A person pouring a moisturizer

What’s the best moisturizer to use with retin a

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Retin A has so many benefits. It can treat acne, reverse the signs of aging, fade hyperpigmentation, and many other things.

However, you can have many side effects by using it, such as dryness. This is why using a moisturizer is really important.

But, the thing is not every moisturizer is okay. Fortunately, I’m here to help you find the best moisturizer to use with Retin A.

Read on to find out what moisturizer I recommend, and what to look for while buying one.

Moisturizers reviews

Keep in mind that I may receive commissions when you click my links and make purchases. However, this does not impact my reviews and comparisons. I try my best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum

If you want a two-in-one product, the EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum is for you. It is highly moisturizing thanks to the hyaluronic acid, and it also has some SPF, which is essential if you use Retin-A.

But, It’s not waterproof or sweatproof, so you may have to use another sunscreen.

I love the fact that it has some niacinamide. It has so many benefits, such as helping to retain moisture, minimizing redness, treating acne, and many other things.

Even though it’s also a sunscreen, it doesn’t feel greasy, but it can leave a tiny bit of shine when first apply.

Some people did complain about the fact that it can pill.


  • SPF
  • Niacinamide
  • Recommended by dermatologists
  • Leaves no residue


  • Pricey
  • Some people did experience pilling

Eau Thermale Avene Skin Recovery Cream

Avene is a great brand to use if you have sensitive skin. I love the fact that The Eau Thermale Avene Skin Recovery Cream has a shortlist of ingredients. This reduces the chances of having irritation.

It has some thermal spring water, which is great for reducing redness.
It is highly moisturizing as it has some occlusives and emollients.

I like that it has some squalane, which is really good for hydrating and nourishing your skin. It is lightweight, and it is also suitable for sensitive skin. Even though it is an excellent moisturizer, I feel like it is a bit expensive for what is.


  • Thermal spring water
  • Lightweight
  • Suitable for sensitive skin
  • Squalane


  • Pricey

CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion

If you want an affordable moisturizer but yet effective, CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion is the one for you. The combination of hyaluronic acid and ceramide will make sure that your skin stays hydrated and protected. It is free of fragrance so perfectly suitable for sensitive skin.
It’s light and absorbs quickly, and it has no scent.


  • Ceramides
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight


  • None

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Face Gel Moisturizer for Dry Skin

Neutrogena is another good brand if you have a low budget. This moisturizer is not heavy and neither greasy, it is perfect for people with oily skin. It also has some hyaluronic acid, which will make sure that your skin stays hydrated.

One drawback is that it has some fragrances. It is something that you want to avoid when you have sensitive skin.


  • Affordable
  • Lightweight


  • Fragrance

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA Surface Hydration

The ordinary is another well known, affordable brand. The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factor + Ha Surface Hydration is a medium-thick cream and is not greasy.
It is suitable for people with oily skin. It has some hyaluronic acid and natural moisturizing factor (NMF). This will make sure to protect the outer layer of the skin and hydrate your skin.
Some people felt that this moisturizer is not hydrating enough.


  • Affordable
  • Natural moisturizing factor
  • Lightweight


  • May not be enough for people with dry skin

Why using a moisturizer with Retin A is a necessity?

Even though Retin A sounds like a perfect product, it’s not the case. You may have some side effects, especially if you’re using it the wrong way.

The most common side effects are redness, dryness, and flaking skin. If you do have one of these side effects, well, don’t panic because it’s actually normal.

Yes, you have to remember that Retin A is a form of vitamin A and its purpose is to help speed up skin cell turnover. This is why you may have those side effects, especially if you’re not using a moisturizer or if you’re using the wrong one.

It’s essential to use a moisturizer while using Retin A. It will help to avoid those side effects.

The combination of Retin A and the RIGHT moisturizer will help your skin receive all the benefits without those side effects.

How to choose the best moisturizer?

Now, you know that you absolutely need a moisturizer.
There is a lot on the market. But, while using Retin A, you cannot choose any moisturizers. You need to be careful because some of them can worsen the side effects. 

And this is absolutely not what we want.

You must choose a moisturizer whose only purpose is to hydrate your skin. To make sure of that, here’s what are the ingredients to look for and what to avoid :

Ingredients to look for

You want to make sure that your moisturizer does have those ingredients : 


The reason why you need humectants is that they attract water into your skin. And this is essential to hydrate your skin. 

Here are some of them:

  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Glycerin
  • Propylene glycol
  • Urea


Now, if you only use humectants, the water will evaporate, and your skin will be dry. This is why occlusive ingredients are also necessary. They will make sure to trap the water into your skin and protect your skin.
Here are some of them: 

  • Petrolatum
  • Mineral oil
  • Dimethicone


An emollient can also provide some occlusive properties. Still, its primary purpose is to fill in and to smooth the skin. Here are some of them: 

  • Oils
  • Butters
  • Esters

Ingredients to avoid

Now you absolutely want to avoid ingredients that will make your skin even dryer or give more irritation. This is why you want to avoid ingredients that tend to make your skin more sensitive.
Here are some examples: 


You definitely need to avoid using alcohol. They may cause dryness and irritation. But, be careful because some alcohols are actually good for your skin. You only want to ban bad alcohol. Here are some of them :

  • Ethanol Alcohol
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Alcohol denat


Now, there is nothing wrong with exfoliators. You can actually use them with Retin A. But, you have to be more careful. Your skin is more sensitive, so you should not use too many products in your routine that do have exfoliators.

You must listen to your skin, and if your skin has an adverse reaction from using both at the same time, you definitely should avoid them. Here are some example of exfoliators:

  • Lactic acid
  • Glycolic acid
  • Salicylic acid

How to apply a moisturizer with Retin-A?

You can use your moisturizer after applying Retin-A. 

But, you should wait a couple of minutes before applying your moisturizer to ensure that your skin has time to absorb Retin-A fully.

Another option is to mix your Retin-A with your moisturizer.


There is a lot of moisturizers out there, but finding one can be difficult. Fortunately, I’ve found that the best moisturizer to use with Retin A is the CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion. It has all the ingredients you need to keep your skin moisturized and protected. For its affordable price and ingredients, this is the best from this list.

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