7 Best Moisturizers for Accutane Users with Dry Skin

If you buy through external links, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure in full.

7 Best Moisturizers for Accutane Users with Dry Skin
In a hurry? Here are our top picks:

BEST FOR CLEAN SKINCARE

ZELEN Life Moisturizer

BEST FOR OVERNIGHT USE

Bioderma Hydrabio Cream

Accutane is a widely used oral treatment for nodulocystic and severe acne. It has been around for decades and is also known as isotretinoin.

While it works very well to prevent acne scarring and treat severe nodules and cysts associated with acne, it can also be very drying to the skin. In fact, the most common side effect from treatment with Accutane is dry skin that often peels, which feels irritated and sensitive.

Thus we have come up with a list to help with moisturizing and hydrating the skin while on Accutane treatment–the best moisturizers for Accutane users who are experiencing dry skin.

Our list is designed to help restore your skin’s moisture after treatment with Accutane, which is a strong medication that shrinks and dries out the sebaceous glands, leaving the skin sometimes irritated, peeling and sensitive.

In our review, we analyzed the 7 best moisturizers for Accutane that keep your skin moisturized without interfering with your acne treatment.

You may read further to find a detailed review of each item, its highlights, and unique features, ingredients that may be beneficial, items to consider, and who they are best suited for.

We also address possible frequently asked questions and considerations regarding skin type and individual scenarios.

Quick summary

Before you buy: 3 things to consider when purchasing a moisturizer for Accutane

Before buying a moisturizer to use with Accutane, there are a few items to consider. Moisturizers to use with Accutane are geared towards intense hydration of the skin as the medication shrinks your sebaceous glands, leading to dryness, including possible peeling and irritation.

As a result, these moisturizers should be more nourishing and hydrating than others. Their main function is to restore the skin barrier so that your skin remains healthy and intact during treatment. Here are a few things to know before buying a moisturizer for Accutane for yourself.

1. Skin type

Classifying and knowing your skin type is very important before choosing a new skincare product. Also, it is important to note that your skin type might change after beginning treatment with Accutane.

If you have oily skin, you may go for a more lightweight moisturizer, while if you have dry skin, you may need a thicker, more soothing emollient.

It is also important to realize if you have sensitive skin; if you tend to break out into a rash or begin flushing after applying something topically, you may fall into this category.

Other signs of possible sensitive skin include frequent outbreaks of dermatitis, unwanted peeling or irritation, and flares with wheals, hives, or urticaria, or even acne in response to a new skincare product.

Paying attention to what symptoms or signs you may experience is also very important. If your skin stings or experiences a burning sensation after applying a new topical product, it is vital to take note and discontinue its use.

Being fully aware of your skin type will help you and your dermatologist guide your skincare regimen and will help you decide which moisturizer to use along with Accutane may be best for you.

2. Skincare regimen

Another essential point to consider before choosing which moisturizer to use with Accutane is figuring out how it will fit into your skincare regimen.

Are you using too many items on your skin? What is your overall goal? While one of the treatment goals in choosing moisturizers to use with Accutane is to nourish the skin and restore the skin barrier, what other goals, needs, or wants do you have in mind that you seek in a skincare product?

Some individuals would like to improve their skin’s pigmentary changes, while others would like a rejuvenating effect. Jotting down a few goals and notes about what you seek in your ideal skincare regimen will help you narrow down what you wish to gain from a product.

3. Treatment course with Accutane

Last but not least, it is crucial to evaluate how a moisturizer to use with Accutane will fit into your medical treatment plan. It is best to ask your dermatologist how he or she thinks you may implement this moisturizer.

Most treatment courses with Accutane can last several months, about 6-8 months on average, which is a very long time for most people. Doses generally begin low and may be increased according to an individual’s progress and response to treatment.

Sometimes people with more chronic and rare, difficult-to-manage dermatologic issues are kept at very low doses for longer periods of time.

These factors need to be taken into account, as longer and higher dosed treatment regimens with Accutane will often need a more aggressive and long-term moisturizing regimen.

The 7 best moisturizers for Accutane

The best moisturizers for Accutane include not only those that hydrate and nourish the skin but also those that are strong enough to restore the skin barrier, avoid peeling and irritation, and not interfere with your treatment with Accutane.

Here are our top 7 moisturizers to use with Accutane.

ZELEN Life Moisturizer (Best for clean skincare)

ZELEN Life Moisturizer


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Premium matte-silver airless bottle
  • Handmade organic formula
  • Packed with botanicals and free of parabens, sulfates, fragrances, petrochemicals, and synthetic colors.

The best moisturizer for:

Accutane users who are into clean skincare and require a fast-absorbing, organic formula.

Notable ingredients:

Jojoba, calendula, clary sage.

Overview:

There’s no denying, Accutane is an aggressive treatment and side effects are inevitable. They can differ in severity from person to person. You may be lucky or unlucky.

Regardless of the severity, you will most likely experience some dryness and irritation. The chances are, your skin will feel more sensitive than usual. You may not want to irritate your skin with a moisturizer that is as aggressive as your medication. Medications are also manmade. If you are concerned with taking something synthetic and would like to balance out your skincare with something clean and natural, then the ZELEN Life Moisturizer might be the right choice for you.

