Moisturizer? Maybe NOT a Good Idea

April 2012

For this newsletter, I am going to talk about a concept that I don’t recall being discussed when I was in dermatology training, but only have learned after practicing in New Orleans for over 20 years. In a nutshell, using moisturizer, especially during our hot, humid summers, may be a bad idea. Over and over, I have seen patients come in with complaints of acne and when I take away their heavy moisturizer, they get better! Heavy is when it comes in a jar and you turn it upside down and it stays in the jar. But other lighter moisturizers may not be needed and may be problematic too.

You say, but what about the sunscreen? There are other ways to get adequate SPF, including powders and sunscreen formulated for acne prone skin. If you use a powder, find out if it has sunscreen protection, and if not, use one that does, ie Jane Iredale and Bare Minerals. Elta MD line has “clear” for acne skin, which you can pick up in my office without seeing me or can find online at dermstore.com. (not my site, but hey, I do tell you everything!) For you teenagers, solbar liquid/gel is for oily/acne skin but most females don’t like the way it feels although it is a little cheaper. So, back to the moisturizers. What is their purpose? I guess to hydrate and plump up the skin making it appear less ‘wrinkly’. However, there is no real medicine in it that has been demonstrated to help with your wrinkles long term. So unless I have just had a peel, or a trip to Colorado/Arizona, I use something that will actually do something, ie retinoids (tretinoin and its many cousins), glycolic acid, peptides, Vitamin C and E, bleaching agents, or even better, multiple things in one cream. So If you get breakouts, bring in your products and let us look at them.