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How to Choose the Best Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin?

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Should I wear moisturiser if I have acne-prone skin?

People with oily and acne-prone skin are often hesitant about wearing moisturiser as it feels like adding a layer of skin care that could irritate the skin further, clog pores and cause additional breakouts. 

Some moisturisers, in fact, contain oil, which can leave the skin feeling greasy, and fragrances that may lead to breakouts. It is often not easy finding one that doesn’t make the acne problem worse or make skin feel uncomfortable.  

However, all dermatologists agree that moisturising is vital to keeping skin healthy. This article explains why hydration is an important part of an effective skincare routine for any skin type and, in particular, for managing acne, and guides you in finding the right moisturiser for your skin. 


Yes, moisturiser is a must

For dermatologists, moisturising is a non-negotiable part of a good skincare regimen. This is because our body’s largest organ requires moisture to stay supple, blemish-free and feeling comfortable.

It works by preventing water loss from the stratum corneum, our skin’s outermost layer. Another thing moisturiser does is act as a protective barrier against environmental aggressors. 


Benefits of using moisturiser

  • It slows the formation and appearance of wrinkles. A lack of moisture leaves your skin barrier exposed, causing inflammation. Continued inflammation leads to a breakdown of collagen, which accelerates skin ageing, and this deepens wrinkles. Dehydration skin also makes wrinkles even more visible, compounding the problem
  • The lack of moisture also leaves the skin open to harsh environmental attacks, such as too much sun exposure, the drying effects of air conditioning and pollution. This interrupts the skin’s natural ability to repair and regenerate itself.
  • Moisturising maintains a balance. It prevents extremes in dryness and oiliness, both of which can cause acne.

Why moisturiser is necessary even if you have acne-prone skin

  1. It may sound counterintuitive, but skipping moisturiser actually makes your skin oilier, and oilier skin can actually lead to even more acne.

    Experts explain that when the surface of the skin is dehydrated, the skin will overcompensate by producing more sebum, which can feel extremely uncomfortable in Malaysia’s hot and humid climate.

    Using the right moisturiser balances the skin’s natural sebum production, which leads to a less oily complexion.

  2. Moisturiser also helps to counter some of the effects of using acne treatment products. These products often contain benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or other ingredients that may cause dryness, irritation and redness. Moisturiser combats these side-effects.
  3. Doctors also say moisturising day and night is essential for achieving healthier skin, which is skin that is less prone to inflammation and breakouts. In addition, the correct hydrating product can help soothe and even prevent acne.
  4. The importance of moisturiser cannot be overstated even for skin that is not oily. Dry, normal and sensitive skin can also be prone to breakouts due to a variety of reasons. It is possible to choose a moisturiser that addresses acne-prone skin and also the specific issues that these other skin types face.
  5. Similarly, applying moisturiser on just-bleached skin, which is likely to be sore, red and more exposed than normal to bacteria, will soothe it and protect it from further aggravation.

What to look for in a moisturiser for acne-prone skin

Moisturisers formulated especially for acne-prone skin are usually oil-free and/or non-comedogenic, which means they’re unlikely to clog your pores.

They may also contain anti-inflammatory ingredients that help soothe irritation and minimise redness, and some are designed to prevent breakouts.

What to keep in mind when choosing moisturisers for acne-prone skin

  • Look for lightweight, oil-free and non-comedogenic ones. Besides not clogging pores, these moisturisers absorb quickly into skin and prevent that greasy feeling. Oil-based moisturisers include those with coconut oil, petroleum products and fragrances, which can irritate and dry skin out. Look for the words ‘fragrance-free’, and not just those that are labelled ‘unscented’, as even ingredients that are not fragrances can be scented
  • Go for water-based products with humectants like glycerine and hyaluronic acid. Humectants draw water into skin, keeping it moisturised
  • Avoid moisturisers that use ‘occlusive’ properties, which form a barrier on skin to keep moisture in. These products are among the main causes of clogged pores and will exacerbate acne. Occlusive moisturisers are also the ones that feel heavy on skin
  • Antioxidants and peptides. These soothe inflammation and prevent breakouts. Antioxidants protect the skin from environmental damage, while peptides build collagen, elastin, and keratin in the skin
  • Look out for ceramides, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and salicylic acid. All of these ingredients help reduce the occurrence of pimples and boost hydration
  • Another key ingredient is alpha-hydroxy acids, which, besides helping with acne, are also anti-ageing.



Apart from choosing the right type of moisturiser for your skin, acne sufferers should apply it twice a day as part of a cleanse, clear, care routine such as the Eucerin ProACNE Solution range, which has been specially formulated to work against the main causes of blemish- and acne-prone skin.

How to apply moisturiser

woman touching face

Acne-prone skin requires a gentler touch than others. Follow these tips:

  • Apply moisturiser within three minutes after cleaning your skin with a cleanser that’s suitable for acne-prone skin. Moisturisers are most effective when applied to slightly damp skin, as this seals in moisture. This also prevents skin from drying out post-wash
  • It is also good practise to use a gentle exfoliator just before applying moisturiser, as this sloughs away dead skin so the moisturiser can penetrate better
  • Massage the moisturizer gently, and do not slap it on quickly. Massaging stimulates blood circulation, and helps the product absorb into skin faster. This also prevents any oily and sticky feeling the moisturiser may impart
  • You can boost your moisturising routine with good lifestyle habits. Regular exercise, consuming little or no alcohol, reducing your salt intake, eating foods high in water content and practising stress-relief activities to help you relax aid your body in retaining moisture