10 Moisturizers for Acne Prone Skin

Now that you have identified your skin type, and know what skincare mistakes to avoid, it is important to make the right choices with your skincare products. And yes I know, setting up your own routine might feel a bit overwhelming, so we have done our research and rounded up some of the best moisturizers for acne prone skin. Alternatively, for dry skin, you can check here for our top recommendations.

Moisturizers for acne prone skin

Caring for acne-prone skin is about more than just slathering on blemish busting products. On the contrary, it focuses on resolution, minimizing scarring and improving overall skin appearance. This can be achieved by using acne-friendly skin care (cleansers, barrier repair). The second aspect however, revolves around treatment. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to acne, your dermatologist may recommend topical products for occasional, mild, and moderate acne. For more severe or non-responsive cases, oral treatments can be initiated alongside topical hydrating creams.

Moisturizers for acne prone skin

Moving ahead, I do understand that one of the common misconceptions that many people have, is that drying out the skin helps treat acne lesions. Unfortunately, it does exactly the opposite. In fact, moisturizers can enhance treatment efficacy, alleviate dryness, and improve your skin health. The American Academy of Dermatology has summarized it best:

Keeping the skin properly hydrated is the key to successful acne therapy. Similarly, the daily use of a moisturizer has been shown to increase the skin’s ability to tolerate medications that often cause irritation.

American Academy of Dermatology 

Pore-clogging ingredients you may want to stay away from

While this is not a conclusive list, nevertheless, it would be helpful to familiarize yourself with it. Here, are some of the common pore-clogging ingredients, which preferably you should best avoid.

  • Natural oils like coconut oil, cocoa butter, marula and palm oil are likely to clog pores and in certain cases, even worsen your acne. Use these on your body, but avoid areas prone to breakouts.
  • Other natural oils (like jojoba, safflower, lanolin) are mildly comedogenic. It is best to avoid products that contain many natural oils or when combined with other pore clogging ingredients.
  • Simple or denatured alcohols, which are created using petroleum-based ingredients. These include: ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, and alcohol denat.
  • Algae extract, which could be listed as Carrageenan, brown seaweed or plankton extract.
  • Fatty acids such as lauric acid, stearic acid and wheat germ glyceride.
  • Emollients and emulsifiers such as oleth-3 phosphate, laureth-4.
  • Surfactants such as sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate.
  • Synthetic perfumes, which are often labelled as fragrance or parfum.

Qualities to look out for in moisturizers for acne prone skin

For sensitive skin, prone to acne — choose a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer that is labeled non-comedogenic. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, allantoin and glycerin.

Common ingredients in topical [skin] acne preparations are benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. These medications tend to dry out the skin over time, which is even more noticeable in persons with combination skin. Therefore, replenishing your skin with hydrating ingredients is a necessity when you’re using acne treatments.

Moisturizers for acne prone skin

Oil-in-water emulsions or bio-restorative water based gels (hydrogels) are often recommended for acne-prone skin.

Moisturizer

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La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Oil-Free Moisturizer

Effaclar Mat Daily Face Moisturizer for Oily Skin

Why we love it?

This light, non-greasy moisturizer works best for day time summer wear. It is formulated keeping in mind the needs of combination skin type, that is prone to acne. All in all, it gives you a good dose of hydration with a mattifying effect. The combination of this together with the Effaclar duo, works really well to control breakouts. However, if your skin is oily within 2-3 hours of cleansing, then this wouldn’t be the product of choice for you.
Shop here: Effaclar Mat Moisturizer, Amazon

CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion

CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion

Why we love it?

It’s a non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, oil-free, and fragrance-free moisturizer. Using gentle ingredients like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and ceramides, this moisturizer helps keep your skin hydrated for 24 hours while still being lightweight on skin.
Shop here: CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion, Amazon

Dermalogica Active Moist

Dermalogica Active Moist

Why we love it?

