The Best Moisturizers for Acne Prone Skin - 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

In our search for the best moisturizers for acne prone skin, we’ve strictly compared and reviewed 20 different products. Our top picks were chosen based on their hydrating properties without causing any breakouts and irritations. We’re considering these moisturizers great in upgrading your beauty routine.

At A Glance: Our Choices for The Best Moisturizers for Acne

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Oil-Free Mattifying Moisturizer offers a handful of interesting ingredients. In addition to controlling oil and breakouts, it also has vitamins to nourish the skin.​

Go with Cetaphil Dermacontrol Moisturizer if you are looking for the best fragrance-free moisturizer for acne-prone skin. It’s also paraben-free and contains less filter for less chances of irritating your skin.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture Sensitive Skin is your option if you are looking for something that’s lightweight and fragrance-free. It’s also the product for you if you want a moisturizer that can work well with your topical acne meds.

For the best moisturizer for acne prone skin that comes with SPF, Eltamd UV Clear SPF 46 is a definite must-try. Aside from sun protection, it is also formulated with lactic and hyaluronic acid to keep your skin smooth and clear.

If you are looking for a drugstore option, your best bet is Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Control Moisturizer. It contains just the right amount of salicylic acid to control your breakouts and keep your skin moisturized.

2017’s Reviews and Top Picks of The Best Moisturizers for Acne Prone Skin

Here's the definitive ranking of the best moisturizers for acne we've found.

#1/ La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Oil-Free Mattifying Moisturizer

La Roche-Posay

If it’s an oil-free moisturizer you are looking for, La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Oil-Free Mattifying Moisturizer is easily a must-try product for us. It doesn’t just keep excess oiliness at bay; it can also mattify the skin.

This dual action is exactly what you need for your skin type. Add to that is the ability of this moisturizer to tighten your pores.

Since the moisturizer is oil-free, it also makes a good makeup base. It won’t cause your foundation and the rest of your makeup to smudge, wear off or melt by midday.

The interesting part in this product is its Sebulyse technology. In addition to that, it also has Lipo Hydroxy Acid which works to micro-exfoliate the skin.

For oil control, the moisturizer has Zinc Pidolate. To nourish your skin, this one has vitamins C and E.

On top of all the benefits it can offer, the product still has downsides. For one, it may not be a good fit for people who have dry and sensitive skin.

Although it is a moisturizer, it may not be enough to leave your skin completely hydrated.

What We Like:

  • Offers a light matte finish
  • Contains vitamins
  • Works well as a makeup base

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Not for dry and sensitive skin
  • Not that moisturizing

#2/ Cetaphil Dermacontrol Moisturizer

Cetaphil

If you’ve been struggling to find a moisturizer that won’t make you feel and look much like a grease ball, then you should definitely check out Cetaphil Dermacontrol Moisturizer. For one, it has a matte finish and good oil control property.

Apart from that, the product has a 3-in-1 formula that promises to hydrate your skin and provide sun protection.

The moisturizer is also free from parabens and fragrance. It’s noncomedogenic, too.

Other than those with extra oily skin, the product is also a good choice for people receiving anti-acne treatments. It can reduce roughness as well as dryness to bring back the skin’s natural texture and tone.

The moisturizer isn’t thick. It feels more like a lotion with a thin consistency so you shouldn’t have any problem working it on your skin.

Despite the consistency, I find the product not fast absorbing. It can take a while before the moisturizer gets absorbed.

What We Like:

  • Offers good oil control
  • Has SPF
  • Good for people with ongoing acne treatment
  • Noncomedogenic
  • Fragrance-free

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Not fast absorbing
  • Can sting eyes

#3/ Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture Sensitive Skin

Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture Sensitive Skin

Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture Sensitive Skin might be marketed for sensitive skin but it’s the exact reason why it can also work great for those with acne prone skin. It’s lightweight, water-based and non-greasy.

Plus, it’s alcohol-free and noncomedogenic, too.

The product comes in a white plastic bottle that goes with a pump. This means less mess and more precision when dispensing.

The packaging is travel-friendly, too.