I personally believe that a balanced approach of both natural and synthetic products can complement each other and bring optimal benefits. The ZELEN Life Moisturizer provides that balance. It is an all-natural moisturizer packed with organic ingredients rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids.

This product is handmade with a high-quality botanical mix:

Jojoba is a plant-based oil that helps fight aging and acne while also speeding up wound healing. It regulates sebum from sebaceous glands, helping to control acne flares while on treatment with Accutane while also helping improve moisturization by simulating sebum on our skin.(3)

Calendula is an oil derived from marigolds, which reduces redness and acts as a natural antiseptic.(2) Clary sage is an herb found in the Mediterranean with anti-inflammatory properties to prevent irritation. It is also antibacterial, used in wound healing after a trauma or skin infections caused by bacteria.(1)

The ZELEN Life Moisturizer is suitable for all skin types. It is particularly ideal for sensitive skin undergoing treatment with Accutane. This is due to its jojoba, clary sage, and calendula blend. They draw on their natural therapeutic properties to calm, soothe and heal troubled skin. They also boost hydration and strengthen the skin barrier, which protects it from external influences.

Texture and scent:

It has a non-greasy weightless texture, which absorbs fast into the skin for immediate relief and leaves it smooth. But if you prefer a thicker moisturizer, then Bioderma’s Hydrabio Cream or L’Occitane’s Comforting Cream is more suitable for you. Or, if you are looking for a comparable lightweight moisturizer but in a gel form, consider Dermalogica’s Water Gel or ELEMIS’s Hydration Juice from our list.

I really like the light citrusy smell of this moisturizer. Accutane usage can lead to a period of discomfort (and stress). When this product is applied to the skin, I think its aroma offers a moment of calm and relaxation. On the flip side, if the smell is not important to you and you prefer an unscented moisturizer, then take a look at Murad’s Ultimate Moisture. It has a lightweight texture similar to ZELEN Life’s and it also offers anti-aging benefits. But it is more expensive.

The packaging is a nice addition to this product. Not only does it look very high-end, but the pump bottle is also an airless container. This is particularly good for hygiene as it prevents water, air, and other substances from entering the cream and causing contamination. In my opinion, this is much more hygienic than a jar-based moisturizer. This should be taken into account by acne sufferers because contamination leads to bacteria, and bacteria leads to breakouts.

The good:

  • Contains plant-based, organic ingredients
  • Essential ingredients include antioxidants, vitamins, and essential fatty acids to nourish the skin
  • Leaves skin moisturized and hydrated with a smoothing, calming, and soothing effect
  • Not tested on animals and suitable for vegans
  • Hypoallergenic moisturizer for those with sensitive skin.

Things to think about:

  • Does not have sunscreen or SPF
  • Mattifying finish, which is desirable by most except if you are going for a shiny look on the face

Bottom line:

The ZELEN Life Moisturizer is a great choice for individuals who are undergoing intense treatment with Accutane and need a natural balance. It has a plant-based formula that calms the skin and soothes inflamed and dry areas while providing the skin with essential hydration.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.5 Overall Score

Bioderma Hydrabio Cream (Best for overnight use)

Bioderma Hydrabio Cream


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Long-lasting hydration
  • Strong scent
  • Very thick cream

The best moisturizer for:

Those with extra dry and sensitive skin.

Notable ingredients:

Salicylic acid, Niacinamide, Apple seed extracts

Overview:

Accutane causes dry skin no matter what time of the day it is. Even if you moisturize right before you sleep, the chances are your skin will be super dry by the time you wake up.

This is where Bioderma’s Hydrabio Cream comes in. Its rich formula helps to hydrate dry skin, especially overnight.

Let’s analyze the formula:

Niacinamide helps strengthen the skin, making the skin barrier impermeable and resistant to damage.(5) This is particularly important during Accutane treatment as the skin becomes more fragile and prone to attack. Niacinamide also contains vitamin E and antioxidants, which protect our outer layer of skin against signs of stress.(6) It also helps to fight skin aging and improve elasticity in the skin. Consequently, reducing wrinkles and fine lines.(5) It also decreases redness.

Apple seed extracts also have antioxidant and anti-aging benefits.(4) Whatsmore, they help to stimulate aquaporins in the skin. This enables the absorption of water and moisture within the cells. Thus providing long-lasting hydration that gets sealed in the epidermis. Salicylic acid helps to exfoliate the skin and remove dead cells off the skin’s surface, gradually allowing new skin to appear for a more radiant and youthful appearance.

This is a very intense, thick cream. This can be a positive or a negative depending on your preference and purpose.

Here’s my opinion:

Whether we use Accutane or not, we all crave longer-lasting hydration. A moisturizing powerhouse such as this one will always have its appeal. Nobody enjoys seeing their skin’s moisture levels diminish during the day. Even more so for Accutane users when dry skin is almost a guaranteed side effect. The desire for an intensive cream that keeps the skin feeling supple and comfortable is even greater.

As a daytime moisturizer, it is probably not the most suitable. You may find it does not absorb quickly or effectively enough for you. But if you are having a bad skin day and the plan is to stay at home, you may find this moisturizer offers some relief. Your skin may be so dry and uncomfortable that you’ll just feel like plastering this on like it’s a face mask.

