Remember the clinical description of acne... When the skin becomes dry, the sebaceous glands secrete more oil to keep your face and hair lubricated. If you clean your face well twice a day without also using a moisturizer, you may be signalling your glands to produce more oil, resulting in more acne.
After cleaning your face, use a non-comedogenic moisturizer--one that doesn't clog the pores. But here's something to think about: According to some dermatologists, "no single product is non-comedogenic for everyone. For example, a person with very oily skin may still get skin breakouts from products that another person with mildly oily skin may find non-comedogenic. A better term may be non-acnegenic rather than non-comedogenic, but this is not so widely used. It is important to test a new product on your own skin rather than rely on the label, before using it freely."
It may surprise you that we recommend Miracle Skin Salve as a moisturizer. Some who have used have Miracle on the face reported that it caused them to have more acne. The same people later found that if the Miracle was applied only immediately after cleaning the skin, it actually helped to clear up the acne. If the Miracle is applied too heavily, it does seem to clog the pores, causing more acne. BUT if it is applied lightly to clean skin, it actually helps to prevent acne and heal blemishes. It is very important to clean the skin before every application of Miracle. This is true for most moisturizers.
Another line of moisturizers to consider are the Nurtured by Nature Goat's Milk Honey and Shea lotions by Generation Cedar. These contain no parabens (chemical preservatives) and are non-comedogenic for most people. Remember always to apply lightly and only to clean skin.
December 2013: Nurtured by Nature is no longer in business, but Smith Family Resources now provides a great Paraben-Free Moisturizer! Read about it here.
Experiment until you find the best balance of moisture for your skin. Remember that acne may result from over-washed skin that becomes too dry AND from over-moisturized skin that becomes too oily. The goal is to keep the skin lightly moisturized but free of excess oil.
We'd like to hear your ideas about clean skin, too. We always enjoy your comments!