Choosing the best moisturizer for acne is actually one of the most important things you can do for your poor, inflamed skin. You see, moisturizer is a necessary part of your daily regimen to heal and prevent acne – as counterintuitive as that may seem.
Here’s why: When your skin is adequately moisturized, your oil glands are less likely to overproduce and clog up your pores. Moisturizer can also help loosen the oil that is plugging up your pores and helps form a protective barrier that keeps the skin’s natural oil in while keeping bacteria and debris out.
It’s essential to find a moisturizer that is right for your skin – even more important than choosing the right cleanser, scrub or mask. Those products are on your skin for a brief time and rinsed off. Moisturizer is on your skin all day and all night.
So how do you choose the best moisturizer for acne prone skin?
Start out by finding a moisturizer that is “non-comedogenic,” meaning that it will not clog your pores. See if the texture is lightweight. Then read the list of ingredients to make sure that meets the following criteria:
- It’s water based
- The ingredients include known acne fighters like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, niacinamide or retinol
- It also has skin-loving hydrators that won’t clog pores like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, allantoin or arnica
- Extra perk if it’s got a healthy dose of skin-boosting botanical extracts like tea tree oil, green tea, aloe or chamomile!
If it checks out, you can be confident that these moisturizers are not only safe to have on your skin all day, they will spend their time there protecting, healing and enhancing it.
Don’t want to do the research on your own? We’ve gone ahead and rounded up the best oil-free, non-comedogenic, acne-fighting moisturizers on the market. Here are our top picks!
Skinmedica’s lotion contains benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, two of acne’s worst enemies. Benzoyl peroxide hinders the formation of whiteheads and blackheads by loosening the oil plugs and killing the bacteria that are clogging up your pores. It also absorbs oil on the skin’s surface to prevent future outbreaks. Willow bark extract (salicylic acid) penetrates the pores to deep clean, break up dead skin cells and remove them from your skin, and soothe inflamed skin. Botanical extracts, including sage extract, aid in soothing and nourishing the skin.
The formula contains a unique microparticle delivery system: The ingredients are contained in microscopic “packets” that dissolve slowly to release the acne treatments and hydration on a continuous basis. Overall, it does a great job absorbing into the skin to keep breakouts at bay.
The downside? This isn’t the best pick if you have dry, acne-prone skin so if your skin is on the dry side, make sure to follow it up with a richer, more hydrating moisturizer afterwards!
- Benzoyl peroxide based therapeutic acne treatment lotion
- Features updated micro-particle delivery system
- Effectively eliminates skin surface bacteria and excess sebum
Who said acne moisturizers had to be thick, suffocating concoctions? It certainly isn’t the case with Philosophy’s Clear Days Ahead Acne Moisturizer – this wonderfully lightweight cream combines an acne treatment with a lightweight moisturizer that delivers oil-free hydration.
Salicylic acid and oligopeptide-10 (each effective in its own right) team up to keep the skin clear to prevent future outbreaks and soothe irritation. Salicylic acid opens the pores to let oxygen and oligopeptide-10 in to clear clogged pores, rid the skin of pustules and irritation and heal even cystic acne without leaving those inevitable deep scars as horrible “souvenirs.”
The formula is a silky lotion texture that hydrates your skin with a blend of fatty acids, cell-communicating ingredients and vitamin E for a clear, perfectly balanced complexion and a long-lasting matte finish.
Keep in mind that the salicylic in the formula can be drying and start with just one application a day. If your skin does not become excessively dry, you can gradually increase use to three times daily.
- Item Condition: 100% authentic, new and unused. Philosophy Clear Days Ahead Acne Spot...
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Another wonderfully lightweight moisturizer for acne prone skin, Alba’s Acnedote treats and helps prevent acne while giving your skin an all-day matte finish. The powerful botanical formula contains maximum strength willow bark extract/salicylic acid (2%) to exfoliate dead skin cells from deep inside your pores, control oil production and stimulate the growth of new cells. Aloe and chamomile join in the fight against the main sources of acne—dead cells, oil, debris and bacteria—and reduce inflammation.