However, for your nightly routine, I think this moisturizer offers a lot of benefits. This is because you are going to be less concerned about the possible residue that it leaves. The same applies to those who wear makeup during the day. Makeup doesn’t come into the equation at bedtime, so you do not need a moisturizer that absorbs fast and primes your skin ready for cosmetics.

Despite its overnight benefits, I should make you aware that it has a strong scent. This may be offputting for some who intended to use this as a night cream. If you prefer an unscented moisturizer, then consider Murad’s Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture on our list.

Despite the formula containing fragrance, Bioderma does indicate the formula is also hypoallergenic. Nevertheless, I am not sure I would use this product if I had very sensitive skin. Always remember to patch test your skincare. This is particularly important while using Accutane, as your skin may react a bit differently to usual circumstances.

If you are looking for a comparable product that is hypoallergenic and is more suitable for sensitive skin, then consider the ZELEN Life Moisturizer. Or, for a sensitive gel-based option, take a look at ELEMIS’ Superfood Juice on our list.

The good:

  • Hypoallergenic formula
  • Non-comedogenic, ideal for acne-prone skin
  • Free of parabens
  • Promotes rejuvenation of the skin
  • Key ingredients include salicylic acid, a keratolytic commonly used in over-the-counter skincare products for acne-prone skin

Things to think about:

  • The richness of the product may feel too thick for some individual preferences
  • Not fragrance-free; it is a scented formula

Bottom line:

Bioderma Hydrabio Cream is a moisturizer ideal for dry skin, which is often prevalent after Accutane treatment. It can enrich dull, dry skin in need of aggressive hydration.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
3.5 Overall Score

Murad Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture (Best for anti-aging)

Murad Hydration Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Provides a non-greasy formula that maintains moisture
  • Contains rejuvenation benefits to fight aging
  • Provides a high level of skin hydration

The best moisturizer for:

Anti-aging. It can be applied to several skin types, including dry, oily, combination, or sensitive skin.

Notable ingredients:

Shea butter, avocado, sunflower, hyaluronic acid, coconut extract, olive fruit oils

Overview:

Acne affects adults too. Despite popular belief, it is not just a teenage problem. If you suffer from adult acne you are not alone. For many people, acne can continue well into their 20’s, 30’s and even 50’s. It is also possible to not get acne as an adolescent but then experience “adult-onset acne” for the first time.

If you are an Accutane user as an adult, you may be looking for a moisturizer that is complementary to mature skin.

There is a high chance you are experiencing dryness. As we age, dry skin tends to become more of an issue. Decreased skin cell renewal, loss of hormones, and fewer natural oils all play a part. This is where Murad’s Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture comes in.

Let’s consider the ingredients:

It contains hyaluronic acid which I am a huge fan of due to its powerful hydration compounds. Fun fact: Hyaluronic acid can hold around 1000 times its weight in water. As a humectant, it pulls moisture from the air and the deeper layers of skin, so the epidermis (skin’s surface) remains moist and lubricated. So, it is not just a moisturizer. It has a unique ability to retain moisture.

For this reason, hyaluronic acid is considered a key molecule in skin aging. By alleviating dry skin it can restore suppleness and rejuvenate your complexion. It helps to diminish fine lines and wrinkles, making aging less noticeable and promote a more youthful appearance.(12)(21) Coconut extract and olive fruit oils also help moisturize and lock in moisture, which soothes dry skin.(20)

So, is it a “hydration hero?”

This is what Murad claims it to be, and I can see why. They go even further by saying it provides 24-hour hydration. This is quite a statement so I had to test it out for myself. The texture is very lightweight but yes, I found it very moisturizing.

If you wear makeup, you should know that it is absorbed fast and mixed well with my foundation and skin highlighters. The result was a glowing appearance. I applied it in the morning and went out for most of the day. My skin remained supple and hydrated for the duration of my activities. By evening my skin was a little dry and ready for a top-up of moisture. So, 24-hours is a tad ambitious. Particularly if you are using Accutane, your skin will be drier than usual. So bear that in mind.

That said, I see no reason why you couldn’t use this moisturizer ‘around the clock.’ It is non-greasy and unscented so you could quite easily use this at night.

If you like your moisturizer to have a scent. The ZELEN Life Moisturizer has a comparable lightweight texture and moisturizing abilities but comes with a nicer smell. Both products have a premium look to their packaging but Murad’s comes in a jar compared to ZELEN Life’s pump bottle. If you prefer a stronger scent, Bioderma’s Hydrabio is more suitable for you, but note it has a thicker texture.

Murad’s Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture is an excellent product. It will certainly help soften your dry skin caused by Accutane and offers anti-aging benefits in the process. But it does come at a cost. It is the highest-priced option on our list.