Another nice thing about this moisturizer is that it can work well when used in combination with your topical acne medications. It won’t interfere with their effects or worsen your skin’s condition.

It won’t break your budget. And since a little goes a long way, one bottle can last you quite awhile.

Upon application, the product gets absorbed quickly. There’s no stickiness or residues to annoy you.​

What We Like:

  • Packaging is travel-friendly
  • Affordable
  • No stickiness or residues
  • Can be used with topical acne medications
  • Can be applied under makeup

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Pump doesn’t come with a pump
  • Thin consistency can be an issue for some

#4/ Eltamd UV Clear SPF 46

EltaMD

Eltamd UV Clear SPF 46 is your best option when it comes to moisturizers with high SPF rating. Despite this, the product is still lightweight and great on acne prone skin.

It’s oil-free and can be worn with or without makeup. You won’t feel sticky or tacky with this one.

What sets the product apart from other moisturizers with SPF is that it’s also gentle- a perfect property for someone with acne prone skin. It also has hyaluronic acid and lactic acid to make your skin a lot clearer.

Hyaluronic acid is a great humectant that makes the skin plumper and more supple. Lactic acid, on the other hand, gently exfoliates the skin.

Unlike other sunscreen, this one from EltaMD doesn’t leave too much white cast.

What We Like:

  • Non-greasy
  • Doesn’t leave too much white cast
  • Has hyaluronic acid

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Expensive
  • Doesn’t do much with blemishes

#5/ Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Control Moisturizer

Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Control Moisturizer

For your drugstore option, Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Control Moisturizer is a must-try. It contains salicylic acid which means it can control acne while moisturizing your skin.

Despite its salicylic acid content, the product isn’t that heavy on the skin.

If you are currently using topical acne medications, be sure to consult with your dermatologist first. Adding a new medicated skin care product always have the potential to cause adverse reactions- unless your doctor gives it a go.

To use the product, you are supposed to apply a thin layer of it after cleansing your face. You can use it a couple of times each day but if you notice any peeling, you can reduce the frequency to once a day.

If you are heading outside, be sure to apply a good sunscreen to avoid sun damage and sunburn.

The moisturizer comes in a sturdy plastic bottle with a pump dispenser. This makes it great for traveling and it’s extremely user-friendly.​

What We Like:

  • Contains salicylic acid that’s safe for everyday use
  • Doesn’t leave the skin dry
  • Helps treat and prevent breakouts

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Requires sunscreen use
  • Can take awhile to work

#6/ Organic Facial Moisturizer by Christina Moss Naturals

Organic Facial Moisturizer by Christina Moss Naturals

Organic Facial Moisturizer by Christina Moss Naturals is the best natural moisturizer you can get for your acne prone skin. Apart from that it’s made from 100% organic ingredients, it’s also noncomedogenic and hypoallergenic.

It’s a light moisturizer that won’t trigger any breakouts. It’s able to control oil while leaving the skin adequately moisturized.

Take note that it also has anti-aging properties, too. In essence, using it consistently can help address your fine lines and wrinkles.

Though, if you search its ingredients list, you can’t technically find any anti-aging ingredients there. We feel that it’s the use of organic and non-chemical based ingredients which gives the moisturizer that property.

The product doesn’t leave any greasy feeling and gets absorbed into the skin right away. This is actually nice, especially if you’ll be putting on makeup or if you worry that it’ll transfer to your sheets at night.

What We Like:

  • Works well under makeup
  • No sticky residue
  • Contains organic ingredients
  • Doesn’t cause breakouts

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Doesn’t actually have anti-aging ingredients
  • Scent may not be for everyone

#7/ Lavo Daily Moisturizer Cream

LAVO

Lavo Daily Moisturizer Cream is a must-have product for people with acne prone skin for a lot of reasons. What this moisturizer does is create a barrier so bacteria can’t easily penetrate the skin.

Apart from that, the product also has a botanical based formula that is free from fragrance and parabens. It’s non-greasy and leaves a matte finish.

The texture of the moisturizer is slightly creamy. It absorbs quickly to provide instant hydration to your skin.

Other than the effects it has on acne, the nice thing about this moisturizer is that it also has anti-aging benefits. Your skin won’t only look clearer, but younger, too.