This lightweight, oil-free moisturizer is formulated keeping the needs of oily, acne-prone skin in mind. It combines several botanical extracts, including lavender, mallow and cucumber fruit to provide deep hydration. Interestingly, lavender works has both antioxidant and an antimicrobial properties which helps in reducing inflammation associated with acne. A bonus ingredient is silk amino acids, which are derived from raw silk and helps improve skin texture. To this day, it’s one of my favorite products (except for the price).
Shop here: Dermalogica Active Moist, Amazon

 La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ with SPF 30 Moisturizer

 La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ with SPF 30

Why we love it?

Here’s another LRP moisturizer that has made it to our list. This would best work for you if you have oily skin, but are also using acne treatments (either roaccutane or topical) that make your skin dry and sensitive to sun. Texture wise, it’s a bit thicker than other products in this list, but it sinks into the skin fast, leaves no white cast and performs well under makeup. It combines together key ingredients such as ceramides, niacinamide, salicylic acid and LHA to tackle the severity of breakouts and improve pore size.

Embryolisse Hydra Matte Emulsion

Embryolisse Hydra Mat Emulsion

Why we love it?

Here’s another light moisturizer with a mattifying effect for spring/summer season. The moisturizer has a gel-cream texture and it absorbs well into the skin without feeling greasy. Perfect to use as a base under makeup and for sensitive skin.
Shop here: Embryolisse Hydra Matte Emulsion, Amazon

Bioderma Sebium Global

Why we love it?

Enriched with salicylic acid and glycerin, this lightweight, fast-absorbing moisturizer sinks immediately into the skin, without leaving any greasy residue behind. Additional ingredients like zinc gluconate, bakuchiol and citric acid are added to this daily formula to help regulate sebum production. The citric acid in this formula is a little strong and it may cause initial stinging upon application. You could use this as a spot treatment in such cases. Aside from that, it does what it claims. But again, not recommended for sensitive/reactive skin.
Shop here: Sebium Global, Amazon

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

Why we love it?

This no-frills cream has an oil-free, non-greasy texture. It’s unique amino acid-lineup replicates our skin’s own Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMF). Not surprisingly, it is suitable for most skin types, including dry, acne prone ones. Upon application, it strengthens your skin’s protective barrier while gently moisturizing it at the same time. The formula is both alcohol and silicone free.
Shop here: The Ordinary NMF + HA, Amazon

Alpha-H Clear Skin Daily Moisturiser

Alpha-H Clear Skin Daily Moisturiser

Why we love it?

This underrated moisturizer features a combination of blemish busting ingredients. First, you get a hefty dose of 10% glycolic acid in a gentle, fragrance-free lotion. Second, it combines the goodness of hyaluronic acid with active botanicals such as aloe vera, tea tree, eucalyptus and green tea.

Derma E Acne Rebalancing Cream

Best Moisturizers for Acne Prone Skin

Why we love it?

Enriched with active botanicals such as tea tree, white willow, chamomile and aloe vera, this slightly thicker textured cream has made it to our list. The key ingredient here is the salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) derived from willow bark. It helps exfoliate your skin, unclogs the pores, and remove excess oil. This would work best for combination skin, that veers more towards the dry side. It does have a strong medicinal scent though, which may be something to keep in mind if you have sensitivities.
Shop here: DermaE Acne Balancing Cream

Skin Rescue Oil-Free Mattifying Gel Moisturizer

Skin Rescue Oil-Free Mattifying Gel Moisturizer

Why we love it?

This daily gel moisturizer is formulated to deliver lightweight hydration as well as oil control. Enriched with botanically sourced antioxidants and ceramides, this ticks in all the right boxes for us.
Shop here: Skin Rescue Oil-Free Mattifying Gel, Amazon.

A few important points to keep in mind: what works best for one person might not work the same for you. If you have sensitive or allergic skin, always make sure you do a patch test to see how you will react to the product. And, it’s best to consult your dermatologist before making any changes to your skincare routine.

Moisturizer Acne

Are you using any of these moisturizers? Let me know in the comments below. Additionally, you could also click here to read some of the most common skincare mistakes we all make in our routines.

love,
Sahar x

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