Your first order of business in treating your acne inflammation should be using an over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide cream, a natural product like tea tree oil or a prescription treatment like retinol. These products should be applied first, after washing your face, to allow the ingredients to penetrate the skin and do their work. Following acne treatments with moisturizer helps restore the skin's balance and soothes the dryness or flakiness that can sometimes result from the use of topical medications. Using moisturizer before acne treatments can prevent the active ingredients in the medication from being absorbed into the skin.
Remember to layer on products in order of weight. Test acne medications, lotions and creams with your fingers to find which feels the lightest and which feels the heaviest. Usually, serums and acne treatments will have a weightless feel to them. Moisturizing lotions and creams will feel heavier and richer. The heavier formulas can create a barrier that the lighter formulas can't penetrate, so apply the lighter ones first.