Skin Care

The Benefits And Importance Of Non-Comedogenic Moisturizers For Healthy Skin

Skin care jargon everywhere and struggling to find the right product? Let’s decode non-comedogenic moisturizers!

Written by Nivin Rose

On Sep 9, 2023 – 10 minutes read

oil free moisturizers

Smooth, supple, glowing skin – every girl’s dream, but oh so hard to achieve. The charm of naturally healthy, polished skin is, without doubt, irreplaceable. In today’s world and fast-paced lifestyle, maintaining one’s skin takes an army! Lucky for us though, technology has advanced, and the market is flooded with products in all shapes, names, and sizes. Our topic for today – non-comedogenic moisturizers.

In addition to a balanced lifestyle, it is vital to shape a skin routine that fits one’s skin condition, habits, and lifestyle. The first and most important step for this is to identify one’s skin type and condition thoroughly and find remedial solutions accordingly.

As many of you skin care enthusiasts have already done your share of the research, you may have come across terms like oily and combination skin. So let’s get nerdy and delve deeper into the science behind comedogenic and non-comedogenic moisturizers and how it affect different skin types.

Understanding Non-Comedogenic Moisturizers (What Does Non-Comedogenic Mean?)

Though it sounds highly jargonistic, the concept of comedogenicity is fairly straightforward. The word comedogenic, by definition, means, ‘the likelihood of a cosmetic ingredient to clog skin pores’. Hence the more comedogenic a product is, the more likely it is to cause blackheads, whiteheads, and acne (1). 

Understanding Non-Comedogenic Moisturizers

You may wonder then, why can one not avoid comedogenic moisturizers altogether. It is not so simple. In today’s market for skin cosmetics, every other brand claims to be non-comedogenic and specially formulated products like faces washes for acne-prone skin. And the brands that provide great visible results in a short time are at the luxury end of the spectrum. So it is necessary to understand how the comedogenicity of a particular product would affect your particular skin and choose accordingly.

The factor of comedogenicity affects greatly oily, combination blackhead, and acne-prone skin. How? Let’s break it down in the following sections.

Acne-Prone Skin And How Comedogenic Products Affect Them

Acne, pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads break out when tiny pores of the skin get clogged and oxidized. Hence if your skin is acne-prone, it also means your skin pores tend to get clogged quickly. This explains why non-comedogenic products are recommended specifically for acne-prone skin. 

How To Non Comedogenic Moisturizers Differ From Regular Moisturizers

Non-comedogenic moisturizers are devoid of certain ingredients that have been found to trigger acne. A thumb rule to identify the comedogenicity of an ingredient is to check how thick and oily it is. For example, grapeseed oil is less comedogenic as compared to coconut oil. This does not mean coconut oil is bad for the skin altogether. In fact, coconut oil is found to have incredible benefits when used on dry, scaly skin. 

Another indicator, though not standardized, is the comedogenicity scale from 0 to 5, where 0 to 2 are considered non-comedogenic. 

Benefits Of Non-Comedogenic Moisturizers

As mentioned earlier, non-comedogenic moisturizers reduce clogging skin types that are already prone to break-out. Non-comedogenic moisturizers are also inherently lighter in texture and easily absorbed into the skin, hence making it easier to layer other products over the skin, without the heavy, greasy look. 

How does comedogenicity affect different skin types?

Many brands that target oily skin conditions, also incorporate active ingredients that help unclog pores as well. Hero ingredients to look for are benzoyl peroxide for pimple outbreaks (3), salicylic acid for blackhead and whitehead-prone skin, resorcinol, and sulfur. These ingredients are almost watery in texture, which makes the moisturizer light and non-greasy.

For dry skin conditions, mild non-comedogenic oils are the best fit. They keep the skin soft and supple without clogging out pores. The best non-comedogenic oils to check out are grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil, and hemp seed oil.

Non-comedogenic Ingredients And Their Benefits

No skin is the same. Therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to acne problems. The active ingredients in non-comedogenic moisturizers are highly beneficial when used for the right skin type. But if used incorrectly, they may dry out the skin entirely or even cause rashes and spots. Due care needs to be taken when trying a new product on the skin and the same applies to non-comedogenic products.

Inherently dry skin usually is not as prone to break out as oily skin. But usage of drying agents on such skin provokes the skin to produce extra sebum to compensate. Hence dry skin needs to be kept moisturized with light oil-based products. This is where enriched oils like grapeseed, sunflower oil, neem oil, tea tree oil, etc. can be used. Many of them, like tea tree oil for example, have antibacterial properties as well, that help keep the skin free from infections.

