How to Get Rid of Acne by Adding Moisturizer to Your Regimen
Acne has a tendency to leave your skin feeling greasy and oily, so using a moisturizer may be the last thing you would think about trying. Anyone who suffers from breakouts is more likely to focus on drying out their annoying pimples rather than keeping their skin moisturized. But the ironic truth is, everyone’s skin needs to be hydrated, and moisturizer is an important part of any skin care regimen – especially for those who want to get rid of acne.
Moisturizer actually helps the skin barrier to remain healthy, according to Mona Gohara, MD, who is the associate clinical professor in the dermatology department at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.
From dry skin to oily skin, combination skin and anywhere in between, people with all skin types will benefit from a moisturizer. If you have acne and notice tiny red pimples on your cheeks, nose, and forehead, you may find that adding moisturizer to your skincare routine will be of great benefit. Additionally, if your skin is naturally oily and you experience large blackheads and whiteheads, you may also need a moisturizer on occasion.
But My Acne Prone Skin is Oily – Shouldn’t I Keep it Dry?
Once upon a time, the idea was that if you had acne, you needed to dry up your skin. It seems to make sense, doesn’t it? Aren’t blackheads and whiteheads the result of oily skin that is built up in the pores? Wouldn’t your acne just stop if you dry up your skin?
Before skin care products became widely available, the way to dry up your skin was to get extra sunlight. It is true that sunlight can dry up acne, thanks to the visible red and blue rays. Those blue rays can fight off acne bacteria on the surface. Red light is able to reach deeper into the pores to shrink sebaceous glands, which are typically to blame for producing excess oil that clogs the pores.
The problem with the sunshine treatment method is that too much sunshine can lead to sunburn or other skin problems, such as age spots and brown spots in the areas acne has healed. Once cosmetics makers of a past era realized this, they came up with another way to dry the skin: alcohol.
Alcohol is useful for drying the skin but it also increases oil production. Some argue that alcohol doesn’t dry out the skin but hormones do. So which is the correct answer? The real answer is: both!
Alcohol itself doesn’t stimulate excess production of oil. However, it does dry out the skin and when this occurs, a stress hormone known as corticotropin-stimulating-hormone is released. This triggers the release of histamine, which irritates the skin while increasing the activity of the sebaceous glands in an attempt to release oil to counterbalance the skin irritation caused by the alcohol. Unfortunately, this process can happen with many methods used to dry out the skin, meaning that keeping the skin dry can be more harmful than helpful.
Why Should I Use Moisturizer?
How does moisturizing the skin help to fight acne? By ensuring the skin has enough moisture, excess oils on the skin can be eliminated. This oil on top of the skin is what is responsible for clogging your pores.
The skin produces a protective barrier by way of tough skin cells, known as corneocytes. Fats and fat-like substances, such as triglycerides and ceramides, work to hold these cells together. The corneocytes are often compared to bricks and the lipids or fats to mortar, which is an appropriate metaphor for skin layers that serve as barriers. Just like the majority of the contents in the human body, these tough proteins and fatty lubricants work together to protect the interior of the body from leaking out or being diluted.
Acne is the most common skin condition that affects people in the US. The exact cause of acne remains unclear but it is known that maintaining healthy and hydrated skin is important. And it is also known that keeping your skin healthy and hydrated while using a drying acne medication can be difficult, which is why we are here to help you better understand how you can better moisturize your acne-prone skin – and how.
Hydration and Your Skin
This skin contains tiny amounts of water and is responsible for only allowing a little bit of water through, which happens very slowly. Carrier molecules, known as aquaporins, are responsible for carrying the water back and forth.
One splash of water on the skin may be sufficient enough to fill the aquaporins as well as the skin with all of the extra water it can hold for a couple of hours. Fats and ceramides work to keep the skin supple and moist and also add enough moisture to enable just enough skin to move with the muscles below it while keeping pores open all while keeping the sebum from filling the pores. That sebum leads to pimples, whiteheads and blackheads.
