The Best Non Comedogenic Moisturizer: Our Selection
In this post, we’ll be discussing NON COMEDOGENIC MOISTURIZERS. We’ll list some things to keep in mind if you’re choosing one, discuss our favorites (including our top pick for best non comedogenic moisturizer overall), and define what “non comedogenic” actually means. After that, we’ll talk about some things that can make your skin really dry, provide a couple of tips on how to keep your skin moisturized, and finish it off with some pointers on how you can fight acne. We’ll start at the beginning:
How to Choose the Right Non Comedogenic Moisturizer
Before we dive into our non comedogenic skin care reviews, let’s take a look at a few things you may want to keep in mind if you’re selecting a moisturizer:
Know Your Skin Type
This is probably the first thing you’ll want to consider.
Dry Skin. For extremely dry skin, you may want to look for something that has 24-hour protection. Many moisturizers tend to sit on the epidermis and not sink into the skin, or simply evaporate off the skin without providing any moisturizing properties at all. 24-hour moisturizers are designed to last a while, either by introducing moisture to the skin (like some oatmeal moisturizers do) or by retaining the skin’s natural moisture (like moisturizers with hyaluronic acid do). We review an oatmeal moisturizer below (Aveeno, which we like a lot) and a hyaluronic acid moisturizer (the CeraVe, which we also like a lot).
Oily and/or Combination Skin. Many people with oily / combination skin assume that a moisturizer is a bad idea. Believe it or not, the opposite is true: if you suffer from acne, a moisturizer should be an important part of your grooming routine. According to dermatologist Dr. Eric Schweiger in a post on Bustle, when someone with acne doesn’t use moisturizer, his or her skin will dry out, and will actually produce more oil because of it—leading to further breakouts.
In fact, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne sufferers should use a moisturizer even if they are using acne treatment like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or adapalene. Because treatment can dry out the skin, moisturizing helps your skin recover from acne, and oily skin can benefit from a lighter moisturizer that keeps your oil balance in check.
Itchy Skin. For acne sufferers who have itchy skin, a thicker moisturizer might work, but if you’re experiencing significant itching (or an actual skin condition like eczema), you may want to visit a dermatologist to see what your options are.
Read the Labels
This next section gets a little scientific, so if you want to skip down to the part where we tell you the ingredients you should look for, we won’t tell anyone!
A study from the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology notes that moisturizers can be helpful in the treatment of acne, and it looked at fifty-two facial moisturizers with non comedogenic labels. The study explored each moisturizer’s ingredient list to investigate the active ingredients and their suitability for people with oily skin or acne.
According to the Journal, moisturizers generally contain three properties: occlusive, humectant, and emollient effects. Occlusive ingredients block water loss from the skin, humectants attract water from dermis (deep below the surface of the skin) to the epidermis (right below the layer of the skin) in order to keep the skin hydrated, and emollients smooth skin by adding oil to the surface of the skin.
Here are some of the occlusive, humectant, and emollient substances that you may find in moisturizers for people who are acne-prone:
Occlusives: lanolin, petrolatum, paraffin, mineral oil, squalene, and some silicone derivatives, like dimethicone and cyclomethicone
Humectants: glycerin, ammonium lactate, sodium lactate, hyaluronic acid, urea, sorbitol, and alpha hydroxyl acids
Emollients: caster oil, propylene glycol, octyl stearate, isopropyl isostearate, and dimethicone
According to the linked article, many of the ingredients above have either oil-reducing properties or anti-inflammatory properties, and that’s a positive, because many of the treatments for acne—namely, benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid—can irritate or dry out the skin. The only ingredients in moisturizers that may cause acne were petrolatum, mineral oil, and lanolin, so you may want to keep an eye out for them. All the others, according to the study, were OK.
It may feel a little odd that those are the ingredients you should be looking for—after all, it would seem that a non comedogenic moisturizer would have a long list more natural-sounding ingredients—but that’s what the science says! And, we’ve had good experiences with Aveeno Active Natural moisturizer, and if you look at the ingredient list on that product, you’ll see dimethicone, glycerin, cetyl alcohol, benzyl alcohol, and so on.
