For those dealing with acne scars, finding the right moisturizer is essential. Below, we’ll talk a bit about how a moisturizer can help with these marks, and then go over our recommendations for the best moisturizers for acne scars.
Do Moisturizers Help with Acne Scars?
Yes and no. In general, for optimal skin health and quicker skin healing, balanced moisture levels are essential. This means that an effective moisturizer that works for your skin type is a key part of getting the best skin of your life, even if it doesn’t actually contain ingredients known to fade acne scars. However, there are moisturizers available on the market that contain ingredients that help with acne scars, such as retinol or vitamin C.
A few of the options below contain ingredients that are specifically known for minimizing acne scars, while others are just good for adequately hydrating and supporting acne-prone skin.
1. Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream
Neutrogena Moisturizer for Moisturization and Anti-Aging
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream
This cream moisturizer combines the power of retinol and hyaluronic acid to fight the signs of aging while also plumping and moisturizing the skin.
This anti-aging moisturizer is a great way to add retinol to your routine, as the addition of moisturizing ingredients may help mitigate some of the irritation often associated with retinol. The cream contains retinol SA, which works to smooth lines and even skin tone. It also contains hyaluronic acid, which pulls moisture to the skin for healthy hydration levels.
- May cause irritation
In addition to the hydrating benefits, hyaluronic acid has been shown to help minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, which makes this drugstore moisturizer even more effective for anti-aging. Even though the hydrating ingredients may mitigate the irritating effects of retinol, if you’re new to this skincare ingredient or have sensitive skin, you may want to start by using this cream every other day or every two days to see how your skin reacts.
Water, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Glycerin, Dimethicone, PPG 15 Stearyl Ether, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Glyceryl Behenate, Ceteareth 20, Isohexadecane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Cyclopentasiloxane, Polyethylene, Sodium Polyacrylate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Crosspolymer, Polyacrylamide, PTFE, C13-14 Isoparaf n, Chlorphenesin, Polysorbate 20, Hydrolyzed Myrtus Communis Leaf Extract, Retinol, BHT, Sodium Hyaluronate, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Laureth-7, Ascorbic Acid
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: An overview of clinical efficacy and safety"Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging"Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.
2. Redermic R Retinol Cream
La Roche-Posay Moisturizer for Anti-Aging and Moisturization
La Roche-Posay Redermic R Retinol Cream
This cream combines retinol and lipo-hydroxy acid with moisturizing ingredients. These ingredients help even skin tone and texture and provide anti-aging benefits while keeping the skin moisturized.
This moisturizer contains retinol, an incredibly effective skincare ingredient that diminishes fine lines and wrinkles while also tackling sun spots and hyperpigmentation. It also contains lipo-hydroxy acid, which exfoliates, smoothes, and brightens. Sodium hyaluronate, glycerin, and other ingredients help soothe and moisturize the skin, which is excellent for also cutting down on irritation. This makes this cream a great choice for someone who is new to using retinol.
- Dermatologist tested
- Contains fragrance
Since this cream already contains retinol, you should not layer it on top of products with other potentially irritating ingredients (like another retinol serum or exfoliating serum).
Aqua / Water, Isostearyl Neopentanoate, Glycerin, Octyldodecanol, Propylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycine Soja Oil / Soybean Oil, Triethanolamine, Isohexadecane, Sodium Hyaluronate, Retinol, Retinyl Linoleate, Adenosine, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Polysorbate 80, Phenoxyethanol, Parfum / Fragrance.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "The Use of Lipohydroxy Acid in Skin Care and Acne Treatment"Accessed Aug. 20, 2021.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: An overview of clinical efficacy and safety"Accessed Aug. 20, 2021.
3. Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer
La Roche-Posay Moisturizer for Daily Moisturization
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer
This lightweight, oil-free moisturizer is excellent for all skin types. It effectively hydrates without clogging pores, making it a particularly great choice for those prone to acne.
This product is one of the overall best La Roche-Posay moisturizers. It contains niacinamide, which helps soothe and reduce redness, as well as ceramides, which strengthen and hydrate the skin. Additionally, this moisturizer is non-comedogenic, meaning it contains ingredients that are not likely to clog pores. This makes this moisturizer excellent for acne-prone skin.
