Should I moisturise my acne prone skin?

Biodroga-Repair-Cell-Protection-Eye-Care-abloomnova.net_-1600x1478 Should I moisturise my acne prone skin?

To moisturise acne-prone skin or not to moisturise? This is the question, and experts are split over the right treatment to reduce acne.

The age old advice is to dry this skin type, but more research is showing that certain skins respond well to moisturising.

According to Facing Acne, if you have acne, especially if you have the kind of acne that causes tiny red pimples on your forehead cheeks, and nose, you may see great improvement in your skin when you begin to use moisturizer. If you have naturally oily skin that gives you lots of whiteheads and great big blackheads, you also may occasionally need moisturizer. But not everybody who has acne needs the same moisturizer in the same amounts all the time.


  • It used to be considered common sense that curing acne required “drying up” the skin. Now it is known that blue and red rays in sunlight did the healing, not desiccation of the skin.
  • Alcohol dries the skin, but it also causes inflammation.
  • Moisture in the skin helps keeps pores open so blemishes do not form.
  • Over-use of alcohol-based “moisturizers” can make acne worse, especially if you have lots of small red pimples on your cheeks and forehead.
  • The best moisturizers are made from oil in water or water in oil.
  • You only need one moisturizer for all the skin in your face. Some parts of your face may need more moisturizer than others.
  • The easiest way to get the moisturizer you need for acne skin care is with a complete acne treatment system such as Exposed Skin Care.

Is Healing Acne Really All About Drying Up Your Skin?

For centuries, people with acne were told that they needed to dry up the skin. It seemed just to make sense. Whiteheads and blackheads, after all, start as oily buildup in pores. Pimples ooze when you pick at them. Dry up your skin, and the acne should stop.

In the era before acne skin care products, the way to dry up your skin was to get more sun. Sunlight really can dry up acne, but it is specifically the visible blue and red rays of sunlight that make the difference. Blue light can kill acne bacteria. It cannot penetrate deep into pores, but it does not need to kill all the bacteria in a pore to make a difference. And red light can reach deeper into the skin and shrink the sebaceous glands that make the excess oil that forms part of the clog in pores.

The problem with the sunshine cure for acne is that too much sunshine can also cause sunburn. And if you have brown or black skin, sunlight causes both age spots and brown spots where acne has healed. That too much sun can cause age spots was obvious, so clever cosmetics makers of another era came up with another way to “dry up” the skin, with alcohol.

Alcohol for Drying the Skin

There is no doubt that alcohol dries the skin. Typically the kind of alcohol applied to the skin is isopropyl alcohol, also known as rubbing alcohol, although ethanol, the kind of alcohol you drink, would have a similar effect. In the middle of the twentieth century, alcohol rubs and scrubs became a very popular way of treating acne. They definitely dried up the skin.

Unfortunately, that isn’t all they did. Alcohol-based products also increase oil production. There are some skin care experts, notably the venerable “cosmetics cop” Paula Begoun, who insist that the idea that alcohol increases oil production is ridiculous. Alcohol does not stimulate excess oil production, Begoun and other experts say, hormones stimulate excess oil production.

These experts are right. However, the irritation of the skin as it dries out the skin causes the skin to release a hormone known as corticotrophin stimulating hormone. This stress hormone triggers the release of histamine that irritates the skin and increases the activity of sebaceous glands. The sebaceous glands release oil to repair the irritation caused by alcohol.

It’s really ironic that there are many alcohol-based “moisturizers” for the skin. If you have very oily, chemical resistant skin, they may not cause additional skin damage. But there are no skin types for which alcohol moisturizes and improves the skin.

But If We Don’t Need to Dry the Skin to Fight Acne, Why Moisturise?

If drying the skin doesn’t fight acne, why would moisturizing the skin help? The answer is that moisture in the skin helps get rid of oil on the skin, and it the oil on the skin that clogs pores trying to bring it (and dead skin cells and acne bacteria) to the surface.

The skin provides a protective barrier that is organized in a way that is reminiscent of a brick wall. Tough skin cells known as corneocytes are the bricks. Fats and fat-like substances such as ceramides and triglycerides form the mortar. Most of the contents of the human body are “watery,” so the combination of tough proteins and fatty lubricants protects the interior of the body from dilution or leakage.

Tiny amounts of water are found in the skin. The skin has to let very little water through, and moves water in and out very slowly. It uses carrier molecules known as aquaporins to transport water back and forth in the skin.

Just a splash of water on the skin may be more than enough to fill the aquaporins and add all the extra water the skin can hold—for an hour or two. Skin-identical ceramides and fats do a lot more to keep the skin moist and supple. They dilute the “mortar” holding skin cells together just enough to let the skin move with muscles beneath it and keep pores open so they don’t fill with sebum that becomes whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples.

The best moisturizers are some combination of oil in water or water in oil. Just because you have oily skin, which is really having too much oil on your skin, does not mean that your skin may not need additional moisture. It just means that your skin probably needs more water than oil.

If you’re looking for a moisturiser for acne, Dr. Spiller Alpenrausch Organic Balancing Alpine Complex is a balancing 24-hour moisturiser for oily, combination or acneic skin featuring a unique blend of organic Alpine herbs to purify skin, calm and heal breakouts. With its water base, this product has been specially formulated for oily, acne as well as combination skin.

This is lightweight moisturiser with Arnica and Alpine Willow Herb to calm the skin and reduce redness. Hyssop will soothe, while Edelweiss hydrates and Thistle Oil and Zinc will provide mattifying effects on the skin.

Active ingredients:

  • Rose Flower Water
  • Safflower Seed Oil
  • Shea Butter
  • Willow Herb
  • Hyssop
  • Eye Bright
  • Edelweiss
  • Arnica
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Zinc PCA

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