You can use the moisturizer both day and night. You can even wear it under makeup.

What We Like:

  • Leaves a matte finish
  • Non-greasy
  • Has no fragrance
  • Gets absorbed instantly

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Consistency can be an issue
  • Oil control isn’t that great

#8/ Simple Facial Moisturizer

Simple Kind to Skin Facial Moisturizer

For those with sensitive acne prone skin, Simple Facial Moisturizer is a highly recommended product. It contains allantoin, glycerin and bisabolol which are known to be great ingredients for calming and soothing the skin.

It also has the purest possible water with Simple’s triple purified water. Apart from those, the product also doesn’t have any artificial dyes or perfumes.

The consistency of this one is a bit thin or quite runny. It feels cool and gets easily absorbed into the skin.

It feels light and non-greasy which is why you’ll love it. The moisturizer also promises to provide up to 24 hours of moisture and to double your skin’s hydration in an instant.

Its packaging is simple but convenient. It has a flip open cap which prevents spilling accidents.

However, I don’t think it’s that travel-friendly- unless you really secure the cap.

One downside of the product is its limited benefits. Apart from its hydrating properties, it can’t protect your skin from oxidative damage or the effects of too much sun exposure.​

What We Like:

  • Affordable
  • Fragrance-free
  • Contains calming and soothing ingredients
  • Has skin-replenishing ingredients

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Lacks antioxidants and SPF
  • A bit hard to squeeze the product out

#9/ Eminence Clear Skin Probiotic Moisturizer

 Eminence

Eminence Clear Skin Probiotic Moisturizer is a great choice for problematic skin since it has probiotics that can purge impurities out. It’s lightweight but highly effective in moisturizing troubled skin.

The product has tea tree and cucumber extracts which are great in reducing inflammation and in soothing redness. As for clogged pores, its probiotics work like magic.

There are two ways you can reap the benefits of this moisturizer.

If you want a lighter application, you can add a few drops of water to emulsify it. If it's intense hydration you are looking for, you can apply it thickly on the skin.

One issue I find with this moisturizer is its scent. Apart from that fragrances can potentially cause irritation, they can also be bothersome for most people.

What We Like:

  • Lightweight
  • Hydrating
  • Contains probiotics
  • Can soothe irritated skin

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Scented
  • Expensive

#10/ Concept Skin Naturals Oil Control Moisturizer

Concept Skin

If it’s an oil-free moisturizer you are looking for, this one is a must-try. Apart from being oil-free, it also has salicylic acid and natural botanicals to help you get rid of your acne.

It can also help bring back your skin’s clarity and balance.

This moisturizer has a great list of ingredients. For one, it has cinnamon and peptides to soften your skin.

For acne, it also has tea tree oil and aloe. You can also find witch hazel in the product, too.

Because of these properties, you can technically consider the product as an acne-lotion. But, since it offers great hydrating benefits, it’s rightful that we include it in this list, too.

What We Like:

  • Contains great ingredients
  • Great oil control
  • Doesn’t dry the skin out

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Scent is overpowering
  • Not for those with sensitive skin

Reviews and Comparisons of The Best Moisturizers for Acne Prone Skin

Rankings

Best Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin

Best Fragrance-Free Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin

Best Oil-Free Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin

Best Moisturizer for Sensitive Acne Prone Skin

Best Drugstore Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin

Top-Rated Moisturizers for Acne Prone Skin 2017

La Roche-Posay
Cetaphil
Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture Sensitive Skin
EltaMD
Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Control Moisturizer

Brand

La Roche-Posay

Cetaphil

Neutrogena

EltaMD

Clean & Clear

Texture

Thin/ Light

Thin

Thin

Thin

Thin

Key/ Active Ingredient (s)

Sebulyse, Micro-exfoliating LHA

Avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene

-

Niacinamide, zinc oxide and hyaluronic acid

Salicylic acid

Content

1.35 fl. oz

4 fluid ounce

4 fluid ounce

1.7 fluid ounce

4 fluid ounce

Get Started

How Does Moisturizer Work?

If you think all moisturizers do the same thing- think again.

