The 8 Best Moisturizers for Oily Skin

Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Absorbing Moisturizer will keep your skin hydrated

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If you have oily skin, it can be difficult to pick out a moisturizer that will adequately hydrate your face without clogging your pores or making the barrier feel greasier. First, it's important to know that everyone's skin produces oil (which you might hear a doctor refer to it as sebum) "to keep it protected and moisturized,” says Rebecca Tung, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Florida Dermatology in Winter Haven, Florida. This is normal, but she says that it could create a shiny appearance and result in acne or clogged pores. Dr. Tung also notes that active oil glands can be influenced by other factors, such as hormones, medications, and genetics.

Reviewed & Approved

We recommend the Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Absorbing Moisturizer if you’re looking for a safe, affordable moisturizer. If you’re targeting acne-prone skin, we recommend the La Roche Posay Effaclar Mat Anti-Shine Face Moisturizer.

One common misconception is that just because someone might experience oily skin, they should avoid moisturizers. “People with oily skin still benefit from moisturizers—they just have to find the right one,” says Marie Leger, MD, PhD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist at Entière Dermatology in Manhattan and member of the American Academy of Dermatology. 

There are two key components to look for when shopping for moisturizers if you are prone to oily skin. “You will definitely want to look for products that are ‘oil-free and non-comedogenic,’” Dr. Tung says. You should also keep in mind that the moisturizer’s consistency–whether it’s a lotion, serum, or cream–can affect skin types in different ways. We researched dozens of moisturizers for oily skin and evaluated them for key ingredients, usage, dosage, form, and price. 

Here are the best moisturizers on the market today.

Best Overall: Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Absorbing Moisturizer SPF 30

4.7
Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Control Moisturizer SPF 30
Pros
  • Includes SPF

  • Reduces oil and shine

  • Fragrance-free

Cons
  • Not cruelty-free

Who else recommends it? Healthline also picked Cetaphil Oil Absorbing Moisturizer.

What do buyers say? 86% of 21,100+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

The Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Absorbing Moisturizer is our best overall product for people who are prone to oily skin because it soaks up any excess oil on the face. This then leaves beyond hydrated skin with a matte finish. Besides being lightweight, the moisturizer is also hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, which is ideal for people who are prone to more sensitive skin.

One of our favorite key features of this moisturizer is that it is non-comedogenic. You should opt for a non-comedogenic moisturizer if you have oily skin because the product won't block pores, reducing your risk of developing acne. This pick also includes SPF, making it a great option for daytime moisture. The best part is that the moisturizer is also affordable, which makes it a budget-friendly addition to your skin care routine.

Price at time of publication: $18

Ingredients: Glycerin, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene | Usage: Once or twice daily | Dosage: Nickel-sized amount

Best Budget: Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture for Sensitive Skin

Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture for Sensitive Skin

Amazon

Pros
  • Fragrance-free

  • Affordable

  • Non-Comedogenic

Cons
  • No SPF protection

Neutrogena is a go-to drugstore brand that does not break the bank while still providing great results for the user. The Neutrogena Oil-free Acne Moisturizer has no added frills compared to more expensive moisturizers on the market, but it keeps your skin hydrated.

The non-comedogenic, oil-free formula works great for anyone with oily skin because it will not clog the pores or add excess oil to the skin. Additionally, the moisturizer is fragrance-free, so it will feel gentle against sensitive skin when applied. The one downside about this moisturizer is that there is no included SPF, so you'll need a secondary product with SPF to keep your skin protected from the sun, especially if you use this product in the morning.

Price at time of publication: $12

Ingredients: Glycerin | Usage: Once or twice daily | Dosage: Nickel-sized amount

Best for Sensitive Skin: Farmacy Daily Greens Oil-Free Gel Moisturizer

Farmacy Daily Greens Oil-Free Gel Moisturizer with Moringa and Papaya
Pros
  • Clean ingredients

  • Oil-free

  • Includes hyaluronic acid

Cons
  • No SPF protection

  • Expensive

If you experience oily skin, the dermatologists we spoke to recommend adding a lightweight gel-based moisturizer to your skincare routine, because it is less likely to clog the pores. Farmacy’s Daily Greens Oil-Free Gel Moisturizer is just that and includes a combination of hyaluronic and polyglutamic acids. These ingredients are important, even for people with oily skin, because it gives necessary moisture to the barrier to keep the skin healthy and vibrant.

This moisturizer also includes papaya and willow herb, which can help reduce unwanted shine on the skin and keep the pores clear from any dirt and debris. Also, the product is made with entirely clean ingredients, which makes it optimal for anyone with skin sensitivities.

Price at time of publication: $42

Ingredients: Hyaluronic and polyglutamic acids, phytonutrients |  Usage: Once or twice daily | Dosage: Nickel-sized amount

Best for Acne-Prone Skin: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Oil-Free Mattifying Moisturizer

4.4
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat

Amazon

Pros
  • Mattifying

  • Oil-free

  • Includes anti-acne ingredients

Cons
  • No SPF protection

  • Contains fragrance

La Roche Posay is another brand often recommended by dermatologists because the ingredients incorporated into the products are beneficial and non-irritating for the skin. The Effaclar Mat Anti-Shine Face Moisturizer is oil-free and non-comedogenic, so it should not clog the pores. Also, the formula leaves a light matte appearance against the skin, which is an optimal feature for anyone whose skin is prone to oil.

