The 13 Best Moisturizers for Oily Skin of 2022

SkinCeuticals Daily Moisture uses botanical ingredients to hydrate and restore moisture to oily skin

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Best Moisturizers for Oily Skin of 2022

Dermstore / Walmart

There are five core skin types—normal, dry, oily, combination, and sensitive—with dry and oily being common labels people use to describe the balance of moisture and oil in their skin. Dry skin can feel tight and uncomfortable, and it can make fine lines more noticeable or lead to skin conditions like eczema. So, you may think those who lean on the oily side have it better, but that’s not always the case. Excessive oiliness comes with its own slew of issues: clogged pores, increased breakouts, increased risk of seborrheic dermatitis, and shiny skin.

Contrary to popular belief, moisturizing oily skin doesn’t exacerbate these issues—it can actually help, according to board-certified dermatologist, Macrene Alexiades, MD, FAAD. “Oily skin produces too much oil or sebum but may still be in need of hydration or addressing other skin concerns, such as acne, eczema, melasma, or rosacea,” she says. “The right moisturizer may reduce abnormal sebum production in oily skin.”

We spoke with dermatologists and reviewed moisturizers from the top brands for the right ingredients to control sebum, fight acne-causing bacteria, and minimize pores. Moisturizers for oily skin exist at all price points, though they average in the $20-$36 range.

Here are the best moisturizers for oily skin.

Reviewed & Approved

Our top pick SkinCeuticals Daily Moisture was recommended by multiple dermatologists because it hydrates and balances oil-prone skin. And our choice for best gel Neutrogena Hydro Boost Face Gel Cream with Hyaluronic Acid sinks into skin instantly without a greasy finish.

Our Recommendations

Best Overall: SkinCeuticals Daily Moisture

SkinCeuticals Daily Moisture
Courtesy

Why We Like It: Algae and botanical extracts balance oil production to restore hydration and sebum levels without a greasy finish.

It’s Worth Noting: It may leave the skin with a white cast, so it’s best used under makeup as a primer. 

We named this SkinCeuticals our best overall because it targets oil control without neglecting to hydrate oily skin. “Hydration is important for all skin types,” says board-certified dermatologist Melanie Palm, MD, who recommends this moisturizer for oily skin. “It’s a daily moisturizer that hydrates without leaving a greasy residue,” she explains, and notes that the lightweight consistency can be layered under makeup and sunscreen.

While many moisturizers for oily skin include niacinamide and exfoliators like salicylic acid, this one takes a more botanical approach. Red and brown sea algae hydrates skin while botanical extracts like cinnamon, ginger, and licorice reduce the appearance of enlarged pores.

Price at time of publication: $66

Product Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Sea Algae, Botanical Extracts
  • Size: 2 fl oz.
  • Formulation: Lightweight moisturizer

Best Budget: Cetaphil Gentle Clear Mattifying Acne Moisturizer

Cetaphil Gentle Clear Mattifying Acne Moisturizer

Walmart

Why We Like It: The gentle formula is suitable for oily, sensitive skin and those with a weakened skin barrier, who may experience stinging or burning when using certain products

It’s Worth Noting: Includes dimethicone, a type of silicone that helps minimize large pores, but this effect usually isn’t long-lasting.

This budget-friendly pick is powered by many of the same active ingredients as other moisturizers at higher price points. The key player is salicylic acid, a type of beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that unclogs pores, removes dead skin cells, and reduces skin inflammation. The result is fewer breakouts and smooth, exfoliated skin.

Prebiotics help strengthen a weakened skin barrier, which can be the culprit of many skin issues, such as excessive oiliness and sensitivity. A strong skin barrier not only protects against environmental stressors but also reduces water loss (aka dehydration), which can help restore the balance of water and sebum in oily skin.

Price at time of publication: $10

Product Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Salicylic Acid, Prebiotics, Licorice Root Extract
  • Size: 3 fl oz.
  • Formulation: Cream

Best for Acne: Paula's Choice CLEAR Oil-Free Moisturizer

Paula's Choice Clear Oil-Free Moisturizer

Amazon

Why We Like It: The gel-cream consistency is weightless and absorbs into the skin quickly, making it a go-to for warm weather or layering under makeup and sunscreen.

It’s Worth Noting: Niacinamide can cause a burning sensation in some.

If you’re looking for an oil-free moisturizer, this one checks a lot of the boxes for oily and acne-prone skin. It’s lightweight, hydrating, and targets many of the concerns that people with oily skin experience. 

