Does Moisturizing Help Acne?

Beauty | Skincare

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what moisturizer is good for acne prone skin

Moisturizing is one of the most misconstrued steps in everyone’s skincare routine. Particularly those with oily and acne-prone skin. If I had a dime fore every time I heard moisturizing causes pimples, I’d be a millionaire. Even from renowned dermatologists! But, as it turns out, everyone should be moisturizing! Even if you have oily, acne-prone skin? Does moisturizing help acne?


Using a moisturizer is one of the best things you can do, no matter what skin type you have. Yes, even if you have acne! Plus, typically when you are dealing with breakouts, you’re using a lot of drying products that lead to angry and irritated skin. The fix? Moisturizing!

Moisturizing is essential to your skin’s health and healthy is less susceptible to getting acne. So, let’s dive in and see why moisturizing helps acne! Moisturizing can help with acne, breakouts, pimples, acne scars and even oily skin.

Bottom line, you should always moisturize acne skin, oily skin, etc.

What Causes Acne?

First, let’s talk about what acne is and what causes acne.

Put simply, acne forms when our pores get clogged with oil, dirt and bacteria. Typically, it starts with oil production. Our skin naturally produces oils that help keep our skin moisturized. These oils are good for your skin and you want your skin to have some oils.

However, sometimes our skin produces too much oil, which can clog our pores. When this happens, dirt and bacteria get stuck in our pores and acne forms.

So, as we move on, keep these three things in mind:

  • oil production
  • bacteria
  • clogged pores

Why Skin Hydration Is Important For Acne

If you’ve read some of my other posts, you’ve probably read about something called a moisture barrier. Most people have no idea what the heck a moisture barrier is. And if you’re one of those people, that’s okay because I’m about to teach you!

The moisture barrier is responsible for keeping your skin hydrated and moisturized, as well as protecting it from outside pathogens like bacteria.

When your moisture barrier becomes stripped or damaged, your skin will become dry, dehydrated and susceptible to bacteria. This leads to your skin overproducing oils to try and compensate for the lost moisture. Your skin will also heal slower when your moisture barrier is compromised.

So, what does that have to do with acne?

Well, as I mentioned, when your moisture barrier is compromised it will:

  1. Make your skin more susceptible to harmful bacteria that can cause acne
  2. Cause your skin to overproduce oil leading to clogged pores and acne

Keeping your skin barrier in tact and healthy is super important for acne! If you’re experiencing a flare up of acne or a sudden increase in breakouts or pimples, you should take a look at your skincare routine. Are you moisturizing acne prone skin? Are you using a lot of drying products and not replenishing that moisture?

Does Moisturizing Help Acne?

In short, YES! Moisturizing does help acne! Keeping your skin moisturized will allow it to be healthy, with a strong moisture barrier and it won’t have to overproduce oil because it’s dehydrated.

So, how exactly does moisturizing prevent acne?

Moisturizing can help with skin’s hydration in many different ways:

  • Prevents dehydration
  • Adds water back into the skin
  • Strengthens moisture barrier
  • Restores lipids and other skin essential components

Additionally, many moisturizers have ingredients that are great for treating and preventing acne. I will get into those specific ingredients later, but for now, just know moisturizing has so many benefits for healthy skin and acne.

Since moisturizing can essentially help all of the main causes of acne, using a moisturizer regularly in your routine can help prevent acne! How amazing is that?

How Moisturizing Helps Acne

Remember the causes of acne and how excess oil production leads to clogged pores and acne? Well, when you are moisturizing your skin, your skin won’t have to produce as many oils because your skin is already hydrated and healthy from the moisturizer.

Additionally, moisturizing your skin keeps your moisture barrier strong so it can defend itself against bacteria that can cause acne.

So, in short, moisturizing helps acne by decreasing oil production and helps your skin defends itself from bacteria.

What about other skin issues? Does moisturizing help blackheads or clogged pores? Does moisturizing help oily skin?


Moisturizing is key to keeping your skin healthy and in check. And when your skin is healthy, it can fight acne causing bacteria, oil production will decrease, and therefore, you’ll have less acne!