Aside from providing moisture and a mattifying effect to the skin, the moisturizer includes salicylic acid. This ingredient is important for anyone who is experiencing texture and blemishes, because it will help exfoliate the skin, reduce the appearance of pores, and help clear acne.

Price at time of publication: $33

Ingredients: Glycerin and salicylic acid |  Usage: Once or twice daily | Dosage: Nickel-sized amount

Best Tinted: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Oil Free Natural Skin Perfector SPF 20

4.3
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Oil Free

Byrdie/Laura Mercier

Pros
  • Includes SPF

  • Oil-free

  • Lightweight formula

Cons
  • Expensive

Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer is a cult classic among beauty connoisseurs for a reason. The tinted moisturizer is created with an oil-free formula that includes SPF 20, and is ideal for people with oily skin because it does not further exacerbate the moisture on the skin. Instead, the tinted moisturizer provides long-lasting coverage that is hydrating but not greasy on the skin.

The moisturizer works to brighten the appearance of the skin and leave it with a healthy, makeup-free glow. The one downside about this moisturizer is that it is pricey, but a little goes a long way, so one bottle should last for a while.

Price at time of publication: $49

Ingredients: Octinoxate, octisalate | Usage: Once daily | Dosage: Quarter-sized amount

Best for Daytime Wear: Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream Hydrating Moisturizer

4.6
water-drench-moisturizer

Sephora

Pros
  • Hydrating ingredients

  • Oil-free

  • Fragrance-free

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Doesn’t contain SPF

This moisturizer from Peter Thomas Roth is well known for being a hydrating formula that is oil-free, fragrance-free, and alcohol-free. Why is this moisturizer called the “cloud”? Because its formula is so lightweight and soft against the skin that it makes it perfect to wear during the day underneath makeup or your favorite SPF product.

This moisturizer works all day long to provide necessary moisture to the skin without making it feel greasy or oily. It does this with the combination of glycerin, ceramides, and vitamin E. The moisturizer is more expensive than some of the others on our list and requires a layer of SPF over it if you go outside, but the hydration that it gives your skin can make the product worth the price.

Price at time of publication: $54

Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, glycerin, ceramides |  Usage: Once or daily | Dosage: Quarter-sized amount

Best for Full-Body: CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion

5
Cerave Daily Moisturizing Lotion

Amazon

Pros
  • Hydrating ingredients

  • Fragrance-free

  • Lightweight

Cons
  • Doesn’t contain SPF

Cerave Daily Moisturizing Lotion is a great two-in-one product because it can be used on both your face and the rest of your body to provide necessary moisture to the skin barrier. This dermatologist-recommended product is non-comedogenic, so it should not clog the pores when used on the face or the body. The product is also suitable for sensitive skin, because it is fragrance-free and allergy-tested. Also, the moisturizer holds the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance for being soothing and hydrating against sensitive and irritated skin.

Price at time of publication: $15

Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, glycerin, ceramides |  Usage: Once or daily | Dosage: Quarter-sized amount

Best with SPF: Differin Oil Absorbing Moisturizer with SPF 30

differin oil absorbing moisturizer

Courtesy of Walmart 

Pros
  • Includes SPF

  • Oil-absorbing

  • Affordable

Cons
  • Some may prefer mineral sun protection

An important characteristic of a daytime moisturizer is that it includes SPF to protect the skin from UVA and UVB rays when outside. The Differin Oil Absorbing Moisturizer boasts SPF 30 in its oil-free and lightweight formula. Not only will the moisturizer protect the skin when out and about, but it will also leave your pores free from dirt and debris.

This moisturizer was created for people with oily skin in mind, because the formula is non-greasy, non-comedogenic, and fragrance-free. Also, when you use the product, it absorbs the excess oils that are on the skin, which gives a mattifying effect and prevents shine.

Price at time of publication: $12

Ingredients: Octinoxate, octisalate | Usage: Once daily | Dosage: Quarter-sized amount

Final Verdict

If you are looking for an all-around moisturizer that is hydrating and provides SPF to the skin while absorbing oils, then we recommend the Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Absorbing Moisturizer. If you are looking for a moisturizer that will help mattify the skin while also not clogging your pores, then we recommend the La Roche Posay Effaclar Mat Anti-Shine Face Moisturizer.

How We Selected the Moisturizers for Oily Skin

When selecting moisturizers for oily skin, we spoke with dermatologists and spent hours combing the web for the best and most effective products. After taking all of our options into consideration, we determined which to feature based on a few key criteria as recommended by dermatologists: key ingredients, form, and added benefits. 

Once we narrowed down our options, we compared each moisturizer’s benefits to its price tag. While some choices on our list may be more expensive, we wanted to give a wide range of options that would fit all needs and budgets. Based on all of these factors, we compiled this list of the best moisturizers for oily skin. 

