Finding a moisturizer when you have acne-prone skin is no small feat. Though moisturizing is the foundation of any skin-care routine, if you tend to break out on the regular or have oily skin prone to congested pores, you can't use just any old formula you come across. To determine the best face moisturizers for acne-prone skin, you'll actually need to do a fair amount of homework.
You'll first want to look for a moisturizer that says it's oil-free, since obviously, adding heavy oils to skin that has a tendency to break out isn't going to do you much good. You might also prefer to use a face moisturizer that contains an acne-fighting ingredient like salicylic acid. Used on its own or in conjunction with another acne treatment, a moisturizer with salicylic acid can help keep skin clear — just be sure to check with your derm first to make sure it plays nicely with any treatments you might already be prescribed.
If you've already found an acne treatment that works for you, and you're just looking for some extra hydration to combat any drying effects without causing more breakouts, a basic hydrating moisturizer will do the trick. Look for a product that says it's noncomedogenic, which means it doesn't include any heavy ingredients that will likely clog your pores.
In the daytime, you'll also want to make sure you're wearing SPF. Not only is this important in preventing signs of sun damage and the risk of skin cancer, but many acne treatments can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, making it an imperative step in avoiding getting sunburnt.
To help find your moisturizer match, check out five of the best face moisturizers for acne-prone skin, below.
1. Best Moisturizer For Oily, Acne-Prone Skin
Created for acne-prone skin types, The Body Shop's Tea Tree Mattifying Lotion helps treat blemishes and oily skin. The organic tea tree oil in the formula, which has natural anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, works to help calm redness and disinfect breakout-causing clogged pores. Tea tree oil is even thought to be helpful when it comes to reducing scarring from past breakouts. And because the formula is mattifying, it helps reduce excess shine both in the immediate and throughout the day.
2. Best Drugstore Moisturizer For Acne-Prone Skin
For a drugstore moisturizer that contains acne-fighting ingredients, try Aveeno's Clear Complexion Daily Moisturizer. The hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic formula combines hydrating ingredients like glycerin and dimethicone with a low concentration of salicylic acid to cut through oil in your pores and exfoliate skin without causing irritation. This Aveeno moisturizer also contains soybean extract, which helps even out the skin tone and reduce any discoloration or blotchiness.
3. Best Moisturizer With SPF For Acne-Prone Skin
If you have acne, you may already know (and love) Differin for its adapalene gel, which uses a prescription-strength retinoid in an over-the-counter treatment to target acne below the skin's surface. To counteract the drying effects and sun sensitivity that go hand-in-hand with acne-clearing treatments, Differin created this oil-absorbing moisturizer with SPF 30. The oil-free moisturizer is noncomedogenic, hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free, so it won't clog pores or irritate sensitive skin. It's also lightweight and non-greasy, and pairs broad spectrum SPF 30 with micropearl technology to absorb excess oil for a matte finish.
4. Best Moisturizer For Skin Prone To Acne & Redness
This nighttime moisturizer from Paula's Choice is the ultimate multitasker due to its mix of hydrating, calming, and skin-protecting ingredients. The Clear Oil-Free Moisturizer is part of Paula's skin-care line specifically created for acne-prone types, which is why it's oil-free and uses lightweight hydrators like hyaluronic acid. Additionally, pumpkin seed and blueberry extracts work to calm redness that typically occurs with acne (and acne treatments), while ceramides and niacinamide help strengthen the skin's barrier.
5. Best Drugstore Night Cream For Acne-Prone Skin
Another great night cream for acne-prone skin is CeraVe's PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion. It's noncomedogenic, hypoallergenic, oil-free, and fragrance-free. Using gentle ingredients like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and ceramides, this moisturizer helps keep skin hydrated for 24 hours while still being lightweight on skin.
Despite not having any acne-fighting ingredients in the formula, many reviewers note that it doesn't aggravate acne-prone skin. One reviewer says, "This lotion doesn't irritate my skin at all and keeps me moisturized all day." Another adds, "It's the only product that consistently hydrates without making my acne-prone skin breakout."
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