Although an excellent treatment for acne, hyperpigmentation, scarring, and uneven texture, Differin (adapalene) can cause intense dryness and irritation.
These occurrences are uncomfortable and can lead to many other issues, including more severe breakouts, allergic reactions, and even dermatitis-like rashes due to the skin’s inability to protect itself from pathogens.
This is why choosing the right moisturizer is essential to keeping your skin healthy and happy, especially when starting your retinoid journey.
Therefore, in this article, I’ve rounded the ten best moisturizers to use with Differin based on their ingredients and the skin types they’re suitable for.
Differin – Moisturizer
The Differin Moisturizer is the best pairing for Differin Gel because they are designed to be used together.
The moisturizer has a lightweight texture and leaves a silky and glowy finish on the skin. It’s made with a good balance of actives like brightening niacinamide, hydrating hyaluronic acid, as well as softening emollients, fatty alcohols, and several softening oils.
Excellent for those with dry, irritated, and sensitive skin, as well as those dealing with rough and bumpy texture, the Differin Moisturizer is a decent product to try if you’re currently using Differin Gel.
CeraVe – PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion
The CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion is an excellent option for those whose skin is dry and acne-prone.
The cream contains hydrating hyaluronic acid alongside niacinamide and ceramides, two very efficient barrier-restoring ingredients.
The PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion has a rich consistency and feels silky smooth on the skin. It’s also oil-free and super-hydrating, meaning it’s one of the best products to soothe irritation caused by harsh acne treatments like Differin and repair a damaged skin barrier.
However, it also contains Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, which can be a clogging ingredient for those with oily skin, which is why it’s not one of my top picks for this skin type.
Versed Skin – Dew Point Moisturizing Gel Cream
The Versed Skin Dew Point Moisturizing Gel Cream is an affordable, no-fuss, straight-to-the-point moisturizer that does exactly what it says it does – it makes your skin look dewy.
It is packed with hydrating and nourishing ingredients as well as some soothing and anti-inflammatory ingredients that might be especially beneficial for oily and acne-prone skin.
The moisturizer has a nice, lightweight texture that absorbs into the skin easily and maintains its suppleness.
The Skin Dew Point Moisturizing Gel Cream might not be enough for those whose skin is dry and irritated while using Differin; however, it can work great if your skin is only mildly dry.
First Aid Beauty – Ultra Repair Intense Hydration Cream
The Ultra-Repair Cream by First Aid Beauty is a thick, nourishing moisturizer that contains excellent emollients to maintain skin suppleness and help prevent moisture loss.
Triglycerides, moisturizing shea butter, anti-inflammatory colloidal oatmeal, and nourishing licorice extract strengthen and support the skin barrier and instantly soothe and relieve irritation.
Excellent for dry, sensitive, and irritated skin, the Ultra Repair Cream is one of the best options to nourish your skin through the process of getting used to Differin or any other harsh acne medication.
La Roche-Posay – Cicaplast Baume B5
The Cicaplast Baume B5 by La Roche Posay is a product that delivers immediate relief within seconds of applying it to dry, sensitive, and irritated skin.
It’s a thick balm that contains many soothing, repairing, and moisturizing ingredients, including softening shea butter, hydrating glycerin, soothing and repairing panthenol, nourishing magnesium, anti-inflammatory zinc, as well as Madecassoside, which is one of the four main compounds in the plant extract Centella Asiatica, an incredibly soothing and repairing agent that helps strengthen the skin barrier.
The Cicaplast Baume B5 is also non-comedogenic, and although it’s pretty thick and moisturizing, there’s nothing here that will clog the pores and cause your skin to break out.
You can use the Cicaplast Baume B5 before or after applying Differin to soothe the skin and relieve irritation caused by this potent acne product.
Aveeno – Calm + Restore Oat Gel Facial Moisturizer
Excellent for all skin types, the Aveeno Calm + Restore Oat Gel Facial Moisturizer is a super-gentle moisturizer whose main ingredient is colloidal oatmeal powder, known for its soothing, anti-inflammatory, and nourishing properties.
The moisturizer also contains glycerin to hydrate the skin, as well as soothing and redness-relieving Centella Asiatica.
Lightweight, silky smooth, and easily absorbed, the Aveeno Calm + Restore Oat Gel Facial Moisturizer is an excellent product to use before or after applying Differin to calm irritated skin and reduce redness.
Neutrogena – Hydro Boost Face Moisturizer
Neutrogena’s Hydroboost Water Gel is one of the simplest, most affordable products that are great for combo, oily, and acne-prone skin.
It’s an oil-free moisturizer with hydrating properties from ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, a humectant that attracts and retains water into the skin’s uppermost layers.
It also contains a few silicones which are great moisturizing ingredients that help create that occlusive layer on the skin’s surface and prevent the water from evaporating.
The Hydroboost Water Gel spreads easily on the skin and instantly hydrates it, leaving a velvety finish on the surface without feeling greasy.
This moisturizer does contain fragrance, and it may not be an option for those sensitive or allergic to it. The scent is also rather strong initially, but it, fortunately, doesn’t linger for long.
La Roche-Posay – Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer
The La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer is a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer that contains many moisturizing and nourishing ingredients, including shea butter, niacinamide, ceramides, and silicones that help create an occlusive layer on the skin and prevent moisture loss.
It also contains prebiotic thermal water to soothe and calm the skin, as well as glycerin, a humectant that helps attract moisture into the uppermost layers of the skin.
Rich, silky smooth, and easily absorbed, the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer leaves the skin feeling hydrated and soft, and it’s a great product to use before or after applying Differin.
Peter Thomas Roth – Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream
The Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream by Peter Thomas Roth is a concentrated 30% hyaluronic acid cream that transforms atmospheric vapor into fresh, pure water, providing your skin with a continuous burst of intense hydration and moisture that lasts all day long.
It also contains ceramides, yeast extracts, and cholesterol, a fatty substance found in our natural skin oil that helps restore and maintain the skin’s barrier function.
Rich, yet lightweight, the Hyaluronic Cloud Cream is excellent for all skin types, including sensitive and acne-prone skin, and it can be used before or after applying Differin to help hydrate and soothe any existing redness and irritation.
Kate Somerville – DeliKate Recovery Cream
The DeliKate Recovery Cream is a thick, creamy, and moisturizing balm formulated with a unique blend of ingredients to help calm, repair, and restore the skin.
Some key ingredients include a complex of peptides and ceramides to help strengthen the skin barrier and reduce the appearance of redness and irritation, as well as glycerin, cucumber, rice bran, and rosemary extracts to soothe and hydrate the skin.
The DeliKate Recovery Cream is also formulated with fatty alcohols, sterols, and seed oils that help soften the skin and create an occlusive barrier to help prevent trans-epidermal water loss.
However, due to the heavy emollients and occlusive ingredients, this product is definitely not the best for those with oily and acne-prone skin.
Instead, it’s a better fit for those using Differin or other aggressive retinoids, like tretinoin, for their anti-aging or brightening benefits.
My name is Simone and I am a certified skin specialist. I created this website to teach my readers how to take great care of their skin and I also like to occasionally share my honest opinions on skincare products I’ve tried. You can learn more about me here.
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