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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. “I tend to recommend against heavier products and 100 percent pure oil blends.” 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.
The Best Moisturizers for Acne-Prone Skin
The Best Mattifying Moisturizer for Acne-Prone Skin
In short: This is liquid gold for oily skin. It helps absorb oil, but still leaves skin hydrated. The biggest selling point however is the finish. It mattifies the skin and offers the perfect base for foundation—no primer necessary.
The Best Lightweight Moisturizer for Acne-Prone Skin
The brand’s peptide cream has a loyal following among dry skin types (it has over 2,000 reviews on Sephora), and it’s newly launched gel cream is a must for oily-prone people. It has a solid of list of ingredients, including ceramides and peptides. What’s more notable though, is what the formula avoids. There is no silicone, dimethicone, lanolin, or fragrance, meaning it’s less likely to contribute to breakouts.
The Best Buildable Moisturizer for Acne-Prone Skin
Act quick—this moisturizer has been selling out. According to Dr. Bhanusali, who helped develop the Hailey Bieber-founded line, it's “suitable for acne and oily skin,” because of its lightweight texture. But this isn’t just a great skincare product—it doubles as a natural highlighter too. Bieber recommends tapping a little of this on top of makeup for an extra glow.
The Best Brightening Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin
With niacinamide as the star ingredient, this moisturizer is going to help regulate your oil production, create a more matte complexion, and even fade the lingering dark spots. Add succinic acid to the mix, and your skin is also going to get a boost of radiance.
The Best Water-Based Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin
One of Dr. Bhanusali’s favorites, this cult-favorite, water-based moisturizer is a win for acne-prone skin types. It feels like air (don’t knock it, till you try it), dries down in an instant, and leaves a very subtle glow on the skin without contributing to oil.
The Best K-Beauty Moisturizer for Acne-Prone Skin
This cream "bursts" into a lush, moisturizing gel on contact, reduces redness, and cools an irritated visage. And it can boost your skin's hydration levels by a whopping 70 percent without the heaviness of a standard cream.
The Best Shine Control Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin
A favorite among derms everywhere, this soothing and mattifying formula is anti-shine, which means your complexion won't look slick by mid-afternoon. For best results, look into pairing this moisturizer with La Roche Posay's gel cleanser for acne-prone skin (opens in new tab).
The Best Moisturizer for Hyperpigmentation
So you want a moisturizer that won't break you out, but would you mind if we went ahead and added a few ingredients that heal past breakouts? This moisturizer from TULA not only uses salicylic acid to ease current blemishes, but it also uses azelaic acid to lighten scarring.
The Best Salicylic Acid-Packed Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin
"This is a wonderful choice for acne-prone skin because it's lightweight, and doesn’t occlude or block pores, and it contains 0.5 percent salicylic acid," New York-based dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, MD, shares. "Salicylic acid is an ingredient that helps prevent future acne pimples and also treats current pimples by dissolving blackheads and whiteheads. Salicylic acid is a bacteriostatic ingredient and targets the bacteria that live on the skin and play a role in acne formation. This product also contains licorice root extract and kojic acid: both improve the pigmented and dark marks that acne leaves behind."
The Best Strengthening Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin
This formula comes out of the bottle in an air-light whip, and it melts on contact with your skin. It's ingredients are just as refreshing: Electrolytes recharge tired looking skin, and calcium and potassium strengthen the moisture barrier.
The Best Moisturizer for Sensitive, Acne-Prone Skin
"Bioderma Sebium global is a great moisturizer for acne prone skin," New York-based dermatologist Lily Talakoub (opens in new tab), MD, says. "This moisturizer contains AHA esters, salicylic acid, and citric acid to reduce blemishes while zinc gluconate, combined with enoxolone, soothes and reduces redness caused by inflammation."
The Best Plumping Moisturizer for Acne-Prone Skin
You know the refreshing feeling of that first splash of cool water on your face in the morning? Consider this gel formula that sensation, bottled. It imbues a boost of hydration that plumps the skin, while Japanese wild rose tightens pores and smooths skin to reduce the appearance of cystic bumps.
The Best Moisturizer for Red, Acne-Prone Skin
If rosacea makes your acne appear worse, this formula eradicates even the most stubborn traces of redness. Sugarcane-derived squalane even softens the skin so your complexion feels pillowy and moisturized.
The Best Exfoliating Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin
We love organic options. And this fast-absorbing, milky liquid, will provide you with exfoliating, redness-zapping moisture that works hard to clear your skin so that you can sit back and relax.
The Best Redness Reducing Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin
Reducing the amount of sebum your skin produces can help prevent pores from becoming clogged with bacteria. Active ingredient saw palmetto helps balance sebum to mattify your complexion, while tazman pepper berry reduces redness.
The Best Acne-Preventing Moisturizer
Willow bark extract stimulates the formation of new, unpocked skin, while niacinamide and hyaluronate moisturize sans oil.
The Best Moisturizer for Oily Skin
We love water-based moisturizers for their lightweight, non-oily feeling along with the powerful shot of hydration they provide. This bestselling formula incorporates unusual ingredients like brussels sprout, lima bean, and artichoke extract, resulting in an effective antidote to that horrible combination of flaky-oily skin that so many of us struggle with.
The Best Soothing Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin
This cool, jelly-like cream calms and hydrates thanks to cucumber, niacinamide, and redness reducing borage seed oil. Try it as a soothing base under more potent treatments, like a retinol cream or spot treatment.
The Best SPF-Packed Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin
You might already be familiar with Differin from their retinoid acne treatment. So, who better than them to deliver a moisturizer for acne-prone skin? New York-based dermatologist Melissa Levin, MD., raves, "The Differin Oil Absorbing Moisturizer SPF 30 is great for those with acne-prone skin because it has a lightweight formula that contains Micropearl technology, which absorbs surface oil for a matte finish, while also providing protection against harmful UV radiation including UVA/UVB rays."
The Best Drugstore Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin
There's a reason you can find this on the bathroom shelf of everyone you've ever met. Cetaphil is a no-frills, inexpensive moisturizer that protects skin's moisture barrier throughout the day. Because it lacks alcohol, fragrance, and other potentially irritating ingredients, it's recommended across the board by dermatologists for sensitive skin.