The 16 Best Moisturizers for Acne-Prone Skin in 2023

Consider your pores safe.

model with oily skin and curly hair
(Image credit: Getty/Yuchen Liao)

You’ve tried the best spot treatments, adjusted your skincare routine, and even amped up exfoliation—all derm-approved ways to help deal with breakouts. While drying products may seem more favorable (especially if you have oily skin), it’s just as important to hydrate with one of the best moisturizers for acne-prone skin. "Did you know that not using a moisturizer can cause even more breakouts?" celebrity facialist and board-certified aesthetician Renée Rouleau explains. "Bacteria breeds in oil. When moisturizer is avoided, the skin dehydrates and sets off a response to produce more oil. This can make existing breakouts last longer and creates a hospitable environment for new breakouts to form."

That being said, using a non-comedogenic, oil-free moisturizer morning and night is non-negotiable. “I tend to like lighter formulations, often gels, lotions, or more hybrid gel creams,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali. To see which moisturizers the pros recommend—and check out some of our personal favorites—scroll on. We’ve rounded the best moisturizers for acne-prone skin, below. 

What to Look For

If you have acneic or acne-prone skin, there are a few boxes you'll want your new moisturizer to check off. Most importantly, it needs to be non-comedogenic, which means it won't clog pores and contribute to acne. While most products will call this out on the label, you can also do a quick scan to ensure your product is oil free. “I tend to recommend against heavier products and 100 percent pure oil blends," says Dr. Bhanusali, urging people to look for lightweight formulations. 

It's also a good idea to look for ingredients that can treat acne breakouts. While this isn't a necessity if you're using other acne treatment lotions, serums, or prescriptions, it can be a worthwhile addition if you're looking to streamline your routine. "Salicylic acid is an ingredient that helps prevent future acne pimples and also treats current pimples by dissolving blackheads and whiteheads," says New York-based dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, MD. In addition to salicylic acid, ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, kojic acid, niacinamide, and AHAs like glycolic or lactic acid can be beneficial. 

The Best Moisturizers for Acne-Prone Skin

Meet the Experts

dr bhanusali
Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali

Dr. Bhanusali is a board-certified Dermatologist based in NYC.  After being accepted into medical school at 17, he completed his studies at the Michigan State University medical scholars program where he was also awarded the Spartan Scholarship and Arthur L Foley Memorial Scholarship. He went on to complete his Dermatology residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC. He specializes in medical and cosmetic dermatology and looks to bridge the gap between cutting-edge technologies and established paradigms. Dr. Bhanusali was recently featured as the dermatologist behind Amazon’s first skincare line, launched globally in 2019, and currently serves as a medical expert for many companies in the field, including Johnson& Johnson (Neutrogena, ROC, Clean & Clear, Aveeno) and Solta (Fraxel, Clear & Brilliant, Pelo).

renee rouleau
Renée Rouleau

A life-long skin enthusiast, Renée Rouleau has dedicated 30+ years to the art of skin perfection. She’s considered a complexion coach and blemish-busting hero by many thanks to her magical touch and ability to make skin concerns quickly disappear.  Renée knows that great skin is rarely achieved with a “one size fits all” viewpoint. Throughout her career, Renée has worked with clients who trust her and demand the utmost in skincare. This makes her the go-to expert for many of today’s most skin enviable personalities including Demi Lovato, Lili Reinhart and Madelaine Petsch. She is also on the advisory board for Woman @ Austin. This is an organization that is on a mission to advance women entrepreneurs striving to grow their companies; and she is a member of the Austin chapter of EO (Entrepreneurs’ Organization.)

Rachel Nazarian, M.D., F.A.A.D.
Rachel Nazarian, M.D., F.A.A.D

Dr. Rachel Nazarian joins Schweiger Dermatology after years of practicing various aspects of dermatology, including cosmetic treatments, skin cancer, general dermatology and dermatologic surgery.Dr. Nazarian has written many published articles in medical journals as well as widely respected dermatology textbooks, such as Treatment of Skin Disease.Dr. Nazarian serves as a faculty member at Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Department of Dermatology, where she completed her dermatology residency. While completing her medical degree at Tulane University School of Medicine, Dr. Nazarian was awarded a grant from the Women’s Dermatology Society. Dr. Nazarian is a board certified dermatologist and Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Dr. Melissa Levin
Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, M.D.

Known for her honesty and love for bespoke medical and cosmetic skin solutions, Dr. Levin has established a loyal following of patients from all walks of life - entire families, skincare enthusiasts, actors, designers, beauty editors, physicians, lawyers, teachers, and many more. As a native Californian, Dr. Levin graduated summa cum laude from the University of California of Los Angeles (UCLA) and earned her medical degree from the University of California of San Francisco (UCSF), as a member of the highest honor society, Alpha Omega Alpha. She completed her internship at the California Pacific Medical Center and dermatology residency at New York University Langone Health.