Soy-free moisturizer for acne-prone sensitive skin?
October 12, 2012 10:41 AM   Subscribe

Can someone recommend a moisturizer for acne-prone sensitive skin that doesn't include any of these things?

My skin is acne prone and extremely picky. I'd like a good daily/nightly moisturizer, and I'm sensitive to many things - any inflammation tends to break me out (I'm even trying to eat better so I have fewer insulin spikes and less inflammation from that).

I need a moisturizer that is free of oil (or specifically labeled non-acnegenic, not just non-comedogenic), free of the sunscreen oxybenzone, soy-free, lanolin-free, tea-tree-oil-free, and (if it's a day time moisturizer) Vitamin-A-free. In general, fewer botanicals would be good because I don't know everything I'm sensitive to.

I also don't want any glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or benzoyl peroxide - this needs to be a moisturizer I use twice daily (or a day cream / night cream pair), so I want control over which chemicals I use and when.

SPF is fine if it's oxybenzone free, but I'd prefer not to put SPF on my face at night if possible.

I'm currently using Neutrogena Oil-Free Sensitive Skin Lotion, which breaks me out less than some lotions but is causing breakouts because it has soy in it.

Whew! I know that's a lot of requirements, but that's why I'm having such trouble. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
posted by lemoncakeisalie to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (24 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Alcohol-free would be great, as well, but isn't extremely important. :) Thanks again!
posted by lemoncakeisalie at 10:44 AM on October 12, 2012

I really liked using plain grapeseed oil. It applies thinly, doesn't leave me feeling greasy, and it's lack of any other ingredients kept my face pretty happy.
posted by jillithd at 10:46 AM on October 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

It's possible that I missed it in the long list of ingredients, but would Cetaphil moisturizer fit the bill? I have very dry, acne-prone skin, and this doesn't break or dry me out.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 10:55 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've been using Burt's Bees After Sun Soother for a few months and it has not caused me to break out. As far as I can tell from looking at the ingredients, it does not contain soy.
posted by janepanic at 10:56 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've had good luck with Cerave moisturizing lotion, which at a glance appears to meet your requirements.
posted by commander biscuit at 10:59 AM on October 12, 2012 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Cetaphil, unfortunately, has macadamia nut oil. Burt's Bees has at least two oil ingredients. I've tried the oil cleansing method with awful results, so I really want to steer clear of oil.
posted by lemoncakeisalie at 10:59 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

A very good reference for your own further research would be these National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance products. There's some detailed information there and links for where to get more information.
posted by Dansaman at 11:00 AM on October 12, 2012 [4 favorites]

I also have sensitive but oily skin.

My dermatologist recommended Cetaphil, and I use their light 15 spf daily lotion on my face. CeraVe and Vanicream, were two other brands on the list. I can reliably find Cetaphil at my local Target/CVS. The others might need an internet order.
posted by fontophilic at 11:03 AM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

I use vanicream (I just buy it at cvs). It is thick, and for the first minute or so after application, I'm kind of grossed out. But then it soaks in. I have similar skin to you + awesome peeling! And this works for me. I just use the cream morning and night, but apparently they sell a lotion, which might be more appealing for daytime use.
posted by atomicstone at 11:03 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

It might be worth talking to a dermatologist, if you haven't. They can help determine what exactly you are sensitive to and what your skin needs. It sounds like you've done a lot of trial-and-error which I know from experience can be super crazy-making when it comes to your skin.
posted by sonmi at 11:11 AM on October 12, 2012

Best answer: I hated the Cetaphil moisturizer, it made me all red and itchy. I use Aveeno Ultra-Calming now - and I'm red for a few seconds, then it's fine. I can't seem to find a full list of ingredients but I don't see any of your no's on the bottle or the website. (Though I wonder if this Avobenzone is also no good... )
posted by ansate at 11:32 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would also recommend Cerave. I love their normal moisturizing lotion as well as their AM lotion. CVS in my area carries Cerava products.
posted by two lights above the sea at 11:50 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Complex 15. Here's some chat about it at a rosacea forum and at makeup alley.

