I’ve had acne for that past 15-plus years, so believe me, I have tried every moisturizer out there and can tell you what I think are the best moisturizers for acne-prone skin based on my own experience.
Before we dive into details, here are the best moisturizers for acne-prone skin (get the detailed reviews farther down in the article):
- Best all-around: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Extra Dry Skin
- Best for super dry skin: Clinique Moisture Surge
- Best for oil control: Murad Oil Control Mattifier
Can moisturizer cause acne?
Let’s be clear: Excess oil, clogged hair follicles, bacteria, and inflammation cause acne, according to the Mayo Clinic.
A moisturizer might worsen acne if it contains oil or an ingredient that you are allergic to.
BUT, on the flip side, NOT USING moisturizer can worsen acne because your skin will overcompensate with too much oil.
What to look for in a moisturizer for acne prone skin
- Oil-free – Because acne is caused by an overproduction of oil, you don’t want your moisturizer to contain oil.
- Noncomedogenic – Because acne is also caused by clogged follicles, you want your moisturizer to NOT block your pores (which is what “noncomedogenic” means).
- Fragrance free (ideally) – Because acne is also caused by irritation, you don’t want any ingredients that might irritate your skin. For many acne sufferers, their skin is sensitive to fragrances. So, ideally, a moisturizer for acne-prone skin won’t contain perfumes or fragrances.
What is the best face moisturizer for acne prone skin?
I cannot sing enough praises for the Neutrogena Hydro Boost moisturizer! I have been using this every single day sinec 2018, and it is by far my most favorite moisturizer. Check out my full review of the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Extra-Dry.
What I love about Neutrogena Hydro Boost for Extra-Dry Skin:
- Moisturizes my skin really well without making it oily
- Easy to apply makeup over
If you’ve got the budget to spend on premium skincare, then the Clinique Moisture Surge cannot be beat! I used this before I found out about Neutrogena Hydro Boost. The ONLY reason I stopped using Clinique Moisture Surge is that it’s too expensive for me.
What I love about Clinique Moisture Surge:
- THE BEST moisturizer for SUPER DRY skin. I used Clinique Moisture Surge during a time when I was mistreating my skin so badly. I had the worse acne of my life, and my response was to apply EVERY acne treatment possible—which made my skin so dry that I couldn’t even smile. Clinique Moisture Surge made my skin soft and supple again.
- Leaves behind a nice sheen, but it doesn’t make your face super oily
The Murad Oil Control Mattifier used to be a staple in my makeup routine! I used to apply it every day before applying my makeup to keep my face shine-free throughout the day. This is the only moisturizer on this list with SPF in it—sun protection is SO important to keeping your skin healthy! I only stopped using Murad Oil Control Mattifier because, as I began to take better care of my acne-prone skin, it stopped getting overly oily, so I no longer needed a mattifier.
What I love about Murad Oil Control Mattifier:
- SPF sun protection
- Though Murad Oil Control Mattifier DOES contain fragrance, it did not irritate my face nor make it break out with acne.
- The BEST moisturizer if your face gets super oily when you wear makeup
Which One Do You Think Is the Best Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin?
This list has been painstakingly curated over 15 years of trial and error and personal experience. I hope this helps you. The best moisturizer for acne prone skin is whatever works best for YOU. But I can say with confidence that these three moisturizers have been the most effective for my acneic skin thus far.
Be sure to check out my post on the best makeup products for oily, acne prone skin!