You May Also Need Moisturizer if You Use Certain Skin Products
Some acne treatment products tend to dry and irritate the skin as well. Using a daily moisturizer can help your skin to work better with and tolerate these acne treatments. If you use one of the following products, you should consider using a moisturizer:
- Adapalene, tretinoin or tazarotene
- Salicylic acid
- Benzoyl Peroxide
- Isotretinoin (a prescription treatment for severe acne)
Best and Worst Moisturizer Ingredients for Acne
Some moisturizers can lead to breakouts. It is important to know what is in your moisturizer bottle. The right type of moisturizer is beneficial for leaving your skin balanced and hydrated. Look for moisturizers that have any of these descriptions on the container to prevent moisturizers from causing more breakouts:
- Won’t clog pores
- Oil-free moisturizer
- Lightweight moisturizer
Moisturizers that contain benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid can be helpful when it comes to fighting acne while still adding moisture to the skin. Hyaluronic acid and glycerin are other beneficial ingredients that can help to seal in moisture. Gentle exfoliant ingredients, such as lactic acid and glycolic can help remove debris while renewing the surface of the skin.
Stay away from moisturizers that include ingredients like mineral oil, petroleum, dimethicone or silicones. Also steer clear of any alcohol-based moisturizer products, including ingredients such as “denatured alcohol” or “alcohol denat.” Remember that alcohol leads to irritation, which can lead to inflammation, which can lead to breakouts.
Fragrance-free moisturizers are also recommended for those with acne-prone skin in order to cut down on irritation.
Tips for Using Moisturizer
If your skin is prone to developing pimples or blackheads on our nose or your nose area looks more oily, you might benefit from avoiding applying moisturizer in that area. The sebaceous glands are more concentrated on and around the nose area so you may not need as much moisturizer there.
When it comes to applying moisturizer on acne-prone skin, less is more – unless your skin is severely dehydrated or dry. If your skin is normal to oily, use a thin layer of a lightweight moisturizer.
Remember to check the ingredients when you use a new moisturizer (see above for more information) because some cosmetics ingredients can actually worsen acne – even if the label says it is non-comedogenic.
Best Moisturizers for Acne-Prone Skin
When you battle breakouts, choosing a moisturizer can be difficult – and a bit unnerving. You don’t want your pores to be clogged, nor do you want to leave your skin looking shiny or oily. Here are some of the best face moisturizers on the market. These editorially chosen products purchased by satisfied customers have been proven to help people with multiple skin types, including those burdened by acne:
Rhonda Allison Hyaluronic Serum
Rhonda Allison Hyaluronic Serum helps to hydrate skin while trapping in vital moisture within skin tissue. Hyaluronic acid is important as it is found in every tissue within the body, helping not only to retain water but to provide nutrients while eliminating waste from cells. This serum keeps skin hydrated and supple while acting as a natural humectant.
Eminence Organics Red Currant Protective Moisturizer with SPF
Not only is this moisturizer a workhorse when it comes to reducing visible signs of breakouts, but Eminence Organics Red Currant Protective Moisturizer with SPF also invigorates your skin’s appearance while hydrating it. Plus it features
Eminence Organics Tropical Vanilla Day Cream SPF 32
This Eminence Organics Tropical Vanilla Day Cream SPF 32 moisturizer can be used to help keep your skin moisturized so your skin does not get too dry and start over-producing that unappealing sebum. It also can treat sun-kissed skin while hydrating with shea butter. An awesome bonus is the vanilla scent and extra sun protection.
Eminence Organics Clear Skin Probiotic Moisturizer
The Eminence Organics Clear Skin Probiotic Moisturizer is very light and helps to detoxify the skin while diminishing the appearance of problem skin. It also helps to leave the appearance of irritated and clogged pores behind. This moisturizer also employs cucumber and tea tree to prevent blemishes from showing up and reducing the appearance of inflammation. Probiotics in this product work to soothe the complexion while exfoliating.
What's your favorite moisturizer to use to combat acne-prone skin? Have you tried one of our recommended products and seen results? Let us know in the comments!