Acne is a complicated problem to have, and it can be challenging to discover the culprit—hormones, genetics, and diet. But one thing’s for sure: your skin has to stay hydrated throughout the process, and a good moisturiser is an answer.
“People will avoid using moisturiser for two reasons: They have oily skin and feel that it’s not necessary, or they are afraid that moisturiser will give them acne blemishes,” explains Renée Rouleau, celebrity esthetician and trusted skin care expert.
“Both are not accurate. Wearing moisturizer does not cause breakouts. Acne happens when the cells that line the inner pores fail to fall off properly, clogging the pore. This happens whether you moisturize or not.”
Skipping out on moisturiser can harm the skin. When moisturizer is avoided, the skin dehydrates and sets off a response to produce more oil. This newly produced oil accumulates on the skin, resulting in a breeding ground for bacteria, which makes existing breakouts last longer and leaves a hospitable environment for new breakouts to form.
Below, the six best moisturisers for acne-prone skin, as recommended by dermatologists and aestheticians.
Differin Oil Absorbing Moisturizer with Sunscreen
“The Differin Oil Absorbing Moisturizer SPF 30 is great for those with acne-prone skin because it has a lightweight formula that contains Micropearl technology, which absorbs surface oil for a matte finish, while also protecting against harmful UV radiation including UVA/UVB rays,” says New York-based dermatologist Melissa Levin, MD.
Proactiv Complexion Perfecting Hydrator
“This is a wonderful choice for acne prone skin because it’s lightweight, and doesn’t occlude or block pores, and it contains 0.5 per cent salicylic acid,” New York-based dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, MD, shares. “Salicylic acid is an ingredient that helps prevent future acne pimples and also treats current pimples by dissolving blackheads and whiteheads. Salicylic acid is a bacteriostatic ingredient and targets the bacteria that live on the skin and play a role in acne formation. This product also contains liquorice root extract and Kojic acid: both improve the pigmented and dark marks that acne leaves behind; essentially the “stains” on the skin from old pimples.”
Embryolisse Hydra Mat Emulsion
“Maintaining a hydrated skin barrier without adding excess oil is always a fine line with acne-prone skin, ” New-York Based dermatologist Marnie Nussbaum explains. “I highly recommend moisturizers that are water-based and more of a gel-cream consistency rather than a thick emollient or ointment. Look for products that contain hyaluronic acid, glycerin and squalene which are hydrating without clogging pores versus petrolatum or mineral-oil based products. I love Embryolisse Hydra-Mat emulsion as it soaks up excess oil while maintaining hydration.”
Bioderma Sebium Global
“Bioderma Sebium global is a great moisturiser for acne prone skin,” New York-based dermatologist Lily Talakoub, MD, says. “The biggest mistake acne prone consumers make is that they skip moisturizing for fear of more breakouts. However, if the skin is not hydrated and gets dry it will actually produce more oil. This moisturizer contains AHA esters, salicylic acid and citric acid to reduce blemishes while zinc gluconate, combined with enoxolone, soothes and reduces redness caused by inflammation.”
G.M. Collin Puracne Gel
“This gel contains a complexity of ingredients to eliminate breakouts and induce a healthier complexion,” aesthetician and global educator for G.M. Collin Karen Asquith explains. “Salicylic acid, the gold standard to treat acne, provides a keratolytic and comedolytic effect while visibly decreasing inflammation. Niacinamide improves the appearance of enlarged pores, helps regulate sebaceous lipid and acne, and imparts a more even-looking skin tone.”
Dove DermaSeries Fragrance-Free Face Cream
“This keeps the skin barrier health top of mind,” Connecticut-based dermatologist, Mona Gohara, MD recommends. “It’s simple, fragrance-free formulation keeps the acne fire from being stoked. Although it’s a cream, it is non-comedogenic, cosmetically elegant and easy to layer. I often use it as my last step before makeup when I am going out at night. “