Moisturizers can contain ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or retinol that treat and soothe acne-ridden skin at the same time. Dr. Leslie Bauman, Professor of Dermatology at University of Miami, recommends a moisturizing treatment gel, especially for adult acne. In fact, she says, "one study showed that moisturizing alone (without using acne medications) can help acne."
Be aware that using exfoliating acids in moisturizers -- like retinol, salicylic acid or alpha hydroxy acid -- along with topical acne creams can cause flaking and peeling of the skin. On the other hand, too much of a good thing can throw your skin out of whack in the opposite direction and make it itchy and irritated. Talk with a dermatologist before layering on powerful and potentially drying ingredients, particularly if you're using over-the-counter products along with prescription treatments.