If you have skin that is prone to breakouts, finding a great moisturizer is crucial for maintaining skin health. Below, we’ve compiled a list of the best moisturizers for acne.
Do Moisturizers Help with Acne?
A moisturizer won’t directly help clear up blemishes, but it is essential for maintaining optimal skin health and supporting the skin as you treat your breakouts. Skin that is adequately hydrated is far better equipped to battle inflammation, which means a moisturizer may indirectly help with the treatment and prevention of breakouts. Since many acne fighting topical products can be drying, a moisturizer will help counteract that dryness.
It’s important to ensure you’re using a moisturizer that won’t clog pores and make breakouts worse. Lightweight, non-comedogenic formulas are particularly suitable for acne-prone skin.
1. Tolérance Extrême Emulsion
Avène Moisturizer for Daily Moisturization
Avène Tolérance Extrême Emulsion
This gentle and fragrance-free moisturizer contains six simple but effective ingredients that soothe and moisturize the skin without leaving behind a greasy feeling.
This lightweight, oil-free moisturizer is perfect for combination, oily, and sensitive skin types. Two key ingredients are the Avène thermal spring water, which soothes and softens the skin, and squalane, which hydrates and acts as an antioxidant.
- May not be moisturizing enough for drier skin types
In addition to the ingredients mentioned above, this gentle moisturizer contains glycerin and capric triglyceride, which both further help hydrate the skin.
Avène Thermal Spring Water, Squalane, Behenyl Alcohol, Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Sodium Acrylates C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Water
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Moisturizers: The Slippery Road"Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.
Sage Journals. "Safety Assessment of Glycerin as Used in Cosmetics"Accessed Nov. 8, 2021.
2. Moisturizing Lotion
Vanicream Moisturizer for Daily Moisturization
Vanicream Moisturizing Lotion
This face, hand, and body lotion was specifically formulated for sensitive skin, helping to moisturize and restore without irritation.
This fast-absorbing lotion contains a short list of ingredients that moisturize the face and body without causing irritation, including white petrolatum and propylene glycol.
- National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance
- May not be moisturizing enough for very dry skin
This lotion is free of fragrances, dyes, and other ingredients that commonly irritate sensitive skin.
Purified Water, White Petrolatum, Propylene Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sorbitol Solution, Ceteareth-20, Simethicone, Glyceryl Monostearate, Polyethylene Glycol Monostearate, Sorbic Acid, Bht.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Safety assessment of propylene glycol, tripropylene glycol, and PPGs as used in cosmetics"Accessed Aug. 30, 2021.
3. Clear Oil-Free Moisturizer
Paula's Choice Moisturizer for Daily Moisturization
Paula’s Choice Clear Oil-Free Moisturizer
This moisturizer is perfect for those with acne-prone skin, because it is lightweight, non-greasy, oil-free, and doesn’t clog pores or lead to more breakouts.
It can be difficult for those with acne-prone skin to find a suitable moisturizer, but this option delivers hydration without contributing to breakouts. It also contains ingredients that soothe the skin, helping to eliminate any irritation.
- No SPF for daytime use
This moisturizer contains niacinamide, which helps to minimize pores, eliminate redness, and even skin tone. It also contains antioxidants that soothe the skin, and ceramides that strengthen the skin’s surface.
Water (Aqua), Ethyl Macadamiate (hydration), Glycerin (skin-replenishing), Cetearyl Alcohol (texture enhancer), Propanediol (hydration), Triethylhexanoin (skin-smoothing), Sodium Acrylates Copolymer (texture enhancer), Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate (thickeners), Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract (skin- soothing), Hydrolyzed Pumpkin Seedcake (skin-replenishing), Vaccinium Angustifolium (Blueberry) Fruit Extract (antioxidant), Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Fruit Extract (antioxidant), Prunus Serotina (Wild Cherry) Fruit Extract (skin-soothing/antioxidant), Niacinamide (skin-restoring),Tripeptide-29 (skin-restoring), Ceramide NP, Ceramide AP, Ceramide EOP (skin-replenishing), Sodium Hyaluronate (skin-replenishing/hydration), Phytosphingosine (skin-restoring), Cholesterol (skin-replenishing), Panthenol (hydration), Sodium PCA (skin-replenishing), Adenosine (skin-restoring), Lecithin (skin-restoring/hydration), Arginine (amino acid/hydration), Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate (emulsifier) Sodium Gluconate (hydration/chelation), Citric Acid (pH adjuster), Isohexadecane (solvent/texture enhancer), Xanthan Gum, Carbomer (thickeners), Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin (preservatives)
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Topical niacinamide reduces yellowing, wrinkling, red blotchiness, and hyperpigmented spots in aging facial skin"Accessed Aug. 2, 2021.
