Moisturizing Acne-Prone Skin with Dermalogica Active Moist and Clean and Clear’s Soft Moisturizers

Published in: Skin Care

dermalogica active moist

Wednesday, April 1, 2009: WOOT!


So how was your hump day? Earlier today I turned in that paper I’d been working on, so I’m happy that’s off my plate. 🙂

I ended up writing about a recent episode of Terry Gross’s Fresh Air on National Public Radio.

In the episode, Terry interviews Nancy Kay, a veterinarian and the author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Longer Life, a book about making sound health care decisions for your pet (cats and dogs).


Here’s a download of the show if you’re interested: Speaking for Spot. Now I’m convinced I should get pet medical insurance for Tabs.

Neglecting my skin

Because I’ve been busier than usual this week, I haven’t taken great care of my skin (shame on me). Tonight that has to change, so I plan to indulge in a good exfoliating, mask and moisture sesh before bed to make up for lost time.

One of the products I’m going to use is by Dermalogica, called Active Moist.

dermalogica website

Have you tried their stuff before? I’ve used some of their moisturizers, cleansers and treatments, and they cost bucko bucks. But girrrrrl … they work well.

I’ve used Active Moist ($50) on and off for years. It’s a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer designed for oily, acne-prone skin.

When I got a bad case of adult acne a few years ago, I bought a tube of Active Moist on a whim (I splurged out of desperation) and was blown away by how well it worked. To this day, it’s one of my favorite products (except for the price).

I have combination oily/acne-prone/dry skin (lucky me!), and when it rebels I need a hydrating moisturizer that won’t bring on more pimples. That describes Active Moist to a T.

What I do is pat it onto my face and neck after cleansing them with something gentle like Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple. Within seconds I can feel my skin breathe a big sigh of hydrated relief. And because it doesn’t leave a thick film, I can also use it to moisturize my neck. I have a pet peeve about products that make my neck feel sticky.

But even Active Moist isn’t unflappable. It can handle my skin in spring and summer, but in the dead of winter, when my skin’s at its driest, it’s not enough, particularly for the extra-dry spots around my mouth and nose.

I love this moisturizer to pieces because it plays so well with pimples, but that $50 price tag (for a 3.4oz tube) … hurts. That, and it doesn’t contain SPF (double boo).


Two other oil-free lotions that work pretty well for me when my skin’s uncooperative are the Clean & Clear SOFT Oil-Free Moisturizers ($8 each; one for day, another for night).

Like Active Moist, they hydrate without breaking me out (or without making existing breakouts worse).

There is a small catch, though (there always is)…

… both the Day and Night versions do leave a slightly sticky film on my neck, but it’s bearable.

Workin’ it out

I’m running late (as usual!), but I’m going to try to hit the gym for a quick workout. I’ll be wearing some Cargo Classic Lipgloss in Venice on my date with the stair stepper… in case we share a precious moment, LOL!

Hope you had a great day so far.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



P.S. I just got wind of a free online radio program tomorrow that might be helpful for teenagers struggling with acne (and the parents of teenagers with acne).


In the show, dermatologist Hilary Baldwin and Seventeen magazine Beauty Director Yesenia Almont are going to talk about teen acne — the myths, solutions and emotional and social trauma.

To register to hear the show, head over to iRadio MD before it starts at 3 p.m. EST on April 2.


Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 17 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Tekoa says:

    Why, hello Tabs! I’m also considering pet insurance for my feline companions. I’ll do some comparison shopping once this darn essay is done.

    In a story of heroism, the life of a cat was saved this week. I volunteer at an animal shelter and became aware of a cat about to be put down. Sabrina is an emotionally balanced and healthy cat, but the shelter was becoming crowded. My family and I agreed this situation was unacceptable and adopted her intending to find Sabrina a home ourselves. Finding her a forever home was easy. She’ll be going to our cat loving grandmother this week!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tekoa,

      Oh, nice! I’m sure Luna and crew will appreciate it and love you all the more for it. 🙂

      Thank you for sharing Sabrina’s story. I’m so glad to hear that she’s going to go live with your grandmother! What kind of kitty is she? You know I’ve got a thang for the striped tabbies.

  2. Stacie says:

    Ugh, I feel you, Karen. I have weird combo skin as well. I swear it has multiple personalities! Zits over here, dry patches there… I’ve never tried Dermalogica. I’m pretty happy overall with Clinique, though. But there are times when I wonder, “hmm, could it get better?” But then I think, “no, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Yeesh, maybe it’s me with the multiple personalities! 😉

    • Karen says:

      Hi Stacie,

      Clinique makes a lot of great skin care products! Which ones do you like? I’m not a 3-stepper, but I do have a few standbys that I always go back to like Mild Clarifying Lotion and Moisture On-Line.