Glycerin draws moisture to your skin, becomes a natural barrier that retains the skin’s natural oil and wards off bacteria and contaminants, and smooths it. Parsley and lemon extracts sop up oil, and green tea extract quells your red, irritated and inflamed skin. Your skin achieves that perfect place—neither oily nor tight, Instead, it is soft and invigorated.
- One 2 oz. tube of Alba Botanica Acnedote Maximum Strength Oil Control Lotion
- Treats and prevents acne and breakouts
- Made with a 2% salicylic acid and willow bark solution
This acne moisturizer helps to balance the skin’s chemistry, an essential element in healing acne and preventing future outbreaks. The proprietary Anti-Blemish Complex in the formula blends willow bark extract and tea tree, rosewood, lavender and chamomile oils.
Willow bark and tea tree oil are top-of-the-line ingredients for acne-prone skin. They clear out and prevent clogged pores, fight bacteria, control oil and stimulate the growth of new skin cells. Extracts of lavender, rosewood, jojoba seed, chamomile and aloe aid in that fight while they also hydrate, soothe inflammation, and nourish your skin. Problem Skin moisturizer is lightweight and works wonders for both oily and dry skin.
Note: The moisturizer may have a strong scent in the jar, but don’t worry, it’s light and fresh on your skin once it dries.
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If you’re looking for a sheer, lightweight feel, Bee Naturals Oil Free Moisturizer is worth checking out. This moisturizer for acne prone skin has the consistency of a serum and goes on extremely lightweight while providing all the hydration and nourishment that acne-prone skin could want.
Niacinamide and tea tree oil are powerful acne fighters. Niacinamide’s primary strength is in its ability to alleviate the inflammation that keeps acne flourishing, and it also helps in controlling oil and in protecting the skin from moisture loss and from assault by bacteria. Tea tree oil swoops in and rids the skin of toxins, dead cells and acne-related blemishes and scars.
Feverfew extract is a little-used ingredient. (You may know the plant as “bachelor buttons.”) It is a gentle salve that reinforces niacinamide’s work on redness, irritation and inflammation, while it refreshes and “mellows out” your skin. Glycerin is a healing agent and an emollient for softens leaves your skin soft and supple. Hyaluronic acid, in a way, thinks on its feet: It has the amazing ability to adjust the rate that it absorbs moisture with the level of humidity, the season and the climate.
And, as we would expect, Bee Naturals adds a dollop of honey for all its skin-loving benefits. Overall, a perfect moisturizer for oily and acne-prone skin!
- One - Bee Naturals, Oil Free Moisturizer, 2 fl oz
Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion is an ultra-light moisturizer that firms the skin, clears the pores, accelerates cell turnover and fights acne from all sides due to an abundance of natural ingredients.
Hyaluronic acid hydrates by helping skin retain its natural moisture while it draws moisture from the air. Retinol accelerates natural cell turnover to help keep pores clear. Queen of Meadow (also known as meadowsweet and the less appealing gravel root) extract contains tannins that protect the skin from the contaminants that are an inescapable part of our environment, and with algae extract, works to rein in the over-activity of oil glands. Honey and soy extracts, allantoin and arnica soothe and condition. Talc dims that oily shine on your T-Zone.
This lotion is good for normal, oily or combination skin. Every day, after cleansing and toning, massage evenly over face and neck, then follow with sunscreen.
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Okay, so we’re a little in love with Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer. It is above and beyond the best tinted moisturizer for acne prone skin. Why? For starters, it works for all skin types, including acne-prone, oily, dry, combination and sensitive. Plus, it’s a triple threat – to acne-causing bacteria, to overly dry skin and to the sun’s harmful rays.
Curious how it feels on your skin? Expect a sheer, lightweight feel that provides dewy hydration while controlling oil breakthrough. An antioxidant complex of Vitamins C and E also help fend off damage by free radicals and protect the skin from even the most aggressive “invaders” in the environment.
The best part? It provides really a fresh, healthy, “no-makeup” sort of coverage that’s really helpful for active acne and acne marks.
Overall, this moisturizer heals, protects, hydrates and masks blemishes and scars. The subtle, long-lasting coverage replaces the shine of oily skin with a semi-matte finish and healthy glow without the “made up” look of a foundation. A perfect way to get coverage and acne-fighting power in one product!
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- SPF 20 offers protection from the harmful, damaging rays of the sun