Choose SPF Whenever Possible
Whether you have an underlying condition that sun exposure can aggravate or are only outside for a few minutes each day, sun protection is a really, really good idea. Using sufficient SPF can provide protection against significant health concerns (it’s widely known to protect users from skin cancer), but it can also provide plenty of cosmetic advantages, and can even reduce the effects of aging.
In a study recorded in The Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers assigned two groups of people to either use sunscreen at their discretion or to use sunscreen daily. The group who used sunscreen daily for most of a 4.5-year period had fewer signs of aging in their skin at the end of the study. It’s been long-understood that sunscreen protects us from skin cancer, but knowing it can protect skin from aging… well, that’s a wonderful thing.
As for the exact level of SPF that is effective, more research will help clarify ideal of SPF for both sun protection and anti-aging effects, but for now, now, a common recommendation is an SPF of 15 or higher for regular daily use.
OK! Now onto those reviews.
The Best Non Comedogenic Moisturizers: Mass-Marketing Picks
Our picks for “best mass-market moisturizer” are ones you’ve probably heard of. They’re very popular, they’re made by companies that spend a lot of money on research and development, and they’re specifically made to be non comedogenic. They are:
Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion for Dry Skin
We’re big fans of Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion for Dry Skin.
Have you ever fallen in love with a boutique cosmetic, only to have your heart broken when that product gets discontinued and the company that makes it goes under? We can’t predict the future, but it’s a strong bet that you won’t have that problem with Aveeno. Aveeno, the company, was founded in 1945, and Johnson and Johnson—the company that owns Aveeno—was founded in 1886. So chances are you can safely fall in love with Aveeno, because it seems to have some serious staying power.
And what’s not to love? The product offers long-lasting 24-hour moisturization and it’s designed to be non comedogenic. It’s fragrance-free (which is wonderful; a lot of the chemicals used for fragrances can be really tough on your skin), dermatologist-recommended, and, most importantly, it’s been clinically proven to alleviate dry skin. Its active ingredients is colloidal oatmeal, which can even out the skin’s pH and help it retain moisture. Ever take an oatmeal bath? This is kind of like that, but for your face.
CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion: For Normal to Dry Skin
One of the difficulties of writing reviews of beauty products is that there’s a lot of chemistry involved. Every cosmetic and skin care product has a long list of chemicals, both good and bad, and… we’re not chemists! We’re makeup enthusiasts. We don’t have degrees in chemistry—or anything other science, for that matter.
So when we say that CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion—a product we like a lot—protects the skin by featuring ceramides 1, 3 and 6-II… well, honestly, we don’t know what that means. CeraVe lists those among the ingredients that help maintain the skin’s barrier, but honestly, we don’t know the difference between the ceramides. We don’t really know what ceramides are.
But here’s what we do know: CeraVe was developed with the help of dermatologists, and it’s fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, and free of oil. That’s just about everything we look for in a gentle moisturizer, and just like Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion, it’s designed to last a while—24 hours, in fact. And, lastly, it’s been selected as the #1 Dermatologist Recommended brand of moisturizers and the National Eczema Association has OK’ed it for people who suffer from eczema or very sensitive skin. All good things!
This is another very popular non comedogenic moisturizer, and we think it’s another great option.
Garnier SkinActive Moisture Rescue Face Moisturizer: For Normal/Combination Skin
Garnier is another company you’ve probably heard of, and we think their Garnier SkinActive Moisture Rescue Face Moisturizer can be a good pick for those of you looking for a non comedogenic moisturizer with a few nice perks. Like the rest of the entries on our list, it’s designed to be non comedogenic, and dis-includes from its ingredients list many of the compounds believed to cause acne. It provides long-lasting moisturization—24 hours, which is kind of the industry standard—and it’s oil-free. But it’s also got Vitamin E (which is a believed to block free radicals from the skin, and may slow age-related wrinkles) and Garnier’s Fruit Water Antioxidant Complex, which is designed to prevent moisture loss. If you’re one of those people who likes to pack as much punch into a single product as you can, Garnier SkinActive may be a good selection.