The good:

  • Fast hydration while being lightweight and not greasy
  • Hyaluronic acid offers advanced moisture and anti-aging benefits
  • Intense action brings relief to adult Accutane users
  • Free from many of the most harmful chemicals
  • Can double up as a useful nighttime

Things to think about:

  • This product also does not contain sunscreen or SPF, so an additional sunscreen will need to follow after its use
  • While it serves as a good moisturizer for the skin, it is best to avoid using it around the eyes, which is a sensitive area

Bottom line:

Murad Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture brings anti-aging benefits in a lightweight formula that is hydrating and non-greasy. It locks in moisturization and comforts skin subjected to dryness as a result of Accutane treatment. The hydration is long-lasting but remember for outdoor use, follow up with sunscreen for sun protection.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.0 Overall Score

Dermalogica Calm Water Gel (Best for on the go)

Dermalogica Calm Water Gel


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Water-based formula
  • Gel vehicle settles in smoothly, allowing for an even spread
  • Locks in moisture providing hydration to dry and irritated skin

The best moisturizer for:

Those with oily and acne-prone skin looking for water-based skincare.

Notable ingredients:

Glycerin, apple fruit extract, hyaluronic acid, cactus pear extract

Overview:

Just like a troubled ship at sea, our skin can benefit from some calmer waters when subjected to Accutane treatment.

Introducing: Dermalogica’s Calm Water Gel. This is another moisturizer (similar to Murad’s) with hyaluronic acid at the forefront of its formula.

As mentioned above, hyaluronic acid is a fantastic ‘skin quencher.’ It has a unique ability to draw water to the surface of the skin and retain this moisture. But not only this. It is an excellent anti-inflammatory to calm troubled skin. It promotes wound healing and skin repair.(12)

Cactus pear extract, which is also present, helps promote properties that bind water and support hydration in the skin while also reducing skin sensitivity and irritability.(11) It also contains vitamins, amino acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and polyphenols, which each have antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory advantages.(11)

Glycerin and apple fruit extract help to reduce the effects of dryness by making the skin feel smooth and supple.(7)

When describing this product, Dermalogical repeatedly uses the word ‘weightless’. So, is it weightless?

Being a water-based gel instead of a cream, it does provide that light, weightless feel. The obvious concern would be that it does not provide as much hydration as a thicker cream. This is particularly important when undergoing treatment with Accutane, where the skin feels dehydrated, tight, and irritated. The good news is that it does not compromise moisture, which I believe comes down to the hyaluronic acid content.

Weightless is one thing, but convenience is another. It’s easy to apply, non-greasy, and absorbs fast. I think it’s a very useful option if you like to quickly moisturize after showering or cleansing. I did not expect to like this product as much as I did. It really does tick all the boxes.

If I could describe this moisturizer in a few words, it would be to “set and forget”. This is particularly relevant to those who live busy, fast-paced lifestyles. You take your daily Accutane pill, apply this daily gel moisturizer, and you are on your way with your day. It brings minimal fuss and you can be safe in the knowledge it will provide enough moisture until evening.

In comparison with Murad’s hyaluronic acid-based moisturizer, they are both lightweight and very hydrating. It’s the texture that mainly sets them apart. Being a cream, Murad’s is more intense. Whereas this gel is less so. With this in mind, I believe this moisturizer is better suited to oilier skin types than Murad’s.

This product also has more scent. I’d describe it as a hint of lavender, which may or may not be to your liking. I was curious to see what other users had to say. One person described it as smelling a bit medicinal. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with that. After all, we are considering this moisturizer to complement your Accutane medication.

Price-wise, Dermalogica’s moisturizer is a little bit cheaper than Murad’s but it’s still on the high side. If you are looking for a cheaper option without compromising on quality, then consider the ZELEN Life Moisturizer.

If you are looking for a gel-based moisturizer but think this one is not for you, you could consider ELEMIS’ Superfood Juice on our list. It is very similar to this product with regards to texture, hydration levels, and price. But the formula is more focused on being a prebiotic. However, it is not cruelty-free like Dermalogica’s.

The good:

  • Water-based emollient provides an alternate vehicle to lock in moisture
  • Weightless feel is suitable for oily skin.
  • Helps restore the skin barrier possible damaged by the side effects of Accutane
  • Chemical-free
  • Vegan formula and against animal testing

Things to think about:

  • While useful, this product is at a higher price point than most other comparable products on the list.
  • It also does not contain sun protection or sunscreen, so a sunscreen with SPF must be used in addition to this product if using it in the daytime

Bottom line:

Dermalogica Calm Water Gel provides calm after the storm. It is an excellent moisturizer for Accutane users who usually have oily skin, but are also experiencing dry skin. It is ideal for busy individuals who are seeking a convenient, on-the-go solution.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.0 Overall Score

L’Occitane Ultra-Rich Comforting Cream (Best for deep hydration)

L’Occitane Ultra-Rich Comforting Cream


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Premium jar packaging
  • 25% shea butter formula
  • Intense cream

The best moisturizer for:

Those with very dry skin.

Notable ingredients:

Shea butter, sunflower seed oil, horse chestnut extract

Overview:

Like many medications, Accutane does not provide a straight line to success. Acne treatment can be a long rocky road. There is no denying, the side effects of severe dryness and hypersensitive skin make it an uncomfortable journey.

A good moisturizer can make it more comfortable. So next on our list is L’Occitane’s Ultra-Rich Comforting Cream.

In terms of texture and thickness, it is the complete opposite of Dermalogica’s Water Gel. If you are looking for heavier, enriched cream but you were not bowled over by Bidoerma’s Hydrabio, then this one might be for you.