Niacinamide is the main ingredient and “decreases inflammation and improves the appearance of pores,” according to Dr. Palm. It helps reduce the redness that often accompanies breakouts, improving skin’s appearance and comfort. However, niacinamide isn’t always well tolerated with some users reporting increased breakouts and burning.

Ceramides and an antioxidant complex including licorice and pumpkin extracts soothe discomfort associated with a compromised skin barrier and the flakiness that can come with it, making it a choice for those with reactive skin.

Price at time of publication: $29

Product Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Niacinamide, Ceramides, Licorice Root Extract
  • Size: 2 fl oz.
  • Formulation: Gel-cream moisturizer

Best with SPF: Differin Oil Absorbing Moisturizer with SPF 30

differin oil absorbing moisturizer

Courtesy of Walmart 

Why We Like It: Built-in SPF protects against sun exposure without pore-clogging ingredients and oils.

It’s Worth Noting: Aside from reducing shine, this moisturizer lacks ingredients that minimize pores and balance sebum levels.

Everyone needs sunscreen, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, but applying it can feel like a chore. Moisturizers with built-in SPF are a convenient solution. The two-in-one product protects against sun exposure, which can increase the risk of skin cancer and contribute to premature aging, all while addressing other skin needs. In the case of oily skin, this multitasker contains mattifying ingredients to absorb excess oil to reduce shine and breakouts.

The right sunscreen can also help acne since “many sunscreen ingredients are oil-based,” according to Dr. Alexiades. She recommends minimizing your sun exposure and wearing oil-free sunscreen.

Price at time of publication: $12

Product Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Avobenzone, Octisalate, Octocrylene
  • Size: 4 fl oz.
  • Formulation: Lotion

Best Lightweight: PCA SKIN Clearskin

PCA Skin Clearskin

Why We Like It: This moisturizer is gentle enough for easily irritated skin but contains ingredients like niacinamide that are effective for controlling oily skin.

It’s Worth Noting: At 1.7 fl oz. per jar, this moisturizer won’t last as long as other picks, and at a higher price point, it’s not the best value.

If you’re looking for a moisturizer that works for your oily skin, a lightweight consistency is what you want. Heavy creams can leave oily skin feeling greasier than before and may contain pore-clogging ingredients that are more suitable for dry skin types. 

While pricier than other moisturizers, this pick by PCA SKIN brightens, moisturizes, and purifies skin with niacinamide, vitamin A, and other antioxidants. Niacinamide helps to “control oil production, manage inflammation, and reduce the appearance of pores,” Dr. Palm says. Though it’s not oil-free, borage oil helps reduce inflammation associated with skin conditions like rosacea and eczema.

Price at time of publication: $53

Product Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Niacinamide, Vitamin A, Borage Oil
  • Size: 1.7 fl oz.
  • Formulation: Light moisturizer

Best Drugstore: Olay Regenerist Whip Fragrance Free Face Moisturizer

Olay Regenerist Whip Face Moisturizer

Walmart

Why We Like It: The whipped consistency is lightweight on oily skin, and it’s packed with active ingredients like antioxidants.

It’s Worth Noting: This drugstore moisturizer comes in a smaller size but at a higher or comparable price than other picks.

Dr. Alexiades recommends this moisturizer for oily skin because it’s lightweight but contains moisturizing lipids that don’t clog pores. It contains hyaluronic acid, which isn’t just for dry skin. With the ability to bind and attract water, hyaluronic acid can help increase skin hydration—a necessity for all skin types. Increasing skin hydration can help balance out sebum levels in skin types that experience excessive oiliness.

Other notable ingredients in this moisturizer—and there are many—include niacinamide, a fan favorite among many dermatologists for its ability to minimize pores and reduce inflammation, and antioxidants like vitamin B5. It also contains peptides, which occur naturally in skin and contribute to skin elasticity and firmness, making this pick a choice for those looking for anti-aging ingredients.

Price at time of publication: $30

Product Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, Niacinamide, Peptides
  • Size: 1.7 fl oz.
  • Formulation: Cream

Best Gel: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Face Gel Cream with Hyaluronic Acid

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Face Gel Moisturizer for Dry Skin

Why We Like It: This pick comes recommended by multiple dermatologists we spoke to because it hydrates with humectants but omits pore-clogging ingredients.

It’s Worth Noting: It doesn’t contain as many active ingredients as other moisturizers on our list.

Another dermatologist we spoke to, Dustin Portela, DO, urges those with oily skin to trade in the thick creams for gel moisturizers, namely this one by Neutrogena. It’s formulated with hyaluronic acid, which “provides long-lasting moisture without feeling heavy or greasy on the skin,” he says, noting that the lightweight texture and non-comedogenic formula make it ideal for oily and acne prone skin.

