The 12 Best Salicylic Acid Moisturizers of 2022

Bust blackheads while staying hydrated.

best salicylic acid moisturizers including murah, paula's choice, lancome
(Image credit: Future)

The best spot treatments and salicylic acid serums can (this is the key word, you guys) be transformative for acne. But if you happen to fall into a special category of people who deal with both acne and sensitive skin, popular pimple products are likely going to be too drying. Enter the best salicylic acid moisturizers, a hydrating alternative that can successfully treat blackheads, dissolve oil, and create a clearer complexion all while keeping skin happy and hydrated. “Salicylic acid can come in many different forms—chemical peels, gels, face washes—but a moisturizing form can be helpful to those who can’t tolerate stronger formulations,” notes board-certified dermatologist Dr. Mara Weinstein

To help you decide which hydrator is right for you, we’ve searched far and wide for the best moisturizers with salicylic acid. Whether you want to reduce blackheads while simultaneously brightening your skin’s tone or are on a mission to get rid of bumpy, itchy KP on your body, there’s something for everyone on this list. 

The Benefits of Salicylic Acid

“Having salicylic acid in your moisturizer helps clear up blemishes, prevent breakouts, and rebalances your skin,” explains Dr. Weinstein. “Salicylic acid has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and keratolytic properties, which means it can help chemically exfoliate the skin so that your pores and hair follicles don’t get clogged. It’s great at dissolving oil and can be a game changer for oily skin.” 

It’s going to be most successful at treating comedonal acne (think: your blackheads and your whiteheads), but Dr. Weinstein adds that it can also help “calm the redness associated with each inflammatory pimple.” 

How to Incorporate a Salicylic Acid Moisturizer Into Your Skincare Routine

While a salicylic acid moisturizer is a great way to address mild to moderate acne, it’s only a fraction of the overall equation. Dr. Weinstein recommends rounding out your morning skincare routine with a gentle face wash and a non-comedogenic sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. In the evenings? “I recommend a gentle cleanser, followed by a hyaluronic acid lightweight moisturizer or a salicylic acid moisturizer. Then, I always also recommend a low strength retinol or retinoid—especially for acne-prone skin,” she adds. 

The Best Moisturizers With Salicylic Acid

Meet the Dermatologist

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Mara C. Weinstein Velez, M.D.

Mara C. Weinstein Velez, M.D., FAAD is a board-certified dermatologist who completed a prestigious Laser, Cosmetic and Dermatologic Surgery fellowship at SkinCare Physicians in Boston, with clinical faculty from the Harvard and Yale Departments of Dermatology. She is thrilled to be part of the Dermatology Department at the University of Rochester Medical Center and to serve as one of the only Fellowship-trained Cosmetic and Laser Surgeons in Western NY. She earned her bachelor's degree from Princeton University and completed her Dermatology residency training at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, OH. Dr. Weinstein has been invited to present at national professional meetings, published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals and co-authored chapters in dermatologic textbooks including Surgery of the Skin, Treatment of Traumatic and Burn Scars and Procedures in Cosmetic Dermatology. She has been working in clinical research for over 4 years as both a sub-investigator and principal investigator and has participated in over 15 clinical research trials for state-of-the-art laser devices, minimally invasive cosmetic treatments and new acne medications. Dr. Weinstein has received numerous awards and achievements, including the Excellence in Teaching Award, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, the Women's Dermatology Society (WDS) Mentorship Award, and was most recently selected to be a part of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) Future Leaders Network. She serves on the Board of Directors for the WDS and holds positions on Diversity, Networking, Fundraising and educational committees for national societies