How do I Choose the Best Moisturizer for Acne-Prone Skin?

Jessica Ellis

Acne is the result of imbalanced skin that allows bacteria to propagate, creating red and inflamed infections on the skin's surface. Many people suffer from acne; while many first start seeing pimples during adolescence, even adults can struggle with the condition. Most acne remedies use strong antibacterial agents and acids that can dry the skin excessively. A proper moisturizer may be required to prevent over-drying and flaky, tired-looking skin.

Sun protection is among factors to consider when selecting a moisturizer for acne-prone skin.
Sun protection is among factors to consider when selecting a moisturizer for acne-prone skin.

One of the most important things to look for when searching for a moisturizer for acne-prone skin is the term non-comedogenic. This means that tests have been done to show that the ingredients in the moisturizer will not clog pores, leading to additional breakouts. Products with mineral oils or heavy fragrances can contribute to acne, making the situation worse.

Choose a moisturizer that doesn't clog pores.
Choose a moisturizer that doesn't clog pores.

Some acne treatment systems come with a moisturizer for acne-prone skin meant to work in concert with the rest of the treatment. These moisturizers may be sold as a separate product or may be combined in a package with other treatments, like a cleanser, toner, or acne-treating serum. Some treatment systems may work well together, but others can fail to provide enough moisture to prevent the skin from drying out. Don't be afraid to look for another moisturizer for acne-prone skin if the packaged version isn't working as desired.

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Another important thing to remember when purchasing moisturizer for acne-prone skin is sun protection. Sunburn and overexposure to sun can be particularly damaging to people with acne, as it can contribute to the formation of scars. Some dermatologists also believe that sunburn contributes to hyperpigmentation, a condition where a dark spot remains for weeks, months, or years after the initial pimple has healed. Wearing a moisturizer for acne-prone skin with full-spectrum sunscreen will help protect skin from acne complications, as well as providing protection from premature aging and skin cancer.

Many people with acne have sensitive skin that reacts poorly to certain products. If use of an moisturizer for acne-prone skin causes additional redness, flaking, irritation, or a rash, discontinue use immediately and check the ingredients for common allergens. Certain herbs and chemicals may cause an allergic reaction that worsens the skin, so be on the lookout for possible allergens when choosing a moisturizer for acne-prone skin.

Remember that price is not necessarily reflective of value when buying a moisturizer for acne-prone skin. More expensive product lines will likely have expensive moisturizers that fit in with the rest of their products, regardless of how well the moisturizer actually works. Acne-prone skin responds differently to different products and medications; for some people, a drugstore moisturizer may actually work better for an individual than a pricey, upscale brand.

A boy with acne.
A boy with acne.

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Discussion Comments


I recently started using a zinc oxide baby rash cream on my face. I use it several times a week. It dries out my acne and gets rid of inflammation. It's not technically a face moisturizer for acne prone skin but it works. It also protects against sunlight.


I completely agree with the article that expensive acne moisturizers are not necessarily good.

I recently spent a lot of money for a skin care line for acne skin. The products were hyped and the salesperson spoke very highly of the brand. I have been battling acne for a few years now and decided to give it a try.

Unfortunately, I could not use the products for more than a week because they irritated my skin. I had never seen my skin like this before. It was extremely dry, tight and red. The moisturizer also had a very medicine like smell to it. The product had far too many chemicals in it and my sensitive skin could not tolerate them. I was able to return the products thankfully but I don't think I will ever spend so much money for acne skin creams again.


I've been using a glycerin based moisturizer for several years now. My acne is not severe but if I use skin moisturizers with even a drop of oil, I break out all over my face. So I have to use something non-comedogenic. Some people say that glycerin is comedogenic but my experience with glycerin has been different. It doesn't clog my pores. It's actually very soothing and keeps my skin hydrated and soft without breaking me out.

I should however add that my moisturizer also has several natural extracts in it like green tea extract that keep my skin oil-free. So every glycerin moisturizer might not work as well as mine. It's a good idea to read reviews of a product first before trying it. My moisturizer had very good reviews so I knew when I was buying it that it works for people with acne-prone skin.

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