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THE BEST MOISTURIZERS FOR TREATING AND PREVENTING ALL TYPES OF ACNE
Breakouts always seem to occur at the most inconvenient times. It's almost as if they wait for an important event before making their debut. When a breakout occurs before an interview, date, or major life event, it's only natural to wish for a quick fix. But despite all of the life hacks and pro tips out there, there really isn't a hasty remedy. If your goal is to get your breakouts under control once and for all, your best bet is to adhere to a consistent skincare regimen and be patient. It's probably not the answer you're looking for, but trust us—being diligent with a daily routine can work wonders for your skin.
With all of the clutter that exists in the skincare world, it can be hard to figure out where to start or, better yet, what products are right for you. But that's why we're here—to filter out the noise and help you decipher what information is actually useful. With that in mind, let's get to the facts.
What Causes Acne
Acne is essentially an infection of the pore that develops when sebum and dead skin cells clog hair follicles. The condition can occur anywhere on the body, but today we'll be focusing on the face. Oily and combo skin types are particularly susceptible to acne and breakouts. However, anyone can suffer from acne or the occasional breakout.
If you wear a face mask on a daily basis, it's likely that you suffer from maskne. These breakouts are caused by oil, dirt, bacteria, and sweat getting trapped between your mask and your skin, which can lead to breakouts or a few pimples here and there. But it's also important to note that acne—and the severity of it—can depend on environmental, hormonal, and genetic factors too. That being said, if you're seriously worried about your acne, it's best to consult a dermatologist to address your concerns.
How To Prevent Acne
So, what's our secret weapon for keeping breakouts at bay? Along with a great face wash and toner, one of the most crucial products for preventing acne is moisturizer. It might seem counterintuitive to add moisture to broken-out skin, but not using a moisturizer could actually be the reason your breakouts occurred in the first place. When the skin isn't properly moisturized, it compensates by producing excess oil, which—you guessed it—causes acne.
What To Look For In a Moisturizer
The best moisturizers for acne-prone skin are oil-free and non-comedogenic. These formulas are far less likely to clog pores, which means they're also less likely to cause breakouts. Other important ingredients to look for are things like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide. These ingredients work to unclog pores, hydrate the skin, and fight acne-causing bacteria, and because of their gentle nature, they're less likely to irritate the skin while they do it.
How We Found The Best Moisturizers For Acne-Prone Skin
Acne is frustrating enough as it is, so sifting through an assortment of products that are just okay can be exhausting. But fret not—we've put our data-driven algorithm to the test to bring you a science-backed list of the Top 10 acne-approved moisturizers on the web. The picks ahead are all backed by real user reviews, best-seller lists, and social media buzz, which means you can shop them with total confidence. Keep scrolling to score a moisturizer that will kick your acne to the curb and keep your skin feeling good, too.
Top 10 Lists serve as unbiased shopping guides to the most trusted product recommendations on the internet. Products are scored and ranked using an algorithm backed by data consumers find most valuable when making a purchase. We are reader-supported and may earn a commission when you shop through our links.
First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Oil-Free Mattifying Gel
WHAT IT DOES: This lightweight, non-comedogenic formula contains a natural oil-fighting blend that aids in diminishing sebum, reducing the appearance of oil, and preventing blemishes.
USERS SAID: "I went through about five different moisturizers looking for something that was cruelty-free, unscented, oil-free, and felt good. This checked all the boxes. It feels very light and refreshing when applied and provides enough moisture for my combination skin."
PCA Skin Clearskin
WHAT IT DOES: Whether you're struggling with acne or milia, this moisturizer can help. It contains niacinamide, an ingredient that maintains moisture retention and controls sebum production. The result is clear, hydrated skin without excess oil.
WHY YOU NEED IT: Made with borage seed oil and cucumber, this moisturizer does a killer job soothing and diminishing the redness that comes with breakouts.
Tatcha The Water Cream
WHY YOU NEED IT: Thanks to a blend of botanicals, this moisturizer delivers optimal hydration without leaving the skin with a greasy residue.
FROM THE EXPERTS: In an independent consumer study, 85% of participants agreed that the clarity of their skin improved and their pores appeared smaller.
Cetaphil Pro Oil Absorbing Moisturizer With SPF 30
BEST FOR: Struggling with dryness or irritation due to acne prescriptions? Try layering them over this moisturizer to reduce their irritating effects.
LOVED FOR: This paraben and fragrance-free moisturizer delivers a matte finish without clogging pores, creating the perfect base for flawless makeup looks or shine-free bare skin.
Differin Oil Absorbing Moisturizer With Sunscreen
WHY YOU NEED IT: For acne-prone skin, this stuff is a godsend. It was developed by dermatologists specifically for people with oily skin, so the formula is non-greasy, non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free.
BEST FOR: It's important to wear sunscreen every day, as diligent sunscreen use prevents visible aging and reduces hyperpigmentation. But if you tend to forget to apply sunscreen regularly or simply want a more streamlined routine, go with this SPF-packed formula and turn two steps into one.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Oil-Free Mattifying Moisturizer
BEST FOR: Meet your all-in-one moisturizer and primer. This oil-free formula targets excess oil to mattify the skin and refine large pores, making it the perfect base for applying makeup.
USERS SAID: "This is the best moisturizer I've ever used. It is all I use now. I've tried every product under the sun, and this is the most amazing one by far. It smells like flowers, and it feels amazing. I have very acne-prone skin, and this doesn't break me out at all. It's great for oily spots and dry spots too. I would recommend this to anyone!"
SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator
WHAT IT DOES: Thanks to the hyaluronic acid in the formula, this moisturizer works to balance the moisture levels in your skin while keeping texture and fine lines at bay.
USERS SAID: "I got a sample of this and fell in love instantly. I have extremely sensitive, dry, acne-prone skin. Almost everything makes my skin react. This hydrated and plumped my skin, and it did not cause a reaction or breakout. I really love this product."
Eminence Organic Skin Care Clear Skin Probiotic Moisturizer
WHY YOU NEED IT: Occasionally, bacteria can cause our skin to freak out. This is especially true if you tend to touch your face regularly, chat on the phone often, or spend the majority of your day in a face mask. This moisturizer uses ingredients like salicylic acid to banish blemish-causing bacteria and shed dead skin cells.
HELPFUL TIP: For best results, emulsify this probiotic moisturizer by taking a small amount in your hand and combining it with a few drops of water.
EltaMD AM Therapy Facial Moisturizer
WHAT IT DOES: The willow bark in this formula encourages cell turnover, which—over time—promotes blemish-free skin and an even complexion and texture.
LOVED FOR: Redness and inflammation can exaggerate the appearance of acne. If you're looking for a daily solution, go with this pick. The allantoin in this formula soothes redness and inflammation in a cinch.
CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30
WHAT IT DOES: Protecting the skin's natural barrier is crucial when it comes to banishing breakouts—it's why moisturizers are highly recommended for oily skin types. This formula contains ceramides that are naturally found in the skin to restore and maintain the skin's natural barrier.
WHY YOU NEED IT: CeraVe has to be one of the most raved-about brands by dermatologists on TikTok. This particular formula contains hyaluronic acid and niacinamide to keep the skin calm and hydrated.