Best moisturizers for acne-prone skin

Blessed with oily or acne-prone skin, the quintessential question of finding the perfect moisturizer often leaves you bewildered. Your dream of glowing, radiant skin remains elusive as you grapple with the challenge of hunting down the best moisturizer that suits your acne-prone skin.

Although there is no magical potion that can alleviate your trouble forthrightly; it is certainly possible to manage the acne-prone skin with some oil-free moisturizers.

The appearance of greasy skin caused by excessive oil produced naturally by your face prevents you to try out the moisturizers as some of them contain the oil. The fear of more breakouts after applying the moisturizer haunts you.

However, dermatologists have opined that moisturizing is an essential routine activity for proper skincare, even if the skin is oily or acne-prone. Moisturizing your acne-prone skin prevents it from dehydrating and keeps the skin complexion healthy and balanced. On the other hand, skipping may lead to rough and red patches resulting in inflammation and breakouts.

Instead of saying complete no to the moisturizer, your redemption lies in finding the best moisturizer for your acne-prone skin as not every moisturizer will work for you.

In this article, we have rounded up the 10 of best moisturizers that hydrate acne-prone skin and leave it smooth and glowing. We have Buyer’s Guide, elaborative reviews of top 10 moisturizers for acne-prone skin, Tips for acne-prone skin, FAQs followed by a conclusion about best moisturizers.

Tips for keeping the acne in check

You can keep your acne in check by inculcating certain skin-friendly habits. By following the below-mentioned tips, you can not only keep your skin comfortable but also make it look radiant and glowing.

  • Apply ice to cure inflammation caused by irritated skin around acne. The ice not only soothes the acne but also provides a refreshing cooling sensation. A gentle soft massage with an ice cube will make the redness disappear within no time.
  • Avoid touching your acne with your hands even if you are feeling the inflammation around it. This way you may end up spreading the acne to other areas by transferring the microbes with your hand.
  • Use an oil-free moisturizer to protect your acne and hydrate your skin. It is the safest way of checking the acne and moisturizing the skin.
  • Use skin products that contain salicylic acid and hyaluronic acid for healing acne.
  • Get yourself diagnosed by a dermatologist to find out the root causes of acne and take preventive measures in time to prevent massive breakouts.

Things to avoid for acne-prone skin

If you have acne-prone skin, you must avoid the following activities to check its spread into massive breakouts.

  • Avoid exposing the acne to the sun rays as the UV rays would irritate the acne skin and causes disruptions in its healing. It is better to use sunscreen lotions or creams that have SPF for protecting your skin against direct exposure to sun rays.
  • Avoid exposing the skin to the chemicals which can increase the inflammation in the skin around the acne. Instead, use the products with oil-free ingredients that are skin-friendly.
  • Avoid pricking your acne no matter how tempting it may feel. By pricking you only help it to spread it more to the other areas and may end up leaving a scar on your face.

Buyer’s Guide

It is beyond an iota of doubt that your skin requires moisturizing. To hydrate and replenishes skin by using a moisturizer is more necessary if the skin is acne-prone. Using an effective moisturizer not only makes your skin glow but also soothes the acne.

You need to experiment with different kinds of moisturizers to find out the one ideally suitable for your acne-prone skin. Go through our buyer’s guide that will help you to pick the optimal moisturizer.

Skin Types

Identify your skin type before choosing a moisturizer. Your skin type must be compatible with the given moisturizer and it should not get adversely affected by it.

For dry skin types, a hydrating moisturizer is recommended. For oily and acne-prone skin, an oil-free moisturizer is recommended so that it soothes the acne and goes well with your skin.

Skin Ailments

Before buying a moisturizer, make yourself aware of any skin ailments your skin is facing. If your skin is acne-prone then using an oil-free moisturizer is recommended so that it can help your facial skin to cope with a greasy oily appearance.

If you are not sure of any skin ailments, get yourself diagnosed by a dermatologist and asked for advice before selecting a moisturizer. A small step incorrect direction goes a long way in choosing the best moisturizer for shiny and glowing skin.

Causes of Acne  

Before you set yourself on the mission to find out the best moisturizer for acne-prone skin, find out the root causes of your acne. This would help you to look for the moisturizer with substances that may eradicate the cause of acne. There are various causes of acne including open pores, oily skin, hormonal imbalance, menstruation, cosmetics, medicines, body heat, diet, and emotional stress.