I don't have acne prone or particularly sensitive skin, but I started using this when my roommate (who did have both sensitive skin and acne issues) did. I love it. It has no smell and is very light and absorbs quickly. My skin tends to be dry and I love how this stuff feels.
posted by crush-onastick at 12:43 PM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: It has alcohol in it, but I think it's free of everything else: Kate Somerville Oil Free Moisturizer. Her line for acne-prone skin (like mine) is the only one I've ever been satisfied with.
posted by eenagy at 1:03 PM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: This appears to have what you need at first glance. You can order a tiny sample for 0.80 to try it out, which is the best part.
posted by tatiana131 at 1:18 PM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

3rd-ing Cerave.
posted by spilon at 1:20 PM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

tatiana131 pointed out a specific product, but I was going to suggest contacting Paula's Choice with your question: my experience has been that they have great customer service and they're very interested in making sure that you're satisfied with their products. They have pretty regular sales and free shipping offers, too.
posted by EvaDestruction at 2:24 PM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I love CeraVe PM - I see that I'm not the first! Here are the ingredients (source):

Water (Purified), Glycerin, Capric/Caprylic Triglyceride, Niacinamide, Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and), Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth 20 (and), Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6 11, Ceramide 1, Phytosphingosine, Hyaluronic Acid, Cholesterol, Dimethicone, Polyglyceryl 3 Diisostearate, Potassium Phosphate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Disodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum

It has alcohol, but it's oil free and I don't think it has any of the ingredients you can't use. I love it and find it moisturizing enough for my slightly dry skin in winter, and light enough for my normal skin in summer. Not sure how it would work on oily or extremely dry skin.

Whatever you end up buying, I suggest buying from somewhere with a good return policy (most drugstores take returns on open cosmetics), so you can return if it doesn't work for you.
posted by insectosaurus at 3:12 PM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

I have acne-prone oil-sensitive skin, and get awful winter dryness.

And tea-tree oil isn't a proper "oil", FWIW... Actually more like a heavy alcohol (technically, a sesquiterpene).

Personally, I use a blend of aloe (pure, no colors, no flavors, no preservatives) with a few drops of tea tree blended in for most of the winter (I started a few weeks ago). I only resort to "real" moisturizers if (when) I start bleeding (usually only from the hands, sometimes lips, but I use the aloe on my face as well with no problems). Then, when actually bleeding, I use Aveno Baby, which very definitely counts as vile oily greasy slimy ICK, but it will do the job in a day or two and doesn't bother my skin too badly, so I can go back to just aloe for another month.
posted by pla at 5:40 PM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I bet you have uber-sensitive, acne-prone skin like mine. I don't use sunscreen and avoid all silcones in skincare. I also stay away from palmitates in any form and myristrates. I'm currently using Ulta's ageless night cream and the corresponding day cream (I've got the flu. Too lazy to go get it.) Together, they are 35 dollars, plus tax, and last a good while. If you go the oil-only moisturizing route, I like emu oil (If you don't have anything against the poor emu's) or sunflower seed oil.

And FWIW, anything Cerave broke me out horribly. Cleanser and all formulas of lotion/cream.
posted by nubianinthedesert at 5:50 PM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

The moisturizer. It has jojoba oil, but that's a good, non-acnegenic oil and you might even want to order some jojoba oil as well to mix in with the moisturizer as needed. It's also great as a precleanse for getting rid of dry skin flakes.
posted by désoeuvrée at 6:10 PM on October 12, 2012 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Also, based on your question it sounds like you already understand about diet and inflammation, but I just wanted to recommend the book The Clear Skin Diet. For a few years now I've been taking turmeric, fish oil (well, Ovega which is vegan) and Evening Primrose Oil supplements, specifically for my acne-prone skin. I also drink shit tons of decaf green tea (like 5+ cups/daily) for the same purpose.
posted by désoeuvrée at 6:29 PM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

(Though I wonder if this Avobenzone is also no good... )

Ooh, yeah I would definitely stay away from Avobenzone! That's known to cause breakouts for some people. In fact, they started using it for awhile as the SPF in Olay Complete for Sensitive Skin, but they had to switch back to the original formula because everyone stopped buying it.
posted by désoeuvrée at 6:14 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Have you tried AmLactin/Lac-Hydrin 5? I don't believe they contain the ingredients you've listed, and they do a great job of moisturising AND exfoliating (perfect for your acne). $15 from Walgreens for about 8oz. Warning: it doesn't smell pretty, and the lactic acid might sting a bit but my friends with ultra-sensitive skin swear by it. Unfortunately the lactic acid makes your skin photosensitive so I recommend you try using something else during the day. I like using Jane Iredale mattifying powders and foundations as they are excellent at mopping up sebum and provide good coverage. I know they sell a dry powder sunscreen that looks fairly inoffensive (though the price might be a bit steep) - have a look on their website.
posted by travellingincognito at 3:12 AM on November 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

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