4. Clear Ultra-Light Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 30+
Paula's Choice Moisturizer for Daily Sun Protection and Moisturization
Paula’s Choice Clear Ultra-Light Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 30+
This lightweight SPF 30 moisturizer leaves a matte finish and doesn’t clog pores, making it one of the best Paula’s Choice sunscreens for normal to oily and acne-prone skin.
Many people with oily or acne-prone skin worry about using sunscreens, because they often feel thick and greasy. However, this SPF moisturizer is an excellent choice for these skin types, because it protects the skin but doesn’t feel greasy or clog pores. It also contains antioxidants and hydrators that calm the skin.
- Matte finish
- Contains chemical sunscreen, which may irritate sensitive skin
- Not water-resistant
This lightweight SPF moisturizer contains antioxidants and replenishing ingredients that calm and hydrate the skin without contributing to shine, including vitamin E, grape seed extract, green tea, and oat extract.
Avobenzone 2.0%, Octinoxate 7.50%, Octisalate 5.0%, Octocrylene 2.0% (sunscreen actives), Water (Aqua), Glycerin (hydration/skin-replenishing), Silica (absorbent), Dimethicone (hydration/texture enhancer), Benzyl Alcohol (preservative), Tocopherol (vitamin E/antioxidant), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (antioxidant), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract (antioxidant), Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Peucedanum Graveolens (Dill) Extract (antioxidant), Sambucus Nigra (Black Elderberry) Fruit Extract (antioxidant), Avena Sativa (Oat) Bran Extract (skin-soothing), Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract (antioxidant), Lycium Barbarum (Goji) Fruit Extract (antioxidant), Hydrogenated Lecithin (skin-restoring), Titanium Dioxide (texture enhancer), Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer (hydration), Diethylhexyl Syringylidenemalonate (hydration), Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer (film-forming/suspending agent), Xanthan Gum (texture enhancer), Sodium Carbomer (texture enhancer), Benzyl Alcohol (preservative), Sodium Benzoate (stabilizer), Potassium Sorbate (preservative), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).
American Academy of Dermatology. "Is Sunscreen Safe?"Accessed Aug. 2, 2021.
5. Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer
La Roche-Posay Moisturizer for Daily Moisturization
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer
This lightweight, oil-free moisturizer is excellent for all skin types. It effectively hydrates without clogging pores, making it a particularly great choice for those prone to acne.
This product is one of the overall best La Roche-Posay moisturizers. It contains niacinamide, which helps soothe and reduce redness, as well as ceramides, which strengthen and hydrate the skin. Additionally, this moisturizer is non-comedogenic, meaning it contains ingredients that are not likely to clog pores. This makes this moisturizer excellent for acne-prone skin.
- Dermatologist tested
- May not be moisturizing enough for super dry skin
In addition to the ingredients mentioned above, this moisturizer contains prebiotics, which the brand says help restore the skin, and glycerin, which moisturizes.
Aqua/Water, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Niacinamide, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurine, Myristyl Myristate, Stearic Acid, Ceramide 3, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Isobutane, Glyceryl Stearate Se, Sodium Hydroxide, Myristic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Capryloyl Glycine, Caprylyl Glycol, Xanthan Gum, T-Butyl Alcohol, Acrylonitrile/Methyl Methacrylate / Vinylidene Chloride Copolymer, Tocopheryl
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Skin hydration is significantly increased by a cream formulated to mimic the skin’s own natural moisturizing systems"Accessed Aug. 19, 2021.
Sage Journals. "Safety Assessment of Glycerin as Used in Cosmetics"Accessed Aug. 19, 2021.
6. Mattifying Moisturizer for Oily Skin
La Roche-Posay Moisturizer for Daily Moisturization
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Mattifying Moisturizer for Oily Skin
This oil-free moisturizer is formulated with a variety of ingredients that cut down on shine to achieve a matte finish, but it still gives oily skin the hydration that it needs.
