The 5 Best Moisturizers For Dry, Acne-Prone Skin

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Picking the right skin care products for dry, acne-prone skin can be tough. Most acne-fighting ingredients are intensely drying, and so many moisturizers are filled with comedogenic (pore-clogging, thus acne-causing) ingredients. But for this skin type, moisture and hydration are still essential; you just need to find the best moisturizers for dry, acne-prone skin.

When choosing a moisturizer for skin that's both dry and/or dehydrated and blemish-prone, it's all about balance. If the formula contains acne-fighting ingredients, like salicylic acid, for example, it should also contain hydrators, like hyaluronic acid. If it's packed with AHAs, be sure it's full of antioxidants, as well. Lean towards lightweight lotions instead of thick, greasy creams. Gel creams, on the other hand, which are water- (instead of oil-) based, are also usually a good choice. And avoid anything that contains alcohol, since it's drying.

Dry, acne-prone skin can also often be quite reactive, so be sure to keep any allergies or sensitivities you have in mind. With all that in mind, check out these five great face creams for acne and dry skin. From green beauty formulas and French pharmacy products to a cult-classic moisturizer from your high school years, there's something on this list to suit all skin types and preferences.

1. The Best Budget Moisturizer

That's right — the moisturizer you used to clear your acne way back in middle school is still kicking. Clean & Clear's Advantage Acne Control Moisturizer is lightweight and non-clogging, but provides adequate moisture for dry skin. It's formulated with salicylic acid, which treats pre-existing breakouts and prevents new ones from cropping up. While the formula isn't too harsh, it is a medicated acne treatment, so if you're only dealing with the occasional blemish from time to time, you might want to try something a little less acne-focused.

2. The Best Budget Gel Cream

Simple's Water Boost Hydrating Gel Cream is a great choice for dry, dehydrated, and/or acne-prone skin at an even better price. Since it's a gel formula, that means it has a water base (instead of oil, like most creams), so it's less likely to clog pores and cause breakouts. It's lightweight, non-comedogenic, and absorbs instantly, leaving no sticky residue behind. Staying true to the brand's name, the formula is nice and simple, which is typically what acne-prone skin needs: You'll find no parabens, phlalates, artificial colors, or fragrances. As for its moisturizing prowess? It delivers long-lasting hydration and leaves behind a smooth complexion and dewy finish.

3. The Best High-End Gel Cream

Another great gel cream is TULA Probiotic Skin Care Aqua Infusion Oil-Free Gel Cream, which has a much more sophisticated formula — and the price tag to match. But it's worth the investment. The refreshing formula contains a blend of natural ingredients, including fermented rice water, which can help reduce the appearance of enlarged, congested pores; prickly pear extract, a skin-soothing ingredient that can also help keep redness and inflammation at bay; and a plant-based complex that provides hydration for up to 72 hours. But that's not all: like all of Tula's products, the formula is enriched with probiotics, which work to balance your skin (just like how ingesting them helps balance your gut). Though super moisturizing, it's also oil-free, non-greasy, and lightweight, making it perfect for dry skin prone to blemishes and irritation.

4. The Best Moisturizer With SPF

One of the biggest misconceptions about acne-prone skin is that you shouldn't protect it with sunscreen, because the sun helps dry out pimples. That is categorically false, and drying out your pimples in the sun can actually make your skin produce more oil; not to mention it could cause long-term damage! That's why you need a moisturizer like this one from Mario Badescu. It provides your skin with an SPF of 30, which protects it from harmful UVA/UVB rays, but it's also oil-free — not always common with sunscreen — so you don't have to worry about it clogging your pores. Key ingredients include green tea, aloe vera, and St. John's wort to soothe skin and reduce inflammation, which often accompanies breakouts. It's worth noting that it does have added fragrance, however, so if your skin is super sensitive or typically reacts negatively from parfum, you might want to try something else.

5. A Cult-Favorite French Pharmacy Moisturizer

Though this moisturizer is marketed as for oily skin — the opposite of dry — it's one of the best choices for acne around; yet it's absolutely rich enough to provide adequate moisture and hydration to dry skin. The reason it's marketed as being for oily complexions is because of its mattifying effects, which even dry (and certainly acne-prone) skin types might desire. This dermatologist-developed formula is oil-free and non-comedogenic, and it blends into skin instantly, leaving not a trace of shine behind. And, with lipo-hydroxy acid — a mild exfoliator — it helps refine skin texture and tighten pores, making it a fantastic everyday face cream for acne-prone skin.

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