The minimal ingredients list makes it a sound choice for those trying to avoid too many active ingredients, but this may be a drawback for some who want to target multiple concerns at once. In addition to hyaluronic acid, this moisturizer contains dimethicone—a type of silicone that helps blur pores and reduce moisture loss.

Price at time of publication: $20

Product Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic Acid, Dimethicone
  • Size: 1.7 fl oz.
  • Formulation: Gel

Best Nighttime: CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion

CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion
CeraVe

Why We Like It: It’s oil-free, hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free.

It’s Worth Noting: This inexpensive lotion is on the thicker side, so it may be too heavy for those who prefer a lightweight night moisturizer.

If applying an oil- and fragrance-free moisturizer to your oily skin is a top priority, consider trying this PM lotion from CeraVe. It’s hypoallergenic, non-irritating, and free of pore-clogging ingredients, making it a safe choice for people with a variety of skin types and conditions, including oily and acne-prone skin.

Formulated with niacinamide for minimizing pores, hyaluronic acid for increasing hydration, and a blend of ceramides for supporting skin barrier health, this moisturizer is a triple threat. According to Dr. Portela, “these ingredients support the moisture barrier and help with excess oil production while being compatible with oily skin.”

Price at time of publication: $14

Product Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Ceramides, Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid
  • Size: 3 fl oz.
  • Formulation: Lotion

Best for Men: Clinique For Men Oil-Free Moisturizer

Clinique For Men Oil Free Moisturizer

Ulta

Why We Like It: It contains dimethicone to mattify shine and reduce the appearance of enlarged pores.

It’s Worth Noting: Though the size is larger, it’s pricier than other picks with similar ingredients, and it contains synthetic dyes to achieve its yellow color.

Men tend to have oilier skin, so this oil-free moisturizer formulated for men will come in handy. The non-acnegenic formulation won’t contribute to acne, but it will deliver hydration via hyaluronic acid, which helps improve skin’s moisture barrier. This pick is suitable for both AM and PM routines, so it’s versatile and easy to add into the mix.

Price at time of publication: $36

Product Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Dimethicone, Hyaluronic Acid, Caffeine
  • Size: 3.6 fl oz.
  • Formulation: Lotion

Best for Fall and Winter: Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer

Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer
Sephora

Why We Like It: Hyaluronic acid is a known hydrator that helps improve the balance of water levels in oily skin, but this pick also contains a blend of five ceramides that support skin barrier health.

It’s Worth Noting: It contains silk, so it’s not vegan-friendly.

What we love about this pick is the impressive lineup of active ingredients. It contains the well-known humectant hyaluronic acid that draws and holds moisture in the skin, which isn’t just reserved for dry skin. Sometimes, excessive oiliness is a side effect of dehydrated skin. It also contains the antioxidant vitamin E to combat free radicals and preserve skin moisture. 

Additionally, a blend of five ceramides fill in the gaps between skin cells to create a stronger skin barrier. Skin health comes down to skin barrier health, and this is often overlooked in a moisturizer. During the colder seasons when skin is extra vulnerable, your skin will thank you.

Price at time of publication: $54

Product Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic Acid, Ceramides, Vitamin E
  • Size: 1.7 fl oz.
  • Formulation: Cream

Best for Spring and Summer: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Mattifying Moisturizer for Oily Skin

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Oil-Free Mattifyng Moisturizer - mattifying moisturizer

Why We Like It: Formulated with perlite (a natural mineral), this cream absorbs excess moisture to mattify shiny, oily skin.

It’s Worth Noting: This mousturizer comes in a small tube, so it may be difficult to get all of the product out near the end. 

This mattifying moisturizer comes recommended by Dr. Portela. “It hydrates with glycerin and spring water and is specially formulated with perlite [a natural mineral derived from volcanic rock] to mattify the persistent shine associated with oily skin,” he says. During the warmer seasons when skin is at its shiniest, this moisturizer neutralizes shine and absorbs excess oil. It also helps visibly tighten pores and smooth skin texture that can result from breakouts.

Price at time of publication: $34

Product Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Dimethicone, Salicylic Acid, Perlite
  • Size: 1.35 fl oz.
  • Formulation: Lotion

Best for Sensitive Skin: First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Daily Face Cream

First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Daily Face Cream
Sephora

Why We Like It: It’s free of ingredients that commonly cause irritation—fragrance, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, and more.

It’s Worth Noting: Squalane, an emollient that mimics the skin’s natural oils, may be too moisturizing for those with very oily skin.

Oiliness and sensitivity can go hand in hand, and this moisturizer combats both. The cream is lightweight enough for those with oily skin, and it’s free of potential irritants that those with sensitive skin may avoid.

