Derms Recommend These 15 Moisturizers for Acne-Prone Skin

If you have acne-prone skin, derms want you to know a few things before purchasing your next moisturizer. Board-certified dermatologist Azadeh Shirazi, MD, says, “Be cautious of over-layering too many products. Skin minimalism should be your go-to when it comes to skincare. Keep it to three steps: cleanse, treat, and protect.” Shirazi also says that it’s important to avoid certain pore-clogging ingredients that might trigger more breakouts. “It’s best to avoid ingredients that form a film on your skin’s surface, like silicone derivatives (dimethicone and cyclomethicone). Also, avoid fragrances, mineral oil, lanolin, shea butter, or comedogenic oils like coconut oil,” she says.

As a quick note, I will say that not every potentially comedogenic ingredient will bother your skin. A product could be labeled as having one or two of these potentially comedogenic ingredients but could still be a noncomedogenic formula. Celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau taught me that it’s all about the water-to-oil ratio in a formula. You really just have to find what works best for your particular skin. If your skin is extremely sensitive, however, you might want to go with a really simple moisturizer that includes no potential acne triggers whatsoever, like Vanicream, which board-certified dermatologist Marisa Garshick, MD, also recommended. I’ve used Vanicream personally and find it to be a great moisturizer for sensitive, acne-prone skin.

Garshick also has a bit more advice. When choosing the best moisturizer for acne-prone skin, you’ll want to look for certain key elements. “Those with acne-prone skin should look for ingredients that support the skin barrier, such as ceramides, to minimize irritation as well as hyaluronic acid or glycerin, which are humectants to draw moisture in,” she shares. “Niacinamide can also be helpful, as it helps to calm and soothe the skin, reducing redness and inflammation while also working to regulate sebum production and boost ceramide production. Some moisturizers may also have a mattifying effect and help to reduce the appearance of oil. Ingredients like salicylic acid may also be particularly helpful for those who are oily.” Ceramides and niacinamide are important to include if you use strong acne fighters like benzoyl peroxide, retinoid, and BHAs. These will help mitigate any potential skin irritation. 

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