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The 10 Best Moisturizers for Acne-Prone Skin


All moisturizers are not created equal. More importantly, there is no one face moisturizer that’s right for everyone. There are moisturizers for oily skin, moisturizers for combination skin, and something else for just about everyone in between. When looking for a new facial moisturizer, it’s super important to first take into account what skin type you have, lest you wind up with clogged pores and excess oil production. 

If you have acne-prone skin, it’s especially important to look for the right formula. We’ve said it before but we’ll say it again: you should definitely still be moisturizing, even if you have breakouts. This can actually help keep oil production under control and help keep clogged pores and pimples at bay. However, there are a few special considerations you’ll want to take into account when looking for a moisturizer for acne-prone skin. Is the formula non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog your pores)? Is it formulated with ingredients that will specifically help heal blemishes? Does it contain any alcohol or irritants that could further inflame your skin? 

Don’t worry if those questions seem overwhelming: we’ve done the hard work for you. Continue reading below for 10 of the best moisturizers for acne-prone skin that won’t make your breakouts worse.

ORIGINS Clear Improvement™ Pore Cleansing Moisturizer with Bamboo Charcoal

1. ORIGINS Clear Improvement™ Pore Cleansing Moisturizer with Bamboo Charcoal

This dermatologist-tested moisturizer is formulated with two primary acne-fighting ingredients: bamboo charcoal, which can absorb 100 times its weight in impurities and salicylic acid, one of the most effective acne-fighting acids out there. While the latter can sometimes be drying, this moisturizer only uses 1% salicylic acid. It won’t be nearly as potent here as when it’s used as a spot treatment, but it will still help treat current and future breakouts.

THE BETTER SKIN CO. Zit No More Klarify Gel Cream Moisturizer

2. THE BETTER SKIN CO. Zit No More Klarify Gel Cream Moisturizer

This face cream also uses salicylic acid along with tea tree oil, witch hazel, Canadian willowherb, kombucha, and vitamin E. Tea tree oil and witch hazel are definitely the big supporting stars here. Tea tree oil is anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory, meaning it can both treat breakouts and improve the texture of irritated skin. Witch hazel is an astringent that balances oil production and clears out clogged pores.

MURAD Oil and Pore Control Mattifier Broad Spectrum SPF 45 | PA++++

3. MURAD Oil and Pore Control Mattifier Broad Spectrum SPF 45 | PA++++

This oil-free formula with SPF uses oil-trapping microspheres to control the skin's sebum production (how much oil the skin produces) and can minimize the appearance of pores by up to a whopping 54% percent. The result is a matte, shine-controlled dose of hydration that lasts for up to 10 hours. The focus here isn’t so much on fighting active breakouts as it is on controlling oil production so that pores remain unclogged, lowering the possibility of breakouts in the long run.

FIRST AID BEAUTY Skin Rescue Oil-Free Mattifying Gel

4. FIRST AID BEAUTY Skin Rescue Oil-Free Mattifying Gel

The trouble with gel moisturizers is that while they're extremely hydrating, they can take a while to soak in. This mattifying gel lotion is the exception to that rule. The non-comedogenic formula absorbs into the skin almost instantly after application. This moisturizer is focused primarily on helping to treat acne by way of oil control. It includes a proprietary blend that helps to diminish sebum as well as zinc, an ingredient known to help fight breakouts by regulating oil glands. Ceramides top off this surprisingly lightweight moisturizer, creating a lasting barrier against free radicals and environmental stressors.

PURLISSE BEAUTY Watermelon Energizing Aqua Balm

5. PURLISSE BEAUTY Watermelon Energizing Aqua Balm

Watch dry skin become a distant memory thanks to this hydrating aqua balm. This lotion is recommended for all skin types and also works great as a primer under makeup. The oil-free gel cream works with four main ingredients: watermelon, aloe vera, white tea, and cucumber. Watermelon is packed with vitamins; aloe vera and cucumber work together to reduce inflammation and soothe while white tea protects the skin from outside damage and provides anti-aging benefits, preventing future fine lines and wrinkles.

CLARISEA Pretty Skin Moisturizer

6. CLARISEA Pretty Skin Moisturizer

Do acne treatments have your skin looking a bit dull? This radiance-boosting formula brightens, hydrates, and fights breakouts all at once. Rosewater and rosehip seed oil help keep breakouts away through regulating the skin’s oil production over time while ingredients like Aspen bark extract and witch hazel actively fight any current breakouts you’re facing.

BELIF Problem Solution Moisturizer

7. BELIF Problem Solution Moisturizer

If you’re dealing with sensitive skin that also happens to be acne-prone, this gentle daily moisturizer makes for an ideal choice. It comes formulated with white willow bark extract, a gentle exfoliant that treats acne, boosts radiance, and minimizes pore size. Antimicrobial tea tree oil is this moisturizer’s second primary ingredient, working to reduce redness and heal irritated skin. The result is hydrated, happy skin that's less prone to redness and blotchiness over time.

COOLA SUNCARE Mineral Face Matte Untinted Moisturizer SPF 30 – Cucumber

8. COOLA SUNCARE Mineral Face Matte Untinted Moisturizer SPF 30 – Cucumber

What does this mineral moisturizer do? The better question might be what doesn’t it do? It’s packed with a sunscreen component to provide much-needed skin protection, it doubles as a smoothing BB cream, and it contains cucumber to soothe irritated skin. This superstar lotion is also an ideal choice for oily to combination skin and offers a lovely matte finish when applied under makeup.

PACIFICA BEAUTY Kale Luxe Oil-Free Multi Cream

9. PACIFICA BEAUTY Kale Luxe Oil-Free Multi Cream

If you feel like you’ve tried it all and you want to experiment with some more unusual ingredients, try this moisturizing lotion that’s formulated with kale and lime. Kale, a budding skincare superstar, is packed with vitamins, promotes collagen production, detoxifies the skin, and protects against outside damage. Meanwhile, the lime pearls in this formula are packed with AHAs which help to plump, smooth, and treat blemishes. This formula is an especially great choice for anyone with oily skin.

ANDALOU NATURALS Acai + Kombucha Oil-Free Moisturizer

10. ANDALOU NATURALS Acai + Kombucha Oil-Free Moisturizer

Interested in another foodie-inspired moisturizer? This lightweight formula uses antioxidant-packed acai berries which contain vitamins A, B, C, and E and are known to be a powerful hydrating ingredient. This formula also uses kombucha probiotics to detoxify and improve skin’s elasticity.



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About the author
Cortney Clift
Cortney is a New York-based freelance writer who has written about beauty and wellness for more than six years. She was previously the senior writer and special projects editor at Brit + Co where she covered a wide range of news and lifestyle topics.
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Article Last Updated March 10, 2020 12:00 AM