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Should people with acne moisturize?

James M.. Wilmott
Dermatology

Absolutely!  There is a difference between the signals of moisturization and the actual content of water.  Proper hydration is critical to have cellular metabolism function properly.  All the biochemical reactions that occur in your skin do so at a specific rate which is dependent on their concentration inside and outside the cells.  If there is insufficient moisture then the surface cells do not release evenly as single cells but as sheets of cells that can clog pores and induce acne.  Since acne is an inflammatory condition look for a moisturizer with soothing agents to quiet the skin.  All skin whether dry, normal or oily requires hydration.  However, we often determine the value of a moisturizer by how it makes the skin feel.  Moisturized skin is softer, more supple, plumper and less brittle.  While proper hydration will provide some of these signals, they are often imparted by other agents in the moisturizer such as the oils, humectants and emollients that are also present.   Be careful and do not use a product that contains oils or emollients that are "comedogenic".   These materials can increase inflammation and therefore exasperate  an acne condition.

Patients with acne can moisturize their skin if they need to. Some acne patients have dry skin despite having pimples. Moreover, many acne medicines can cause dryness and irritation of the skin. So moisturizing can help. Your choice of moisturizer depends on your skin type. For dry skin, choose a regular oil-containing  (petrolatum based) moisturizer. For oilier skin, try an oil-free (dimethicone based) moisturizer that can actually help the skin feel less oily.

Yes, people with acne should moisturize, but with a non-clogging or non-comedogenic facial lotion or cream.  Once a day is often adequate.  Sometimes if dryness and inflammation in the skin is allowed to go unchecked it may actually serve to clog up your pores even more, creating more acne.  In addition, acne medications, whether prescription or over-the-counter, may cause dryness and skin inflammation.  Once again, if this inflammation is allowed to go unchecked it may exacerbate acne in some people.  Gentle moisturizing should be a part of your daily acne treatment routine.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Many patients who suffer from acne think that they should avoid moisturizing because of the possibility of clogging pores or adding oil to the skin that could lead to further breakouts. However, not all moisturizers are created equal, and some are specially formulated to meet the moisturizing needs of those with acne. In fact, gentle cleansing and moisturizing has been shown to be beneficial for acne prone skin, helping to keep breakouts at bay. Look for products that are labeled as non comedogenic, which means they won't clog pores.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.