First, let’s look at its key ingredients:

It is made with 25% shea butter. Shea butter is a skin-nourishing delight that has been used for centuries. Originating from West Africa, it is derived from the seeds of the shea tree and extracted from plant fat. It has excellent emollient properties that reinforce hydration for dry skin. It softens the skin barrier and forms a protective seal that locks in moisture. It contains vitamin E, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids (such as omega 6) that offer anti-inflammatory, skin-soothing, and skin-repairing benefits.(8) It can be applied to the skin at any time, and suits a range of climates and environments.

This cream also contains sunflower seed oil and horse chestnut seed extract, among other ingredients to help keep the skin soft and reduce tightness while having a gentle feel on the skin.(9) The saponins present in these extracts complement shea butter by having anti-inflammatory benefits that help reduce swelling.(10)

Performance:

There is no denying the moisturizing abilities of this product. You’ll feel the intense nourishment the moment it is applied. Dry and tight, uncomfortable skin will quickly feel soothed, which can be sound relief for Accutane users. However, some may find it too intense or too thick for their skin.

I think the suitability of this moisturizer is dependent on your skin type, or the severity of the side effects you are experiencing from Accutane. If you typically have oily skin and are experiencing minimal dryness, this moisturizer might not be the most suitable for you. It is actually not as greasy as I expected. But if you prefer a more lightweight cream (that is even less greasy), the ZELEN Life Moisturizer or Murad’s moisturizer are probably better bets!

For super dry skin in need of deep hydration is where this moisturizer comes into its own.

But, is it pore-blocking?

A key factor in the formation of acne is clogged pores. Due to the high concentration of shea butter in this formula, you have every right to be concerned about it being comedogenic. Well, shea butter is actually non-comedogenic up to quantities of 25%. If however, you like this product but prefer a lower shea butter concentration. L’Occitane actually offers the same product but as a lighter 5% shea butter option.

I like the jar of this product. It looks very classy and I would say it’s better quality than Murad’s jar. If you are looking for premium packaging at half the price of Murad’s, then this one could be for you. It’s still not cheap, though.

The good:

  • Contains shea butter, a natural moisturizer that has been used for centuries
  • Reduces dryness, peeling, scaling, and flaking of the skin
  • Alleviates tightness in the skin
  • Ideal for very dry skin as it locks in moisture all-day

Things to think about:

  • This product has a higher price point, although it is elegantly and smartly packaged
  • According to several consumer reviews, it may leave a thick coating on the skin after use, making it difficult to apply makeup or other skincare products afterwards.

Bottom line:

L’Occitane Ultra-Rich Comforting Cream is ideal for sensitive and dry skin with extra irritation, scale, or peeling. It is optimal for those in search of a rich moisturizer for intense hydration.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.5 Overall Score

ELEMIS Superfood Cica Calm Hydration Juice (Best prebiotic)

ELEMIS Superfood Cica Calm Hydration Juice


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Contains superfoods
  • Gel juice with a prebiotic formula
  • Improves the skin’s microbiome

The best moisturizer for:

Those with dry or sensitive skin, in need of feeling refreshed.

Notable ingredients:

Aloe vera, cucumber, kiwi, mandarin, coconut, centella asiatica

Overview:

Juice anyone? By the name and look of this next product, you’ll be forgiven for thinking this is some refreshing, superfood clear skin drink.

Well, it’s not quite that. But this moisturizer is the next best thing – a refreshing, superfood gel for your skin.

This unique hydrator made me curious. Let’s break it down:

Aloe vera is a key main ingredient that soothes and cools the skin. This is particularly beneficial to Accutane users who are experiencing burning and stinging. As an anti-inflammatory, it helps to heal wounds and calm irritation and redness. It is also an excellent skin hydrator in its own right.(13) Cucumber helps to regulate and tighten the skin, providing a refreshed and soothing feel along with hydration.(15) Bergamot is an essential oil that has good antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.(14)

Last but not least, bio-transformed Cica is a bit of a star ingredient. It is a medicinal plant that is an excellent wound healer and anti-inflammatory. Also known as tiger grass in traditional Chinese medicine or Centenella Asiatica by its scientific name, is an antioxidant that helps to reduce redness and helps the appearance of dehydrated skin.(19) It is believed tigers in Asia would heal their injuries by rolling around in this herb. Hence, why it’s also known in traditional Chinese medicine as ‘tiger grass’.

Moisture-quenching?

ELEMIS states it is and I agree. The gel is very lightweight and absorbs nicely and quickly. Skin feels instantly hydrated, which I believe is partly due to having such a great cooling effect.

Now, let’s get to the juicy bit–prebiotics and the skin microbiome:

The prebiotic benefits of this moisturizer are what make it unique. Prebiotics are non-digestible plant fibers that are present in fruit and vegetables. They promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut by acting as fertilizers (food for probiotics), which ensures the digestive system is working optimally. Even though this is about gut health, it is closely connected to skin health. It is no secret that a healthy gut leads to healthy skin. Studies have found that the gut microbiome (bacterial microorganisms that live in our digestive tracts) has an influence on the skin microbiome, which can lead to the development of acne.(28)

ELEMIS claims that this prebiotic gel enhances the skin’s microbiome. Your skin’s microbiome is an ecosystem of all the living microorganisms present on the skin. Basically, a collection of thousands of different bacterial species on the surface. Many of these microorganisms are in fact very beneficial to skin health, as they protect against pathogens that could damage it. A balanced microbiome usually means glowing skin. Therefore, it is beneficial to ensure the skin’s delicate microbiome is healthy, protected, and functioning optimally. The prebiotic formula of this hydration juice helps to do exactly that.

