zinc oxide mixture formulated to address skin irritation caused by wetness. It also contains lanolin oil and cod liver oil to keep the skin smooth, supple, and healthy. 

Key Benefits & Features

  • Effectively treats and prevents skin irritation and redness caused by incontinence and diaper rash

  • The cream blocks wetness, letting the skin heal

  • Protects and nourishes the skin

Hear it from a caregiver

“Excellent product. This works well for protecting skin in the diaper area. Another care provider gave me a great tip for using this. Take a little medicine pill cup and fill it with half skin cream and half bacitracin ointment and mix it. It helps heal redness and rashes faster and also helps stop possible bed sores.”

- Pamela R. 

Baza Skin Protectant Cream, 2oz,1877, 1 each
Baza Skin Protectant Cream

Price: $9.19 - $132.89

7) Gold Bond Healing Hydrating Aloe Moisturizer

Dry, chapped skin is itchy and irritating, but this hydrating moisturizer from Gold Bond can help! It’s safe to apply anywhere on the body and immediately hydrates and protects the skin. The lotion contains 7 essential moisturizers and 3 nourishing vitamins to stop dry skin before it occurs. For best results, apply the lotion after your loved one gets out of the bath or shower and dries off. 

Key Benefits & Features:

  • Hydrates to protect and restore the skin

  • Dermatologist tested

  • Hypoallergenic

Hear it from a caregiver

“My husband’s hands are so dry and crack open. This cream has kept them soft and healed. Even with frequent handwashing, they stay healed.”

- Charlotte P.

8) Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion

The Aveeno brand is known for its soothing skin products, and this daily moisturizing body lotion lives up to that reputation. It contains several soothing ingredients, including colloidal oatmeal and rich emollients, to protect the skin and prevent dryness. The lotion is non-greasy and applies smoothly, making it ideal for daily wear. 

Key Benefits & Features

  • Provides 24-hour moisture for the hands and body

  • Naturally enhances skin suppleness and firmness

  • Natural colloidal oatmeal helps prevent dry skin

Hear it from a caregiver

“Excellent product. I highly recommend this cleansing cream. The light fragrance is pleasant and the cream works very well.”

- Barbara B.

Get Recurring Deliveries With Autoship

If you use any of these products frequently, create a new Autoship order or add any skincare products to an existing Autoship order. All orders over $49 ship free, and some products qualify for an additional 5% savings.

Have Skincare Questions? Get In Touch!

Dry winter conditions can make issues like diaper rash, chafing, and eczema much worse, but you and your loved ones don’t have to suffer. At Carewell, we carry various lotions, moisturizers, and skin protectants for people of all ages. Whether you’re a new parent trying to keep your baby happy and rash-free, or a child caring for an adult parent with incontinence, lotions, and moisturizers can help. Have questions? Our Friendly Care Team is here for you! Call (800) 696-CARE or send an email to support@carewell.com.

Dry Winter Skin - Commonly Asked Questions

1) When should I see a dermatologist about dry skin?

Most dry skin improves with at-home treatments, like moisturizers and lotions, but if you or your loved one’s symptoms continue or get worse, seek professional help. A dermatologist (skin doctor) can identify contributing factors and make personalized treatment recommendations.

2) Can a humidifier help relieve dry skin?

Yes. A humidifier is an electronic device that increases the amount of moisture in the room. There are several types of humidifiers, but all emit water vapor (or mist) into the air. The added moisture prevents your skin from drying out and acts as a counter to indoor heating. For the best results, experts recommend placing the humidifier in your bedroom. It offers countless benefits for your skin (and sleep). 

Shop Humidifiers Here

3) What are the risk factors for dry winter skin?

Dry skin affects people of all ages and backgrounds, but several things can increase your risk, including:

  • Being 65 or older

  • Using harsh soaps and skin products

  • Frequent handwashing

  • Taking hot baths or showers

  • Taking certain prescription medications

The lotions and moisturizers featured above can help your skin retain moisture and prevent common skin problems, like redness and irritation.

Did you find this article helpful?Share it, print it or have it mailed to you!

Other Articles You May Like

Best Wound Care Products for Seniors of 2024

Wound care is something all people need from time to time. If you fall and scrape your knee, cut yourself while making dinner, or have a wound from surgery to tend to, it’s important to know how to clean and care for the injury to prevent infection and other serious issues.

See our top products. >

How To Deal with Dry Skin in Winter, 8 Pro Tips for Caregivers

The change of seasons can be expected four times a year, but it always presents unique caregiving challenges. Case in point: dry winter skin. The cooler temperatures and dry air common from December to March can irritate anyone’s skin, but older adults are especially vulnerable.

Read More >
Chad Birt
Chad Birt

Chad Birt is a freelance medical writer who resides in Astoria, Oregon. When he isn't behind a keyboard, you can find him hiking, camping, or birdwatching with his wife Ella and their two dogs, Diane and Thoreau.