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Does Aquaphor Help Acne? The Surprising Answer

Acne is a common skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. With various treatments and remedies available, finding the right one for your skin type can be challenging.

Among these options, Aquaphor has gained popularity for its potential to help with acne. But does Aquaphor help acne? In this blog post, we'll delve into Aquaphor's properties, its potential effects on acne, and other alternatives for treating acne.

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways:

  • Aquaphor can help manage acne-related skin issues by sealing in moisture, promoting healing, and providing a protective barrier.

  • Using Aquaphor safely on acne-prone skin involves proper cleansing, applying sparingly, and monitoring the skin's response.

  • To manage acne effectively, consider alternative skincare products and routines, such as non-comedogenic and gentle products.

  • Exposed Skin Care offers a comprehensive alternative acne treatment combining active ingredients and natural components for effective management of acne.

A young woman applies aquaphor on face

What is Aquaphor?

A Healing Ointment with Multiple Benefits

Aquaphor is a widely known skin care product that serves as a multi-purpose wound healing ointment. It contains a mixture of ingredients, such as petrolatum, mineral oil, and glycerin, contributing to its moisturizing and skin-protective properties. Aquaphor is commonly used to:

  • Soothe and heal dry, cracked, or irritated skin

  • Prevent and treat diaper rash in babies

  • Protect skin from the elements, such as wind or cold weather

  • Aid in the healing process for minor cuts, scrapes, and burns

How Does Aquaphor Work?

Aquaphor functions as an occlusive, which means that it forms a protective barrier on the skin's surface. This barrier helps dry skin to lock in moisture, keep out irritants, and promote the skin's natural healing process.

Does Aquaphor Help Acne?

Potential Benefits

Using Aquaphor on acne-prone skin may provide some benefits, including:

  • Moisturizing the skin: Aquaphor can help to keep the skin hydrated, which is essential for maintaining a healthy skin barrier. A well-functioning skin barrier can help prevent acne-causing bacteria from entering the skin.

  • Preventing irritation: Since Aquaphor creates a protective barrier, it may help reduce irritation caused by acne treatments or other external factors, allowing the skin to heal more effectively.

  • Soothing inflammation: Aquaphor's emollient properties can help calm inflamed skin, a common acne symptom.

Potential Drawbacks

Despite these potential benefits, there are some drawbacks to using Aquaphor for acne:

  • Clogged pores: Aquaphor is an occlusive ointment, and its heavy, greasy texture might not be suitable for acne-prone or oily skin types. It may lead to clogged pores and worsen acne for some individuals.

Nose with clogged pores
  • Lack of active ingredients: Aquaphor doesn't contain any active ingredients specifically targeted at treating acne, such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. As a result, it may not be the most effective option for treating acne.

Alternatives to Aquaphor for Acne Treatment

If you're unsure whether Aquaphor is the right choice for your acne-prone skin, consider exploring some of these alternative options:

Over-the-Counter Acne Treatments

  • Salicylic acid:It is an exfoliating agent that helpsunclog pores and reduce inflammation.

  • Benzoyl peroxide: An antimicrobial treatment that kills acne-causing bacteria and reduces inflammation.

  • Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs): Chemical exfoliants, such as glycolic acid and lactic acid, help remove dead skin cells and promote cell turnover.

  • Retinoids: Vitamin A derivatives that help unclog pores and stimulate collagen production.

Natural Remedies

  • Tea tree oil: A natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agent that may help to reduce acne lesions and inflammation.

  • Green tea extract: Contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that can help to soothe and protect the skin.

  • Witch hazel: An astringent and anti-inflammatory botanical extract that can help to minimize the appearance of pores and soothe irritated skin.

  • Honey: It is a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory substance that may help to heal acne and reduce redness.

Woman applying honey on her face at home

Lifestyle Changes

  • Maintaining a consistent skincare routine: Regularly cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing your skin can help to keep acne at bay.

  • Avoiding picking or squeezing acne lesions: This can exacerbate inflammation and increase the risk of scarring.

  • Eating a balanced diet: Consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help to promote healthy skin.

  • Managing stress levels: High stress can lead to hormonal imbalances that contribute to acne breakouts.

Young multiracial latina woman meditating at home

Aquaphor's Ingredients and Their Roles in Skincare

Aquaphor's unique formulation contains a blend of ingredients that promote skin health.

Some key ingredients and their functions include:

  • Petrolatum: Acts as an occlusive agent, sealing moisture into the skin and creating a protective shield against external irritants. This can be particularly helpful for affected skin areas where acne often worsens.

  • Mineral Oil: Provides a skin-soothing effect and helps to reduce excess moisture that may contribute to clogged pores and acne development.

  • Glycerin: A humectant that attracts water to the skin's surface, helping to maintain hydration and promote a clear skin appearance.

  • Lanolin Alcohol: Functions as an emollient, softening the skin and improving its texture.