Oily and Combination skin, on the other hand, produces slightly to significantly greater sebum and is more prone to acne. Therefore they need moisturizers that do not add to the gunk, balance out the pH, and hydrate the skin sufficiently so as to control the natural oil production of the skin. A combination of salicylic acid, niacinamide, and glycolic acid in the right quantity and layering can do wonders for such skin types. Water and gel-based moisturizers are great non-comedogenic alternatives for such types as they absorb into the skin layer and do not clog the pores.

Can Non-Comedogenic Moisturizer Cause Allergies?

Non-comedogenic moisturizers are usually considered safer to use thanks to their mild nature. However, if the person is allergic to any of the ingredients, the product might not be suitable for him or her.

You may come across products labeled as hypoallergenic which means the ingredients in the product are less likely to cause allergies for most people. But each ingredient works differently for each person and you would never know for sure without a patch test.

The Wide Variety – Non-Comedogenic Moisturizers And Their Variants

Non Comedogenic moisturizers, today come in many variants and are specifically designed for each skin type. While some provide basic moisturizing without the grease for combination skin, some treat the skin by acting on infection-causing microbes and balancing the skin’s pH levels. Others are slightly tinted moisturizers to be used as a daily wear base underneath makeup. With the overwhelming amount of products available and their marketing jargon, it can get confusing. The key to nailing the most suitable product is identifying the person’s current skin condition inside out first and attending to it accordingly.

What Are Some Of The Best Non-Comedogenic Moisturizers In The Market? 

While the best would be a personal choice here are some exceptionally well-performing moisturizing creams and gels that are lightweight and highly effective

1. Best Overall: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Moisturizer

With its lightweight consistency and richness of hyaluronic acid, this product is a great non-comedogenic moisturizer for oily and combination skin. It gets absorbed into the skin easily and moisturizes without leaving a greasy residue over the skin.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost

Price: $16.45

Pros – Oil-free formula is suitable for oily skin. An ingredient called dimethicone is present in the product that gives the skin a smooth primed look.

Cons – Highly scented, so may not be suitable for all. The product also lacks richness and the active ingredient sodium hyaluronate ranks very low in the ingredient list.

2. Best Glowy Non-Comedogenic Moisturizers:
Cay Skin Isle Glow Face Moisturizer

This product leaves a pearlescent glowy finish and can be worn under makeup or without it. The moisturizer is great for sensitive skin, as it is silicone and fragrance-free.

Cay Skin Isle Glow Face Moisturizer At Sephora - Non-Comedogenic Moisturizers

Price: $34

Pros – No white cast and suitable for all skin tones. Leaves the skin looking illuminated with its glowy finish. Soft and non-greasy in texture

Cons – Might not be suitable, if you are not into litter glitter. The glitter particles are quite visible and need to be blended out if used beneath the foundation.

3. Best Splurge: MD Solar Sciences Daily Perfecting Moisturizer

If you are in the mood to give your skin a luxurious treat, look no further! This product has a creamy, yet non-greasy formula that moisturizes the skin inside out. And the fragrance is to die for!

MD Solar Sciences Daily Perfecting Moisturizer At Amazon

Price: $76

Pros – All-day hydration and super light texture that blends into the skin. Contains powerful antioxidants that reduce signs of UV-induced skin damage

Cons – Can be too light for super dry skin types. Not the perfect moisturizer for harsh winters. The lavender scent might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

4. Best LightWeight: Shiseido Essential Energy Hydrating Day Cream

One of the best lightweight moisturizers on the market, this product is easily absorbed into the skin. The hydrating serum in it boosts the skin from within and makes it supple.

Shiseido Essential Energy Hydrating Day Cream At Amazon - Non-Comedogenic Moisturizers

Price: $50

Pros – The rich hyaluronic acid enriched formula that deeply nourishes the skin.  Sinks in quickly and provides instant hydration.

Cons – The product is scented and hence might not be suitable for everyone. 

5. Best Non-Comedogenic Moisturizer For Sensitive Skin:
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer UV

With an amazing non-greasy formula, this product is a great moisturizer and also a  potent treatment for acne-prone sensitive skin. Rich with the goodness of niacinamide and glycerine, this product provides all-day hydration and protects the skin barrier.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer UV At Amazon - Non-Comedogenic Moisturizers

Price: $47.39

Pros – Mild, fragrance-free formula suitable for sensitive skin. Leaves the skin feeling dewy and hydrated.

Cons – Consistency might be too thick for some.