In addition to glycerin and dimethicone, this moisturizer gets its moisturizing properties from squalane, an emollient with anti-inflammatory properties. Though it’s usually reserved for those with dry skin, squalane won’t clog your pores. Still, it can feel heavier on the skin if you’re not used to moisturizing ingredients.

Price at time of publication: $19

Product Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Squalane, Ceramide, Tea Extract
  • Size: 2 fl oz.
  • Formulation: Cream

Best for Rosacea: Aveeno Calm + Restore Oat Gel Moisturizer

Aveeno Calm + Restore Oat Gel Moisturizer
Courtesy of Aveeno

Why We Like It: This gel moisturizer uses oat and centella to soothe skin and speed healing.

It’s Worth Noting: In some cases, the moisturizer may ball up or pill. 

Although this pick is more of a moisturizer for sensitive skin than oily skin, it benefits both with soothing and nourishing ingredients like oats. Oat baths are commonly used to soothe irritated skin from poison ivy or eczema, so this moisturizer is like an oat bath for your face. Oat kernel flour and extract gently and instantly soothe irritation.

What makes this moisturizer suitable for oily skin is the lightweight, gel texture. It sinks into the skin almost immediately and reduces redness associated with rosacea and acne.

Price at time of publication: $27

Product Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Oat Kernel Flour, Oat Kernel Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract
  • Size: 1.7 fl oz.
  • Formulation: Gel

How We Selected

We spoke with dermatologists to bust myths about oily skin and better understand the needs of oily skin. They recommended their favorite lightweight, non-comedogenic formulas and we chose the rest based on the criteria they provided. We also considered factors like price, ingredients, availability, texture, and skin type.

What to Know About Moisturizers for Oily Skin

There’s a big misconception that a moisturizer isn’t needed for oily skin, but this is a myth. Choosing the right moisturizer can balance oil production, unclog pores, and soothe irritation.

How Much to Expect to Pay for a Moisturizer for Oily Skin

You can expect to pay between $20-$36 for a good moisturizer for oily skin, though some are as low as $10-$14 or as much as $50-$66.

Key Ingredients to Look for When Selecting a Moisturizer for Oily Skin

According to the dermatologists we spoke to, those with oily skin should look for the following ingredients in a good moisturizer:

  • Ceramide
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Niacinamide
  • Salicylic acid
  • Vitamin A

They recommend sticking to lightweight, non-comedogenic formulas and avoiding pore-clogging ingredients, occlusives, and synthetic fragrances.

Your Questions, Answered

Why do people with oily skin need to use a facial moisturizer?

Everyone needs to moisturize, and individuals with oily skin are no exception. A moisturizer’s job is to form a protective barrier around the skin. This keeps out the nasties like dirt and debris but prevents water from escaping, which is essential for skin health. Skin that is well-hydrated is less prone to sensitivity, irritation, and premature aging and can also better perform functions like flushing out toxins and carrying nutrients.

“People with oily skin might have different moisturizer needs than those with other skin types, but they will benefit from having hydrated skin as a result of moisturizing,” explains Dr. Palm, who notes that moisturizing oily skin ultimately improves the appearance of skin and also provides a protective barrier that prevents inflammation.

Additionally, hydrating the skin with a moisturizer may help balance out oil levels in the skin. When skin is dehydrated, it can overcompensate with excess oil. Using a moisturizer can prevent water loss, so skin doesn’t go into overdrive producing oil to make up for the lack of water.

Does using a facial moisturizer with oily skin lead to acne or breakouts?

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions. Though it can affect any skin type, it’s especially common in people with oily skin. “Acne-causing bacteria feed off of the oil that skin produces, so we often see acne in those with oily skin,” says Dr. Portela. “Using a moisturizer helps strengthen skin’s moisture barrier, so there’s less inflammation and potentially less acne.”

Clogged pores cause acne, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, and pore-clogging ingredients in some moisturizers can contribute to breakouts. So, some moisturizers can worsen breakouts. However, using the right moisturizer won’t lead to acne. Moisturizers for oily skin tend to be free of oils and comedogenic ingredients that can clog pores. 

Some moisturizers are also formulated with ingredients that help reduce oil, bacteria, and acne, such as salicylic acid. Others may contain niacinamide, which helps minimize pores that often become clogged and lead to breakouts. This may require some trial and error as you learn how your oily skin responds to certain ingredients and formulations.

Who We Are

Lacey Muinos is a health and skin care writer. She is an avid skin health researcher and has developed a complex understanding of skin care from interviewing medical experts like board-certified dermatologists.

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