The 5 Best Moisturizers To Use With Differin Gel, According To A Dermatologist

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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. Dry skin, redness, and sensitivity are all common side effects. That’s why the best moisturizers to use with Differin Gel deeply moisturize and protect skin without irritating your skin.

"Retinoids, including Differin/adapalene, can be very drying to the skin," explains Dr. 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 moisturizing 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 adds, so it might be a good idea to lay off the Vaseline and mineral oil to be safe, especially if you’re prone to breakouts.

Scroll on for the best nonirritating moisturizers to use with Differin that won't clog pores and will moisturize without leaving your face feeling greasy. They’ve all earned raves from real customers who’re also using retinoids. Best of all, you get any of these picks for less than $25.

In a hurry? Here’s a quick rundown of the best moisturizers to use with Differin:

1. The All-Around Best Moisturizer For Differin Gel: CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream

2. The Best Moisturizer For Dry Skin: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream Face Moisturizer

3. The Best Moisturizer For Oily & Combo Skin: CosRx Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion With Birch Sap

4. A French Pharmacy Favorite For Sensitive Skin: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

5. A 97% Natural Moisturizer Packed With Vitamins: Neutrogena Naturals Multi-Vitamin Moisturizing & Nourishing Night Face Cream


The All-Around Best Moisturizer For Differin Gel

With glycerin, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid, this rich moisturizer has all the ingredients Dr. Nagler recommends, and none of the petroleum or fragrance you might 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. With a 4.6-star overall rating after more than 22,000 buyers have weighed in, it’s been customer tested and approved, too.

According to fans: "I am so in love with this! I recently started using Differin for acne and it dried me out really bad. I added a hyaluronic acid serum into my routine and it was helping but not quite cutting it. I added this into my routine at night and it has made a huge improvement. It doesn’t make me oily or greasy but makes my skin super soft and moisturized."


The Best Moisturizer For Dry Skin

Neutrogena's cult-favorite Hydro Boost line's formula for extra-dry skin is a glycerin-filled moisturizer packed with moisturizing hyaluronic acid that attracts water to the skin. Plus, it's noncomedogenic and free of oil and fragrance. The nonirritating formula has a gel texture so it moisturizes without feeling heavy, too.

According to fans: "I have gone through many jars of this. My skin is the wonderful combination of dry and acne-prone. Many moisturizing products break me out and products for acne-prone skin are too drying. This is the perfect balance of moisture without being greasy and does not break me out. I use Differin gel, a retinoid that can be drying, and this plays well with that since this is gentle with no additional actives. I use it in the morning before sunscreen and at night after Differin."


The Best Moisturizer For Oily & Combo Skin

Birch sap is a popular Korean beauty ingredient for hydration, while also adding antioxidants and vitamins, and the CosRx oil-free moisturizing lotion has more than 70% of that hero ingredient. It also features moisturizing glycerin and hyaluronic acid to aid in healing after your dose of Differin. However, there is a light fragrance.

According to fans: "With this lotion, my skin doesn't burn even when using retinol. I recommend it to people who's skin is oily but dried out by acne creams/treatments."


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.

According to fans: "This moisturizer soaks in immediately and leaves no greasy residue on my skin whatsoever and it's also moisturizing. I use the highest prescription strength retinol cream available every night for my acne and this moisturizer is enough to keep my skin from drying out."


A 97% Natural Moisturizer Packed With Vitamins

This night cream is a rich mix of 97% naturally derived ingredients including glycerin from vegetables. With vitamins B, C, and E and no petrolatum, it's a dermatologist-recommended formula that moisturizes with lightweight oils without clogging pores. However, there is a little fragrance in this formula.

According to fans: "This is my GO-TO when it comes to nighttime creams. I've tried others in the past... I've even spent some big bucks at places like sephora. However, I always end up coming back to this since it's the only one that doesn't feel heavy on my face, absorbs quickly, and doesn't cause me to break out like crazy. I just place it over my thin retinol serum and BOOM, my face always looks great the next day."

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