Moisturizers for Acne-Prone Skin

Using moisturizers for acne-prone skin may seem counterintuitive. Anyone suffering from a breakout is likely to be focused on drying out their pesky pimples, not keeping their skin moisturized. But everyone needs to hydrate, according to Mona Gohara, MD, associate clinical professor in the dermatology department at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. “This helps the skin barrier remain healthy,” she says.

Acne is the most common skin condition affecting people in the United States, but the exact causes are still unclear. Maintaining healthy, hydrated skin can be a challenge when you are using an acne medication that can be drying.

When choosing between all of the moisturizers out there, acne sufferers should consider their skin type. Even though acne is often thought of as an oily skin problem, acne patients can be oily or dry, says Dr. Gohara. “For those struggling with oily skin, stick with a lotion — they are lighter than creams — while those with dry skin should go with a more hydrating cream.”

There are some general guidelines all acne sufferers can follow to find a great moisturizer, sans breakouts. “I would look for gentle hydrators with hyaluronic acid and lipids,” says Gohara. And avoid fragrances to cut down on the potential for irritation.

With these rules in mind, check out our list of the best moisturizers for acne- prone skin, and get the hydration you need.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

For dry skin, Gohara recommends La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer. Formulated to restore the skin’s natural protective barrier, this moisturizer also includes prebiotics. A recent study has found that a balanced microbiome may play an important role in keeping acne at bay, making this pro- good-bacteria lotion a winner for anyone fighting breakouts.

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No7 Early Defence Day Cream SPF 30

This moisturizer is a good option if you’re looking for sun protection. It’s lightweight and designed to clear up minor imperfections. “This moisturizer helps fade the brown marks that can last after the pimple is gone,” says Gohara.

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Up & Up Facial Moisturizing Lotion with SPF 15

Recommended by Gohara, this light oil-free lotion is non-comedogenic, so it won't block pores. It’s also free from lots of potential irritants: Phthalate- free, no fragrance added, dye-free, ethyl alcohol-free, and aluminum-free.

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Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion

A staple of sensitive-skin sufferers for years, Cetaphil moisturizing lotion works well for just about everyone, even those of us with pimples to treat. It ticks off all the major points, being fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, oil-free, and lightweight. It’s a safe bet, and super-affordable.

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CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion

Like Cetaphil, CeraVe is another trusted brand for people with sensitive skin, acne, dry skin, or some combination of the three. The SPF in this formula is a super fine zinc, which is beneficial for those looking to avoid chemical sunscreens but who also want to prevent clogged pores.

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Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel

A very absorbable gel texture sets Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel apart. It’s formulated with hyaluronic acid, which is a hydrating compound naturally found in the skin, and works with all skin types. You can also get both SPF and non- SPF versions, depending on your needs. This one does include fragrance and dye toward the end of its ingredient list (ingredients are listed in order of volume), so people with high sensitivity may want to go with a more traditional lotion.

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