If you have correctly identified the cause of your acne then look out for the moisturizer that can treat the underlying cause and subsequently becomes your ideal moisturizer for your acne-prone skin.

Moisturizer Ingredients 

Read out the label of the moisturizer carefully to check its ingredients. It would help you in selecting the best moisturizer that has the required ingredients for treating your acne-prone skin.

Some of the common ingredients for the treatment of the acne-prone skin include Green Tea, Hyaluronic Acid, Salicyclic acid, and Anti-aging formula. If you find any moisturizer with the above components, it easily becomes your pick as the best moisturizer for your acne-prone skin.

Sun Protection Factor (SPF)

Your acne-prone skin faces a stiff challenge from sun rays as exposure to the sun causes acne irritation and leads to more problems like rashes or flakes. Look out for the presence of any sun protection factor (SPF) in the moisturizer.

A moisturizer with the SPF 30 formula is very effective in preventing your skin from harmful sun rays and protects any damage to the acne. Moreover, it also acts as a substitute for sunscreen cream.

Top 10 Moisturizers For Acne-Prone Skin

1. Neutrogena-Oil-Free-Moisture

Neutrogena belongs to the Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies and enjoys an impressive presence in more than 70 countries.

It is a popular skincare brand that comes with an exciting range of skin and hair care products.

The oil-free moisturizer by Neutrogena is a clinically proven formulation that absorbs excess oils using a microsponge system and regulates the oil secretion in the T zone for giving the natural glow and mattifying finish to the skin.

This dermatological tested moisturizer hydrates and replenishes the dry areas while regulating the shine in acne-ridden areas.

Main Features
  • A clinically proven non-comedogenic formula that prevents breakouts and does not clog the skin pores
  • Microsponge system that controls oil by absorbing excess oil
  • Prepared from ingredients that are alcohol-free and fragrance-free
  • Hypoallergenic in nature as it has been tested for allergy
  • Recommended for dry and combination skin
  • Comes in a pack of a liquid bottle of 118 ml
PROS (What we liked)
  • The non-greasy and lightweight formulation for moisturizing the dry skin
  • Effective controls the shine in oily or acne-prone areas
  • Once applied, it quickly absorbs the excess oil on the T zone and leaves the skin hydrated
  • Can be applied all over the face and neck with or without makeup
  • Keeps the skin soft and smooth using its dual action
  • Safe product for healthy and glowing skin
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • Does not have sunscreen features so no protection from sun rays

2. Plum Green Tea Mattifying Moisturizer

Plum is India’s leading cosmetics and beauty brand that offers an array of products catering to skin, hair, body care, and makeup categories. It boasts of being Peta certified 100% vegan brand.

It does not produce skin fairness cream as it encourages diversity and healthy skin across various skin colors.

Plum Green Tea Mattifying Moisturizer is an effective moisturizer for combating acne and controlling skin hydration. Being silicon-free, this matte finish moisturizer is designed specifically for individuals who have oily skin and acne-prone skin. It provides multi-dimensional care for healthy and glowing skin.

Main Features
  • Non-comedogenic day moisturizer
  • Lightweight, 100% Silicon-free, and matte finish product
  • Glycolic acid and Green tea extracts are used in its formulation
  • Prepared from Paraben-free, phthalate-free and SLS-free ingredients
PROS (What we liked)
  • Glycolic acid assists in cleaning skin pores, prevents the building of acne-causing skin debris leads to renewed and refreshing skin appearance
  • Green tea extracts contain antioxidants that prevent the oxidation reactions that lead to acne formation thereby providing effective protection against acne formation
  • Non-greasy and matte finish for superior pleasing facial skin
  • Provides multidimensional care such as hydrating the skin, clearing the skin and protecting against acne (pimples)
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • Not suitable for dry and extremely sensitive skin

3. Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion

Cetaphil is an established skincare brand that provides a wide range of products including moisturizers, cleansers, baby care products, and skin solutions especially for individuals with sensitive skin conditions.

It is renowned as the leading skincare brand across the world that serves effective skincare for different types of skin and its associated conditions.

The moisturizing lotion by Cetaphil is recommended for daily moisturizing needs for your skin to keep it glowing. It is not only lightweight but also acts very fast for rendering smooth and soft skin appearance.