But the real reason we included it in our list is because it’s great for carrying around. It’s very petite—at 2.4 inches (that’s 6cm, for our friends outside the States), you can hold it between your thumb and index finger, and you can toss it in your purse/backpack/day bag/whatever and use it when you’re out and about. If you’re a professional and work late hours, are a college student who will be studying at the library, or simply plan on being out late, that’s a nice option—you can reach into your bag and re-moisturize whenever you want. That’s a really fantastic design decision by the folks at Garnier. Good job, guys!
Best Moisturizers for People with Acne
If you currently have acne, you may want to use a non comedogenic moisturizer that’s specifically designed for people who suffer from the condition. These moisturizers usually include a few ingredients that regular non comedogenic moisturizers don’t feature, and that may (or may not—it’s not really possible to predict how anyone’s skin will react to any given product) work better for you.
Again—there is no known cure for acne, and none of the products we review are “a sure thing,” but the following non comedogenic moisturizers were made particularly for people who suffer from acne:
Acne.org Moisturizer with Licochalcone
If you’ve never been to Acne.org, you may want to check it out—they’ve got a ton of helpful articles about grooming, diet, and exercise, and perhaps the best part of the site is their very active forum: every day, people from all over the world log in to discuss treatments and products, and offer support for each other. It’s a really great community, and it’s VERY active.
Acne.org also sell a couple of products, and we’ve heard very good things about Acne.org Moisturizer with Licochalcone. It’s designed specifically to soothe skin that’s prone to acne, and it’s dye-free and fragrance-free. It’s active ingredient is a licochalcone, an extract from Chinese licorice root, which is believed to very gentle on skin. This is one of the only products we’ve reviewed that says it can eliminate flaky skin, so if that’s something you suffer from, this may be a good option.
One important note: the Acne.org Moisturizer is sold as “Step 3” in their Acne.org Regimen Kit, which also includes a cleanser and a benzoyl peroxide treatment. If you’re interested in this moisturizer, you may want to check out those other products, as well.
Proactiv+ Green Tea Moisturizer
If you suffer from acne, chances are very, very strong you’ve heard of Proactiv+. They were among the first of the “new wave” of acne treatments, and they’re incredibly popular: they’ve been around since 1995, and they do a lot of advertising. The company pledges that they have over 20 million customers, which is… well, that’s a lot of people.
Proactiv+ Green Tea Moisturizer is not one of those “all-natural” products—there are a lot of chemicals and manufactured compounds in it—but it is specifically designed to be non comedogenic, and does not include in its ingredient list some of the agents known to create acne. The one natural ingredient that it does have is green tea, which is believed to have antioxidant properties that reduce inflammation and tannins that reduce sebum production. There’s a growing body of research designated to green tea, and it seems that scientists are interested not only in its effect on skin, but on heart disease and other health issues as well (and it seems like results are mixed—it’s not the cure-all scientists were hoping it would be, but it does seem to have some genuine benefits).
Just like the Acne.com Moisturizer, the Proactiv+ Green Tea Moisturizer is part of the Proactiv+ 3-Step, so you may want to check the other components out if you’re interested in the moisturizer.
Our Favorite Anti-Aging Non Comedogenic Moisturizer
We’ve only got one entry for our top anti-aging moisturizer for people who want to avoid acne, and it is…
TwinLuxe Anti-Aging SPF 40 Moisturizer
We consider it a shame that more folks don’t know about TwinLuxe Anti-Aging SPF 40 Moisturizer. First of all, it’s got everything we’d want to see in a non comedogenic moisturizer: it’s designed to feel light and non-greasy, it’s hypo-allergenic, and it’s fragrance-free. It’s a mild moisturizer created for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
But in addition to all that, it’s got some really nice features: it’s infused with plant and fruit extracts (for their antioxidant properties), it’s got a high-grade SPF to protect the skin from sun damage (believe it or not, it’s SPF 40, which is better than a lot of sunblocks), and it provide a very decent amount of moisturizing. It’s effectively a 3-in-1 formula designed to moisturize, fight wrinkles and aging, and protect from damage from the sun. That’s a nice trio of features.
