Main content
product shot of Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream


Kiehl’s Best Face Moisturizers For Blemish-Prone Skin

Moisturizer isn’t just for dry skin. Oily skin needs hydration, too. Here, discover Kiehl’s best lightweight, non-greasy moisturizers for blemish-prone skin.

For those with blemish-prone skin, the idea of using a moisturizer every day may seem counterintuitive. After all, blemish-prone skin often tends to be on the oilier side. It’s easy to assume that adding more products on top of oily skin would just clog pores and worsen breakouts. In reality, however, excess oil does not equate to hydrated skin. Often, the opposite is true.

Research indicates that the skin tends to produce more oil when it’s dry.I This means that skimping on the moisturizer could actually be one of the causes of your breakouts. A lack of essential moisture can also damage the skin’s natural moisture barrier, which can lead to dry skin. Thankfully, the solution is simple: Moisturizing.

Of course, it’s still crucial to use a formula that’s designed for your skin type (an ultra-rich face cream, for example, will likely be too heavy on an already-oily complexion). If that seems like a lot to take into consideration, don’t worry. We’ve done all the heavy lifting for you. Ahead, we’re breaking down our best moisturizers for blemish-prone skin. Read on to find our best moisturizer to add to your routine and learn how to use it for hydrated, healthy-looking skin.

Tip #1:

Start With a Non-Drying Cleanser

Before moisturizing, you’ll want to make sure your skin is clean and free of pore-clogging debris, dirt, or excess oil. We recommend reaching for a mild cleanser that removes these impurities without stripping the skin’s natural moisture barrier. Try Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Cleanser, which is formulated for problem skin prone to visible redness and discomfort. The gentle formula is made with 96% naturally-derived* ingredients and is non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog your pores. Use it to wash your face, then follow up with your favorite toner for fresh-feeling skin.

*We consider ingredients to be naturally-derived if they retain more than 50% of their molecular structure after being processed from a natural source.

Tip #2:

Layer On a Hydrating Serum

If you’re prone to breakouts, there’s a good chance you use skincare products that contain breakout-fighting ingredients, like benzoyl peroxide. While these ingredients help manage blemishes, they can be drying if used improperly. Make sure your skin stays hydrated with a lightweight hydrating serum, like Hydro-Plumping Hydrating Serum. This unique facial serum helps maintain skin hydration. When used regularly, it also helps improve the skin’s overall texture.

Smooth a small amount of this moisturizing serum onto damp skin after cleansing and toning for hydrated, visibly plumper skin over time.

Tip #3:

Reach For a Lightweight Moisturizer

After applying your facial serum, you’re ready for your moisturizer. Keep reading to find our best Kiehl’s moisturizer for your skin’s specific needs.

For All Blemish-Prone Skin:

Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream

If your skin is oily or prone to blemishes, a non-greasy moisturizer is essential. Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream will give your skin the hydration it needs without a heavy or sticky feel. The alcohol-free formula—one of our best moisturizers for oily skin—absorbs quickly, leaving your skin hydrated for up to 24 hours. When used consistently, it helps reduce the appearance of enlarged pores and helps control shine and reveal healthier-looking skin over time. Apply a generous layer to your face and neck as the last step in your daily skincare routine for skin that feels fresh, hydrated, and balanced.

For Active Breakouts:

Breakout Control Acne Treatment Facial Lotion

When you’re breaking out, try reaching for a moisturizer designed to help combat blemishes, like Breakout Control Acne Treatment Facial Lotion. This moisturizer for acne-prone skin contains 1.5% salicylic acid and niacinamide and helps improve the look and feel of blemished skin. The non-comedogenic formula is clinically-demonstrated to help reduce acne blemishes and reduce rough texture, while consistent use also helps prevent future breakouts. Use it as your daily moisturizer or as needed to help reveal clearer, more even-looking skin.

For Sensitive Skin:

Centella Sensitive Cica-Cream

An improperly functioning skin barrier can cause excessive dryness. A mild, ultra-nourishing moisturizer, like Centella Sensitive Cica-Cream, can help address this issue for more comfortable-feeling skin. This ultra-gentle moisturizer contains Centella asiatica extract and ceramides, the latter of which is a key component of your skin’s natural moisture barrier. The rich, creamy formula absorbs easily and provides continuous 48-hour hydration. It’s clinically-demonstrated to help repair the skin’s natural moisture barrier and is suitable even for sensitive skin.

For Dull Skin:

Clearly Corrective Brightening & Smoothing Moisture Treatment

Regular exfoliation is one of the most effective ways to manage dull-looking skin. However, physical exfoliants, like face scrubs, can be irritating to those with blemish-prone skin. Instead, reach for a moisturizer that contains chemical exfoliants, such as Clearly Corrective Brightening & Smoothing Moisture Treatment. The intensely hydrating moisturizer with glycolic acid provides continuous 24-hour hydration to improve the look and feel of dull, uneven skin. It’s clinically-demonstrated to help correct the appearance of skin discolorations (like post-blemish marks) and helps visibly boost clarity.*

*Results based on expert grading in an 8-week clinical study.

For Men’s Oily Skin:

Oil Eliminator 24-Hour Anti-Shine Moisturizer for Men

While anyone can have oily skin, it can be especially common amongst men. Men with oily skin may also experience related skin concerns, such as enlarged pores. To keep oily skin looking and feeling its best, we recommend men reach for a lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizer, like Oil Eliminator 24-Hour Anti-Shine Moisturizer For Men. This unique face lotion hydrates the skin while absorbing sweat and excess oil to help control shine for up to 24 hours. When used consistently, it also helps reduce the appearance of large, visible pores. You can use this moisturizer morning and night for smooth, clean-feeling skin.

Tip #4:

Try a Non-Comedogenic Face Oil

Regardless of your skin type, we recommend that everyone keep a non-comedogenic face oil on hand for times when your skin could use a little extra TLC. We know that the thought of putting oil on blemish-prone skin can be scary, but there’s no need to worry so long as you choose the right formula. For problem skin, we recommend Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Concentrate Face Oil, which is made with 100% naturally-derived* ingredients, including Cannabis sativa seed oil. The non-greasy formula helps balance hydration and strengthens the skin’s natural moisture barrier. It also helps improve the appearance of redness and discomfort for visibly calmer skin. As with all face oils, a little goes a long way: You only need two to three drops for your entire face. Pat it on after your moisturizer absorbs, and follow it up with a non-comedogenic sunscreen (like Super Fluid Daily UV Mineral Defense) before going outside.

*We consider ingredients to be naturally-derived if they retain more than 50% of their molecular structure after being processed from a natural source.

I. “Moisturizer: Why You May Need It if You Have Acne.” American Academy of Dermatology. 2021.

Orientation message
For the best experience, please turn your device