The moisturizing lotion is designed for hydrating and replenishing the skin of your skin, hands, or other body parts.

Main Features
  • Non-greasy and fragrance-free moisturizer
  • Lightweight and non-irritating formulation
  • Hypoallergenic ingredients make it a safe product to use
  • Can be used on face, hands and other body parts
  • Prepared from natural ingredients such as Macadamia nut oil, glycerin, and Vitamin E
PROS (What we liked)
  • Everyday usage of the moisturizer leads to enduring skin hydration
  • Can be used for all skin types including oily and acne-prone skin
  • Feels smooth on the skin as it is non-greasy
  • Gives soothing relief for dry and irritated skin as it repairs dry skin damage
  • Effectively prevents acne formation as it does not clog skin pores
  • Can be easily used by the individuals prone to allergy
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • Does not provide effective protection from sun rays

4. Mamaearth Oil-Free Moisturizer

Mamaearth is a leading personal care and cosmetics Indian brand that boasts of Asia’s 1st brand certified with Made Safe Certified products.

It deals in a wide range of safe and healthy products across various categories such as Baby, Hair, Skin, Pregnancy, and Men.

Moreover, Mamaearth is FDA approved and its every product is dermatologically tested to ensure its safety for sensitive human skin.

Mamaearth’s Oil-Free Face Moisturizer effectively reduces the acne breakouts by restoring the pH level of the skin.

Its superior formulation and natural ingredients provide long-lasting hydration and render the skin smooth and plump by retaining its natural moisture.

Main Features
  • Non-comedogenic face moisturizer
  • The non-greasy and safe moisturizing formula that does not use any toxins like Silicones, Parabens, and other Harmful Chemicals.
  • Comprise of Apple Cider Vinegar and Cetearyl Octanoate that maintains the skin pH levels
  • Ingredients include natural products like betaine and fatty acids from grapes
PROS (What we liked)
  • An effective non-comedogenic anti-acne formulation that combats against acne and pimples by cleaning the pores and removing the excessive oils from breakouts.
  • Superior skin nourishment without oily appearance with a non-greasy formula
  • Long-lasting skin hydration with its oil repellent formula
  • Betaine assists in maintaining the skin’s natural moisture and causes a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles
  • Fatty acids keep the moisturizer lightweight and skin-friendly
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • It is not recommended for all skin types and does not protect against the sun rays

5. Aroma Magic Juniper Berry Oil Free Moisturiser

Aroma Magic is the frontrunner in the aromatherapy brands in India. It employs the science of aromatherapy coupled with the traditional procedures for providing a range of aromatherapy products including hair care, skincare, curative oils, essential oils, and other wellness products.

It is recently being selected as the Economic times Iconic Brands of India 2020.

The juniper berry oil-free moisturizer is an aromatherapy product that moisturizes and glows your skin in a natural way. It is prepared from 100% non-toxic and natural products.

The multi-tasking extracts of juniper berry and cucumber provide a range of medicinal benefits in addition to moisturizing the skin.

Main Features
  • Prepared from the extracts of juniper berry and cucumber
  • Comprises a blend of essential oils of patchouli and lemon
  • Aloe-vera juice and jojoba oil nourishes and replenishes the skin
  • Comes in a pack of a liquid bottle of 100 ml
  • Moisturize formulation is enriched with SPF 15
PROS (What we liked)
  • Unique aromatherapy based formulation acts as anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant agents
  • Provides effective protection against harsh sun rays with its SPF 15 factor that guards against damaging free radicals
  • Regulates the level of the oil in the skin and hence prevents the appearance of breakouts
  • Soothes and heal the existing acne
  • Non-greasy formula lighten the blemishes, nourishes the skin and leaves it radiant and glowing
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • Watery consistency makes it awkward to apply on the face

6. UrbanBotanics® Oil Free-Moisturizer

Urban Botanics is one of the popular wellness care brands that offer skincare, haircare, and wellness care products.

The oil-free moisturizer by Urban Botanics is a lightweight and non-greasy moisturizer that comes packed with natural ingredients for nourishing and replenishing the skin. The neem and basil mattifying oil-free moisturizer is ideally suited for oily and acne-prone skin.

The natural extracts help in the unclogging of the pores and treat the breakouts effectively.

