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 (opens in new tab) 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

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