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How To Moisturize Acne-Prone Skin

For those with acne-prone skin, the idea of using a moisturizer every day may seem counterintuitive. After all, blemish-prone complexions often tend to be on the oilier side. It’s easy to assume that adding more products on top of oily skin would just clog pores and worsen breakouts. In reality, however, excess oil does not equate to hydrated skin. Often, the opposite is true.

Research indicates that the skin tends to produce more oil when it’s dry.I What this means is that skimping on the moisturizer could actually be one of the causes of your breakouts. A lack of essential moisture can also damage the skin barrier, leading to your complexion becoming irritated, red, or more sensitive than usual. Thankfully, the solution is simple: Moisturizing.

Of course, it’s still crucial to use a formula that’s designed for your skin type (a face cream, for example, will likely be too heavy on an already-oily complexion). If that seems like a lot to take into consideration, don’t worry. We’ve done all the heavy lifting for you. Ahead, we’re breaking down our top tips for moisturizing acne-prone skin, so you can be on your way to a healthier-looking, hydrated complexion.

Tip #1:

Always Cleanse First

Thoroughly cleansing your skin twice a day is crucial if you have acne. The formula you use may also inform the rest of your skincare routine, particularly how you moisturize.

For daily cleansing, we recommend washing your face with a mild formula made for oily or blemish-prone skin, such as Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Cleanser. This gentle cleanser is formulated with 96% naturally-derived ingredients,* including cannabis sativa seed oil and oregano oil. These botanical ingredients work together to help cleanse and calm problem skin without stripping away essential moisture. Though this cleanser is formulated with oils, don’t worry: They’re non-comedogenic and won’t cause you to break out. We recommend using this cleanser every day to help keep skin calm, refreshed, and healthy-looking.

For a more targeted treatment for stubborn breakouts and blemishes, try Blue Herbal Acne Cleanser Treatment. This effective face wash contains exfoliating salicylic acid along with ginger root essential oil and frankincense to purify clogged pores and help clear blemishes, including blackheads and whiteheads. It’s ideal for addressing widespread or stubborn breakouts, yet it is still gentle enough for daily use, if needed.

Tip #2:

Reach For a Non-Comedogenic Daily Moisturizer

Keeping your skin healthy-looking is, in large part, dependent upon keeping your complexion well-hydrated. But if you have acne-prone skin, finding a daily moisturizer that doesn’t clog pores or cause breakouts can be a bit intimidating.

The best moisturizers for acne are typically labeled "oil-free" or "non-comedogenic," which means they’re formulated specifically to not clog pores and can help keep breakouts at bay. For daily use, we recommend Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream, which is made with lightweight humectants, including hyaluronic acid, to moisturize the skin without weighing it down. This unique gel formula (our best oil-free moisturizer) also contains glacial glycoproteins and desert plant extract to condition the skin with non-greasy 24-hour hydration.

For men, who tend to have oilier, thicker, and more textured skin than their female counterparts, we recommend Oil Eliminator 24-Hour Anti-Shine Moisturizer For Men. This mattifying moisturizer contains glycerin and totara wood extract to absorb sweat and oil and visibly minimize the appearance of pores. It’s ultra-lightweight and absorbs quickly for smoother-looking, shine-free skin all day long.

Tip #3:

Use Targeted Moisturizers For Active Breakouts and Irritated Skin

If you have an active breakout, how you moisturize will differ from if you were solely focused on blocking new breakouts. When there are pimples in need of attention, you’ll want to introduce your skin to a targeted moisturizer like Breakout Control Acne Treatment Facial Lotion. This acne lotion with salicylic acid visibly diminishes acne blemishes and helps prevent future ones from forming.

A separate, more targeted formula is also called for when skin is irritated. Some products, including those formulated with potent acne-fighting ingredients (such as salicylic acid for spot treatment), can dry out the skin. While that can be useful in oily areas, such as the forehead, nose, and chin (otherwise known as the T-zone), these formulas can be a bit harsh on the dryer skin on the cheeks and around the mouth. If you’re experiencing dryness, irritation, or sensitivity in these areas, we recommend adding a calming moisture treatment into your routine, such as Centella Sensitive Cica-Cream.

This unique and ultra-mild moisturizer is our most gentle option, making it ideal for highly sensitive skin. It’s formulated without alcohol or fragrance and is both hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic. The rich cream contains vitamin B5, Centella asiatica extract, and glycerin to hydrate the skin. It’s also clinically demonstrated to help repair the moisture barrier,** which can help promote a healthier-looking, more resilient complexion. Unlike most moisturizers, you don’t need to use this every day. Instead, we recommend using it as a reparative treatment as needed when the skin looks or feels extremely irritated.

Tip #4:

Prevent Visible Signs Of Aging With A Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Yes, you can (and should) use oil on oily skin—you just need to make sure it’s non-comedogenic. If you’re experiencing irritation or dryness along with your breakouts, try incorporating a face oil, such as our top-rated Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Concentrate, into your skincare routine.

This lightweight oil is formulated with 100% naturally-derived ingredients,* including cannabis sativa seed oil, oregano oil, and refreshing peppermint oil. The non-comedogenic product is uniquely formulated to calm and soothe problem skin, including complexions prone to breakouts. It helps strengthen the natural moisture barrier and balance hydration for visible relief. You only need to use a couple of drops to enjoy the benefits of this powerful treatment: Simply apply it after cleansing and toning, then follow with your chosen moisturizer to complete your routine.


Next: What Is Salicylic Acid? Everything You Need To Know About This Superstar Ingredient

I. "Moisturizer: Why You May Need It If You Have Acne." American Academy of Dermatology. 2020.
*We consider ingredients to be naturally derived if they retain more than 50% of their molecular structure after being processed from a natural source.
**Based on an instrumental test of the skin barrier and clinical grading in an 8-week study.

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