This moisturizer is great for oily skin, because it contains a variety of shine-reducing ingredients. It uses the brand’s Sebulyse technology, which helps mattify excess oil and reduce the appearance of pores. Additionally, it contains perlite and silica, which absorb excess oil to cut down on shine.
- Dermatologist tested
- Contains fragrance
This moisturizer also contains a small amount of lipo-hydroxy acid, a chemical exfoliator that gently exfoliates the skin.
Aqua/Water, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Isocetyl Stearate, Alcohol Denat., Silica, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Butylene Glycol, PEG-100 Stearate, Cocamide Mea, Sarcosine, Glyceryl Stearate, Triethanolamine, Isohexadecane, Perlite, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, Pentylene Glycol, Polysorbate 80, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Salicylic Acid, Parfum/Fragrance.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "The Use of Lipohydroxy Acid in Skin Care and Acne Treatment"Accessed Aug. 18, 2021.
7. Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion with Birch Sap
COSRX Moisturizer for Daily Moisturization
COSRX Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion with Birch Sap
This lightweight, oil-free lotion is the perfect daily moisturizer, and is one of the best COSRX products for all skin types.
This lotion provides deep hydration that all skin types need, but does so without leaving behind a greasy finish. Birch sap helps to restore moisture to the skin and maintain hydration levels.
- Vegan and cruelty-free
- Contains fragrant essential oils
In addition to birch sap, this lotion contains hydrating and soothing ingredients, including glycerin, panthenol, allantoin, and sodium hyaluronate.
Betula Platyphylla Japonica Juice, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Betaine, Cetearyl Alcohol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Allantoin, Panthenol, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Lactate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ethyl Hexanediol, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Skin moisturizing effects of panthenol-based formulations"Accessed Aug. 30, 2021.
Sage Journals. "Safety Assessment of Glycerin as Used in Cosmetics"Accessed Aug. 30, 2021.
8. Oil-Free Face Moisturizer
Neutrogena Moisturizer for Daily Moisturization
Neutrogena Oil-Free Face Moisturizer
This lightweight, oil-free, and non-comedogenic moisturizer is an excellent choice for oily skin types, as it moisturizes without contributing to shine.
While this moisturizer is marketed towards sensitive skin, the lightweight and gentle formula is great for normal to oily skin. The water-based moisturizer is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores, and also does not feel heavy or greasy on the skin.
This moisturizer is non-comedogenic, meaning it doesn’t contain ingredients known to clog pores. This makes it a suitable choice for those prone to acne. One of the key moisturizing ingredients in this moisturizer is glycerin, a humectant that keeps the skin hydrated.
Water, Glycerin, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Dimethicone, Petrolatum, Cyclomethicone, Soybean (Glycine Soja) Sterols, Isopropyl Isostearate, Cetyl Alcohol, PEG-10 Soy Sterol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Carbomer, Tetrasodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Diazolidinyl Urea, Ethylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben.
Sage Journals. "Safety Assessment of Glycerin as Used in Cosmetics"Accessed Jul. 30, 2021.
What is the best moisturizer for oily acne-prone skin?
There are many great moisturizers on this list that work for oily skin that is prone to breakouts. Check out the Avène Tolérance Extrême Emulsion, the Paula’s Choice Clear Oil-Free Moisturizer, the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Mattifying Moisturizer for Oily Skin, and the Neutrogena Oil-Free Face Moisturizer. If you want a moisturizer with SPF in it for daytime use, try the Paula’s Choice Clear Ultra-Light Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 30+.
What is the best moisturizer for sensitive acne-prone skin?
If you have sensitive acne-prone skin, check out the Neutrogena Oil-Free Face Moisturizer, the Vanicream Moisturizing Lotion, or the Avène Tolérance Extrême Emulsion. These moisturizers are specifically formulated with sensitive skin in mind, and won’t cause any irritation. They are also free of ingredients that are known to clog pores and contribute to breakouts.
What is the best drugstore moisturizer for acne?
You can find great acneic skin-friendly moisturizers at the drugstore, including the Neutrogena Oil-Free Face Moisturizer, the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Mattifying Moisturizer for Oily Skin, and the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer.
The Bottom Line
For those prone to breakouts, finding a suitable moisturizer that hydrates and maintains skin health without clogging pores is essential. If you have acne-prone skin, consider adding one of our recommended moisturizers to your skincare routine.