Nature vs. Chemicals
When it comes to moisturizing dry skin, most people assume that a natural or organic label means a better product. The truth is, however, people with sensitive skin often see better results and less irritation with mass-produced, chemical-laden skin care products. Natural skin moisturizing options often include perishable foodstuffs and botanicals that have limited shelf-lives and can cause allergic reactions. In fact, many of these products can be rougher on the epidermis than their chemical counterparts and may make an existing xerosis problem worse. Natural ingredients often contain harsh, undiluted acids that can wreck havoc on the skin, while chemical formulations are backed by extensive research and testing [source: Cosgrave et al.].
Of course, there are also plenty of harsh chemical-based skin moisturizers out there, and, regardless of research, some of the stuff that goes into moisturizers and other skin care products simply isn't good for you. Many of the common chemical ingredients, such as phenol/carbolic acid (a clear, sweet-smelling liquid derived from coal tar) can even be toxic [source: Skincare].
If you have sensitive skin and want to use an all-natural skin moisturizing product to clear up your xerosis, try looking for one that labels itself as gentle. If you have allergies, make sure you check the list of ingredients before applying it to your skin. If you'd rather go the chemical route, try to familiarize yourself with ingredients to look out for. It's important to remember that not all chemicals are bad, and if you can avoid the particularly troublesome ones, such as phenol, you should be fine.