- Dermatologist tested
- May not be moisturizing enough for super dry skin
In addition to the ingredients mentioned above, this moisturizer contains prebiotics, which the brand says help restore the skin, and glycerin, which moisturizes.
Aqua/Water, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Niacinamide, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurine, Myristyl Myristate, Stearic Acid, Ceramide 3, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Isobutane, Glyceryl Stearate Se, Sodium Hydroxide, Myristic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Capryloyl Glycine, Caprylyl Glycol, Xanthan Gum, T-Butyl Alcohol, Acrylonitrile/Methyl Methacrylate / Vinylidene Chloride Copolymer, Tocopheryl
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Skin hydration is significantly increased by a cream formulated to mimic the skin’s own natural moisturizing systems"Accessed Aug. 19, 2021.
Sage Journals. "Safety Assessment of Glycerin as Used in Cosmetics"Accessed Aug. 19, 2021.
4. Resist Intensive Repair Cream
Paula's Choice Moisturizer for Intense Moisturization and Anti-Aging Benefits
Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Repair Cream
This ultra-rich face cream contains a concentrated blend of ingredients that restore, deeply hydrate, and fight the signs of aging, including a low concentration of retinol.
This face cream contains a low concentration of retinol (0.01%), a skincare ingredient that is considered the gold-standard for fighting signs of aging, including fine lines and wrinkles. It also helps even skin tone and smooth texture, minimizing hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and acne scars. While the concentration is not super high, it is great for people who want to gently work retinol into their routine, but are worried about irritation from higher concentration treatments.
- Intensely moisturizing
- Some reviewers note it has a greasy texture
In addition to the retinol, this cream contains hyaluronic acid, which locks in moisture and plumps the skin to reduce the appearance of fine lines. It also contains a blend of antioxidants that fight environmental aggressors to protect the skin.
Water (Aqua), Ethylhexyl Stearate (texture-enhancing), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Petrolatum, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Dipentaerythrityl Hexacaprylate/Hexacaprate, Glyceryl Stearate, Tridecyl Trimellitate, PEG-100 Stearate, Phenyl Trimethicone, Retinol, Adenosine, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Ceramide NG, Sodium Hyaluronate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Niacinamide, Tocopherol, Lecithin, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Retinyl Palmitate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Fruit Extract, Lens Esculenta (Lentil) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Tribehenin, PEG-10 Phytosterol, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Sodium PCA, Sodium Lactate, Pullulan, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hydroxide, Neopentyl Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Cetearyl Glucoside, Tridecyl Stearate, Behenyl Alcohol, Sclerotium Gum, Carbomer, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Polysorbate 20, Disodium EDTA, Sorbic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Benzoic Acid
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: An overview of clinical efficacy and safety"Accessed Aug. 2, 2021.
ResearchGate. "Hyaluronic Acid, a Promising Skin Rejuvenating Biomedicine: A Review of Recent Updates and Pre-clinical and Clinical Investigations on Cosmetic and Nutricosmetic Effects"Accessed Aug. 2, 2021.
What is the best daytime moisturizer for acne scars?
Since retinol makes your skin more sensitive to UV rays (and since the sun can decrease the efficacy of retinol), it’s best to stick to using products containing this ingredient at night. With that in mind, a great daytime moisturizer to use is the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer, which is lightweight but super moisturizing. Be sure to apply sunscreen, as well.
What is the best night moisturizer for acne scars?
Many of the products mentioned above can be used at night, but in particular, the options with retinol are great for nighttime use. Consider the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream, the La Roche-Posay Redermic R Retinol Cream, or the Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Repair Cream.
What is the best drugstore moisturizer for acne scars?
Some excellent moisturizers you can get at the drugstore include the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream and the La Roche-Posay Redermic R Retinol Cream (if you’re looking for retinol options), as well as the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer.
The Bottom Line
Everyone needs to have an effective moisturizer in their routine, but it’s especially important for those looking to treat acne scars and achieve a clearer complexion. If you’re dealing with acne scars, consider trying out one of our recommended moisturizers.