The 5 Best Moisturizers To Use With Differin Gel

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Differin Gel and its active ingredient, adapalene, can work wonders on skin from clearing acne to smoothing out texture. But that doesn't mean it doesn't also present some challenges. The best moisturizers to use with Differin Gel will make sure your skin isn't just clear, but that it's hydrated and glowing.

Adapalene is a retinoid that doesn't just treat acne, but actually helps prevent new acne from forming by adjusting the skin cell turnover process to keep pores from clogging as frequently. While it's so safe that the formerly prescription-only ingredient has been approved for over-the-counter sales, it's still powerful medicine that can cause irritation, especially in the first weeks of using it.

"Retinoids, including Differin/adapalene, can be very drying to the skin," says Arielle Nagler, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at NYU. "I usually ask patients to start using them every other day and increase to nightly as tolerated. They should also be used with emollients to mitigate some of the drying and irritating side effects. You can either mix them directly with moisturizers before applying them for enhanced moisturization, or you can apply the moisturizer after for better medication penetration."

And when it comes to the best ingredients in your moisturizer, Dr. Nagler recommends looking for glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides. "Petrolatum is also a very powerful emollient, but can be too occlusive so I do not recommend it in acne-prone skin," she says, so lay off the Vaseline and mineral oil to be safe.

Shop below for the best moisturizers to use with Differin or other adapalene creams that won't clog pores, won't irritate your skin, and will moisturize without leaving your face greasy.

1. The All-Around Best Moisturizer For Differin Gel

With glycerin, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid, this rich moisturizer has all the good stuff and none of the petroleum or fragrance you want to avoid. It is a formula developed with dermatologists and noncomedogenic so it won't clog your pores, making it a great moisturizer to combat the drying effects of Differin or other retinoids.

Fans say: "I have started using Differin which has caused my skin to be extremely dry... After one use, my skin already looked so much better, it adds a plumpness to my cheeks and a glow. I've never seen such fast and obvious results from a moisturizer before!"

2. The Best Moisturizer For Extra-Dry Skin

Neutrogena's cult-favorite Hydro Boost line's formula for extra-dry skin is a glycerin-filled moisturizer filled with moisturizing hyaluronic acid that actually attracts and binds water. Plus, it's noncomedogenic and free of oil and fragrance. It's a great nonirritating formula for dry skin with a gel texture that keeps things light.

Fans say: "Thanks to this product, I have been able to go through the dry stage after Differin Gel and Accutane. I now introduce it to my brother who has acne and my sister who has very dry skin."

3. The Best Moisturizer For Oily And Combo Skin

Birch sap is a Korean beauty favorite ingredient for hydrating while adding antioxidants and vitamins and this bottle has more than 70 percent of that hero ingredient. It also has moisturizing glycerin and hyaluronic acid to aid in healing after your dose of Differin.

Fans say: "So within 2 days of using this, the 2 red acne bumps on my chin went away completely. In less than a week, the open acne wound on my forehead stopped being flaky and visibly reduced in size. My skin stays hydrated without being oily."

4. A French Pharmacy Favorite For Sensitive Skin

La Roche-Posay's Toleriane Double Repair moisturizer is a French pharmacy staple for its allergy- and dermatologist-tested noncomedogenic formula that has plenty of moisturizing glycerin and ceramides. It's also free of oil and fragrance making it a great choice for sensitive skin.

Fans say: "I have acne-prone, sensitive, oily (but extremly dry on some areas on my face) skin, so it is hard to find products that are just right for me... When I tried it on my face, there was no irritation at all, no burning or stinging feelings. It is not greasy at all, but still moisturizing enough that I can feel it right after one application."

5. A 97 Percent Natural Moisturizer Packed With Vitamins

This cream is a rich mix of 97 percent naturally derived ingredients including glycerin from vegetables. With vitamins B, C, and E but no petrolatum, it's a dermatologist-recommended formula that moisturizes without clogging pores.

Fans say: "My skin is probably in the mature category, even though I suffer from acne. Last winter my regular moisturizer just wasn't doing the trick anymore. My skin was just looking tired. All the other heavier night creams I tried made me break out terribly. This had a very short ingredient list, as natural as you can find in a big box or chain drugstore, reasonably priced, so I tried it. Love it!"

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