Many people with acne or oily skin do not like to moisturize during the day because they think it makes their skin more oily. However, moisturizing acne prone skin can actually make it less oily.

Should you moisturize at night if you have acne? What about in the morning? Well, ideally you want to moisturize acne skin morning and night, but if you can only do one, moisturize your skin at night.

Can Moisturizer Cause Acne?

can moisturizer cause pimples?

No, absolutely not. Moisturizing does not cause acne at all. If you get breakouts from a moisturizer or skincare product, that’s because there’s an ingredient in that product that your skin doesn’t like. But it’s not the actually moisturizing that causes acne.

Moisturizing does not make acne worse, and if you find yourself breaking out after using a new moisturizer, chances are it’s because of an ingredients in the moisturizer that your skin doesn’t like.

Finding products that don’t break you out can be hard! Most of the time it will be frustrating and you will have to try many different products before you find something that works.

I really like to use SkinCarisma when I’m researching new products to try. It lets you put in the ingredients, or search for products and then it will tell you if any of the ingredients are harmful, irritating or likely to cause acne or clogged pores.

Moisturizing Ingredients That Help Acne

I’ve been asked so many times “what moisturizer is good for acne?”Well, unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Skincare is not just cut and dry. It’s so dependent on each person!

Some ingredients may work great for you, while others may experience breakouts. For example, when I use products with sunflower seed oil, I get horrible cystic breakouts. Whereas many people can use sunflower seed oil without any problem.

However, there are certain ingredients that can help reduce inflammation, sebum and shed dead skin cells, which can all help acne.

Now that we’ve proven that moisturizing does help acne, let’s take a look at good ingredients to look out for in moisturizers. For acne prone skin, in general, you should look for “oil free” and “non-comedogenic” products. But, there are other ingredients to look for as well that can help acne.

Moisturizing ingredients that help acne:

  • glycerin
  • hyaluronic acid
  • urea
  • green tea
  • aloe vera
  • vitamin c
  • niacinamide 
  • anti-oxidants

These ingredients have certain properties that help strengthen your skin’s moisture barrier, add hydration back into your skin and reduce inflammation. All fo these things can help prevent acne.

Additionally, these ingredients are great for generally healthy skin, but are lightweight so they won’t clog your pores.

What Moisturizer Should I Use For Acne Prone Skin?

It’s so hard to make a recommendation for a specific product, because each persons skin is so different. But, there are a ton of great brands who have a variety of moisturizers geared toward acne prone and oily skin types.

Cetaphil and Cerave are great drugstore brands for acne prone skin. Additionally, look for ingredients that we talked about above that can help acne prone skin. I’ve put together all my favorite moisturizers below that have helped treat and prevent acne for myself.

Is My Moisturizer Causing Breakouts?

When introducing any new product in your skincare routine, you need to be aware of your skin and make sure it’s not causing any new skin issues within the first few weeks.

Sometimes, when starting new skincare products, you may notice more breakouts. How do you tell if your moisturizer is causing breakouts or if they’re just normal breakouts?

Well, if you are breaking out in places you normally don’t, then chances are it’s because of the product. Or if you are getting a new type of breakout, like closed comedones vs your usual acne, it could be because of a new product.

If anything is different about your acne or you see any irritation, the product could be causing the breakouts. But, remember, moisturizing can help acne, and it’s usually an ingredient that is causing the breakouts and not the moisturizing.

Do you find that moisturizing helps acne?

Personally, moisturizing not only helps pimples, but it also keeps my skin healthy and looking its best! I notice a huge difference as soon as my skin starts to get dry.

Not moisturizing your skin will actually have the opposite effect than what you’d think. Moisturizing does help acne and also keeps your skin healthy. I know it seems like putting on moisturizing when your face is broken out will only make it worse. But not using moisturizer will actually make it worse!

So, remember to always, always moisturize your skin! Not only does moisturizing help acne, but it also keeps your skin healthy and youthful.

You should always moisturize if you have acne or oily skin! No matter what you’ve heard, moisturizing will not cause breakouts or acne. It can actually help breakouts and acne! You just have to find the right moisturizer for your skin!

The bottom line is that moisturizing is the first step at prevent and helping acne and it can be a super easy way to get clear skin fast!

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