This hydration gel has a balanced aroma. It is not too light but not too strong. If I had to describe the smell I’d say it has a hint of spearmint, which is known to soothe olfactory senses through a pleasant experience.(18)

If I had to compare this gel moisturizer with Dermalogica’s gel, the texture and thickness are actually very similar. Size-wise and price-wise they are also the same. It mainly comes down to skin type. I think Dermalogica’s is more useful for oilier skin types, whereas this product suits dry skin types better. Dermalogica’s is not prebiotic but it does contain hyaluronic acid that protects the skin’s surface by having its own moisture-quenching abilities.

The good:

  • Contains Cica, a soothing bio-transformed prebiotic ingredient that calms the skin
  • Gel spreads easily on the skin
  • Free of parabens, silicones and is also vegan.
  • Rich in antioxidants, including aloe vera and cucumber extract to provide a cool, refreshed feel.

Things to think about:

  • Some individuals prefer a cream to a gel, although gels leave the skin feeling cool, calm, and refreshed. Others may prefer the more classic types of moisturizer vehicles, such as emollients, lotions, and creams

Bottom line:

ELEMIS Superfood Cica Calm Hydration Juice is a unique gel-based vehicle loaded with prebiotics to hydrate the skin and leave it cool and refreshed.

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.5 Overall Score

Bioderma Atoderm Cream (Best for body)

Bioderma Atoderm Cream


Analysis:

MoisturizingMoisturizing
Drying Drying
Moisturizing Moisturizing
Balanced

FormulaFormula
Artifical Artifical
Natural Natural
Balanced

SensitivitySensitivity
Non-Sensitive Non-Sensitive
Sensitive Sensitive
Balanced

ThicknessThickness
Lightweight Lightweight
Thick Thick
Balanced

GreasinessGreasiness
Non-Greasy Non-Greasy
Greasy Greasy
Balanced

ScentScent
Unscented Unscented
Strong Strong
Balanced

PackagingPackaging
Basic Basic
Premium Premium
Balanced

PricePrice
Low Low
High High
Balanced

Paraben-free
Paraben-free
Hypoallergenic
Hypoallergenic
Non-Comedogenic
Non-Comedogenic
Cruelty-free
Cruelty-free
Vegan
Vegan
SPF
SPF

Unique features:

  • Body moisturizer
  • Made with Bioderma’s trademark Skin Protect Complex that increases skin tolerance.
  • Good for the entire family

The best moisturizer for:

Use on the body. Or, for those with very dry, sensitive skin.

Notable ingredients:

Glycerin, mineral oil, vaseline

Overview:

Accutane usage may not just cause dry facial skin. It may lead to dryness in other areas too. The Bioderma Atoderm Cream is a moisturizing ‘magnet’ that can be used on the body to leave the skin supple and soft.

It is very well tolerated and suitable for most skin types, although it is geared to very dry or sensitive skin. This is an occlusive, emollient, and humectant packed into one bottle.

Glycerin helps to lock in moisture within the skin.(7) Mineral oil offers relief to a range of skin issues. It keeps the skin well lubricated and traps in moisture so that it cannot escape. The result is more hydrated skin, for longer. Vaseline also plays its part in sealing moisture and preventing it from getting lost. The protective barrier that it creates makes the skin more resilient to irritation and damage.

Does it work? Sure it does.

I wouldn’t use it on my face, though. So if you are looking for a facial moisturizer, you have plenty of better options on our list. But for a body moisturizer, look no further.

The good:

  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Improves skin barrier
  • Nourishing ingredients that soften and moisturize
  • Moisturizes for 24 hours
  • Budget-friendly and family-friendly

Things to think about:

  • The cream comes with a pump that sometimes malfunctions, according to customer reviews.

Bottom line:

Bioderma’s Atoderm Cream is geared for very dry or sensitive skin but is suitable for all skin types with nourishing ingredients. It helps restore the skin barrier, softening the skin from its initial use for up to 24 hours. Great body product!

  • Performance
  • Ingredients
  • Value for money
4.0 Overall Score

How we chose these products

To come up with this review, we analyzed many characteristics that comprise the best moisturizers that can be used with Accutane. We considered ingredients, trying to choose the most natural and organically based products with proven efficacy.

Thus, most of the items in our selection are free of parabens, sulfates, synthetic chemicals, and animal testing.

We also highlighted and researched each ingredient’s efficacy, using evidence-based medicine, systematic reviews, and clinical trials that were conducted by key opinion leaders in dermatology, which can be found in the references.

We implemented our knowledge base as dermatologists who treat hundreds of patients on Accutane and deciphered their needs and wants while on acne treatment to see what the predominant skin types are.

We included rich, hydrating moisturizers that nourish potentially dry and irritated acne-prone skin and can restore the important skin barrier during their medical treatment.