What to Look for in a Moisturizer for Oily Skin

Ingredients to Avoid

“People with oily skin are more prone to acne—look for moisturizers that are oil-free and non-comedogenic,” Dr. Leger recommends. There are ingredients called “occlusives” that should be avoided because of their impact on the skin's pores. “Occlusive ingredients that can be problematic in oily skin include petrolatum, coconut butter, coconut oil, mineral oil, lanolin, and silicone, because they may lead to plugging of the pores,” Dr. Tung says. She also recommends people avoid excessively touching their face and over-exfoliating because it can further irritate the skin. 

Ingredients to Look for

Even if your skin is oily, that does not mean that you should deprive it of necessary ingredients that bring moisture to the barrier. “Hyaluronic acid is a nice addition—it can help with hydration without leaving skin greasy,” Dr. Leger says. “Ingredients like salicylic acid can also be helpful, especially for people who tend to get acne.”

Dr. Tung also recommends: “Niacinamide, which reduces oil and inflammation and can lighten excess pigmentation; alpha or beta hydroxy acids, which can promote exfoliation and minimize the appearance of pores; and ceramides, which provide moisture and restore the skin’s barrier function.” 

Form

For people with oily skin, the form can matter when it comes to moisturizers because of the impact the product can have on the pores. Some moisturizers are gel-based, while others are cream-based. The thickness of the moisturizer can also vary, even if the moisturizer is gel-based or cream-based, so it is important to pay attention to the form when selecting what might work best for you. “Lighter formulas are definitely the way to go—lotions, gel creams, serums—for people with oily skin,” Dr. Tung says. 

Cream-based moisturizers: Typically, Dr. Tung recommends cream-based products for people with drier skin. “This being said, many of us have combination skin,” she says, explaining that cream-based moisturizers aren’t a one-size-fits-all product.

Gel-based moisturizers: While cream based moisturizers are great for people with dry skin, gel-based products may be better for those with particularly oily skin. “Cream-based products may be OK for delicate drier skin around the eyes, whereas gel-based products are better for oilier areas on the face,” Dr. Tung explains. 

Added Benefits

A moisturizer can incorporate a variety of ingredients in its formula to provide benefits to the skin besides just hydration. For people who are looking for a day moisturizer, one added benefit would be to include SPF in the product to protect the skin against harmful UVA and UVB rays. “In the morning, there are a number of combination moisturizer and sunscreen products that can be used,” Dr. Leger says. But like other ingredients used in skin products, it is important to monitor how a moisturizer with SPF interacts with the surface. “As always, look at how your individual skin responds to a product, or your best intentions to keep your skin hydrated could backfire and bring on an acne flare,” Dr. Tung says. 

Additionally, the moisturizer can provide other benefits like anti-aging and dark spot reduction. “Vitamin C [has] anti-inflammatory and brightening properties,” Dr. Tung says.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When’s the best time to apply moisturizer?

    The best time to apply your moisturizer can largely depend on the other types of products that you are using in your skincare routine. “If you are using a retinoid or retinol product in the evening, this is an ideal time to use moisturizer,” Dr. Leger recommends. Retinols can be very drying, which is why you want to pair the product with a moisturizer when you use them. “If you are using retinoids at night to help reduce pore size and minimize acne, applying moisturizer with your retinoid can prevent excess drying of the skin and limit irritation,” Dr. Tung adds. 
    If people are only using moisturizers once per day, then Dr. Tung recommends applying them in the morning “after showering or cleansing your face.”

  • How often should you moisturize your face?

    One common misconception among people with oily skin is that they should moisturize their skin less, but that is not necessarily the case. “Keeping your skin hydrated is a daily task,” Dr. Tung says. “Most moisturizers that are intended for oily skin provide a balance of ingredients that help minimize oil and bring needed hydration to outer layers of the skin.” She recommends using a moisturizer daily to keep the barrier hydrated. “When your skin is dehydrated, it is actually more vulnerable and may be more prone to breakouts,” Dr. Tung says. 
    If the product does not clog your pores or cause you to break out, then Dr. Leger says it is reasonable to use the moisturizer twice per day: once in the morning and once in the evening.

  • Can using a daily moisturizer lead to breakouts?

    "Usually, a light formula daily moisturizer actually helps the skin stay healthy and minimizes acne breakouts,” Dr. Tung says. “Certainly, using the ‘wrong’ product can plug pores and bring on pimples.” These wrong types of moisturizer can involve a product that is thicker and more prone to clogging the pores. “Especially when it is a heavy one,” Dr. Leger says. “I also see heavy moisturizers lead to milia, those little hard white balls that don’t resolve like whiteheads do.” Dr. Leger recommends experimenting with other moisturizers if you experience increased breakouts.

Why Trust Verywell Health

As a seasoned health writer, Danielle Zoellner knows the importance of finding just the right product to fit your medical needs. Throughout her career, Danielle has interviewed a variety of experts in the medical and health fields while reviewing dozens of products. Her experience and knowledge in the field work together to help readers like yourself find the best products for your daily life.

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  1. 10 of the Best Moisturizers for Oily Skin. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/best-moisturizer-for-oily-skin