How to Find the Right Moisturizer That Won’t Make Your Acne Worse

Having acne-prone skin can get a little uncomfortable, especially for those living in warm or humid conditions. Taking good care of your skin is essential to avoid a greasy exterior, breakouts, or clogged pores. To simply break it down, oily skin is one that has a persistent shine due to overactive sebaceous glands that are producing excess serum at times. This may occur due to climatic conditions, hormonal fluctuations, or stress levels. Oily areas can often at times result in the accumulation of blackheads, whiteheads, acne, or visibly large pores, especially around the areas of your nose, chin, and forehead. Using the right moisturizer is essential to keep your skin hydrated, smooth, and healthy. 

Does acne-prone skin need a moisturizer? 

It is a common misconception that moisturizer is your enemy if you have oily & acne-prone skin. However, this myth is far from the truth, and moisturizers are an absolutely essential staple in your skincare regime. Understanding the purpose of a moisturizer is vital -

  • It helps hydrate the skin, and decrease oil production in the epidermis which is the outer layer of the skin. 
  • The dermis, which is the layer deeper than the epidermis, contains an oily substance called sebum which helps to lubricate the skin, removes dead skin cells and other irritants from the pores.
  • When you choose to skip out on a moisturizer, the skin dries out, gets dehydrated, and begins to overcompensate by producing more oil from the sebaceous glands.
  • This may lead to clogged pores and a host of skin imperfections over time.

What type of moisturizer formula is best for acne-prone skin?

Light, oil-free, or mattifying formulas that are gentle on the skin and won’t irritate it are a suitable choice for acne-prone skin. A range of factors must be taken into consideration while finding the right pick for you that your skin will crave.

  • Texture: You must avoid heavy lotions and creams that tend to sit on the surface of the skin, and not get absorbed into the pores. Look out for products which are fast-absorbing, and lightweight, as they leave the skin quenched but don't leave behind a greasy residue. The keywords to look for are ‘oil-free’ and ‘mattifying’. Mattifying moisturizers contain an astringent, which helps regulate the sebum for a tightening effect and dries out the oil.

A great example of a mattifying moisturizer is the Sukin Oil Balancing Mattifying Facial Moisturizer that helps promote a healthy and balanced complexion, reduces redness and soothes acne-prone skin. It provides light hydration and makes the skin plump and refreshed without looking too shiny.

Oil Balancing Mattifying Facial Moisturiser from Sukin Australia.

  • Choose a non-comedogenic formula: This simply means something that doesn’t clog the pores and result in breakouts like acne. Clean formulas have a high percentage of natural ingredients present in them, which have smaller molecules that penetrate better into the skin, and are less likely to block the pores. Examples of non-comedogenic ingredients include coconut butter, avocado oil, olive oil, hemp seed oil, etc. The Conscious Chemist Indulge Facial Cream which contains Hemp Seed Oil consists of 21 Amino Acids that hydrate and feed essential nutrients into the skin.

Daily moisturiser with Matcha Green Tea &  Hemp Seed Oil from the brand Conscious Chemist

6 top ingredients to look for in a moisturizer if you have acne-prone skin?

Certain ingredients can do wonders for acne-prone oily skin, so it’s always a good idea to scan the key ingredients before making a choice. 

1. Rice powder: An ancient Asian remedy, Rice powder can help absorb excess sebum, provide a mattifying effect, and leave a silky finish. It contains Ferulic acid which is an antioxidant, and allantoin which is anti-inflammatory and can heal as well as repair the skin.

2. Chamomile: Chamomile by nature helps to calm, soothe, refresh, and purify the skin due to its antioxidant, astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps protect the skin by killing harmful bacteria and reduces the severity of damage caused by free radicals.

3. Willowherb: Helps to improve the skin's texture, and minimizes the appearance of visibly large pores. It is very beneficial to soothe acne-prone skin, as it helps reduce signs of redness and revitalizes the skin.

4. Glycolic acid: This powerhouse ingredient helps reduce excess oil and prevents clogging up of the pores. It keeps the top layer of the skin freshly exfoliated, which is key in maintaining smooth and well-balanced skin. 

5. Niacinamide: A wonder ingredient that absorbs sebum from the skin, it also bolsters the skin barrier, strengthens the outer layer, and increases surface renewal rate. This, in turn, helps to reverse any signs of damage like large pores.

6. Humectants: Water-loving Ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and squalene are humectants which hydrate the skin and retain moisture. Look for oil-free moisturizers that contain these, which is intensely hydrating yet lightweight. These are best used in combination with other ingredients as they help maintain the properties of the overall product. 
This is an image of top ingredients that are beneficial for acne-prone skin like Willowherb, Chamomile, Rice Powder, Humectants, Glycolic Acid, Niacinamide.

Best tips to compliment other products and practices in your skincare regime?

Having a systematic skincare regime is a must. These are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Using a Charcoal or Clay face mask: Indulging in a simple face mask twice a week can refresh your skin, clarify it by drawing up excess oil, impurities, and dirt, leaving it with a fresh and clear look.
  • Cleansing gently and not too often: Over washing your face can strip off the natural oils, so never go overboard! Cleanse once in the morning and once at night with a mild formula such as the First Water Solutions Clear 7 Face Wash that is suitable for those with acne-prone skin
Clear 7 Face Wash with natural antiseptics from the brand First Water Solutions
  • Seeking an Alcohol-free toner: Using a toner or a mist allows your skin to stay fresh as it closes the pores, balances its pH and keeps it clean. For those with oily skin, using a reviving mist like the Sukin Hydrating mist twice or thrice a day is suggested!

Hydrating mist toner from the brand Sukin

  • Blotting through the day: For those living in warm or humid climates, a blotting paper is especially recommended as it helps absorb excess oil and grime from the surface of the skin, keeping it matte. It is also super convenient to carry and use on the go!

A balanced diet and water intake: We have heard our grandmothers and mothers say this, and this old rule has stuck around for good reason! Water is essential to the body and to our beauty as well. It is essentially the elixir of life which helps maintain the skin's health and naturally detox it. The combination of a poor diet and insufficient water intake can result in excess oil production, breakouts, and dullness. On the other hand, drinking enough water and consuming nutritious, wholesome food helps flush out toxins and keep the skin clear and blemish-free.

Bottom Line

We understand that having oily skin can get somewhat tiresome but it definitely has an upside - it wards off fine lines and wrinkles because the oil keeps the skin moist and plump. This means you are likely to age slower and look younger! Nevertheless, to manage oily skin, having a positive mindset, and following a regular skincare routine accompanied by a healthy lifestyle is the best place to start. Surround yourself in a clean environment both mentally and physically, and notice how this can do wonders for your skin. 

- By Krisha Jhaveri 

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