This review also analyzes other potential skin concerns while on Accutane treatment for acne, including anti-aging, peeling due to dryness, irritant dermatitis, dyschromia, and hyperpigmentation.

There are also various choices spanning everyone’s budget range to make sure that the choices are generally affordable and accessible to most.

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

How do I know which product is right for my skin?

It is important to know how your skin will react to a new product and if you can tolerate it. Before using a skincare product, I actually apply a very small amount to an area that is not near the face, such as the foot.

Then I will generally leave it on for a few hours, sometimes overnight. If I do not experience a tingling, burning, or flushing sensation to the product, I know that my face can likely tolerate it.

About 1-2 days later, I will then apply a greater amount to my arm or foot and conduct the same test. This is an individual version of patch testing that I have learned to do on my own.

If the product passes this test a second time, I will then test it on my face and apply a pea-sized amount, distributing evenly and avoiding sensitive areas such as the eyes.

If it does not cause an inflammatory reaction, redness, scaling, peeling, or irritability of the skin, it is ok to use. If you have any doubts about whether a product can be used with your Accutane treatment or if you will tolerate it, it is best to ask your dermatologist for his or her professional opinion.

What can I do if my skin continues to feel dry?

Is your skin continuing to feel dry despite using many moisturizers while on treatment with Accutane? If your skin continues to feel too dry or irritated despite loading many moisturizers and emollients on the affected areas, you may want to apply a thicker emollient for more aggressive moisturization.

Such as Vaseline petrolatum, one of the most potent moisturizers available. While many people do not like Vaseline because it makes the skin feel greasy and is often messy.

Petrolatum, along with your regular moisturizers, might be the key missing factor in restoring your skin barrier and helping your skin heal after a very drying treatment such as with isotretinoin.

If your skin continues to experience dryness, peeling, and irritation despite your best efforts, it is best to seek further evaluation and management from your dermatologist.

Conclusion

Accutane is commonly used to treat severe and nodulocystic acne and acne associated with scarring. Its mechanism of action involves making the sebaceous glands that produce sebum smaller.

This undoubtedly leads to dry, sensitive, and irritated skin in most people. It is imperative to have a reliable moisturizing skincare regimen to avoid over-drying the skin while on acne treatment, one of the most common side effects.

Have you been on Accutane before, and if so, what is the best moisturizer you found to deal with dry, peeling skin?

If you found alternative ways to help keep your skin moisturized and hydrated while on this treatment, please share your experience with us, we would like to know.

Did you find this article useful? Enter your email to receive subscriber-only skincare advice to help you perfect your routine and achieve radiant skin. Get tips and tricks, how to's and exclusive offers direct to your inbox...

References

1. Sienkiewicz M, Głowacka A, Poznańska-Kurowska K, Kaszuba A, Urbaniak A, Kowalczyk E. The effect of clary sage oil on staphylococci responsible for wound infections. Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2015;32(1):21-26. doi:10.5114/pdia.2014.40957

2. Tresch M, Mevissen M, Ayrle H, Melzig M, Roosje P, Walkenhorst M. Medicinal plants as therapeutic options for topical treatment in canine dermatology? A systematic review. BMC Vet Res. 2019;15(1):174. Published 2019 May 27. doi:10.1186/s12917-019-1854-4

3. Pazyar N, Yaghoobi R, Ghassemi MR, Kazerouni A, Rafeie E, Jamshydian N. Jojoba in dermatology: a succinct review. G Ital Dermatol Venereol. 2013 Dec;148(6):687-91. PMID: 24442052.

4. Binic I, Lazarevic V, Ljubenovic M, Mojsa J, Sokolovic D. Skin ageing: natural weapons and strategies. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:827248. doi:10.1155/2013/827248

5. Levin J, Momin SB. How much do we really know about our favorite cosmeceutical ingredients?. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010;3(2):22-41.

6. Keen MA, Hassan I. Vitamin E in dermatology. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2016;7(4):311-315. doi:10.4103/2229-5178.185494

7. Fluhr JW, Darlenski R, Surber C. Glycerol and the skin: holistic approach to its origin and functions. Br J Dermatol. 2008 Jul;159(1):23-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2008.08643.x. Epub 2008 Jul 1. PMID: 18510666.

8. Nisbet SJ. Skin acceptability of a cosmetic moisturizer formulation in female subjects with sensitive skin. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2018;11:213-217. Published 2018 Apr 30. doi:10.2147/CCID.S157297

9. Danby SG, AlEnezi T, Sultan A, Lavender T, Chittock J, Brown K, Cork MJ. Effect of olive and sunflower seed oil on the adult skin barrier: implications for neonatal skin care. Pediatr Dermatol. 2013 Jan-Feb;30(1):42-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1470.2012.01865.x. Epub 2012 Sep 20. PMID: 22995032.