  3. Dot says:

    Ummm.. similar skin here. But has been much more happy lately. Have you tried the seaweed night cream by this NYC salon/brand called Mario Badescu? Seriously, it is the best. I don’t like all of his other stuff (except the glycolic gel) but the night cream is heavenly. Moisturizes without oiliness. I have even started using it for day cream because my foundation has SPF and I am not out in the sun much. It does smell seaweedy but very faint and fades fast. Seriously, try it. The only other thing that helped my skin as much was active moist – but that price tag really hurt :(.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Dot,

      Thank you for the recommendation. I’ve heard of Mario Badescu but haven’t tried anything from the line. Do you find that the moisturizer gets your dry patches, too?

  4. Gloria says:

    I love love love Active Moist as well, but I definitely cannot afford it on my current budget. Sometimes if you scour eBay, you can find dermalogica products for a decent price.

    I have skin similar to yours, and right now I’m using Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel. Sometimes it doesn’t feel hydrating enough, so I’ll use some sort of serum underneath, and layer that on top.

    Gloria´s last blog post..My Experience with Lining My Waterline

    • Karen says:

      Hi Gloria,

      I used to use that moisturizer a few years ago. Have you ever tried Moisture Surge? It’s by Clinique, too. It’s light like DDMG but I think it packs more hydration.

  5. Veronica says:

    I’ve become a big fan of Biore’s new Dual Fusion moisturizer. It’s worked great on my crazy oily/dry skin and it has SPF 30. At $14 for 1.7 oz, it’s about half the price of the Active Moist.

    Great blog, Karen. This is my first comment, but your site has become a daily must-read for me!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Veronica,

      Thanks! It’s nice to meet you. I’ve tried a few things from Biore’s new line. It’s pretty good, huh? I have yet to try the moisturizer, though. I definitely like the price!

  6. Stef says:

    Oh, I’ve got to try the Active Moist. I’m getting more pimples now than when I was a teenager. What’s up with THAT?!

    And because I’m oily, I end up skipping moisturizer (though I know I shouldn’t.) I’ve used DDF Ultra Lite Dew too and that’s good. But you know how it is-always searching for the Holy Grail!

    (btw, I LOVE Mario Badescu’s enzyme gel cleanser. Just started using it by it’s making my skin very happy.)

    Stef´s last blog post..blinc giveaway, resurf.a.stic!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Stef,

      Oh! I was an Ultra Lite Dew girl circa 2001! That’s goooood stuff.

      It’s jacked up that we still have to worry about pimples, sigh. I’m so over it, LOL!

  7. Dot says:

    Hi Karen,
    Yep. I use it especially on those spots on my cheekbones that get the worst of midwestern winter. It also works overnight on seriously chapped lips. I just add a slightly thick layer at night or in the morning, let it sink in for a minute and then swipe some chapstick on top. Ta Da – soft lips.
    It does cost around $20 but you don’t have to use a lot, and it’s lasted me all this winter and I still have half of it to go.
    I wouldn’t try their day moisturizers though. I thought even Neutrogena or Garnier stuff was better, and theirs tends to form clogs in the dispenser – not good.

  8. Stacie says:

    Hi Karen,
    Oh, geez. I use a ton of Clinique products! My mom laughed herself silly when she saw my collection! I use the basic 3 step, plus the Total Turnaround serum, plus a day or night cream (Super Defense and Super Rescue), plus the pore minimizing lotion, plus the Repairwear eye cream… Oh, and the 7 Day Rinse Off Scrub Cream, of course! LOL. We won’t even get into the products I only use sometimes, plus the makeup. And I got a sample of the Youth Surge Age Decelerating Cream today, so I’m going to use that in place of the day/night cream for a while and see what happens. Okay, you may commence laughing at me now!

  9. E.D. says:

    I’ve been using Nutraderm 30 (with the blue label) on my face for many years because it’s the only non-sticky moisturizer that doesn’t make me break out. It’s light, so I have to use a lot since I have fairly dry skin.

    Still it’s worth a try at $11 for a 16 oz bottle.

  10. pauline quilts says:

    I tend to get a little dull skin and adult acne, and a Cosmetician suggested I purchase the Made from Earth Rosehip & Hibiscus Face Serum and use it as my daytime facial moisturiser. I could not believe all the things this moisturiser boasted of doing on the packaging, but at $19.99 for a good brand name face product, I couldn’t resist buying it.
    The Made from Earth Rosehip & Hibiscus Face Serum contains rosehip seed oil and Vitamin E which is great in gently removing some of my dead facial skin. The first time I applied this product to my freshly washed face, I did feel a slight tingling feeling and within five minutes of applying the lotion, the tingling went away, and I noticed immediately that my face had a rosy glow and seemed firmer!
    I continued using this Rosehip Made from Earth Serum lotion for the next four weeks, and after the first week I did notice my complexion improving and my neck skin became firmer.
    This is truly a remarkable face serum that I use as moisturiser. If you have acne prone skin, buy this Made from Earth Rosehip Serum. You only need about the size of a dime to cover your face and neck. And for the price with all the vitamins and plant minerals it contains, you cant go wrong. Good luck ladies!

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