Best Acne-Prone Skin Moisturizer: What to Look for

People with acne-prone skin worry that using a moisturizer will worsen their skin issues.  There is some truth to this claim. Most moisturizers in the market contain emollients. These emollients are intended for a dry/alipidic skin. As a consequence, their use on oily, acne-prone people can complicate the situation by making it oilier or can clog the pores.

Using a moisturizer is good for people of all skins types as it keeps them hydrated. However, people who are prone to acne require a type that meets the needs of their skin. Such a moisturizer should prevent dehydration by locking-in moisture rather than adding emollients that could instead clog pores.

What to look for

When shopping for a moisturizer for acne prone skin, you should look for a product that contains hydrating ingredients that will not aggravate it. Humectants such as glycerin, sodium hyaluronate, and sorbitol do not add to the oiliness. These ingredients are usually combined with other ingredients such as salicylic acid, or soothing ingredients such as green tea to help nourish the skin.

Best moisturizers for acne prone skin - Aveeno


Look for a brand that is oil-free and contains acne-fighting ingredients. Salicylic acid and glycolic acid are the most common ingredients that help fight acne. These acids aid in the shedding off of dead skin cells, thereby exposing fresh, unclogged one.

Also, benzoyl peroxide, hyaluronic acid, and lactic acid are common ingredients in acne fighting products. Bear in mind that if you settle for a moisturizer with these ingredients, then it is advisable to minimize the use of other acne-fighting facial products with the same as they may irritate the skin. Too much of a good thing can be dangerous.

Shop for a brand that is fragrance-free and non-comedogenic. A non-comedogenic product is a product containing ingredients that do not clog pores. Comedogenic (pore-clogging) ingredients include:

  • Cocoa butter
  • Lanolins
  • Cetyl acetate
  • Certain dyes and pigments, e.g. red coloration
  • Isopropyl Myristate

Comedogenic products are notorious for triggering acne leading to a more problematic skin. Furthermore, shop for a moisturizer that is light-weight, and avoid thick, greasy or waxy moisturizers.

What to Avoid

The purpose of a moisturizer for acne prone skin is to smoothen it, keep it hydrated, while at the same time minimizing the risk of further irritations. That said, it is advisable to avoid comedogenic, acnegenic of emollient-rich moisturizers. Furthermore, avoid those with emulsifiers such as emulsifying wax, polysorbate, stearate, Cetearyl, ceteareth, and steareth. Alcohol-containing cosmetics are generally discouraged as this ingredient has a skin drying effect and can irritate it, whether the skin is oily or not.

Best acne-prone skin moisturizers

Looking for the best moisturizer brand is indeed a daunting task. This is because aside from the items we have noted on our “what to avoid” section, there are other ingredients that can further aggravate the condition (Parabens are one of them). Luckily, we have surfed the net for some reviews and found that there are brands that generally stand out as definite moisturizers to try out. They include:-

1. Aveeno Clear Complexion Daily Moisturizer

This is an oil-free product with dermatologically recommended acne-fighting ingredients. What we love about this product is that it is non-comedogenic and contains active ingredients such as soy extract that nourishes the skin without triggering acne.

2. Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture SPF 35

A non-comedogenic, oil-free brand that doubles up as a sunscreen. What we love about this product is that it is fragrance-free and hypoallergenic.

3. Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion

The product is designed for dry skin types. It is lightweight making it easy to apply and is also non-comedogenic.

4. Cerave Facial Moisturizing Lotion

An oil-free, fragrance-free, and non-comedogenic product. What we love about this product is that it is a dermatologically approved product with skin-friendly ingredients such as ceramides 1, 3, 6-11.

5. La Roche Posay

La Roche has an array of products with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid designed for acne-prone skin. The La Roche moisturizer is oil-free, paraben free, and fragrance-free. Definitely suitable for sensitive skin.

6. Avène Cleanance EXPERT

This product is suitable for oily skin. The product claims to target the appearance of blemishes as it contains three active ingredients. These ingredients include 1% X-Pressin, which is gentler and milder compared to glycolic acid. The next ingredient is Diolényl, which helps in the reduction of blemishes. Lastly, it is made using Avene thermal spring water.

7. Proactive+ Green Tea Moisturizer

A lightweight, non-greasy formula made from a combination of minerals and botanical extracts such as green tea. This moisturizer is highly recommended, especially when used based on Proactive’s 3-step skincare

Final Tips

Before you purchase a moisturizer, research the product online. Learn whether it is safe to use the moisturizer together with other products designed for acne-prone skin.

One common mistake that people make is to go acne prone products such as a facial wash, a cleanser, moisturizer, or cosmetics with acne fighting ingredients. As a consequence, the face ends up over-drying leading to other problems. Clean your face gently to avoid aggravating the skin. Lastly, if you apply makeup, then opt for an oil-free foundation.


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