10. Pittler MH, Ernst E. Horse-chestnut seed extract for chronic venous insufficiency: a criteria-based systematic review. 1998. In: Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet]. York (UK): Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK); 1995-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK67336/

11. Khémiri I, Essghaier Hédi B, Sadfi Zouaoui N, Ben Gdara N, Bitri L. The Antimicrobial and Wound Healing Potential of Opuntia ficus indica L. inermis Extracted Oil from Tunisia. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2019;2019:9148782. Published 2019 Apr 14. doi:10.1155/2019/9148782

12. Papakonstantinou E, Roth M, Karakiulakis G. Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012;4(3):253-258. doi:10.4161/derm.21923

13. Surjushe A, Vasani R, Saple DG. Aloe vera: a short review. Indian J Dermatol. 2008;53(4):163-166. doi:10.4103/0019-5154.44785

14. Perna S, Spadaccini D, Botteri L, et al. Efficacy of bergamot: From anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative mechanisms to clinical applications as preventive agent for cardiovascular morbidity, skin diseases, and mood alterations. Food Sci Nutr. 2019;7(2):369-384. Published 2019 Jan 25. doi:10.1002/fsn3.903

15. Mukherjee PK, Nema NK, Maity N, Sarkar BK. Phytochemical and therapeutic potential of cucumber. Fitoterapia. 2013 Jan;84:227-36. doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2012.10.003. Epub 2012 Oct 23. PMID: 23098877.

16. Dosoky NS, Setzer WN. Biological Activities and Safety of Citrus spp. Essential Oils. Int J Mol Sci. 2018;19(7):1966. Published 2018 Jul 5. doi:10.3390/ijms19071966

17. Lin TK, Zhong L, Santiago JL. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;19(1):70. Published 2017 Dec 27. doi:10.3390/ijms19010070

18. Elsaie LT, El Mohsen AM, Ibrahim IM, Mohey-Eddin MH, Elsaie ML. Effectiveness of topical peppermint oil on symptomatic treatment of chronic pruritus. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2016;9:333-338. Published 2016 Oct 11. doi:10.2147/CCID.S116995

19. Bylka W, Znajdek-Awiżeń P, Studzińska-Sroka E, Brzezińska M. Centella asiatica in cosmetology. Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2013;30(1):46-49. doi:10.5114/pdia.2013.33378

20. Varma SR, Sivaprakasam TO, Arumugam I, et al. In vitro anti-inflammatory and skin protective properties of Virgin coconut oil. J Tradit Complement Med. 2018;9(1):5-14. Published 2018 Jan 17. doi:10.1016/j.jtcme.2017.06.012

21. Bukhari SNA, Roswandi NL, Waqas M, et al. Hyaluronic acid, a promising skin rejuvenating biomedicine: A review of recent updates and pre-clinical and clinical investigations on cosmetic and nutricosmetic effects. Int J Biol Macromol. 2018;120(Pt B):1682-1695. doi:10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2018.09.188

ZELEN Life Moisturizer
BEST FOR CLEAN SKINCARE
ZELEN Life Moisturizer
  • Organic plant-based formula, packed with vitamins and antioxidants
  • Light non-greasy texture, absorbs and hydrates fast
  • Soothes acne, helps dry, sensitive and irritated skin
All skin types
All skin types
Check It Out
Our score:
Bioderma Hydrabio Cream
BEST FOR OVERNIGHT USE
Bioderma Hydrabio Cream
  • Rich formula provides long-lasting hydration
  • Hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic
  • Encourage skin cell regeneration
Dry skin
Dry skin
Check on Amazon
Our score:
Murad Hydration Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture
BEST FOR ANTI-AGING
Murad Hydration Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture
  • Ultra-hydrating for dry skin
  • Non-greasy and lightweight
  • Rejuvenating anti-aging properties
Dry skin
Dry skin
Check on Amazon
Our score:
Dermalogica Calm Water Gel
BEST FOR ON THE GO
Dermalogica Calm Water Gel
  • Gel texture absorbs smoothly and locks in moisture
  • Water-based formula, suitable for acne sufferers
  • Helps calm skin and reduce signs of redness
Oily skin
Oily skin
Check on Amazon
Our score:
L’Occitane Ultra-Rich Comforting Cream
BEST FOR DEEP HYDRATION
L’Occitane Ultra-Rich Comforting Cream
  • Super enriched cream, 25% shea butter
  • Eliminates dry, peeling and flaking skin
  • Provides long-lasting moisture all day
Dry skin
Dry skin
Check on Amazon
Our score:
ELEMIS Superfood Cica Calm Hydration Juice
BEST PREBIOTIC
ELEMIS Superfood Cica Calm Hydration Juice
  • Gel-based formula glides on the skin easily
  • Contains Cica, an effective prebiotic
  • Soothes, hydrates and refreshes skin
Sensitive skin
Sensitive skin
Check on Amazon
Our score:
Bioderma Atoderm Cream
BEST FOR BODY
Bioderma Atoderm Cream
  • Excellent tolerance, suitable for all skin types
  • Nourishes skin and improves its barrier
  • Gives 24-hour moisture
All skin types
All skin types
Check on Amazon
Our score:

About The Author

avatar

Board-Certified Dermatologist

Dermatology (University of Southern California)

United States

Dr. Anna Chacon is a board-certified dermatologist from Miami, based in South Florida. She graduated from Brown University’s highly selective Program in Liberal Medical Education. She completed her dermatology residency at the University of Southern California, where she learned firsthand about skin disorders that others only read about. She loves to write, see patients, and practice all aspects of dermatology.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FREE shipping above $40 in US, CA, UK & EU (delivery 2 - 5 days). Above $75, internationally (delivery 7 - 14 days).