Main Features
  • An oil-free and non-comedogenic formula that won’t clog the skin pores and prevents breakouts
  • Non-greasy and lightweight lotion
  • Neem and basil mattifying moisturizer is an excellent product for sensitive skin
  • 100% Vegan and safe product that is free from harmful chemicals like paraben and phthalate
  • Comes in a pack of a liquid bottle of 100 ml
PROS (What we liked)
  • Quickly absorbs into the skin and eliminates dryness without rendering greasy skin appearance
  • Once applied, keeps the skin moisturized for 12 hours and making it smooth and plump
  • Natural extracts of Neem and basil soothes the acne-prone skin, unclog pores by removing excess oil, and keeps the skin hydrated
  • Cruelty-free and safe product for healthy and glowing skin
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • Little pricey as compared to similar products from other brands

7. RE’ EQUIL Oil-Free Mattifying Moisturiser

RE’ EQUIL is dedicated to providing cosmeceutical solutions by using bioactive ingredients for restoring the healthy balance of skin and hair.

Re’equil Oil-Free Mattifying Moisturiser is scientifically formulated to act as a potent acne treatment by preventing the skin pores from clogging and contain the spread of future breakouts.

The innovative formula regulates the skin sebum and retains the skin moisture which leads to reinforced skin barrier and refining of its pores. It is quickly absorbed into the skin, soothes the existing acne pores and hydrates the skin deeply.

Main Features
  • Non-greasy and non-comedogenic moisturizer that keeps the skin hydrated
  • Suitable for both men and women
  • Recommended for individuals with sensitive and acne-prone skin
  • Comprises natural ingredients like Cydonia Oblonga Leaf Extract and Biosaccharide Gum 1
  • Does not contain mineral oils, paraben, sulfates, silicones, and alcohol
  • Clinically tested to be safe for face and neck skin
PROS (What we liked)
  • Natural ingredient regulates pore enlargement without clogging them and assists in delivering mattifying finish to the skin
  • Non-greasy formulation removes the excessive oil produced in the skin
  • Moisturizer quickly absorbed into the skin and deeply hydrates the skin
  • Ultralight formulation reduces the size of the pores and leaves the skin soft and smooth
  • Prevents the chances of future breakouts
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • It does not work well for dry skin

8. WOW Skin Science Organic Moisturizer

Wow Skin Science provides its superior range of products through its online store, BuyWOW.

It supplies an impressive range of product portfolio including health supplements, grooming products, creams, lotions, essential oils, etc.

The organic moisturizer by Wow Skin Science is an oil-free apple cider vinegar moisturizer that provides healthy skin hydration. It assists in fighting skin damage and offers anti-aging skin benefits.

It acts as a soothing moisturizer for oily and sensitive skin. The natural ingredients provide essential nutrients and vitamins for smooth and radiating skin.

Main Features
  • Contains organic certified apple cider vinegar, beetroot extract, and hyaluronic acid
  • Does not contain mineral oils, paraben, silicones, and artificial color
  • Suitable for sensitive, oily and acne-prone skin
  • The formulation contains essential nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants
  • Comes in a pack of the tube containing 100 ml organic moisturizer
PROS (What we liked)
  • Organic natural ingredients maintain the skin pH balance and thereby effectively controls excess sebum production
  • Moisturizer is absorbed rapidly into the skin and deeply hydrates the sensitive skin prone to oiliness
  • Exhibits anti-aging effect and prevents skin damage from free radicals
  • Non-greasy formulation removes the excessive oil and enhances the skin texture lending it matt finish 
  • Effectively soothes the acne induced inflammation
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • It does not work for dry skin

9. Kaya Clinic Moisturizer

Kaya is a popular dermatological brand that offers customized and personalized skin solutions to lacs of Indians across the country.

It boasts of the expertise of over 140 Kaya dermatologists.

Kaya purifying nourisher is a mild facial moisturizer engineered specifically for acne-prone skin. Its impressive hydrating action renders smooth, glowing, and plump skin.