Aquaphor and Sensitive Skin

For individuals with sensitive skin, it is important to understand how Aquaphor ointment may interact with their skin type. Sensitive skin can be more prone to irritation and breakouts, so it's crucial to carefully choose skincare products.

Here's what you need to know about using Aquaphor on sensitive skin:

  • Potential benefits: Aquaphor can help soothe irritated skin and provide a protective barrier against external factors that can worsen acne. Its gentle, fragrance-free formula is less likely to irritate than some other topical treatments.

  • Potential drawbacks: Aquaphor's occlusive properties may not be suitable for all sensitive skin types, especially those prone to clogged pores. It's essential to monitor your skin's reaction when applying Aquaphor to your face and adjust usage accordingly.

Comparing Aquaphor and Vaseline

Both Aquaphor and Vaseline are occlusive products containing petrolatum, but they have some differences:

  • Aquaphor: Contains additional ingredients, such as glycerin and lanolin alcohol, which provide added skin-soothing and moisturizing benefits. It may be more suitable for sensitive skin than Vaseline.

  • Vaseline: Consists primarily of petrolatum and lacks some additional beneficial ingredients in Aquaphor. Vaseline's simpler formula may be more suitable for those with susceptible skin who want to minimize potential irritation from additional ingredients.

A man picks up white vaseline to moisturize his skin

Preventing Acne Breakouts: Strategies Beyond Skincare Products

In addition to using skincare products like Aquaphor, it's essential to adopt a holistic approach to prevent acne breakouts.

Here are some strategies to consider:

  • Maintain a consistent skincare routine: Regularly cleanse your skin with a gentle cleanser, exfoliate to remove dead skin cells, and moisturize to maintain skin hydration. Incorporate acne-fighting ingredients, such as salicylic acid, when necessary.

  • Avoid touching your face: Touching your face can transfer bacteria and dirt to your skin, potentially worsening acne. Keep your hands clean and avoid touching affected skin areas.

  • Change pillowcases regularly: Pillowcases can accumulate dirt, oil, and bacteria, which can contribute to acne development. Change your pillowcases frequently to reduce the risk of breakouts.

  • Manage stress: High-stress levels can lead to hormonal imbalances and trigger acne breakouts. To maintain emotional balance, practice stress management techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga.

  • Follow a balanced diet: Consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help promote overall health, including skin health.

While Aquaphor may help some individuals with acne-prone or sensitive skin, it's essential to adopt a comprehensive approach to skincare and consider other factors contributing to acne development.

How to Use Aquaphor Safely on Acne-Prone Skin

If you're considering using Aquaphor on your acne-prone skin, it's essential to do so safely to minimize the risk of clogged pores, irritation, or further damage to dry or cracked skin.

Follow these steps to use Aquaphor effectively and safely on acne-prone skin:

  • Patch test: Before applying Aquaphor on your entire face, conduct a patch test on a small area of your skin to determine how your skin reacts. This can help you identify any potential skin issues or allergies arising from using Aquaphor.

  • Cleanse your skin: Start with a clean face by using a gentle cleanser to remove dirt, oil, and makeup. This will help ensure that Aquaphor doesn't seal in impurities, which could make acne worse.

Man cleansing face in morning

  • Apply topical treatments: If you're using any topical acne treatments, such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, apply them to your affected skin before using Aquaphor. This will allow the active ingredients to penetrate the skin more effectively.

  • Apply Aquaphor sparingly: Aquaphor ointment is thick and occlusive, so using a small amount is crucial to avoid excessive moisture and clogged pores. Gently massage a thin layer of Aquaphor onto your face, focusing on areas where your skin feels dry or irritated. Avoid applying Aquaphor to deep wounds or areas with extensive scarring, as this may hinder the healing process.

  • Monitor your skin's response: Monitor how your skin reacts to Aquaphor over time. If you notice increased acne or skin issues, discontinue use and consider alternative skincare products or medical treatments.

  • Avoid comparing Aquaphor and Vaseline: While Aquaphor and Vaseline share some similarities, they have different formulations and purposes. Vaseline is 100% petrolatum, while Aquaphor contains additional ingredients, such as glycerin and lanolin alcohol, which provide added benefits for wound healing and skin hydration.

  • Combine with a proper skincare routine: Incorporate Aquaphor into your skincare routine alongside other non-comedogenic skin products, such as gentle cleansers and oil-free moisturizers. This will help maintain a healthy skin barrier and reduce the likelihood of clogged pores and acne flare-ups.

  • Allow your skin to breathe: When using Aquaphor on your face, be mindful of allowing your skin to breathe properly. Avoid applying Aquaphor too thickly or too frequently, as this may create a "slug's slime trail" effect, suffocating your skin and potentially worsening acne.

By following these steps, you can safely use Aquaphor on acne-prone skin while minimizing the risk of further damage or irritation. Remember, it's essential to monitor your skin's response to Aquaphor and adjust your skincare routine to achieve the best results for clear, healthy skin.

