With tons of moisturizers in the Indian market, finding an oil-free moisturizer that suits your oily acne-prone skin is not easy. A moisturizer for oily / acne prone skin must be non-comedogenic.
Oily skin can become dry in certain areas of the face. Sometimes the dryness is just around the nose and mouth or between the eyebrows. You need to use a non-comedogenic moisturizer even for these dry areas. That is because no matter where you apply a moisturizer, it can trickle down to the rest of the face during the course of the day and cause pimples.
You also need a moisturizer if you are using any peeling agents for the treatment of acne – glycolic acid, salicylic acid, Retin A or benzoyl peroxide. A good oily skin moisturizer should hide and heal the flakiness caused by drying acne treatments.
Using cold creams on acne prone skin can worsen the acne. We checked the suitability of some the commonly available cold creams in India for acne prone skin.
Also see which moisturizers to not use: 70+ Indian skin creams and moisturizers KNOWN to cause acne.
Here is a list of some of the best oily skin moisturizers in the Indian market. The list is a mix of herbal and non-herbal moisturizers suitable for both men and women.
Note that these facial moisturizers are not acne treatments, they simply put back moisture into the skin that harsh face washes can take away. If you are looking for an oily skin moisturizer without sunscreen for peeling skin or skin dry from acne treatments, you will likely find one in this list.
Also see our recommendations for the best sunscreen for oily acne prone skin in India.
Best non-comedogenic moisturizers for oily acne prone skin
Sebamed Clear Face Care Gel
This oil-free gel based moisturizer has active natural ingredients and is free of parabens and other irritants. It has the right pH of 5.5 which is the pH of healthy skin as well. The right pH discourages harmful bacteria growth on the skin.
Hyaluronic acid and aloe vera are moisturizing ingredients. Allantoin and panthenol calm the skin, thereby reducing the redness from pimples. Sebamed Clear Face Gel can feel slightly sticky on the face.
This is not a budget moisturizer (price Rs. 500 for 50 ml), but it is an excellent oil-free moisturizer for acne prone skin.
Lacto Calamine Skin Balance Oil Control Nourishing Lotion
Laced with Castor Oil and Glycerin for moisturizing and Kaolin clay to absorb oiliness, Lacto Calamine is a skin care product passed down from generation to generation.
While good for mild pimple prone skin, Lacto Calamine may not be the best choice for you if you have extremely acne prone skin or severe acne. Read a review of Lacto Calamine here.
Lacto Calamine is a budget moisturizer priced at Rs. 45for 30 ml and Rs. 125 for 120 ml.
Johnson’s Baby Oil
Johnson’s Baby Oil is mainly mineral oil with vitamin E. It is controversial whether mineral oil is comedogenic or not, but this formulation is light enough to not clog pores.
Mineral oil is largely regarded as non-comedogenic because it is inert and does not react much on the skin. That said, not all mineral oil moisturizers are created equal. So this may not be the best moisturizer, but if you are driven to the wall, where every moisturizer breaks you out, this is worth a try.
Johnson’s Baby Oil is ideal for removing makeup. Using Johnson’s Baby Oil during the day can be difficult due to the obviously oily shine it gives to the face. Here’s a trick. Apply it on your face, leave it for 5-10 minutes and then wash face with a mild face wash (our recommended face washes for acne prone skin).
The price of Johnson’s Baby Oil is Rs. 48 for 50 ml, Rs. 90 for 100 ml and Rs. 165 for 200 ml, making it one of the cheapest moisturizers in the Indian market.
Aroma Magic Hydro Gel
This is a gel based herbal moisturizer cream rich in lactic acid. It gets absorbed into the skin easily. The ingredient list bodes well for acne prone skin – Seaweed Gel, Beta Carotene, Aloe Vera Gel, Soya Lecticin, Vitamin E, Liposome and plant Squalene.
The lactic acid in this gel moisturizer acts as a mild peeling agent, so over time you see clearer, brighter skin. The price of Aroma Magic Hydro Gel is Rs. 150 for 50 gm.
Neutrogena Oil-free Moisture for Combination Skin
This non-comedogenic moisturizer is also fragrance-free and hypoallergenic, with a dermatologist tested formula. It is mainly suited for combination skin that tends to be dry in some areas (cheeks, around the mouth) and oily in others (forehead, nose, chin).