TwinLuxe has a range of skin care products, from booster serums to toner sprays to detox masks—and all of them are packaged quickly attractively, we might add. We love when companies make that extra effort and create appealing-looking products.
Best Non Comedogenic, Organic, All-Natural, Cruelty-Free, and Whole Bunch of Other Great Things
This gets our vote for best non comedogenic moisturizer overall:
Christina Moss Organic Facial Moisturizer
The Christina Moss Organic Facial Moisturizer is, in our minds, a pretty special product, and we’re big, big fans.
You might imagine that a non comedogenic moisturizer would have a lot of natural ingredients, because a lot of those weird-sounding chemicals can be damaging to you skin. That’s not always the case, though: manufacturers of non comedogenic products only omit ingredients that are known to cause acne. If there’s a synthetic ingredient that’s not natural but is not known to cause acne, they’ll include it. After all, it’s really hard to make a moisturizer—or any skin care product, really—without the help of some synthetic chemicals.
And that’s why we think the Christina Moss Organic Facial Moisturizer is such a find. It’s non comedogenic. It’s hypoallergenic. It contains no sulfates, no parabens, and no preservatives. It’s got no dyes and no preservatives, and it’s 100% free of petrochemicals. It’s cruelty-free, vegan, and GMO-free. It’s made in small batches, and it’s good for all skin types, from sensitive to dry to oily to combination. Even the jars are made from recycled plastic. In other words, it’s a whole lot of things we think are very important, all in a single product.
What it DOES include is a lot of very natural ingredients and essential oils: aloe vera, apricot kernel oil, grape seed oil, and among others, star anise seed oil. The anise seed oil gives it a very mild licorice fragrance, which evaporates quickly after use. It’s designed to apply smoothly, absorb into the skin, and maintain moisture—and not clog pores while doing so. That’s a tall order, but in our experience, it delivers.
The whole idea of a non comedogenic product is to exclude harmful ingredients that can harm the skin, and Christina Moss delivers big on that idea, all while providing a very satisfying moisturizer that feels good and works well. We think this is a really fantastic product, and it gets our stamp of approval.
OK! There they are: our favorite products, and the one we consider to be the best non comedogenic moisturizer. Now that we’ve looked at a few of the products we like, let’s take a closer look at moisturizers, skin care, and non comedogenic products in general.
Do These Products Even Work?
Very often, non comedogenic products are an acne-sufferer’s first “go to” when it comes to makeup and skin care. But what does the term “non comedogenic” actually mean? And, more importantly, do non comedogenic products actually work?
Non comedogenic moisturizers are made from formulas that aim to keep pores clear. In other words, they dis-include from their ingredient list some of the substances that are known to cause acne, and usually include ingredients that are known to combat acne (like salicylic acid, which has been known to unclog pores). And the results? Well, they do minimize acne for some people… and for others, they don’t. There are no guarantees, and everyone’s skin reacts to cosmetic products differently to difference cosmetics and skin care products.
What Factors Dry Skin Out?
There’s more to dry skin than genetics and bad luck. Everything from the products you use to your bathing habits can cause you to lose natural oils that protect your skin from the environment. Here are five things you may not know are drying out your skin—and what you can do about them.
Harsh Acne Medication
Although salicylic acid is the most common acne-fighting ingredient in moisturizers and other products, too much of it can be harmful to your skin. The study we mentioned above that looked at moisturizer ingredients noted that in concentrations higher than 2 percent, salicylic acid could cause peeling and irritation of the skin, so be sure to keep an eye out for products that contain too much salicylic acid. Many of the products you’ll come across are fine, but there are some “aggressive” products out there, so it’s something to consider.
Perfumed Soaps and Detergents
According to the Mayo Clinic, many of the soaps, detergents, and shampoos that aim to cleanse your skin and hair are actually stripping oil from your face and body, and making your skin dryer than it should be. And, in particular, heavily perfumed products (which usually include man-made chemicals to increase fragrance) are among the more damaging culprits you’ll find. Pay attention the scents if the cosmetic products you use—unless they’re scented through natural ingredients (like essential oils), they may be drying your skin out.
