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8 Salicylic Acid Moisturizers That Replenish *and* Treat Oily & Acne-Prone Skin

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Best Salicylic Acid Moisturizers

People with oily skin and acne, and I’m guilty of having done this before myself, tend to shy away from moisturizing fearing that it’ll make the skin more oily or even congested. And with a major focus on acne treatments, they tend to dry out and dehydrate the skin, which results in either flaky skin or worsened acne. Then you have this annoying cycle of more acne and more dryness. The good thing is you don’t need to choose between hydrated skin and clear skin. The best salicylic acid moisturizers both replenish your skin and help with acne. And because most salicylic acid moisturizers, creams, and lotions are formulated for people with acne, the majority of them are oil-free too. So you can safely hydrate without clogging your pores.

Salicylic acid, as a beta hydroxy acid, is the most popular chemical exfoliant for oily and acne-prone skin. Because salicylic acid is oil-soluble, it has a better chance of penetrating into pores and unclogging them.

The benefits of salicylic acid include exfoliation, faster skin turnover, brighter skin tone, reduction and prevention of acne, and more. And moisturizers made with salicylic acid allow you to benefit from this ingredient while keeping the skin hydrated and clear.

And if you’ve ever used an acne cleanser or a face wash before, chances are there’s a salicylic acid moisturizer by the same brand. Some of the most popular acne cleansers, think Neutrogena and CeraVe, also have a salicylic acid cream in that same collection.

Even if you haven’t, no worries. Find below the best salicylic acid moisturizers out there.

Origins Clear Improvement Pore Clearing Moisturizer with Salicylic Acid

Origins Clear Improvement Pore Clearing Moisturizer with Salicylic Acid - Best Salicylic Acid Moisturizers
Best Salicylic Acid Moisturizer - Origins Clear Improvement

This is hands down the best salicylic acid moisturizer that is perfect for oily and acne-prone skin types. You get to hydrate your skin without clogging your pores. And you get to treat acne without needing a separate treatment. The oil-free daily moisturizer is formulated with 1% salicylic acid to target congested skin, reduce inflammation, and fade acne. It also has bamboo charcoal in it, which balances the skin and reduces oiliness. It’s basically an exfoliating moisturizer that absorbs easily and feels weightless on the skin.

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Daily Moisturizer

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Daily Moisturizer

This oil-free moisturizer, in addition to salicylic acid, also contains alpha-hydroxy acids. So the multi-acid formula multi-tasks big time. Glycolic, lactic, and other alpha-hydroxy acids promote skin turnover and help with acne and texture irregularities. The cream replenishes the skin with ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and squalane. And with improved moisture, the skin looks smoother and pores look smaller. The vegan formula leaves the skin plump, and over time, clear.

Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Oil-Free Acne Moisturizer

Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Oil-Free Acne Moisturizer - Best Drugstore Salicylic Acid Moisturizers

This tried and true drugstore moisturizer is formulated with 0.5% salicylic acid to tackle acne, congestion, pores, and blackheads. Again, it’s oil-free, non-comedogenic, and does not leave a greasy residue on the skin. Though it’s not fragrance-free, the scent is refreshing grapefruit, which feels nice. If you have very sensitive skin, you might want to scroll down for fragrance-free options. Other than that, pair this affordable moisturizer with a drugstore salicylic acid cleanser to get clear and smooth skin in no time.

CeraVe SA Lotion For Rough & Bumpy Skin

CeraVe SA Lotion For Rough & Bumpy Skin - Best Drugstore Salicylic Acid Moisturizers

Flaky skin on your body or acne on your back or chest can be as difficult to manage as acne on your face. Besides using a salicylic acid body wash, you can try a salicylic acid body lotion to supercharge your body care routine. Additionally, if you’re dealing with keratosis pilaris, you can also try salicylic acid body creams to get rid of those dead skin cells and flakiness. This lightweight, fragrance-free body lotion exfoliates with salicylic and lactic acids. And it keeps the skin soft and moisturized with ceramides and hyaluronic acid.

Murad Clarifying Water Gel

Murad Clarifying Water Gel - Best Salicylic Acid Moisturizers

This cooling salicylic acid moisturizer is gel-based, so it’s also the ideal formula for summer weather. The feather-light texture disappears into the skin and infuses it with a blend of humectants like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and several amino acids. It refines the skin texture with salicylic acid and soothes with anti-inflammatory ginger root extract. Target blemishes, dullness, textured skin, and hyperpigmentation without aggravating acne.

Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Clearing Jelly

Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Clearing Jelly

An even lighter texture, this jelly moisturizer made with salicylic acid is when you really don’t want to feel the weight of a product on your skin. But what I love about this is that the product is in line with the treatment. You know how acne medication or ointments that come in gel form are usually more effective, this is like that. The oil-free jelly moisturizer absorbs super fast and replenishes the skin. And the exfoliants, namely salicylic acid and glucosamine, help clear up the skin and brighten it while zinc PCA balances oil production.

Glamglow Superwatergel Triple-Acid Oil-Free Moisturizer

Glamglow Superwatergel Triple-Acid Oil-Free Moisturizer

You might think that Glamglow is for pretty face masks only, but their exfoliating toner and mask beg to differ. Similarly, this multi-acid moisturizer made with glycolic and salicylic acids sheds off the dead skin layer and clears up pores. Plus, it contains a lesser-known acid, pyruvic acid, to boost exfoliation, increase radiance, and reduce blemishes. Again, the oil-free gel moisturizer is great for hydrating oily and dehydrated skin without clogging pores.

Vichy Normaderm PhytoAction Acne Control Daily Face Moisturizer

Vichy Normaderm PhytoAction Acne Control Daily Face Moisturizer

Another moisturizer that has an acne cleanser in the same line, this French exfoliating moisturizer is packed with 2% salicylic acid. The active ingredient is formulated into an oil-free, hydrating base made with hyaluronic acid and skin-brightening vitamin C. The lotion texture disappears into the skin and the oil-free formula is perfect for reducing the visibility of pores and stopping acne at its tracks.

This concludes our round-up of the best moisturizers made with salicylic acid. And here’s your reminder to wear sunscreen daily as exfoliants can cause sun sensitivity.

Read Next: The Best Anti-Aging Products For Oily Skin

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