Frankly, there’s more to moisturizers than just- err- moisturizing. As proof, there are studies done to determine what type of moisturizer will work best on acne prone skin.​

Dehydration and dryness are two things that can trigger skin breakouts. These things trick the skin to think that there’s not enough moisture to protect itself and to provide the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.

As a result, the skin “compensates” by producing more sebum. For this exact reason, acne prone skin commonly experiences excessive oiliness, too.

By applying moisturizer, you’re practically breaking this chain by encouraging your skin to naturally produce oil as it should. It keeps your skin hydrated so it won’t have to think otherwise.

Moisturizers differ in actions.

There are moisturizers that can attract water and moisture into your skin. They are called humectants and they work best against flaking.

Products that fall under this category encourage the skin to naturally produce sebum, not just for moisture but to protect it as well. Apart from that property, humectants also decrease the amount of water loss.

Some moisturizers tend to sit on top of the skin. They aren’t completely absorbed but they work to prevent water and moisture from leaving the skin.

Because of this function, they are referred to as occlusives.

For extremely dry skin, your best bet are moisturizers that contain emollients. They often contain natural oils and fatty acids to fill in the cracks on your skin.

One moisturizer can do one of these things but there are also moisturizers that can do all of them.

For acne prone skin, however, the right moisturizer would be one that doesn’t clog pores. Stick with water-based moisturizers as they are easier absorbed by the skin.

Now, you might wonder: Is your moisturizer enough?

With your skin type, there’s a good chance that your breakouts aren’t your only skin concern. And for that reason, the answer is: No, your moisturizer won’t be enough.

Here’s why:

Serum vs Moisturizer

Moisturizers, as I’ve said, can do three things to ensure that your skin stays moisturized and hydrated. For specific skin concerns, however, you might want to consider adding a serum to your skincare routine.

Serums are generally thinner than moisturizers. One good reason for their consistency is penetration.

A thinner product is generally easier to absorb by the skin than thicker ones. This enables serums’ active ingredients to penetrate the skin better.

There are serums that can target signs of skin aging while there are other serums that can address hyperpigmentations. Make sure you know what you want to achieve with your serum so you’d know which active ingredients to go for.

Lotion vs Moisturizer

A lot of people actually think that moisturizers and lotions are the same. Well, they are- sort of.

These two skin care items differ in the way they care for the skin. Unlike moisturizers that prevent water and moisture loss, lotions work by reducing and preventing friction.

They often utilize oils to get the job done.

Sunscreen vs Moisturizer

​There are moisturizers that come with sun protection, but this doesn’t mean that all moisturizers can be considered as great sunscreens, especially those that come with really low SPF ratings.

If you know you’ll be exposed to excessive sunlight, it’s a good idea to invest in a separate sunscreen- preferably with an SPF 30 rating or higher.​

Apart from SPF, proper application is also essential if you want to get the most out of your sunscreen. Apply the product as necessary and be sure to wear protective clothing, too.

When To Apply Moisturizer?​

With so many skin care products these days, their sequence of application can be quite confusing, especially to beginners. If you’ve ever felt this way- you are not alone.​

For moisturizers, you have to keep in mind one thing: its action.

Moisturizers are intended to lock in moisture and water to your skin. This means that the best time to apply it is not 5 minutes or an hour after you wash your face.

You should apply your moisturizer while it is damp. Waiting for your skin to dry completely means you lose the chance to seal in the moisture.

Once your moisturizer has been completely absorbed by your skin, only then can you proceed with the other products, like toners, serums and eye creams.

As to how you should apply your moisturizer, you should keep it gentle. Use your ring fingers as they exert less pressure than the rest of your fingers.

Apply the moisturizer in gentle circular motions to stimulate blood flow to the skin. It will facilitate better absorption, too.

Conclusion​

All of the above products can apply to a broad spectrum of people suffering from acne, regardless of how sensitive, dry, uneven, or oily your skin type may be. Of course, products can work better for some than others.​

We also have a detailed buying guide about Best Face Lotion for Oily Skin and Best Moisturizer for Oily Skin in case you want to check out​

What have you discovered works best for you in your skincare journey?​

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