Moisturizer is arguably one of the most important products for good skin. The catch: There are a million moisturizers on the market. With so many options to choose from, finding the right moisturizer for your specific skin type can get a little tricky. If you have oily skin, we have good news for you today.
We asked five dermatologists to narrow down the list to the best drugstore moisturizers for oily skin, and naturally, we had to throw a few of our faves in the mix, too. These budget buys will de-clog your pores and control shine. Click through for the best drugstore moisturizers for oily skin—all $25 and under—and get ready to buy these in bulk.
Hold onto youthful, oil-free skin for as long as you can with this hydrating yet mattifying cream packed with green tea but not with parabens, silicones, or mineral oil. The 97% natural-derived formula feels cooling even on sensitive skin.
"There is a common misconception that if you have oily skin, you don't need a moisturizer. That is not true," says Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, MD, a board-certified NYC dermatologist. "Moisturizers provide the basic function of minimizing and preventing water loss through the upper layers of the skin. Not only does our skin naturally lose the ability to retain the moisture and protective lipids and oils in the skin with the natural aging process, but our daily activities such as washing the face and using acne products can further dehydrate the skin.
I tell my patients that dry acne is just as bad as oily acne. When skin is dry, there is a buildup of dead skin cells that can further clog pores, leading to acne. So moisturizing with a gentle, lightweight moisturizer is key for acne prone skin as well. For people with oily and acneic skin, I recommend a topical acne treatment followed by Differin Balancing Moisturizer. It's a gentle, hypoallergenic formula that hydrates and helps balance moisture in your skin. It is noncomedogenic, hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free."
"With all the cosmeceutical options available, there is a wide range of intensity when deciding to minimize oiliness," explains Omar Noor, MD, FAAD, of Rao Dermatology. "An individual, man or woman, has to appreciate that not all products work at the same intensity level and therefore can be too rough or irritating to their skin. This is why I like Cetaphil's DermaControl Oil Control Moisturizer. It is a balance of effectiveness while still having an elegant vehicle to deliver that effectiveness."
"Many of those with oily skin do not realize that they still need to moisturize to help with the overall health, texture, and appearance of their skin," says Shari Marchbein, MD, FAAD. "Not to mention that many contain sunscreen, antioxidants, and anti-pollutants for an extra-protective barrier. For oily skin, and especially those who are acne-prone, it is important to look for moisturizers labeled as oil-free or noncomedogenic. Neutrogena Healthy Defense SPF 50 has been my go-to for more than a decade.
I find it cosmetically elegant and lightweight enough to wear under makeup. It also contains helioplex, which gives broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection."
There are a few keywords to familiarize yourself with when looking on the shelves of a drugstore: non-greasy, noncomedogenic, and non-irritating. This moisturizer has them all. Using dermatologist-tested ceramides, this creamy lather deeply penetrates and moisturizes the skin with hardworking ingredients that won't affect sensitive skin.
"I like the Whamisa by Glow Recipe Green Tea Moisturizer," suggests dermatologic surgeon Dendy Engelman, MD. "It is a lightweight, oil-free, fast-absorbing moisturizer that leaves skin hydrated without heaviness. Another great callout is that it is formulated with antioxidant-rich green tea, a natural anti-inflammatory, and kale to brighten and refine troubled skin, with high concentrations of vitamins A and C."
"I can't express the importance of using a moisturizer even when one's skin is oily," says Adam Friedman, MD, and associate professor of dermatology at George Washington School of Medicine. "Oil barely contributes to skin hydration, which is why more oily acne suffers are both oily and dry (aka barrier disrupted) at the same time. That said, it's not an easy sell to get an oily faced individual to buy into this and use a moisturizer to damp skin, which is the right way to do it. It's always important to give options as everyone's skin biology is a tad different—so the two brands I recommend are Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Control Moisturizer ($12) and La-Roche Posay Effaclar Mat Oil-Free Mattifying Moisturizer.
Both are designed specifically for oilier skin, with ingredients that can bind or break up sebum like diisopropyl sebacate, silicates, and starches to help reduce shine rather than contribute to it. Both are produced by companies that have a long-standing history of supporting their marketing claims with scientific evidence, which is my general rule for recommended products: Go with the brands that can put their money where the science is."
You can tackle a couple of skin concerns in one with this multitasking moisturizer that works to control oil buildup while also fighting signs of wrinkles and fine lines. Packed with a bunch of vitamins, this gentle cream will boost your skin's radiance.
Not your typical moisturizer, this cooling gel consistency works best when you pop it into your fridge. Its oil-free formula will melt right into your skin quickly and keep your upper layers hydrated and supple for hours on end. Made with hyaluronic acid, this dry-skin savior will amp up your glow.
Don't let the price fool you. This budget-friendly buy is packed with powerful ingredients that'll give your oily-prone skin a break. If you also deal with acne, the inclusion of its salicylic acid acne medicine will combat future breakouts.
Next: The best skincare tips for oily skin.
This story was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.