Finding the best moisturizer for dry, acne prone skin is not easy. Keeping skin well-moisturized is important, but so is keeping it breakout-free. Usually popular moisturizers just don’t cut it for those of us who get blemishes—we require special attention to maintain the right balance between too much moisture and not enough. Unfortunately, most of the time it seems like we have to choose between super-dry skin and clogged pores.
With that in mind, we put these moisturizers to the test, and found them to be our prime choices for moisturizers that won’t cause breakouts. Give ’em a try.
Kate Somerville Oil Free Moisturizer
Photo: Kate Somerville
We don’t mind a bit of oil in our skin care (really!), but Kate Somerville Oil Free Moisturizer makes the case for the fact that you can achieve the perfect balance of moisture without the stuff. If you have oily skin that still needs a good dose of hydration, this formula can’t be beat—it goes on silky smooth and leaves absolutely no residue, so all you’ll be left with is soft, clear skin. (katesomerville.com, $65)
Skyn Iceland The Antidote Cooling Daily Lotion
Photo: Skyn Iceland
Perfect for warm weather months and beyond, Skyn Iceland The Antidote Cooling Daily Lotion is just the thing to cure all that ails you—so long as all that ails you is blemishes, redness, and stressed out skin. Packed with fatty acids, soothing aloe vera, and mint, this lightweight formula imparts a cool, refreshing feeling that heals and protects skin. (skyniceland.com, $45)
Olay Total Effects Anti-Aging Moisturizer with Sunscreen
Forget killing two birds with one stone: Olay Total Effects Anti-Aging Moisturizer with Sunscreen tackles seven distinct skin problems, from age spots and fine lines to obvious pores. It’s a rich formula for sure, but despite its super hydrating feel, it won’t promote congestion or cause breakouts. The added SPF 30 is just a bonus. (ulta.com, $22)
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Lotion
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Lotion, a weightless take on the brand’s cult classic facial lotion, helps the skin to retain moisture without over-hydrating or contributing to shine. Skin looks healthy and totally refreshed, and the vitamin E helps neutralize free radicals and improve your skin’s ability to retain moisture over time. (kiehls.com, $28)
Dermalogica Active Moist
The natural botanical astringents like lemon and cucumber in Dermalogica Active Moist work actively to fight and prevent breakouts without over-drying. Don’t be deceived by the extremely lightweight, almost liquidy feel—this formula provides serious moisture that sinks deep into the skin rather than sitting on top of it. (dermalogica.com, $62)
Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture SPF 35
At the very top of our budget picks list is this all-around winner: Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture SPF 35 has a totally non-greasy finish that mattifies without zapping the natural glow out of your skin for a fresh-faced look. In our experience, skin loves this moisturizer—it absorbs quickly, so you can go ahead and apply your makeup immediately after. (walmart.com, $9)
Mario Badescu Aloe Moisturizer SPF 15
Photo: Mario Badescu
Aloe is kind of a wonder ingredient for all skin types, so it’s no surprise that Mario Badescu Aloe Moisturizer SPF 15 has such a soothing, non-irritating effect on problem skin. It also contains squalane, the oil that most closely mimics your skin’s natural sebum—between that and the aloe, it’s basically a dream combo for combination and oily complexions. (mariobadescu.com, $24)
Originally published August 2015. Updated March 2017.