6. Best Refillable Non-Comedogenic Moisturizer:
Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Moisturizer

This is a great product for the skin and with its twist and pump method is a convenient alternative for travelers.

Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Moisturizer At Sephora

Price: $39

Pros – Packed with the goodness of hyaluronic acid and niacinamide that helps in dark spot correction(2) . Light, easy-to-absorb texture.

Cons – The link tint might not be suitable for all skin tones.

7. Best For Oily Skin: Skinfix Barrier + Skin Barrier Niacinamide Restoring Gel Cream

Great moisturizer for oily skin. The gel formula has many antibacterial properties that fight against microbial activity making it a perfect fit for blush-prone skin.

Skinfix Barrier + Skin Barrier - Non-Comedogenic Moisturizers

Price: $48

Pros – Powerful ceramides repair the skin barrier by acting on depleting lipid cells.

Cons – Not a very light moisturizer and hence is not suitable for humid temperatures

8. Best Non-Comedogenic Moisturizer For Dry Skin:
Skinfix Face Cream

Enriched with Shea Butter and hyaluronic acid, this moisturizer does not clog the pores, but nourishes and deeply hydrates the skin. 

Skinfix Barrier + Skin Barrier Niacinamide Restoring Gel Cream At Sephora - Non-Comedogenic Moisturizers

Price: $20-$54

Pros – One of the best creams available for skin barrier repair. Keeps the skin hydrated and rejuvenated.

Cons – A bit on the pricier side.

Non-Comedogenic Moisturizers:
9. Best Luxury: Tatcha The Water Cream

This luxurious cream helps in reducing pore size and targets aging skin. A great moisturizer that is fast absorbing and non-comedogenic.

Tatcha The Water Cream At Amazon - Non-Comedogenic Moisturizers

Price: $23

Pros – Great for aging skin and rich with antioxidants, this product hydrates the skin without leaving it feeling greasy.

Cons – Is pricey and hence a luxury product.

10. Best Balm: REN Clean Skincare Evercalm Recovery Balm At Amazon

One of the best overnight recovery balms that nourishes the skin without clogging the pores. Specially formulated for stressed, sensitive skin, this moisturizer is light in texture and great for layering overnight serums.

REN Clean Skincare Evercalm Recovery Balm At Amazon - Non-Comedogenic Moisturizers

Price: $29

Pros – A great overnight cream to deeply nourish the skin.

Cons – A bit too thick to be used in the daytime, as the product takes a while to sink in.


What Is A Non-comedogenic Moisturizer?

Non-comedogenic moisturizers are light-textured moisturizers that can be water, gel, or oil-based, but do not clog the pores of the skin and cause pimples, blackheads, and acne.

How Do I Know If My Moisturizer Is Non-comedogenic?

One way of knowing this is by looking at its formula and texture, non-comedogenic moisturizers are usually lighter in consistency and fast absorbing. Another method is by looking at its scale of comedogenicity, where 0-2 are considered non-comedogenic. In any case, the most reliable way to know is to test it on your skin, to see whether it clogs the pores and causes the skin to break out.

How Do You Moisturize Your Face Without Clogging Pores?

There are many non-comedogenic products specifically designed for each skin type and condition that moisturize the skin deeply but do not clog the pores.

What Moisturizer Does Not Have Pore-clogging Ingredients?

Non-comedogenic moisturizers do not have clogging ingredients. They are made of much lighter usually water-based ingredients that absorb into the skin and deeply nourish from within.


With the plethora of information and a new product reaching supermarket shelves every single day, selecting the right product for the skin may seem like a tedious product. But using the right product for the skin is as important as following a rigid skin care routine. At the end of the day, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Listen to what your skin truly needs and tend to it. Also, remember to have some fun!

  1. Goodman, Greg. "Cleansing and moisturizing in acne patients." American journal of clinical dermatology 10.Suppl 1 (2009): 1-6.
  2. Gueniche, A., et al. "A dermocosmetic formulation containing Vichy volcanic mineralizing water, Vitreoscilla filiformis extract, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E regenerates and repairs acutely stressed skin." Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology 36 (2022): 26-34.
  3. Burkhart, Craig G., and Craig N. Burkhart. "Treatment of acne vulgaris without antibiotics: tertiary amine–benzoyl peroxide combination vs. benzoyl peroxide alone (Proactiv Solution™)." International journal of dermatology 46.1 (2007): 89-93.

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Nivin rose

Nivin is a lifestyle advisor who is always up to date in the latest trends in fashion, beauty, and lifestyle – a trusted voice for women across ages.

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