Neutrogena Oil-free Moisture (this is the one without SPF) is also good for soothing and hiding any skin peeling resulting from harsh acne treatments. The price of Neutrogena Oil-free Moisture for Combination Skin is Rs. 299 for 118 ml. You only need a little bit at a time, so one bottle lasts around 6 months.
Lotus Herbals Aloehydra Aloe Vera Moisturizing Gel
This is basically aloe vera gel with added nutrients. It is difficult to tell what else is included because of an incomplete ingredient list on the label.
This aloe vera moisturizer does sink into the skin easily without leaving a greasy shine or causing breakouts. The price of Lotus Herbals Aloehydra Aloe Vera Moisturizing Gel is Rs. 245 for 100 gm.
Patanjali Aloe Vera Gel
This is another aloe vera gel that has been rated highly as an Indian moisturizer for acne prone skin. Availability is a problem with Patanajali products, but you can find their cosmetic products such as this aloe vera gel in general stores. The price of Patanjali Aloe Vera Gel is Rs. 75 for 150 ml.
Another aloe vera moisturizer is Aloe Veda Aloe Vera gel. It is 98% organically grown aloe vera with 2% green tea and no preservatives.
L’Oreal Dermo Expertise HYDRAFRESH All Day Hydration Aqua-Essence
Inside a bulky glass container comes an extremely lightweight formula that is HYDRAFRESH Aqua-Essence. Note the “Essence” part because HYDRAFRESH is available as an Aqua Gel and Aqua Cream as well. Its green tinge camouflages any redness on the face and makes it look even-toned (green neutralizes red). It absorbs instantly, leaving no greasy residue.
Dabbing a tiny amount of this gel-cream over any dry patches or peeling skin instantly smooths it out. Dry peeling skin is a common problem if you use medicated acne treatments. Even though this is a light moisturizer, the packaging does not say non-comedogenic anywhere. To be on the safe side, use tiny amounts of it only on dry peeling skin where you don’t normally get pimples such as around the nose, between the eyes, right around the lips etc.
The price of L’Oreal HYDRAFRESH Aqua-Essence is Rs. 449 for 50 ml. One jar lasts a long while since you need a minuscule amount to cover the whole face.
Proactiv Green Tea Moisturizer
This is a gel based moisturizer that sinks into the skin easily. It is specially formulated for acne prone skin. If you have skin peeling or flaking from drying acne treatments, this moisturizer may not be enough to hide that. For hiding flaking of skin, we recommend tiny amounts of Neutrogena Oil-free Moisture for Combination Skin (listed above).
Proactiv Green Tea Moisturizer is available from proactiv.in in India. The price of Proactiv Green Tea Moisturizer is Rs. 799 for 30 ml plus Rs. 150 shipping.
Kaya Skin Clinic Skin Nourisher
This moisturizer meant for oily acne prone skin contains aloe vera, rose extract and almond oil. Even though it has been clinically tested to be non-comedogenic, it does contain almond oil which may cause acne for some, so do a patch test before using on the whole face.
The price of Kaya Skin Clinic Skin Nourisher is Rs. 680 for 50 ml.
Clean and Clear Skin Balancing Moisturizer
This is an oil-free creamy moisturizer that can be used for maintenance of oily acne prone skin. This is the only moisturizer in the list that contains Salicylic Acid, an acne-fighting ingredient.
It should not be used on dry, flaky areas (around the nose, between the eyebrows) as it contains Salicylic Acid which can cause more peeling and irritation in those areas. Also it must not be used near the eyes to avoid irritation.
Clean and Clear Skin Balancing Moisturizer is another budget moisturizer priced at Rs. 50 for 50 ml.
(various brands) Pure Jojoba Oil has been hailed as a natural moisturizer for oily acne prone skin due to its sebum-like composition. Aroma Magic and Aloe Veda (available online) are two Indian brands that make Jojoba Oil for skin care. Jojoba Oil is not cheap by any means, but you only need a few drops at a time. Be aware that all sources of Jojoba Oil may not be non-comedogenic.
Some of the moisturizers in the list contain oil or are oils themselves. It is important to understand that not all oils case acne.
Sometimes facial moisturizers for oily acne prone skin leave the skin shiny and oily looking. An effective way to combat oiliness due to a moisturizer is to apply the moisturizer, leave it on for 10-15 minutes on the face and then wash the face with a mild face wash. This will ensure skin absorbs all the moisture it needs and the rest is washed off, without leaving a pore-clogging oily film on the skin.
Which moisturizer do you use for your oily skin?