When choosing skin care products that won’t cause clogged pores, searching for the best noncomedogenic moisturizers is a good place to start. But there are some caveats, board-certified dermatologist Alicia Zalka, M.D. tells Bustle. She explains that the definition of noncomedogenic means "not tending to clog pores by the formation of blackheads," which sounds great — but the term isn’t regulated, so its use is solely at the discretion of the product’s manufacturer. If you have breakout-prone skin or congested pores, the expert suggests starting with moisturizers that are labeled as noncomedogenic as a good first step, but then reading the ingredients list to make sure yours is also oil-free, designed for acne-prone skin, or water-based.
All of the moisturizers listed below are oil- and fragrance-free, Dr. Zalka-approved, and typically won’t clog pores or cause breakouts. Pick the one that sounds best to you in terms of the price and formula (e.g. think about whether or not you’re looking for a moisturizer that contains sunscreen). Dr. Zalka says to look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, ceramides, and niacinamide, and to avoid beeswax, certain types of lanolin and fatty acids, and mineral oil ("most oils should be avoided," she adds).
To see the full list of the best noncomedogenic moisturizers, according to a dermatologist, keep scrolling.
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1. The Overall Best Noncomedogenic Moisturizer
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat is a fragrance- and oil-free moisturizer that’s designed to simultaneously hydrate your skin, mattify your complexion, and reduce excess oil production. Made with the brand’s oil-absorbing Sebulyse technology, as well as the BHA lipo-hydroxy acid (a gentle derivative of salicylic acid) to quell breakouts and the brand’s signature, soothing thermal spring water, this is a perfect base cream for people with oily skin in particular, though anyone who likes a smooth, matte finish will love it.
2. The Best Budget Noncomedogenic Moisturizer
For a cheaper option, you can’t go wrong with this popular, fragrance-free lotion from CeraVe. It’s made with soothing, hydrating, and strengthening ingredients like niacinamide, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid, and though it’s technically marketed for nighttime use, it makes a great daily face cream as well. The noncomedogenic formula is lightweight but deeply nourishing, and it’s free of oil, beeswax, and all of the other ingredients Dr. Zalka suggests avoiding.
3. The Best Gel-Cream
Gel creams, like this one from Neutrogena, are water-based and tend to have a lightweight, refreshing feel. They’re a great choice for all skin types, too: Dry skin types love them because they’re nice and hydrating, while oily skin types will appreciate how they don’t leave behind any greasy residue. The formula is noncomedogenic, oil-free, and fragrance-free, and it contains the humectants glycerin and hyaluronic acid to attract and seal in moisture. Store this in the fridge to amp up its cooling effects.
4. The Best Budget Moisturizer With SPF
If you prefer to get your moisturizer and sunscreen in one, pick up this two-in-one face cream from Cetaphil Pro. Made without oil or added fragrance, its main ingredients are glycerin, dimethicone, ceramides, silica, and allantoin, which work together to restore moisture while leaving behind a matte effect, similar to the La Roche-Posay moisturizer featured above. And, it has an SPF of 30 — the dermatologist-suggested amount of daily sun protection.
Note that some of Dr. Zalka’s patients love the silky feeling that dimethicone provides, while others find it clogs their pores, so with this — or with any new product — watch how your skin reacts to it. It’s all about your own, personal experience. "Use it for a week or two on skin on the edge of your face, forehead, or in front of your ear, [and] judge for yourself how your skin responds," Dr. Zalka suggests.
5. The Best Noncomedogenic Sunscreen
Or, splurge out on the derm-favorite EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46. It’s a sophisticated, antioxidant-rich face sunscreen that protects skin with SPF 46, but unlike most other face sunscreens, it doesn’t leave behind an oily residue or make your skin look shiny. Safe for all skin types, including those that are prone to acne and rosacea, it’s noncomedogenic, oil-free, fragrance-free, and sheer. That said, people with dry skin may not find it moisturizing enough on its own, so if you fall into that category, you may want to apply a richer face cream first.
Alicia Zalka, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and founder of Surface Deep.
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