Main Features
  • Formulated specifically for oily, acne-prone or combination skin
  • Ideally suited for applying on oily skin twice a day; once in the morning and at night
  • Purifying nourisher contains sodium PCA, aloe vera, almond oil, and rose extract
  • A non-sticky and gentle formula that quickly absorbs in the skin
  • Non-comedogenic and fragrance-free moisturizer
  • Clinically tested and developed by dermatologists
  • Comes in a pack containing 50 ml purifying nourisher
PROS (What we liked)
  • Provides deep moisturization as it rapidly absorbs into the skin
  • Nourishes the sensitive skin leaving it glowing and supple
  • Natural ingredients deeply hydrate the sensitive and acne-prone skin
  • Reduces the inflammation and redness caused by acne and provides a soothing effect
  • Hypoallergenic nourisher is suitable for people prone to allergy
  • Antioxidants present in almond oil and rose extract protects the skin damage
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • It does not provide protection from sun rays

10. Bioderma Sebium Hydra Moisturizer

Bioderma is the pioneering player in the premium skincare product space. Its various formulations are designed for protecting the skin from environmental factors, preserving skin’s natural processes, and lending a brighter and glowing skin.

The sebium hydra moisturizer by Bioderma acts as an effective compensating skin treatment for comforting and moisturizing the weakened skin rendered dry due to various dermatological treatments.

It is prepared by premium quality ingredients using the scientific approaches and biological mechanisms formulated by expert dermatologists.

Main Features
  • Formulation based on the Fluid Activ Patent, a sebo corrective patenting complex
  • Dermatologically tested non-comedogenic formulation
  • Compensating treatment for dry and weakened skin
  • Non-greasy and oil-free moisturizer with the absence of any harsh chemicals
  • Recommended to apply after cleansing the skin with a sebium foaming gel
  • Ideally suited for teenagers and adults; can be used once or twice every day 
PROS (What we liked)
  • Acts as compensating and restructuring skin care by nourishing and hydrating the dry skin
  • Effectively and durably reduces the irritation, redness and skin inflammation by soothing the skin
  • Enhances the skin elasticity and limits the tightness by controlling the acne
  • The formulation does intense skin moisturization, prevents breakouts and clogging of skin pores, and reduces the acne scars
  • Ideally suited for individuals undergoing acne treatment
  • Can be applied even under the makeup
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • Little pricey as compared to similar products from other brands

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the best face moisturizer for acne-prone skin?

There isn’t any best face moisturizer that would work for all the acne-prone skin. You need to experiment with various moisturizers to find out the one that perfectly suits your acne-prone skin.

2. Can moisturizers cause acne?

The moisturizer itself does not cause acne. However, if you are using a moisturizer that contains oil, it may lead to congestion of pores and results in increased oil secretion that may exacerbate acne breakouts.

Thus, if you are experiencing acne breakouts, you must use oil-free moisturizers, serums, or gels that are water-based instead of oil-based.

3. What is the best moisturizer that won’t clog pores?

The lightweight moisturizers that are water-based rather than oil-based avoid the clogging of pores. These oil-free moisturizers are recommended for moisturizing the oily or acne-prone skin.

4. Does all acne-prone skin is oily and requires moisturizer?

The acne-prone skin is usually oily that causes the appearance of greasy skin. However, not every acne-prone skin is oily. Due to the effect of various hormonal, genetic, and environmental factors, the breakouts may appear in normal skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, or any other kind of skin.

For any such skin types which are acne-prone, it is recommended to use a moisturizer that prevents the appearance of oily skin and addresses the underlying concerns such as dryness.

5. What is the correct way of applying moisturizer?

You should follow a sequence of steps for correctly applying moisturizer.

Apply any topical acne medications you are using first

Apply the moisturizer over the top of acne medications

Apply the sunscreen cream for protecting harmful sun rays

If you want to use any makeup, you can wear it now


Even though you may have oily or acne-prone skin, it requires moisturizing. The various acne medications also let your skin dry.

For hydrating and replenishing your acne-prone skin, you must use moisturizer for fighting breakouts and preventing the spread of acne further.

Selecting a perfect moisturizer that goes in tandem with your acne-prone skin is by no means an easy task.

You need to consider lots of factors before you narrow down your search for the best one for your acne-prone skin such as causes of acne, skin types, skin ailments, moisturizer ingredients, SPF, etc.

As the market is flooded with a wide range of moisturizers, it is likely to make you confused. Therefore read out our buyer’s guide and make an informed choice for selecting the best moisturizer for keeping your acne-prone skin smooth and silky.

Aniket More

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