Aquaphor for Acne-Related Skin Conditions

While Aquaphor may not be the perfect solution for acne, it can help manage certain acne-related skin conditions that can exacerbate acne-prone skin.

Two common conditions that may benefit from Aquaphor include:

Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)

Eczema is a chronic skin condition characterized by dry, itchy, and inflamed skin. When eczema affects acne-prone skin, it can worsen acne by causing excessive moisture loss and irritation of injured skin. Aquaphor ointment can provide relief by:

  • Forming a protective shield to lock in moisture

  • Reducing skin irritation and inflammation

  • Encouraging skin healing and repair

The child scratches atopic skin

Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is another chronic skin condition that can aggravate acne-prone skin. It manifests as scaly, itchy, and red skin, often around the nose, eyebrows, and hairline. Aquaphor can help manage seborrheic dermatitis by:

  • Soothing the affected skin and reducing inflammation

  • Providing a protective barrier to prevent further damage from environmental factors

  • Encouraging the healing of minor wounds and skin irritation

Benefits of Using Exposed Skin Care for Acne Management

Exposed Skin Care is a comprehensive skincare system that manages acne effectively while promoting overall skin health. This system offers an alternative to Aquaphor ointment for those who find it too occlusive or are concerned about its potential to clog pores.

Exposed Skin Care Basic Kit

Key benefits of using Exposed Skin Care for acne management include:

  • Combination of active ingredients: Exposed Skin Care products contain a mix of acne-fighting ingredients, such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and glycolic acid, which work together to clear acne and prevent future breakouts.

  • Gentle yet effective: The system includes a gentle cleanser and other skincare products that effectively cleanse the skin without causing excessive moisture loss or irritation.

  • Reduced scarring: By targeting acne-causing bacteria and promoting healthy skin turnover, Exposed Skin Care can help minimize the risk of extensive scarring from acne lesions.

  • Natural ingredients: Exposed Skin Care products also contain natural ingredients, such as green tea extract, aloe vera, and licorice root extract, which can soothe the affected skin and reduce inflammation.

Exposed Skin Care offers a comprehensive solution addressing various acne-related concerns when looking for alternative acne treatments. By incorporating Exposed Skin Care into your daily skincare routine, you can work towards achieving clear, healthy skin without the risk of further damage.


Aquaphor is a versatile ointment that can relieve various skin conditions, including acne-related. While it may not directly target acne breakouts, Aquaphor can help manage acne-related skin issues by forming a protective barrier, sealing moisture, and promoting healing.

In some cases, Aquaphor may even shorten the healing time for minor wounds or serve as a spot treatment for dry, irritated areas. However, it's crucial to remember that everyone's skin is different, and what aquaphor works for one person may not work for another.

Aquaphor may be a good moisturizer for some individuals as it helps maintain a healthy skin barrier without causing more acne. On the other hand, others may experience adverse reactions or find that Aquaphor's occlusive properties exacerbate their acne.

When considering using Aquaphor for acne-prone skin, it's essential to weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks, taking into account your specific skin type and acne severity.

Monitor your skin's response, and don't hesitate to explore alternative acne treatments, such as Exposed Skin Care or other topical treatments supported by clinical research. By combining various skincare products and lifestyle strategies, you can work towards achieving clearer, healthier skin tailored to your unique needs.


Q: Can I use Aquaphor on my face if I have acne?

A: Yes, you can use Aquaphor on your face if you have acne. However, it's essential to be cautious and monitor your skin's reaction, as its occlusive properties may not be suitable for everyone, particularly those with either naturally oily skin or acne-prone skin.

Q: How often should I apply Aquaphor to my acne-prone skin?

A: If you use Aquaphor on face or for your acne-prone skin, consider applying it once or twice daily, preferably after cleansing it. Monitoring your skin's reaction to determine whether Aquaphor is beneficial or detrimental to your acne is essential.

Q: Can I use Aquaphor along with other acne treatments?

A: Yes, you can use Aquaphor alongside other acne treatments. In fact, it may help to reduce irritation and inflammation caused by some acne treatments.

Q: Can Aquaphor be used as a spot treatment for acne?

A: While Aquaphor doesn't contain acne-fighting ingredients, it can be used as a spot treatment to soothe dry, irritated skin or to provide a protective barrier for healing acne lesions. Monitoring your skin's response and discontinue use if you notice increased breakouts or irritation is essential.

Q: Can I use Aquaphor in combination with other acne treatments?

A: Yes, you can use Aquaphor alongside other acne treatments, such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Apply the active ingredient or acne treatment first, and then follow with a thin layer of Aquaphor to lock in moisture and provide a protective barrier. However, always monitor your skin's response and adjust your routine as needed to ensure the best results.

Q: Does Aquaphor help with acne scars?

A: While Aquaphor may help to moisturize and soothe the skin, there is no evidence to suggest that it can directly help with acne scars. For acne scar treatment, consider using products containing active ingredients, such as retinoids or alpha-hydroxy acids, or seeking professional treatments, like chemical peels or laser therapy.