Best Daytime Moisturizers for Acne

We know it’s very hard to find acne-friendly moisturizers that don’t make breakouts worse or clog pores. So, we’re going to talk about the top 10 moisturizers for all acne-prone skin types (dry, combo, oily).

Apart from SPF, you don't have to apply a moisturizer in the day. But if you'd like to, we have some non-comedogenic suggestions that are thick, lightweight, or even gel-like. These aren’t going to treat acne, but more than likely, they aren’t going to cause acne. We made sure all of these picks soak into the skin wonderfully. Likewise, the skin will stay hydrated but won’t get congested or irritated throughout the day. 


As we go through this list keep in mind the following though: the concept of “pore-clogging” or “comedogenicity” is more relative than absolute. In reality, the comedogenicity scale was created by a test that observed whether an ingredient gave a rabbit’s ear pustules.So, in truth, the comedogenicity scale is not very applicable to the skin microbiome.

Best for combo skin:The Ordinary NMF Moisturizer + HA - $13.40

The first one we have is from The Ordinary. This is a great moisturizer. It has ingredients that your skin naturally produces like hyaluronic acid, and it’s also lightweight. This is a nice, fluffy texture, but it’s not the most moisturizing. If you have combo skin, you can use this, and it will support a normal skin barrier.


Best for layering cushion moisturizer:  PureAm Authentic Barrier Balm - $17

This is one of the first K beauty products that Cassandra ever tried. Yes, the texture is a little thicker, but it doesn’t cause a ton of irritation on acne-prone skin. This layers well with acne treatments that could be potentially drying. If you’re using adapalene gel or a benzoyl peroxide wash, following up with this would be wonderful. This is a favorite, and it actually has an 80% repurchase rate. 


Best Lightweight option:  Rovectin Clean Lotus Water Cream - $17 

We love this lightweight, K beauty option. This has a high amount of lotus water, which is very calming to the skin, and it’s a very hydrating and nourishing cream.  It works well for blemish-prone skin, especially if you have blackheads or get oily in the nose area.


Best for chronic acne:  Cran Peptide Cream Moisturizer - $28

Face Reality has a nice moisturizing formula with cranberry that does not cause breakouts. It was created by professionals and estheticians who have acne, and it contains cranberries, lilac, witch hazel, neem, and a bunch of other plant ingredients that provide skin-supporting antioxidants. It’s not a gel formula. It’s a white lotion that blends into the skin very nicely. Including the cranberries, the plant extracts help to soothe the skin while the witch hazel fights acne bacteria and helps minimize the look of pores.  


Best for Adult Acne:  Dr Sam Bunting flawless moisturizer - $30 

Dr. Sam Bunting is a skincare brand is geared towards those who want a luxury product for rosacea or acne but don’t want the luxury price. Cassandra loves Dr. Sam Bunting because she has products backed by science that truly work. This comes out very ribbony, and it’s got soothing, ceramide-building panthenol (vitamin B5).  When panthenol gets absorbed in the body, it becomes  vitamin B5, which plays a role in many important bodily functions. Panthenol helps the skin retain moisture, soothes inflammation, and can promote wound healing. 


The flawless moisturizer has a medium thickness, meaning It’s not the thickest, but it’s not a gel either. If you have redness in the skin or adult acne, this is one of the best. There’s also the brightly and nightly moisturizer which have acne-treating actives like azelaic acid, which is pregnancy-safe.


Best Dermatologist recommended: Elta Md Amino Acid Complex Moisturizer - $44 

Cassandra says the Elta MD Amino Acid Complex Moisturizer helps to repair damaged skin barriers, and it has an amino acid complex that’s nice on the skin. Amino acids are  building blocks of peptides and proteins. They can help improve barrier function and give the skin elasticity. This moisturizer is not a gel, and it’s a bit thicker, but it blends nicely into the skin as if it were a gel. Elta MD is made by professionals, and although it’s a little more expensive, it works well if you want something that doesn’t cause breakouts.


Best Oil Controlling Moisturizer: Paula's Choice Oil Controlling Moisturizer - $32

This is a fragrance-free, mattifying moisturizer that doesn’t feel thick on the skin. It feels normal. It doesn’t feel heavy, and it smoothes over the skin.  And as the day goes on, it soaks up that oil and stops it from building up on your skin. 


Best For Under Makeup Oil Control: Community 66 Mattifying Moisturizer- $25

At a lower price, this also gives you more of that oil control. It mattifies, and it’s a little more tacky so it works well under makeup. 

Best For Teens: Bubble Cloud Surf Gel Moisturizer-$16

Here's a cream that feels like a gel because of how lightweight and hydrating it is. This soaks in so well, and it’s artificial fragrance-free. 


Best K Beauty Gel For Redness:  Iunik Centella Calming Gel Cream 

Next, is a soothing cream. It's not an acne treatment product, but it does contain tea tree. Tea tree can work for acne because it has antimicrobial and antifungal properties. So, this moisturizer can nourish acne-prone skin. There’s also centella asiatica which is fantastic for redness in the skin. It can also help with hydration. 


When you dispense this cream, it’s a completely clear gel, and it’s one of the most lightweight options. It’s great for acne-prone skin, but it’s still hydrating. 


Best Snail Mucin Alternative: Vegreen Nature Mucin Skin Cream with Wild Yam- $20.99

If you’ve tried snail mucin, and it broke you out, this is a great option that provides hydration. Honestly, it’s a K beauty stable. This is a little thicker even though it’s “no snail” snail mucin. However, Cassandra has still layered this over 10 different products before. 


Best Tea Tree Moisturizer: Vegreen 74% Tea Tree Gel Cream Moisturizer - $18.99 

The Vegreen Tea Tree Gel Cream is more similar to the Iunik one, but the difference is that the one from IUNIK has 70% centella asiatica and 10% tea tree, and this one has 74% tea tree. 


Best Oil Control Sunscreen Moisturizer: Murad SPF 45 Mattifying Sunscreen 

People feel like sunscreens break them out, but this is one of the best sunscreens that Cassandra has ever used. This works for people with acne-prone skin, and it feels and works like a moisturizer. It soaks in so well, and it immediately mattifies. If you have acne, this functions as a sunscreen, acne, and oil control product.