If you're reading this, then chances are that:
You are looking for the best non-comedogenic moisturizer.
And you have taken the first step towards a healthier looking skin!
Acne is a tough beast. Isn’t it?
Your skin is an over-saturated mess of sebum, oils, dead skin and whatnot.
You are probably ripping your hair trying to figure out the products that you can safely use without triggering a breakout.
A non-comedogenic moisturizer certainly fits the bill. It ensures that your skin receives the hydration it deserves without clogging your pores.
However, the skincare industry is underscored by exaggerated marketing and sleazy sales tactics that can sway you into buying overpriced, hyped products that do little to improve the quality of your skin.
That’s where we step in.
We have been using, researching and reviewing skincare products for the past decade or so and non-comedogenic products have been at the forefront of our interests.
Today, we will try to help you understand these products better. We will sift through bro-science and help you set realistic expectations.
Even better, we will share with you, what we believe are the best non-comedogenic moisturizers in 2018.
Top 5 Non-Comedogenic Moisturizers
What Are Non-Comedogenic Moisturizers?
If you've read my previous review on non-comedogenic foundations then you probably know what non-comedogenic stands for, if not, don't worry I'll go through it again.
The term ‘Non-Comedogenic’ is coined from the word ‘Comedo’ which means, a clogged skin pore, acne lesion or blockage, in general.
It is used to describe a group of products that are formulated with minimal ingredients and are less likely to clog your pores.
This subsequently helps prevent whiteheads, blackheads, pimples and dark spots from forming and acne from worsening.
If you have acne or an oversensitive skin, then these products are your best bet for your daily moisturizing routine.
Non-comedogenic products were first introduced into the market as early as 1972.
However, since the term was largely unheard of in those days, it was looked upon with a lot of skepticism.
Experts trashed it down as another voguish trend that would fade away in a bit.
But when OTC (Over-the-counter) acne medicines containing Benzoyl peroxide, Salicylic acid and Sulphur became wildly popular, it also bought with it some pretty debilitating side effects. The most notable ones were extreme dryness and skin flaking.
The results that people achieved with these anti-acne products were largely polarized due to the side effects.
On one side, controlling acne breakouts got easier. The caveat was that the person would be left with severely dry skin that could also peel in extreme cases.
That’s when non-comedogenic moisturizers took off.
And the popularity has increased tremendously in recent times.
So Why Should You Use A Non-Comedogenic Moisturizer?
That’s a no-brainer.
Because irrespective of your skin type (normal, oily, acne prone or sensitive), you need to moisturize it every day.
There’s no two ways around it.
And non-comedogenic moisturizers are safer and gentler.
They do not contain harsh chemicals, oils, parabens, alcohols, fragrances, thickeners, dyes and preservatives that normal skincare products contain in extremely high quantities.
Oh yes, the thick white moisturizer with the soothing aroma that you are guilty of slathering all over your face is probably teeming with things that shouldn’t be on your skin.
Get rid of it. Period.
5 Amazing Benefits Of Using Non-Comedogenic Moisturizers
There are many reasons why you should seriously consider switching to a non-comedogenic moisturizer for your skin.
- Ensures that your pores remain clear: Non-comedogenic moisturizers contain very few ingredients. These may vary depending on the brand and the product, but it's mostly a combination of gentle humectants and emollients. The main ingredient though is water, and most of these have a very thin gel-like or creamy, non-greasy consistency. This ensures that your pores do not get clogged or blocked. Nor does it feel heavy on your face.
- Controls excessive oil production: To compensate for a clogged pore, your body goes into overdrive and produces excessive oil. If you have acne or severely oily skin, to begin with, your face will start to resemble an oil slick after this. Not to mention that it can worsen your acne flare-ups.
- Prevents acne bacteria from multiplying: While non-comedogenic moisturizers themselves do little to prevent acne, it’s their working mechanism that helps immensely. Clogged pores are a breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria. Clear pores = fewer bacteria and reduced acne breakouts.
- Might prevent wrinkles: Dry skin can increase the appearance of wrinkles. But most people with acne prone skin shy away from moisturizing due to the fear of clogged pores and excessive oil. Non-comedogenic moisturizer keeps the skin hydrated and might prevent the formation of wrinkles and fine lines.
- Can be used for any skin type: Due to the gentler and minimal ingredients used in these moisturizers, they can be used for any skin type. So, irrespective of whether your skin is oily, dry due to acne medications, peeling or hypersensitive, you can use a non-comedogenic moisturizer.
How To Choose The Right Moisturizer For Your Skin
As we mentioned earlier, there’s a lot of exaggerated marketing and PR at work in the entire healthcare industry.
