No, moisturizer does not inherently cause acne.
In fact, moisturizer is an important step in a skincare routine for acne prone skin types. It’s one of the best tools we have in clinical and aesthetic dermatology to replenish moisture and help maintain your protective skin barrier.
That being said, it’s important to use the right moisturizer for your skin type. Using too much of the wrong moisturizer or a heavy facial oil can clog pores and possibly create more breakouts.
Can a moisturizer cause acne?
On its own, moisturizer doesn’t directly cause acne.
In fact, by moisturizing your skin after using harsh active ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide that can trigger inflammation. This has other benefits such as protecting your skin barrier and helping to regulate oil production.
However, using the wrong moisturizer or using too much can contribute to breakouts for acne prone skin.
Is my moisturizer causing breakouts?
If you just started using a new moisturizer and are experiencing more acne flare ups than normal, it’s possible that your moisturizer is causing breakouts.
Can moisturizer cause pimples?
The right moisturizer won’t cause pimples.
However, if you’re using moisturizers that are too heavy for your skin type or you’re over moisturizing, that can lead to clogged pores and more breakouts.
Which moisturizer ingredients contribute the most to acne?
Many moisturizers containing the following ingredients can contribute to acne:
- Vegetable oils
- Mineral oil
- Coconut oil
- Artificial fragrances
Additionally, certain ingredients can trigger allergic reactions in certain people that can lead to breakouts. For example, phenoxyethanol is a paraben alternative that some people may be allergic to.
What’s the right amount of moisturizer to use?
The right amount of moisturizer to use depends on your skin type or needs.
Dry skin and sensitive skin types will require more moisturizer than oily skin or acne prone skin types. This is because certain people have a genetic predisposition to increased sebum production, also known as natural oil production.
Using too much moisturizer on oily skin can contribute to clogged pores. In these instances, you may want to try using a hydrating serum with hyaluronic acid or a water based moisturizer instead.
Are you using too much moisturizer?
Excessively over moisturizing can definitely:
clog up your skin’s surface, lead to breakouts, and potentially make acne worse
Choosing the right frequency to moisturize is more of an art than a science. Try moisturizing more if:
Your skin feels dry
You feel tight or itchy which are common signs of irritation
You’re using active ingredients, including gentle exfoliants
You’re using acne treatments, including Differin
How to Apply Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin
Make sure to apply moisturizer gentle after cleansing your face thoroughly.
First, apply a thin layer and wait for it to absorb. If your skin feels tight or dry, then you can consider adding extra moisturizer afterwards.
What’s a good moisturizer for acne prone skin?
Check out non comedogenic moisturizers made with anti-inflammatory ingredients such as aloe vera or green tea. Make sure not to over moisturize though!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, moisturizer in the right amounts and with the right ingredients can help with acne.
Yes, a brightening moisturizer can help with acne scars. Also, sunscreen can help fade hyperpigmentation.