A Derm’s Guide To Shopping For Moisturisers & Sunscreens When You Have Acne

Because even acne prone skin needs hydration

by Sarah Lakos
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When it comes to acne prone skin, not all products are created equal. Dermatologists agree, finding the the best moisturiser and sun protection for skin with acne is important. You might be using a variety of cleansers, toners and serums to treat angry-looking cysts and pores – and without a soothing, hydrating moisturiser your skin could become even more irritated and dry.

Which is why London-based Consultant Dermatologist, Dr Justine Hextall says it’s essential to, “adopt a gentle but effective skin care regimen and stick to it.” Moisturising is a very important step, “It may feel counterintuitive to use moisturiser in acne but in my view, it can be incredibly important,” she explains.

If you have acne, you’re looking for a moisturiser that can, “calm and hydrate the skin barrier without being comedogenic,” says Dr Hextall. “Acne is an inflammatory skin condition, it often feels sore and irritated, it is important to try and calm this inflammation.” She recommends avoiding coconut oil and petroleum-based moisturisers.

Dr Hextall suggests keeping an eye out for these key ingredients when selecting a moisturiser for acne prone skin:

Still not sure where to start? We did the hard work for you and compiled a guide to all the best moisturisers and sunscreens for skin with acne.

We only include products that have been independently selected by Bustle's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

Hydrating and Soothing Moisturisers for Acne Prone Skin

Dr Hextall points out that some studies suggest that if skin is dehydrated it may produce more oil to try and compensate. “Keeping acne-prone skin hydrated is important to reduce the oil production that blocks pores which leads to inflammatory pimples."

Dr Hextall's Pick

Non-comedogenic (that’s non-pore-blocking) and one of Dr Hextall’s own recommendations; “This contains lipids to strengthen the skin barrier and niacinamide to reduce inflammation.”

The Hydrating Steal

You’ll love it because it hydrates irritated, inflamed skin AND it's less than £6! Don't let the price point fool you, it's packed with Hyaluronic Acid to combat dryness. It’s also cruelty free and vegan.

The Mattifying One

A French pharmacy favourite, Avene's iconic thermal water soothes and Glycerin quenches dry skin. Amazon and Boots reviewers say it’s great under make-up because of it's matte finish.

The Quick-Absorbing Gel

Containing Vitamin B3-derived Niacinamide, this non-greasy gel’s active ingredients help with the appearance of enlarged pores.

The Vegan Option

A great vegan, ‘clean’ option for acne prone skin, this moisturiser is an all-rounder – grouping Niacinamide with Salicylic acid, soothing green tea and brightening Vitamin C.

Oil-free SPF

Sun protection is an ‘always’, whether your skin is acne prone or not. Ingredients like retinol will make skin more susceptible to pigmentation and sun damage. “I always recommend applying a moisturiser first, allow it to soak in and then apply an effective high factor broad spectrum SPF,” recommends Dr Hextall.

Barely There SPF

Reviewers love this sunscreen because of it’s super lightweight texture and non-chalky finish. Its also the perfect size to carry for on-the-go reapplication.

High protection

The Heliocare Gel has PA++++ status, meaning it’s super effective at blocking UVA and UVB rays. It’s super quick to settle on the skin and won't cause your skin to break out.

The Multi-tasker

Forego foundation for this multitasker – it has SPF40 sun protection, oil control and a light tint for buildable coverage. It's oil-free, who won't clog your pores and might just be the hardest working all-in-one product this summer in your make-up bag.