When you are out shopping for non-comedogenic skincare products, in particular, it pays to be doubly diligent.
Know your skin
Firstly, you must know your skin type. Is it oily or combination skin? Is it severely dry? Is it hyper sensitive? Do you have any known allergies? How was your experience with moisturizers in the past? Does it break out easily? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you filter through the muck and narrow down on the most appropriate product.
Know the product
It is equally important that you know as much as there is to know about the product that you intend to buy. Is it a trusted brand? What are the ingredients in it? Are there any known comedogenic ingredients? What about parabens? Does the manufacturer respond to any pre-sale queries about the ingredients?
Moisturizers with a light texture work best for all skin types. It must not be too thick or overly watery. A creamy texture or a gel-like one that easily absorbs into the skin is most recommended. Some people prefer a mattifying moisturizer because it makes it easier to apply makeup.
Non-fragrance is the gold standard for moisturizers. Even natural fragrances and oils can be comedogenic at times.
Many experts recommend opting for SPF protection. But we don’t really consider it mandatory as long as it ticks all the other boxes that we’ve mentioned.
The Controversies Surrounding Non-Comedogenic Moisturizers
Non-comedogenic products do have their fair share of detractors who believe that the lack of regulations and testing standards makes it a very murky term, that’s often misused by unscrupulous manufacturers.
This might partly be true.
There are no regulated standards for the term ‘Non-comedogenic.'
So, that cream or lotion in a fancy looking vial with ‘non-comedogenic’ highlighted all over the label, might not really prevent your pores from getting clogged in the first place.
That’s unless you know what ingredients to watch out for on the product label.
It wouldn’t be possible to curate a list of all comedogenic ingredients for obvious reasons. But here are some of the most notorious ones.
- Acetylated lanolin alcohol
- 16 Lanolin
- Algae extract
- D&C Red #27, 40
- Isopropyl Palmitate
- Ethylhexyl Palmitate
- Lauroyl LysineLauric Acid
- Stearic Acid
- Butyl Stereate
- Capric Acid
- Cetyl acetate
- Cetyl alcohol
- Evening Primrose oil
- PEG 8 stearate
This is not an exhaustive list. In fact, it’s far from it.
There are many other ingredients hidden in most cosmetics and skincare products that are rated very high on the comedogenic scale. Ensure that you read the product label in detail before you swipe that card.
If you are unsure about any ingredient, reach out to the manufacturer to confirm.
Who Can Use These Moisturizers?
Well, pretty much anyone can because the ingredients are so mild that they won’t cause any adverse effects at all.
But if you are wondering whether scrutinizing the product label and paying a few extra bucks would be worth your time, then here’s a list of the scenarios and skin types that are best suited for non-comedogenic moisturizers.
- Acne prone skin: If you have had acne, blackheads, whiteheads, cysts or currently have breakouts, then you must use a non-comedogenic moisturizer.
- Dry skin: Dry skin caused due to any skin condition or medication must be hydrated with gentle moisturizers like these.
- Combination skin: If you have combination skin, or an oily forehead clubbed with dry cheeks, then a non-acnegenic moisturizer will help you control excessive oil production while hydrating the dryer parts.
- Oily Skin: A noncomedogenic hydrating lotion will ensure that your pores are not clogged, and hence the skin doesn't go on overdrive with oil production. Some of these have a slightly mattifying effect as well.
- Sensitive skin: If you have a surprisingly low tolerance to fragrances and harsh chemicals, then a moisturizer like this would work for you.
Our Top 5 Non-Comedogenic Moisturizer Reviewed
A selected few brands that have a solid reputation in the market have an elaborate range of products in the non-comedogenic category.
That’s where we sourced our top 5 non-comedogenic moisturizers from.
Apart from the ones that we have used ourselves, we spoke to customers, reached out to people on message boards and dug through Terabytes of data to narrow down on these.
There are many reasons why the Neutrogena Hydro Boost is among the most popular moisturizers for sensitive skin.
It has a very lightweight, gel-like consistency that absorbs into your skin in seconds without leaving any residue. You can use it during the day, after a shower or at night time.
The product label is minimalistic and precisely how non-comedogenic products should be. The main ingredient here is purified hyaluronic acid, which is a proven and tested humectant.
Apply this on wet skin, and it will lock in the moisture all night. There are no overly heavy pigments, parabens or fragrances.
You can also use this in conjunction with other lotions or OTC acne medications that you might be using.
Almost forgot to mention that the Neutrogena Hydro Boost is very reasonably priced and a jar should last you for months.
