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7 best lightweight moisturizers for acne-prone skin today

With constant breakouts, excess oil, blemishes, and clogged pores, managing acne-prone skin takes a lot more than just keeping it clean and blotting away the greasiness throughout the day. It demands a proper skin care routine that’s inclusive of other steps like masking, exfoliating and using moisturizers specifically formulated for acne-prone skin.

While keeping your acne-prone skin hydrated might sound like adding fuel to the fire, finding the right balance and the right moisturizer is the solution. And as much of a challenge finding that one moisturizer might look, all it really takes is a better understanding of your skin, the products available in the market and their formulations and ingredients.

One of the most common misconceptions surrounding oily and acne-prone skin is that moisturizing makes your skin oilier and flares up acne. Whereas, the truth is, not moisturizing can lead to dehydrated skin which can overcompensate by producing more oil, leading to more breakouts. And this is exactly where the right moisturizer for acne-prone skin comes to the rescue.

In fact, there are studies that show the importance of moisturizers for acne-prone skin.

Apart from keeping your skin nourished and hydrated, it also helps in balancing the pH and oil production process of your skin. Additionally, it protects your skin from adversely affecting environmental stressors and calms any irritation, redness and inflammation caused by breakouts.

How to choose the best moisturizer for acne-prone skin?

Since choosing the right moisturizer is of utmost importance for your skin, here’s a quick lowdown on what you should avoid and what you should look for.

What to look for

1. Opt for a non-comedogenic, lightweight, and oil-free formula that is gel or water-based.

2. Look for humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin in the formulations as they draw water into the skin to keep it moisturized, unlike occlusives that form a protective barrier on the skin (which can be pore-clogging).

3. Some of the essential ingredients to look for includes tea tree, green tea extracts, apple cider vinegar, oats, niacinamide, antioxidants, chemical exfoliant like salicylic acid, and barrier-repairing ceramides.

What to avoid

1. Avoid thick-textured formulations that have a creamy base or heavy consistency as it can feel uncomfortable and greasy on the skin.

2. Emollients like coconut oil, lanolin and petrolatum should not be a part of the formula as they can be pore-clogging.

3. The moisturizer should be free from any harmful chemicals, toxins, fragrances, alcohol and dyes as they can irritate the skin further, worsening the condition of your acne.

How to use a moisturizer on acne-prone skin?

It is essential to use a moisturizer twice every day (during both morning and night skin care routines) after cleansing. After you’ve cleansed, toned, and applied the serums (or essences), take a sufficient amount of the moisturizer and massage it all over your face and neck in gentle circular motions.

Once fully absorbed, layer it up with sunscreen for acne-prone skin, and constantly reapply this throughout the day, especially if you’re out in the sun a lot.

Shop the best moisturizers for acne-prone skin:

(Hero and Featured Image Courtesy: Tatcha)

HKD 213.5

Curated for acne-prone skin this moisturizer aims at making your skin look refreshed and healthy with a natural radiance. Lending a matte look that’s free from any shine and oiliness, its formula comprises only 11 ingredients that together target all acne skin-related concerns. It aims at reducing excess sebum that prevents further breakouts. The formula is enriched with Comedoclastin which is a patented active derivate of Milk Thistle and soothing Avène Thermal Spring Water which delivers calmness to the skin.

Image: Courtesy Look Fantastic


HKD 145

The La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 moisturizer is a multi-purpose balm that aims to nourish and repair your skin. Formulated especially for irritated skin, it features madecassoside, copper, zinc, and manganese for optimal skin barrier recovery, as well as panthenol to soothe dry areas. The cream works wonders on helping with scar recovery too, and even doubles up as a spot treatment for acne by soothing and drying out breakouts without clogging them.

Image: La Roche-Posay

HKD 175

Dr. Jart+ Ctrl-A Teatreement Moisturizer for acne-prone skin is a non-greasy formula that provides effective and long-lasting hydration. It also retains the natural moisture of the skin, leaving it feeling soft and supple while also preventing acne and pimples, thanks to its unique blend of three different tea tree extracts. The antioxidants within also retain optimum hydration levels and pH balance, while BHAs and salicylic acid help reduce acne and inflammation.

Image: Courtesy Selfridges

HKD 346

Formulated with Bamboo charcoal and salicylic acid, this oil-free and non-acnegenic moisturizer keeps your skin hydrated all day long. While the BHA provides mild exfoliation that refines pores and keeps your skin feeling fresh, charcoal further purifies it. Free from harmful chemicals and mineral oils, it feels lightweight on the skin and does an all-around excellent job at caring for compromised skin.

Image: Courtesy Sephora



HKD 260

Caudalie’s Vinopure range contains an A-list range of anti-acne ingredients such as natural salicylic acid that’s sourced from a wintergreen leaf extract to exfoliate, unclog pores and refine texture. Polyphenols also help limit the oxidation of sebum responsible for blackheads. Despite the powerful ingredients, the gel formulation of its Moisturizing Mattifying Fluid is soothing and refreshing on the skin, leaving it matte and prepped for makeup.

Image: Courtesy Sephora

HKD 246.50

An ultra-light formula that leaves skin feeling fresh and moisturized, this moisturizer has been loved by acne-prone sufferers over the years for its blend of active ingredients and niacinamide to control sebum production and minimise pores over time. Its oil-absorbing microspheres create a light, mattifying finish over the skin, which not only prevents you from getting shiny throughout the day but also creates a good base for you to apply your makeup on. Botanical oat extract also helps nourish, calm and soothe angry and inflamed skin.

Image: Courtesy Look Fantastic

HKD 595

Lightweight, cooling, and wears well under makeup – need we say more? This nutrient- and botanical-rich water-based moisturizer is perfect for those who are acne-prone and are active throughout the day. The ultra-plush formula is infused with high-quality matcha, algae, and protein-rich rice to deeply hydrate and restore a healthy radiance to the skin. And because acne-prone skincare can be luxurious, Tatcha also included a hint of 23-karat gold for a gorgeous glow.

Image: Courtesy Tatcha

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: What is an acne-prone skin type?

Answer: If your skin is prone to frequent breakouts, then you have acne-prone skin. This basically means that your pores get clogged easily leading to acne, blackheads, and whiteheads.

Question: Are oil-free moisturizers helpful for acne-prone skin?

Answer: Yes. In fact, using an oil-free moisturizer is a must if you have acne-prone skin since it feels light and comfortable on the skin and does not clog pores.

Question: How to cure acne-prone skin naturally?

Answer: Natural cures for acne work differently for everyone. You can try using a baking soda mask or tea tree oil as a spot treatment, apple cider vinegar (mixed with water in equal parts) as an astringent, applying green tea, moisturizing with aloe vera or exfoliating with a turmeric-based mask. If your problem is severe, you should consulti a doctor before trying any of the above natural remedies.

Question: Can moisturizers remove acne?

Answer: As some studies suggest, moisturizers can help in reducing the signs and symptoms of acne and related skin conditions like redness and irritation. When formulated with skin repairing and acne-fighting ingredients, regular use of a moisturizer can help in improving the condition of your blemishes and acne over time.

Question: What are the ingredients to look for in moisturizers for acne-prone skin?

Answer: Some of the essential ingredients to look for in moisturizers for acne-prone skin are salicylic acid, aloe vera, ceramides, tea tree oil, green tea, apple cider vinegar and niacinamide.

7 best lightweight moisturizers for acne-prone skin today

Divya Arora and Nafeesa Saini

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