Although you can’t control the weather, it’s not just low humidity during winter that dries out your skin. Indoor sources of heat can suck the humidity out of the air and create drier conditions than your skin is used to. Central heat, fireplaces, and wood-burning stoves all warm the air, but they also suck moisture from it, and that’s something to look out for if you find yourself indoors during cooler months.
But it’s not only normal indoor spaces that can result in dry skin. Spending a lot of time in unnatural environmental conditions like saunas or gyms can affect your skin, as can swimming in chlorinated pools. Even the chemical makeup of your local tap water can affect the moisture in your skin, and lead to itchiness and dryness. Be mindful of whatever indoor environment you find yourself in, and “self-check” to see if it’s effecting you adversely.
There are many skin conditions that can result in itchy, dry skin, but eczema is one of the most common. According to the National Eczema Association, more than 30 million Americans have some form of eczema, and if you stop to think about it, that’s an incredible statistic: that means almost one in 10 U.S. citizens suffers from the condition. If you don’t suffer from eczema, chances are you know someone who does.
Eczema is the body’s response to irritants or allergens, meaning you might be making your skin worse by putting more products on it, and ignoring severe skin irritation may often make things worse, and lead to dryness and peeling and pain. Unfortunately, giving advice about eczema is beyond the scope of this website, and you should probably talk to your doctor or dermatologist about treatment.
Hot Baths and Long Showers
Taking long hot showers or baths is, sadly, one of the worst things you can do when you’re trying to combat dry skin. While it may feel refreshing, too many hot baths and showers are a contributing factor to skin dryness, and while water may be good for our insides, it’s not so great for our outsides—at least not in high doses.
When you bathe, water washes the natural oils off your skin, and when you bathe with hot water, the hot water washes oils off even more effectively—it breaks the chemical bonds of the oils, and makes removal even easier. And once the oil comes off your skin, the skin’s natural protection is lost, meaning more water from inside your skin can escape—drying skin even further. So, if possible, take showers with warm water instead of hot water, and try to limit the time you’re in the shower. Shorter is better, and Harvard Health Publishing suggests limiting baths or showers to 5 to 10 minutes daily to best preserve your skin’s natural oils.
Three Skin Care Tips to Keep Your Skin Moisturized
So now you know a few things to avoid, but what proactive steps can you take to keep your skin moisturized? Here are five skin care tips that will help you keep moisturized and supple.
Drink More Water
Although this tip is probably as old as time, recent research shows that beyond being good for our internal health, water is incredibly beneficial for our skin health, as well. In fact, a study by Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology concluded that the right balance of water “might dramatically improve the patient’s quality of life.” Not bad!
In the study, researchers measured both surface hydration and deep hydration of the skin, splitting the participants into two groups. Group 1 drank less than 3200mL a day of water and group 2 drank more than 3200mL. Then, researchers supplemented both groups with about 2000mL per day.
With these changes to their intake, the researchers then measured each participant’s skin on various parts of the body, including the face. The study’s experts found that higher dietary water intake resulted in healthier skin physiology, and surmised that increased water intake could be even be helpful for people with weight problems or the elderly—both groups that suffer from dry skin and itchiness.
It seems like something we all know—water is good for you—but that’s a pretty incredible finding, and simply drinking water can improve your skin health.
Commit to an Exfoliation Schedule
If you struggle from dry skin and have done even a little bit of research, you’ve probably found the following bit of advice again and again: EXFOLIATE! There are some truly dedicated exfoliators out there, and they’re on a mission to get all of us scrubbing away.
But here’s the thing: they’re right. Exfoliating really can be an excellent way to care for your skin. By removing the rough, dry skin exposed to the outside world, you’ll be able to moisturize the more vulnerable, more tender skin beneath.
