Does Moisturizer Cause Acne? Over-Moisturizing Your Skin and Breakouts

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If you are someone with acne-prone and oily skin, it may seem counterintuitive to add a moisturizer to your routine. After all, isn’t less oil the key to clearer skin? Not necessarily.

You see, when your skin is dehydrated, it actually produces more oil in an attempt to hydrate itself. So, by not moisturizing, you’re essentially telling your skin to produce even more oil, which can lead to clogged pores and more breakouts.

So, does moisturizer cause acne?

Yes, moisturizer can cause acne if you use the wrong type for your skin, or if you use too much and it clogs your pores.

It all comes down to using the right products for your face. 

Instead of skipping moisturizer altogether as part of your skin care routine, it’s all about finding the right balance. In this article, I’ll go over what you need to know about moisturizers and acne.


Does Moisturizer Cause Acne?

The answer to this question is really simple: it all depends on the kind of moisturizer that you’re using on your skin. Depending on if you have dry skin, combination skin, or oily skin, you’ll need to use a different quantity and a different type of moisturizer.

For instance, if your moisturizer contains oils (which most do), these oils will stick to the dead skin cells that are sitting on the surface of your skin. And unless these are sloughed off, they will eventually clog your pores and cause your acne to get even worse.

You should also be aware that when you begin using an oil-free moisturizer that has been specially formulated to use with acne-prone skin, then you shouldn’t overdo it.

That’s because you don’t want any of the product sitting on top of your skin, which can trap bacteria and clog your pores just like an oil-based moisturizer would do. 

So, to stop pimples from ruining your day, you need to use the right moisturizer that will stop this from happening and will keep your skin as hydrated as it should be.


Using Too Much Moisturizer

Sure, you want to keep your skin hydrated and healthy, so you may think more moisturizer is better than less!

But, unfortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Believe it or not, using too much moisturizer can actually lead to breakouts and clogged pores.

When you overuse moisturizer, it can trap oils and dirt deep within your pores, resulting in pesky pimples, wicked whiteheads, and bothersome blackheads. And if the moisturizer you’re using contains comedogenic ingredients (which are known to block pores and cause acne), well, you’re basically asking for trouble.

So, what’s the solution?

The key is to find the right balance and the right products.

Use just enough of the right moisturizer, and you will hydrate your skin without overwhelming it.

And when it comes to choosing a moisturizer, choose a moisturizer for acne-prone skin. This way, you can keep your skin hydrated without risking breakouts.

Moisturizers That Help To Prevent Acne

Keeping your skin well-hydrated is one of the ways that help your body repair any damage. When your skin gets too dry, then this makes it almost impossible for it to heal. 

So, even if you now have oily and acne-prone skin that is full of breakouts, making sure that it is well moisturized will set the stage for achieving a healthier and smoother-looking appearance.

Even if you now have oily and acne-prone skin that is full of breakouts, making sure that it is well moisturized will set the stage for achieving a healthier and smoother-looking appearance.

Finding the right moisturizer is essential. Let’s look at a few acne-fighting moisturizers.

1. Differin Oil Absorbing Moisturizer 

Sunscreen for Face by the makers of Differin Gel, Oil Absorbing Moisturizer with SPF 30, Gentle Skin Care for Acne Prone Sensitive Skin, 4 oz (Packaging May Vary)
  • SUN PROTECTION: Provides broad spectrum...
  • LIGHTWEIGHT & MATTIFYING: Formulated...
  • DERMATOLOGIST-DEVELOPED: Oil-free,...
  • NOURISH & MOISTURIZE SKIN: Oleosome...
  • HOW TO USE: Apply liberally 15 minutes...

If you have acne-prone skin, then at some point you’ve probably used Differin Gel, so it may come as no surprise to you that there is also a moisturizer that will work with your skin type. Differin Oil Absorbing Moisturizer also contains a broad spectrum UVA/UVB SPF of 30 in an oil-free and lightweight formula that definitely won’t clog up your pores.

You definitely won’t get the greasy feeling that you’ll find with most sunscreens when using this moisturizer, which has been formulated with Oleosome technology that provides deep hydration, while also offering oil-absorbing sunscreen filters that cause minimal irritation. 

2. Boscia Green Tea Oil-Free Moisturizer  

Boscia Green Tea Oil-Free Moisturizer is a favorite among Amazon reviewers to help their skin recover from breakouts. It’s a lightweight and oil-free moisturizer that’s non-greasy and will hydrate your skin while controlling excess oil.

This vegan-friendly product contains Japanese green tea, which gives it a pleasant scent, and works to significantly reduce skin inflammation, as well as sebum production and inflammation, while it doesn’t contain wheat germ oil, so is suitable for sensitive skins and those who have allergies to this ingredient. 

3. Shea Moisture African Black Soap and Bamboo Charcoal Hydrating Gelee Moisturizer 

Sale
Sheamoisture Face Moisturizer for Acne-Prone Skin African Black Soap with Shea Butter 2 oz
  • In this Shea Moisture Hydrating Gelee...
  • Made with Shea Butter and a...
  • Also made with Cooling Aloe, this face...
  • After cleansing and toning, apply this...
  • This gel face cream has no Parabens,...

Shea Moisture African Black Soap and Bamboo Charcoal Hydrating Gelee Moisturizer is a non-greasy clear gel cream that has been specially formulated to deal with acne breakouts.

It’s packed with a moisture-rich blend of clarifying ingredients, as well as bamboo charcoal, which detoxifies and absorbs excess oil, and aloe vera to soothe and nourish your skin.

And best of all, it is free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and mineral oils, which are chemical additives that are too harsh for your sensitive skin.


Bye Bye Scars

Of course, sometimes your zits will leave behind scarring once they’ve dried up, which can also cause you stress and anxiety. So luckily, there are skincare products available that can help to eliminate these blemishes.

One such product is Derma E Scar Gel , which can improve the appearance of your skin. This vegan and paraben-free gel contains skin nourishing ingredients like allantoin and plant-based antioxidant allicin, and pro-vitamin B5, which condition and moisturize the skin to help its healing process.

Derma E Scar Gel is also free from oil, has no added chemical fragrance, and works to diminish any scarring and discoloration of your skin left over from bad breakouts.

Final Thoughts


Keeping your skin hydrated is the most important thing you need to do in order to help it heal itself. So using a moisturizer, even if your face is breaking out, is key.

Does moisturizer cause acne? Well, formulations that contain pore-clogging ingredients definitely will. Conversely, the right moisturizer can help prevent acne! You need to choose the right moisturizer for your skin.

However, if you use a moisturizer that is oil-free, like the ones we’ve recommended, then you can be rest assured that you’ll be on your way to achieving the healthier and zit-free skin that you dream of.

Written by Cecilia Torres