What I liked
What I didn't like
We usually steer clear of organic oils and butter because they are a hit or a miss for sensitive skin.
But this unrefined Shea butter comes highly recommended from multiple trustworthy sources for use with dry skin and sensitive skin.
As is evident from the name, this is an unrefined block of shea butter that can be used on all types of skin and hair. You can either apply it directly or add it to any of your homemade body butter recipes.
The manufacturer includes a bunch of recipes in the pack, a really thoughtful addition.
The butter itself is raw, organic and non-fragrant. This is as minimalistic a product label as it can be.
The texture is creamy, and you don't really need to melt it to use. Just take a small pulp and rub it evenly on your face. It absorbs into the skin in seconds, and there's a
Even if you have extremely severe form of cystic acne that makes it impossible to use lotions and creams, this will work perfectly for you.
Apart from being a very effective emollient, this Shea butter can also be used for skin allergies, eczema and dermatitis.
What I liked
What I didn't like
This Tea Tree Oil Face Cream is a miracle product for hypersensitive skin and severe cystic acne.
If you are breaking out like crazy and relying on heavy antibiotics and corticosteroids to control it, we recommend that you give this a try.
It is a very mild, light face cream with a gel-like consistency. A small amount goes a long way, and it absorbs quickly into the skin.
Doesn’t weigh the skin down or feel heavy on the face at all.
More importantly, this will help control acne breakouts and keep your skin looking moist and supple even if you are using strong medication.
Moist mind you, not oily.
To add to it, it works for all skin types.
Apart from the tea tree oil, it contains Goldenseal (natural antibiotic) and Burdock root (rich in polyacetylenes).
That’s the perfect combination to stem acne in the bud.
What I liked
What I didn't like
The CeraVe Daily Moisturizing lotion range has been around for years, and this one, in particular, is for the sensitive and acne-prone skin.
It is their lightweight, fragrance and oil-free formula that locks in the moisture for 24 hours.
So, you won’t need to back this up with another moisturizing lotion, as people with severely dry skin usually do.
One application keeps you covered for a day. A patented controlled release delivery system (MultiVesicular Emulsion Technology) ensures that the essential nutrients are slowly released over a 24-hour period.
The primary ingredient is hyaluronic acid, and there are three ceramides (1,3,6-II) that help create a barrier that locks moisture in.
There is no fragrance or thickness to the lotion. It's just like applying water to the skin. Just disappears into the skin in seconds and keeps it looking supple and soft all day.
You can also use this as a night cream if need be along with your acne or topical eczema medications.
One bottle lasts for months. Great pricing too!
What I liked
What I didn't like
Lavo’s facial moisturizer has a slightly creamy texture that doesn’t feel overly heavy on the face.
The primary ingredients are botanical and non-comedogenic, making this an excellent choice for acne-prone, combination and oily skin types.
There’s hyaluronic acid, Vitamins A, B, C, & D, Aloe Vera, Hazelnut, Wheat Germ, Safflower, Avocado oil. Despite the natural oils, it doesn’t leave your skin shiny. In fact, it has a slight mattifying effect when applied.
Apart from the hydrating effects, it can also be used under a variety of makeup. That’s because it contains a compound called Azulene that’s extracted from Chamomile.
This creates an invisible protective barrier on the skin that blocks out acne-causing bacteria and other toxic ingredients in makeup that often clog pores and cause comedones.
Overall, the formula is very effective for moisturizing, while controlling acne breakouts and soothing the skin.
What I liked
What I didn't like
There are many reasons why one would want to switch over to a non-comedogenic moisturizer. So, we have curated a diverse list of products that address the most common scenarios suited for such products.
The Neutrogena Hydro Boost, for example, is perfect for use with dry skin. It is gentle, light and absorbs easily into the skin. Irrespective of whether you have dry skin caused due to acne medications or are genetically predisposed towards it, this will retain the softness and suppleness of the skin.
Similarly, the CeraVe Daily moisturizing lotion is perfect for sensitive skin. It is a hyaluronic acid based moisturizer that will severely minimize the risk of breakouts. It is a trusted brand, and the moisturizer keeps you covered for 24 hours.
Acne prone skin users will love the Tea Tree Oil Skin Cream from Era Organics. It even works for the most extreme cases of cystic acne, mind you.
The Lavo Facial Moisturizer is perfect for both oily and Combination skin types.
Last but not the least, we have the unrefined Shea butter, that can be used with all of the above-mentioned skin types. What's better is that it can even be used for your hair.
We hope that this blog post helps you understand non-comedogenic products better and make an informed decision about what moisturizer to choose.