Can moisturiser cause blemishes? Or can it help?
Moisturising is an essential step in any skincare routine for healthy-looking skin. However, since blemish-prone skin can often appear excessively oily, it’s natural to wonder whether using a facial moisturiser might contribute to clogged pores and blemishes. So, are moisturisers helpful for those with mild acne-prone skin – or should they be avoided?
Blemishes can occur when pores become clogged with dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria. Whether an individual struggles with blackheads, whiteheads, or other blemishes, dermatologists generally agree that a consistent skincare routine is essential for managing breakouts. And one of the core products in any skincare routine is a dermatologist approved, oil-free moisturiser.
Read on to discover the benefits of moisturiser for skin prone to mild acne, the reasons why you should moisturise, and bust a few moisturiser myths!
Can Moisturiser Cause Blemishes?
This depends on a number of factors, like which moisturiser you choose and whether or not you apply it correctly. Be sure to look for moisturisers that are non-comedogenic, because using a heavy, comedogenic (pore-clogging) moisturiser may indeed contribute to congestion in your pores and potentially aggravate the skin. On the other hand, research shows that some moisturisers can help support a clear, healthy-looking complexion in those with skin prone to blemishes.
Is it better to skip moisturiser if you’re prone to blemishes?
Some people mistakenly believe that moisturiser will add more oil to the skin’s surface and make the situation worse. The same flawed logic also leads them to think that drying out their skin is the best way to reduce excess oil production. In fact, this approach can have the opposite effect. Over-drying your skin can cause it to produce yet more oil in an attempt to compensate for moisture loss.
Does Moisturiser Help With Mild Acne-prone Skin?
What isn't always understood is that moisturiser is not meant only for flaky, dry skin. Moisturisers are an essential part of any skincare routine, even if you’re struggling with blemishes. The primary role of a moisturiser is to provide hydrating benefits to your skin’s surface and help seal in much-needed moisture. This is an important part of supporting a healthy-looking complexion in all skin types, not dry skin alone. When your skin is properly hydrated, it should feel comfortable and appear plump, radiant, and smooth.
In addition to this, some moisturisers also feature ingredients that can help directly target blemishes and improve the appearance of pores, like those formulated with salicylic acid.
What Are the Main Benefits of Moisturiser for Mild Acne-prone Skin?
A major benefit of moisturisers for skin prone to mild acne is that they can help skin feel hydrated and comfortable. This may help avoid problems such as extreme oiliness or extreme dryness. A moisturiser can also be helpful for combating the drying effects of some potent skincare treatments, like benzoyl peroxide.
Are Ceramide-containing Moisturisers Helpful for Blemish-prone Skin?
With three essential ceramides, CeraVe facial moisturisers can help maintain and restore the skin’s moisture barrier. This is an important benefit for anyone whose skin is prone to mild acne, since some research suggests blemishes may be associated with a weakened skin moisture barrier. When that barrier function is disrupted, it can no longer effectively keep moisture in and harmful elements out.
Common Myths About Moisturiser and Blemishes
When it comes to moisturisers and blemishes, there are several myths that pop up quite frequently. Let's take a look at a few of them and separate the fact from the fiction!
Myth #1: “I don’t need to moisturise because I have oily skin.”
Regardless of skin type or skin concern, everyone's skin can benefit from using the right moisturiser, including mild acne-prone and oily skin. Any good daily skincare routine should include a gentle face cleanser, non-comedogenic moisturiser, and broad-spectrum sunscreen (during the daytime).
Myth #2: “Moisturiser will leave my skin feeling greasy.”
Moisturisers are not a one-size-fits-all skincare product. Although some oil-based moisturisers may indeed be too heavy for your skin type, a lightweight oil-free formula can provide appropriate hydration without leaving skin looking shiny or feeling greasy.
Myth #3: “Moisturiser will clog pores or trigger new breakouts.”
Facial moisturisers for mild acne-prone skin are typically formulated without ingredients known to clog pores. Moisturisers that have the term “non-comedogenic” on the product label are designed to help hydrate your skin without clogging pores, making them an ideal choice for skin prone to mild acne. And moisturisers containing ingredients like salicylic acid will actually help unclog pores!
Myth #4: “All moisturisers are the same.”
Facial moisturisers come in a range of varieties. Some are designed specifically for day or night time use, whilst others include ingredients designed to help target different skin concerns, like post-blemish marks, rough skin texture, or redness.
Tips for Moisturising Acne-Prone Skin
Now that we’ve debunked some of the most common moisturiser myths, let’s dive into how to choose the right product for skin prone to blemishes. Here are our top tips to help you find a moisturiser that supports clear, hydrated skin, without clogging pores or triggering breakouts.
Choose an oil-free, non-comedogenic formula
As mentioned above, some oil-based moisturisers contain ingredients that can clog your pores or contribute to blemishes. When choosing your moisturiser, look for the terms “non-comedogenic” and “oil-free” on the label. This generally means that the product was formulated with the needs of blemish-prone skin in mind.
Look for moisturisers that are developed with dermatologists
Look for products that are developed with dermatologists. This will ensure you’re choosing a well-formulated product that's specific to your skin type and approved by skincare experts. We also recommend choosing products that are fragrance-free, allergy-tested, and include beneficial ingredients for healthy-looking skin (for example ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide). All the above are true of CeraVe products.
Use different moisturisers for day and night time
Our AM Moisturiser moisturises your skin throughout the day, and importantly includes a broad-spectrum SPF 15.
In the evening, our PM Moisturiser makes an ideal night option, helping to hydrate and comfort your skin while delivering a steady stream of much-needed moisture throughout the night.
Pay attention to your skin’s needs
It’s important to remember your skin is unique. So, whenever you use a new moisturiser or skincare product, pay attention to how your skin reacts. If you notice additional oiliness, visible redness, or irritation, it could be that the product isn't right for you. If you’re concerned your moisturiser may be contributing to blemishes, talk to a healthcare professional. They can assess your skin and offer guidance on an appropriate treatment plan to suit your individual needs.
Identify the right blemish-targeting ingredients for your routine
It’s possible to help target different skin concerns with specific active ingredients. Because of its ability to exfoliate clogged pores, salicylic acid has been shown to be especially helpful for minimising the appearance of blackheads.
For further help choosing the right moisturiser for your acne skincare routine, head to our skincare guide on how to choose a facial moisturiser for your skin type.
Chularojanamontri L, et al. Moisturizers for Acne: What are their Constituents? J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2014 May;7(5):36-44.
Lynde CW, et al. Moisturizers and Ceramide-containing Moisturizers May Offer Concomitant Therapy with Benefits. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2014 Mar;7(3):18-26. Lynde, Chuck W et al.