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Best Moisturizers for Oily Skin

The best moisturizers for oily skin are lightweight, oil-free formulas that hydrate without clogging pores. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and salicylic acid to help control excess oil and keep skin balanced.
Oily skin can be a challenge to manage, but using the right moisturizer is key to keeping it healthy and balanced. Many people with oily skin think they should skip moisturizer altogether, but that can actually make the problem worse. When skin is dehydrated, it overcompensates by producing even more oil. The key is finding a moisturizer that provides hydration without adding excess grease or clogging pores.

Ingredients to Look For

When shopping for a moisturizer for oily skin, there are certain ingredients to look for that can help control excess oil and keep pores clear. Hyaluronic acid is a lightweight hydrator that draws moisture into the skin without feeling heavy or greasy 1. Niacinamide, or vitamin B3, is another great ingredient that helps regulate oil production and minimize the appearance of pores 2. Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid that exfoliates inside the pores, helping to prevent clogs and breakouts 3. Other beneficial ingredients include zinc, which has anti-inflammatory properties, and clay, which absorbs excess oil.

Lightweight Gel Creams

For oily skin, gel creams are often a better choice than heavy, oil-based creams. Gel formulas have a lightweight, water-based texture that sinks in quickly without leaving a greasy residue. They provide hydration but allow the skin to breathe. Some outstanding options include Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel, which contains hyaluronic acid, and Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer, which has squalane to balance oil production.

Oil-Free Lotions

Lotions can also work well for oily skin, as long as they are oil-free and non-comedogenic (meaning they won’t clog pores). Look for formulas that are labeled “mattifying” or “shine-control” – these usually contain ingredients like silica or rice starch to absorb excess oil throughout the day. CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion is a outstanding drugstore option that contains SPF 30 for sun protection. For a more matte finish, try Murad Oil and Pore Control Mattifier.

Ingredients to Avoid

Just as significant as seeking out certain ingredients is avoiding others that can exacerbate oily skin. Heavy occlusive ingredients like petrolatum, mineral oil, and silicones can trap oil and clog pores 4. Alcohol and harsh exfoliating scrubs can strip the skin and trigger more oil production. Fragrance, whether natural or synthetic, can also be irritating for some people. Opt for products labeled “non-comedogenic”, “oil-free”, and “fragrance-free” to minimize the risk of irritation and breakouts.


Finding the right moisturizer is key for managing oily skin. The best formulas will hydrate and balance the skin without adding excess oil or clogging pores. Look for lightweight, oil-free gels and lotions with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and salicylic acid. Avoid heavy, occlusive ingredients and harsh alcohols or scrubs that can irritate the skin and trigger more oil production. With the right moisturizer, oily skin can look healthy, balanced, and shine-free.


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