IDK WTF happened to my skin this February, but this $11 moisturizer saved me

I can count the number of “good” skin days I’ve had this month on one hand. Thanks to constant weather flip-flopping here in New York City (where it’s 20 degrees one day, 56 and sunny the next), my sensitive, rosacea-prone skin has been freaking out more than I was the time I saw Harry Styles in concert. All month, I’ve battled redness, major acne breakouts (because fun fact, rosacea can manifest as whitehead-looking bumps), and itchy, cracked, dry skin all over my face. I tried everything—doubling down on my prescription topicals, avoiding foundation, slathering on various moisturizing masks—but nothing really helped. After three weeks of this, I was ready to book an appointment with my dermatologist when I tried one last-ditch effort: Cetaphil Rich Hydrating Night Cream with Hyaluronic Acid ($11).

I’ve used various versions of the OG drugstore brand’s cleansers and moisturizers before and liked them, but since my skin is typically oily, I hadn’t ever sought out a cream specifically designed for dry to extra dry skin. But given how parched my complexion was, I knew I needed a different kind of moisturizer to help calm things down. This one has hyaluronic acid in it, which is one of the best hydrating ingredients that’s also safe for all skin types. Plus, unlike some other nighttime moisturizers, this option didn’t have any exfoliants or other ingredients that would further irritate my already very angry skin. I was sold.

cetaphil rich hydrating night cream
Photo: Cetaphil

Shop now: Cetaphil Rich Hydrating Night Cream with Hyaluronic Acid

That night before bed, I applied a quarter-sized amount all over my face and neck immediately after washing my face with a gentle cleanser. It was much thicker than my typical moisturizers—definitely more like a cold cream than the gel moisturizers I usually use. (Translation: A little goes a long way.) My face looked a bit shiny and slick as I hit the sheets, and I had to be careful about not immediately wiping it all off on my pillow.

But the next morning, I could already see results. The dry skin patches on my cheeks had started to smooth out, and my face looked a bit more refreshed. After three days of using this night cream, my skin finally bounced back to normal—something that I haven’t experienced in nearly a month. It might sound trivial, but I can’t emphasize how good it felt to recognize myself in the mirror for the first time in weeks; to know that I didn’t have to go heavy on the foundation; to not feel itchy and uncomfortable in my own skin.

I’m still obviously going to see my dermatologist to understand WTF happened to my face this February, and how to mitigate it in the future. But in the meantime, Cetaphil’s miraculous night cream is going to be a permanent staple in my winter beauty routine.

Looking for other dry skin recs? Here are the products a top dermatologist loves: 

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