5 Effective and Hydrating Ingredients for Acne-prone Skin

If you have acne, you shouldn't be stripping the oils off of your face. Rather, you should be supporting and hydrating it. Acne can definitely damage your skin barrier so it's important to use skin-supporting ingredients that hydrate the skin. When we use stripping products that dehydrate the skin, this can further compromise its skin barrier, and likewise, make it difficult to heal. When the skin barrier is damaged, this causes more inflammation, a huge contributing factor to acne. 

TheAmerican Academy of Dermatology states that people with acne should also moisturize because the body produces more oil when the skin is dry, which can then clog pores.

At the same time, the fear of using moisturizing products and breaking out is real. 

So, here are five hydrating ingredients specifically for acne-prone skin. And while simply hydrating the skin won’t treat acne, keeping the skin hydrated is an important part of healing the skin barrier.


Glycerin, a common humectant, moisturizes the skin by pulling water from the environment and into your skin. Moisturizers with glycerin are great for trapping moisture in the skin. However, since glycerin pulls water from the nearest source, it can greatly dehydrate your skin when used alone. So, if you have pure glycerin, you need to dilute it, and the easiest way is to look for the ingredient in serums or moisturizers. 

In addition to its hydrating components, glycerin is oil-free, making it an excellent source of hydration for oily and acne-prone skin. 


Beta-glucans or β-glucan are fibers that dissolve in water (water-soluble). They are a type of polysaccharide made of a string of glucose (sugar) molecules. A polysaccharide is a carbohydrate whose molecules consist of a number of sugar molecules bonded together.

Beta-glucans are found in ingredients like oats, mushrooms, and seaweed. Beta-glucans are able to help the skin recover from inflammation and barrier damage because they catalyze immune cells to combat acne-causing bacteria. This really boosts the healing process of oily, acne-prone skin. Plus, beta-glucans are also known to soothe itching and inflammation. 


Allantoin is a naturally-occurring compound, and in the body, it is converted from Uric acid. Uric acid is a normal body waste product that can act as an antioxidant. However, skincare products use plant-based or synthetic (made in lab) allantoin, so it is vegan-friendly! 

Allantoin is great for soothing irritation, and it can also be an emollient. Emollients soften and moisturize the skin, and they often help with itching and redness. Moreover, comfrey extract, also contains naturally-occurring allantoin, and comfrey extract is actually more effective than pure allantoin. This suggests that a combination of compounds in comfrey root has a beneficial effect on irritation.

In2015 study, allantoin-containing comfrey root leaves were definitively shown to help helps new skin cells grow and reduce inflammation. 

Mandelic acid 

Mandelic acid is a wonderful ingredient that comes from bitter almonds. Mandelic acid is an AHA, and it's a hydrating and water-soluble ingredient. Mandelic acid is a gentle exfoliant and AHA that hydrates the skin while sloughing off dead skin cells. Medical News Today states that, “Mandelic acid has antibacterial properties and may help remove acne-causing bacteria in the skin. It may also reduce inflammation and redness.” 

Face Reality 8% L-Mandelic Serum 



Ceramides are lipids (fats), found in our skin cells. Did you know they make up 30% to 40% of your outer skin layer or epidermis? Ceramides are important for retaining your skin’s moisture and strengthening the barrier. When your skin's ceramide content decreases, it becomes dehydrated. It’s easy for your skin to become dry and irritated. 

So, these are five hydrating ingredients for specifically acne-prone skin. You can look for products that highlight these ingredients!

Photocred: Byrdie