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7 best lightweight moisturizers for acne-prone skin in 2022

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 moisturising makes your skin oilier and flares up acne. Whereas, the truth is, not moisturising it can lead to a 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 moisturised, 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.

Guide on choosing the best moisturizer for every skin type.

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 a sunscreen meant 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)

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.


The La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 moisturiser is a mulit-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.

This weightless, oil-free moisturizer for acne-prone skin does an all-round excellent job at caring for compromised skin. Naturally soothing antioxidants – derived from pumpkin and blueberry – soothes redness, while ceramides fortify the skin’s outermost layers. Niacinamide regulates sebum production, improving tone and eliminating dryness. Together, these ingredients work in unison to give you healthier skin.



Caudalie’s Vinopure range contains an A-list range of anti-acne ingredient 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 skin, leaving skin matte and prepped for makeup.

An ultra-light formula that leaves skin feeling fresh and moisturised, this moisturiser has been loved by acne-prone sufferers over the years for its blend of active ingredients and niacin amide 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.

The Bioderma Sébium Hydra Moisturizer is an ultra-nourishing care treatment in a tube that intensely moisturises the skin without clogging the pores. It also limits skin tightness, soothes redness, and relieves skin inflammation. It makes your skin soft and supple instantly and feels absolutely comfortable on the skin. Its key ingredients include glycerin, ceramides, enoxolone, allantoin and their patented Fluidactiv complex that regulates sebum quality, keeps pores unclogged and prevents the formation of new blemishes.


Lightweight, cooling, and wears well under makeup – need we say more? This nutrient- and botanical-rich water-based moisturiser 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, Matcha also included a hint of 23-karat gold for a gorgeous glow.

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 moisturisers helpful for acne-prone skin?

Answer: Yes. In fact, using an oil-free moisturiser 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: Some of the most common ways to cure acne naturally include using a baking soda mask or tea tree oil as a spot treatment, using apple cider vinegar (mixed with water in equal parts) as an astringent, applying green tea, moisturising with aloe vera or exfoliating with a turmeric-based mask.

Question: Can moisturizers remove acne?

Answer: As some studies suggest, moisturisers 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 moisturiser does 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 moisturisers 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 in 2022

Divya Arora and Nafeesa Saini

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