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Does Moisturizer Cause Acne? (What You Need To Know)

Acne is a common skin issue affecting millions of people worldwide. We often come across conflicting information in our quest to find the most effective acne treatments and maintain healthy skin.

One common question we get is, "Does moisturizer cause acne?" This comprehensive article will address this concern and provide valuable insights into proper skincare routines for different skin types.

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways:

  • Moisturizer does not cause acne, but using the wrong type or too much can lead to clogged pores and breakouts.

  • Choosing the right moisturizer for your skin type (oily, dry, sensitive, or combination) is crucial to maintain healthy skin and prevent acne.

  • Over-moisturizing can lead to excess sebum production and clogged pores, worsening acne. It's essential to recognize the signs of over-moisturizing and adjust your skincare routine accordingly.

  • Exposed Skin Care offers targeted products, including moisturizers for acne and gentle exfoliants, that can effectively manage acne without causing irritation or excess oil production.

Beauty rituals attractive black woman applying moisturizer

The Moisturizer-Acne Connection: Fact or Fiction?

Understanding Acne

To tackle the question, "Does moisturizer cause acne?" it's crucial to understand what causes acne in the first place. Acne breakouts occur when hair follicles become clogged with oil (sebum) and dead skin cells.

Bacteria can also contribute to the formation of acne, as they can trigger inflammation, leading to pimples and other types of acne lesions.

Role of Moisturizer in Skincare

Moisturizing is an essential part of a skincare routine, as it helps maintain the skin's natural moisture barrier and prevents external factors such as pollution and harsh weather conditions from wreaking havoc on the skin.

Moisturizers can be especially beneficial for dry skin, as they help combat flaky skin and hydrate its surface. However, even those with oily or acne-prone skin can benefit from using the right moisturizer.

Can Moisturizer Cause Acne?

Moisturizer, in itself, does not cause acne. However, using the wrong type of moisturizer for your skin type or over-moisturizing can contribute to clogged pores, which may lead to acne breakouts. Choosing the right moisturizer for your specific skin type, whether you have oily, dry, sensitive, or combination skin, to avoid exacerbating acne issues.

Beauty skin care spa concept young woman with a mirror

Choosing the Right Moisturizer for Your Skin Type

Oily Skin and Acne-Prone Skin

For those with oily skin or acne-prone skin, look for lightweight, oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturizers that won't clog pores. Ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and green tea can help fight acne, while hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, and vitamin E can provide lightweight hydration without causing excess oil production.

Dry Skin

Individuals with dry skin should opt for moisturizers like hyaluronic acid, shea butter, and mineral oil, which provide deep hydration without clogging pores. It's essential to avoid over-moisturizing, as this can create a barrier on the skin's surface that traps dead skin cells and contributes to clogged pores and acne breakouts.

Sensitive Skin

People with sensitive skin should look for hypoallergenic and fragrance-free moisturizers containing soothing ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile, and green tea. Avoid artificial fragrances and harsh chemicals that can cause allergic reactions and trigger inflammation, leading to flare-ups and worsening acne.

Post acne scars and red festering pimples on the face

Combination Skin

For combination skin, choose a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer with hyaluronic acid and salicylic acid that can help balance oil production and provide hydration without causing breakouts.

    Over-Moisturizing: A Hidden Culprit

    Over-moisturizing is a common mistake in skincare routines. Applying extra moisturizer, especially if your skin type is already oily, can lead to excess sebum production and clogged pores, causing more harm than good.

    Common signs of over-moisturizing include:

    • Oily or shiny skin.

    • Frequent breakouts.

    • Skin feels heavy or greasy.

    • Pores appear larger or more noticeable.

    If you notice these telltale signs, try cutting back on the amount of moisturizer you use or switch to a lighter formula. Remember, balance is key when it comes to maintaining skin health.

    Nose with enlarged pores

    How to Moisturize Without Causing Breakouts

    • Cleanse before moisturizing: Cleanse your skin thoroughly before applying moisturizer, as this helps remove excess oil, dirt, and makeup that can clog pores and contribute to acne breakouts.
    • Use the right amount of moisturizer: Too much can lead to over-moisturizing, which may cause acne. You only need a small amount, roughly the size of a pea, for your entire face.
    • Choose non-comedogenic products: Non-comedogenic moisturizers and cosmetics are designed not to clog pores. Many moisturizers on the market today are non-comedogenic, making it easier for acne sufferers to find suitable products.
    • Avoid ingredients that can clog pores: Some ingredients, like certain vegetable oils and coconut oil, are known to clog pores. Be sure to check the ingredients list on your moisturizer.
    • Don't skip moisturizing, even if your skin is oily or acne-prone: Skipping moisturizers can result in more oil as your skin tries to compensate for the lack of moisture. It's better to use a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer designed for oily or acne-prone skin.

    Benefits of Exposed Skin Care for Managing Acne

    Exposed Skin Care offers a range of products specially formulated for acne sufferers.

    Exposed Skin Care Expanded Kit

    The key benefits of Exposed Skin Care products include:

    • Targeted Moisturization: Their moisturizer for acne helps hydrate skin without causing excess oil production - a common issue when using too much moisturizer.

    • Gentle Exfoliation: The skincare line includes gentle exfoliants that help remove dead skin cells without irritating the skin or causing inflammation, which can worsen acne.

    • Soothing Ingredients: Exposed Skin Care products contain soothing ingredients like aloe vera, known for its calming and healing properties. These ingredients can help reduce redness and inflammation often associated with acne.

    • Comprehensive Skincare Routine: The brand provides a complete skincare routine, from cleansers to moisturizers, ensuring that your skin receives balanced care, reducing the likelihood of breakouts.

    Incorporating Exposed Skin Care products into your daily routine can help manage acne effectively while maintaining your skin's overall health and vitality.


    Moisturizers are not the enemy in the fight against acne. On the contrary, they can be powerful allies when chosen and used correctly. Although the wrong kind or excessive use can contribute to clogged pores and breakouts, a suitable moisturizer for your skin type can enhance your skincare routine and promote healthier skin.

    Remember that balance is key. Avoid over-moisturizing and ensure your skincare routine is tailored to your skin's needs. It's not a one-size-fits-all approach; what works for someone else may not necessarily work for you.

    Lastly, brands like Exposed Skin Care offer acne-specific products, including moisturizers and gentle exfoliants, to manage acne without triggering irritation or excess oil production. Always observe your skin's reactions to different products and adjust as needed. After all, understanding your skin is the first step towards achieving a healthier complexion.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Will moisturizer make pimples worse?

    The right moisturizer won't make pimples worse. However, using the wrong type of moisturizer for your skin type or over-moisturizing can lead to clogged pores and exacerbate acne issues. Always opt for non-comedogenic moisturizers, especially if you have oily or acne-prone skin.

    Should I use moisturizer if I have acne?

    Even if you have acne, keeping your skin moisturised is essential. Dryness can trigger your skin to produce more sebum, leading to more oil and potentially more breakouts. Choose a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer designed for acne-prone skin.

    How can I moisturize my face without breaking out?

    Choose a moisturizer suitable for your skin type to moisturise without breaking out. Apply only a small amount, and cleanse your skin before moisturizing to remove any dirt, oil, or makeup that could clog your pores. Avoid over-moisturizing, as this can lead to clogged pores and breakouts.