So how often should you exfoliate? Allure interviewed two dermatology experts on just how often (and why) you should exfoliate, and they determined that you can exfoliate three times per week, MAX. Exfoliating any more than three times per week can cause the skin to crack and lose more moisture, and ultimately become drier than it had previously been. (By the way, if you’re getting the sense that working with dry skin is a balancing act, you’re right! There’s a LOT going on, and it takes a lot of trial-and-error to find out what works for you personally. Hang in there, and hopefully you’ll be able to figure it all out!).
The good dermatologists in the Allure post also suggest using gentle exfoliants like a sugar scrub or even salicylic acid, which removes oil but doesn’t “traumatize” the skin. Ultimately, however, you must “listen to your skin,” they note, and let up if you notice redness, irritation, or worsening flakiness.
Apply Moisturizer the Right Way
Did you know that there was a wrong way to apply moisturizer? According to the Huffington Post’s skincare expert Elizabeth Tanzi from the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery, there is!
The experts advise that you apply moisturizer within three minutes of washing your face. Applying moisturizer to damp skin helps it absorb better and using a gentle upward motion to apply it is the “right” way to go. You don’t need too much moisturizer—a dime-sized or even pea-sized amount will usually do it—and you can always reapply as often as necessary. Rubbing the moisturizer on gently in a circular motion helps stimulate blood flow, open pores to access the solution, and hopefully help rehydrate skin.
A Few Skin Care Tips to Help You Fight Acne
If you’ve got acne, we feel your pain. We’ve been there. Dealing with it can be stressful and frustrating, but there are ways you can help yourself and help your skin. Here are a few tips that sometimes get rid of acne, or sometimes keep it from forming in the first place. It’s not an exhausting list—just a couple of quick tips to keep in mind.
Wash Your Face Before Bed
“Leaving your face on” while you sleep can create the perfect ecosystem for acne to form. When facial oil and old makeup sit on your skin overnight—all while getting pushed into your pores by your pillow—bacteria flourishes in your pores, and acne is likely to ensue. Trust us on this one: it’s a really, really good idea to wash your face before you go to bed, no matter how tired you may be.
Because you shouldn’t over-exfoliate, it’s usually best to choose a gentle face wash for your bedtime routine. Rinse gently with warm water and avoid scrubbing—unless, of course, it’s one of your exfoliation days—and after you wash, you can apply a non comedogenic moisturizer, or whatever other skin treatment you’ve read about. Then, head off to sleep, and let the moisturizer do the work for you!
Use Products for Blemish-Prone Skin
Many of us use a number of different skin care products, and we’ve talked (at length!) about non comedogenic moisturizers. But chances are you use many different products on your skin, from creams to gels to makeups, and it may make sense to ensure that all of those products are non comedogenic, or at least skin-friendly. From oil-free makeup to acne coverup to spot gel, choosing beauty products that address oil production and help clear pores can prevent pimples, and it doesn’t make sense to use a bunch of non comedogenic products, along with one product you reaaaaaaally love but you know will make you break out.
So while it may be a drag, if there’s something in your grooming kit that’s causing acne to form, it may make sense to ditch it. We feel you—there’s always that one product that you don’t want to give up—but if you’re suffering from acne, it may make sense to go through all the items in your kit, and eliminate the one that’s irritating your skin.
Consider Some Vitamin A
We’re happy to offer a tip that often gets overlooked: eating foods or supplements with high amounts of vitamin A can be helpful for your skin. According to dermatologist Dr. Howard Murad in an interview with Cosmopolitan magazine, vitamin A helps normalize the production and life cycle of skin cells, and that means you might achieve younger and brighter looking skin with regularly snacking on foods like apricots, sweet potatoes, and mangos.
The recommended daily allowance of vitamin A is 700 mcg for women and 900 mcg for men, but most people probably don’t reach those numbers on an average day. Healthline lists foods like beef and lamb liver, cod liver oil, butter, cheeses, and hard-boiled eggs for bumping up your vitamin A intake, and you can always check out Vitamin A supplement if you’re not able to meet the recommended daily allowance (although meeting the recommended daily allowance through a balanced diet is usually the better option).
Here’s to You and Your Skin!
This has been a very, very long post about non comedogenic moisturizers, and if you’ve made it this far, that’s wonderful! Hopefully there’s something here that can help you. Be well!