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 Prone Skin

Clean & Clear Dual Action Moisturizer is oil-free, which is exactly what you should be looking for in a moisturizer for acne prone skin. With 0.5% salicylic acid, it also works as an acne medication.

Although it can moisturize your skin, it can still cause dryness especially if used excessively.

Jurlique Calendula Cream, on the other hand, is recommended for stressed skin. It can moisturize, balance and tone the skin with its witch hazel and spilanthes content.

​Infused with Soy Complex, Aveeno Clear Complexion Daily Moisturizer, promises to even out your skin tone while preventing skin breakouts. It's oil-free and hypoallergenic which make it great for acne prone skin.

​If you are hard-pressed to find a natural moisturizer, our best recommendation is Burt's Bees Natural Acne Solutions Daily Moisturizing Lotion.

​It has naturally derived salicylic acid to reduce your existing acne while preventing new breakouts.

For a matte finish, Cetaphil Dermacontrol Moisturizer is a good product to invest in. Apart from good oil control, the moisturizer also comes with SPF and a fragrance-free formulation

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





Editor’s Rating


Clean & Clear

4 oz

Bottle with pump



1.4 fl oz




4 oz

Bottle with pump


Burt's Bees

2 oz

Bottle with pump



4 fl oz

Bottle with pump

Best Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin

#1/ Clean & Clear Dual Action Moisturizer

Clean & Clear

Regardless of whether your skin is dry, sensitive or excessively oily, Clean & Clear Dual Action Moisturizer is a formidable opponent against acne breakouts. The moisturizer contains 0.5% salicylic acid to treat and heal acne.

Despite its potency, the moisturizer is lightweight and will leave your skin feeling hydrated and refreshed. Apart from that, your skin will love that this moisturizer is oil-free and isn’t greasy.

The product is milky white in color and has the consistency of a lotion. It has a very subtle scent that isn’t bothering at all- well, not unless you have extremely sensitive skin.

The nice thing about this product is that it comes with a pump. This means a more convenient and hygienic way of dispensing the moisturizer.

What We Like:

  • Has salicylic acid
  • Not drying to the skin
  • Oil-free
  • Affordable

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Scented
  • Has no SPF

Best Moisturizer for Sensitive Acne Prone Skin

#2/ Jurlique Jurlique Calendula Cream


Infused with healing components, like witch hazel and spilanthes, Jurlique Calendula Cream isn’t only great for acne prone skin. It also has avocado and aloe vera which makes it the right fit even for those with sensitive skin.

The cream promises to significantly reduce redness. It can deeply hydrate the skin and soothe it after being exposed to harsh environment.

If you have a highly reactive skin or if you frequently experience breakouts and redness after being exposed to harsh conditions, this product is something you shouldn’t miss in your beauty arsenal.

The product has a thick consistency but it’s easy to apply and absorbed by the skin. Because it’s thick, you’ll only need a small amount of product (which is great, considering its price)

Take not that its color is yellowish. It isn’t a sign of a bad product, in case you are wondering.

What We Like:

  • Has soothing ingredients
  • Hydrates the skin well
  • Has natural ingredients

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Expensive
  • Texture might not fit all people with oily skin

Best Drugstore Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin

#3/ Aveeno Clear Complexion Daily Moisturizer


What makes this moisturizer great for acne prone skin is that it’s oil-free and non-comedogenic. Apart from that, the moisturizer also has salicylic acid to treat acne.

To moisturize your skin, the product relies on its Moisture-rich Total Soy Complex. It promises to even out your skin tone and keep your skin clear.

The product is fast absorbing. It’s a great moisturizer to invest in if you are always in a hurry. It also works well under makeup.

One thing I don’t find that nice with this moisturizer is the scent it carries which tends to be a bit strong. It also doesn’t have SPF.

But, for acne and oil control, I’d say this one’s a great product.

What We Like:

  • Helps regulate oil production
  • Has soy complex
  • Dries quickly
  • Oil-free

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Scented
  • Has no SPF

Best Natural Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin

#4/ Burt's Bees Natural Acne Solutions Daily Moisturizing Lotion

Burt's Bees

When it comes to natural ingredients, it's hard to match a brand like Burt's Bees.

Burt's Bees Natural Acne Solutions Daily Moisturizing Lotion combats acne with naturally derived salicylic acne. While it's getting rid of acne, it also soothes the skin and calms redness, thanks to its lemongrass, witch hazel, goldenseal and hops.

One interesting thing about this moisturizer is that it doesn’t only treat acne. It also has the capability to protect your skin against blemishes.

It’s noncomedogenic and dermatologist tested for your peace of mind.

The moisturizer has a bit of a heavy consistency, much like a night cream. Despite this, the product is still light on the skin and gets absorbed fast.

It is, however, scented. If you have a very sensitive skin and sense of smell, this can be a major deal breaker.

The product comes with a convenient pump dispenser which I really like. It’s price isn’t that expensive, too.

What We Like:

  • Has naturally derived salicylic acid
  • Comes with a pump
  • Can prevent blemishes
  • Affordable

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Scented
  • Thick consistency

Best Matte Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin

#5/ Cetaphil Dermacontrol Moisturizer


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

Best Oil-Free Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin

#6/ Philosophy Clear Days Ahead Oil-Free Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment and Moisturizer


Clear days are definitely going to be in store for anyone using this powerful treatment from philosophy. The breathable formula combines antimicrobials, salicylic acid and oligopeptide-10 in order to begin treating and healing acne instantly upon application.

Besides being oil-free, this moisturizer also has a matte finish. It makes a good base, especially if you’ll be wearing makeup on top of it.

It comes with no scent and isn’t drying to the skin. Apart from acne, this one can also improve your skin’s overall complexion.

The moisturizer is a bit on the expensive end. However, for its benefits, it’’s still a must-try product, especially if you are dealing with acne and dull skin.

It comes in a tube with a flip open cap. The opening is a bit big than I’d like, which makes the product ooze out easily.

If it’s the first time you’ll be opening your tube, make sure to be extra careful. Since it’s expensive, you wouldn’t want to waste a lot of it.

What We Like:

  • Leaves a matte finish
  • Has no scent
  • Improves overall skin tone
  • Has salicylic acid and antimicrobials

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Expensive
  • Dispensing is a bit difficult to control

Best Moisturizer for Oily Acne Prone Skin

#7/ Lavo Daily Moisturizer Cream


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

Best Moisturizer With SPF for Acne Prone Skin

#8/ Eltamd UV Clear SPF 46


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

Best Moisturizer for Clogged Pores

#9/ Eminence Clear Skin Probiotic Moisturizer


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

Best Moisturizer for Oily Acne Prone Skin

#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


Best Overall

2nd choice

3rd choice

4th choice

5th choice

Top-Rated Moisturizers for Acne Prone Skin 2017

Clean & Clear
Burt's Bees


Clean & Clear



Burt's Bees














Key/ Active Ingredient (s)

Salicylic acid

Calendula, witch hazel, aloe and avocado

Moisture-rich Total Soy Complex and salicylic acid

Naturally derived salicylic acid

Avobenzone 3%, Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene

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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.


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 in case you want to check out​

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

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