The 10 Best Salicylic Acid Moisturizers (2020 Update)

8 min readwritten by Tom Qiao

If you’re looking for the best salicylic acid moisturizer, you’re in the right place!

ⓘ I’ll help you find the right salicylic acid moisturizer for your needs and budget!

RELATED:

What Are The Best Salicylic Acid Moisturizers?

Here are my top picks for the best salicylic acid moisturizers:

  1. Best Overall Moisturizer: Aveeno Clear Complexion Daily Moisturizer
  2. Best Budget Moisturizer: Clean & Clear Dual Action Moisturizer
  3. Most Popular Moisturizer: Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Moisturizer Pink Grapefruit
  4. Best Natural Formula: Burt’s Bees Natural Acne Solutions Daily Moisturizing Lotion
  5. Best Gel Moisturizer: Murad Clarifying Oil-Free Water Gel
  6. Best for Oily Skin: Caudalie Vinopure Skin Perfecting Mattifying Fluid
  7. Best for Enlarged Pores: Bioderma Sébium Pore Refiner
  8. Best for Smoother Skin: Korres Pomegranate Pore Blurring Gel Moisturizer
  9. Best for Psoriasis: CeraVe Psoriasis Moisturizing Cream
  10. Best for Keratosis Pilaris & Eczema: CeraVe SA Lotion for Rough & Bumpy Skin

1

BEST OVERALL MOISTURIZER

Aveeno
Clear Complexion
Daily Moisturizer

Get It @ Amazon


Best For: Blemish-Prone Skin

Key Ingredients:
• 0.5% Salicylic Acid
• Total Soy Complex

Key Features:
• Oil-Free
• Non-Comedogenic
• Hypoallergenic

Aveeno is one of the most trusted drugstore brands, especially when it comes to high-quality moisturizers.

With 3,000+ reviews on Amazon, the Clear Complexion Daily Moisturizer is a bestseller with 0.5% salicylic acid for clearing up breakouts and preventing new pimples.

In addition, Aveeno’s unique soy extract helps correct uneven skin tone and fade post-acne marks, according to evidence from two clinical studies (Hollinger, 2018).

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My Verdict: If you need an all-around moisturizer to control breakouts, hydrate dry skin, and fade dark spots, Aveeno Clear Complexion Daily Moisturizer checks all the boxes!

2

BEST BUDGET MOISTURIZER

Clean & Clear
Dual Action Moisturizer

Get It @ Amazon


Best For: Gentle Hydration

Key Ingredient:
• 0.5% Salicylic Acid

Key Features:
• Oil-Free
• Non-Greasy Texture

Clean & Clear is a brand that many of us grew up with during our teenage years of constant acne breakouts.

I used to buy the Dual Action Moisturizer regularly as part of Clean & Clear’s Daily Skincare Essential Kit.

It’s a light moisturizer that helps keep your skin hydrated, especially if you’re using drying acne treatments with benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or retinoids.

Personally, I always get a tingling sensation on my cheeks when I use this product. It’s not a deal-breaker, but if you have sensitive skin, I’d recommend Burt’s Bees instead.

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My Verdict: For the price ($5), Clean & Clear Dual Action Moisturizer is a great value product with 0.5% salicylic acid to unclog blocked pores and clear away blemishes.

3

MOST POPULAR MOISTURIZER

Neutrogena
Oil-Free Acne Moisturizer Pink Grapefruit

Get It @ Amazon


Best For: Clearing Breakouts

Key Ingredients:
• 0.5% Salicylic Acid
• Grapefruit Extract

Key Features:
• Oil-Free
• Non-Comedogenic
• Non-Greasy Texture

I’ve definitely tried my fair share of Neutrogena products in the past, including their cleansers, toners, and lotions, but I’ve never found a single product that I really loved.

Still, even I can’t deny that their Oil-Free Acne Moisturizer Pink Grapefruit is the #1 bestseller on Amazon right now with over 4,000 reviews and counting.

In addition to 0.5% salicylic acid, Neutrogena included grapefruit extract (primarily for fragrance, though).

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My Verdict: If you need a simple and affordable oil-free moisturizer that won’t clog pores and clears up breakouts, Neutrogena is a good option with over 4,000 reviews.

4

BEST NATURAL FORMULA

Burt’s Bees
Natural Acne Solutions
Daily Moisturizing Lotion

Get It @ Amazon


Best For: Reducing Redness

Key Ingredients:
• 1.0% Natural Salicylic Acid
• Beeswax
• Witch Hazel
• Lemongrass Extract
• Goldenseal Extract
• Hops Extract

Key Features:
• 98.9% Natural
• Non-Comedogenic
• No Harsh Ingredients

Known for their bestselling beeswax lip balms, Burt’s Bees has since expanded into skincare and makeup products.

The Natural Acne Solutions line is one of their biggest hits with over 2,500+ reviews on Amazon, featuring a 98.9% natural formula with ingredients like willow bark extract, a source of naturally occurring salicylic acid.

In particular, Burt’s Bees Daily Moisturizing Lotion helps reduce redness and soothe skin with botanical extracts of beeswax, lemongrass, goldenseal, and hops.

Witch hazel, an anti-inflammatory astringent, rounds out the formula to fight acne and inflammation (Thring, 2011).

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My Verdict: If you want a clean formula with natural ingredients or if drugstore brands are causing you breakouts, I’d recommend switching over to Burt’s Bees instead.

5

BEST GEL MOISTURIZER

Murad
Clarifying Oil-Free
Water Gel

Get It @ Murad, Amazon


Best For: Eliminating Acne, including “Maskne”

Key Ingredients:
• Salicylic Acid
• Hyaluronic Acid
• Korean Red Pine Extract
• Ginger Root Extract

Key Features:
• Oil-Free
• Non-Comedogenic
• Non-Greasy Texture

Released in July 2020, the new Murad Clarifying Oil-Free Water Gel is designed to balance your microbiome (the millions and millions of bacteria living on your skin).

This gel moisturizer features salicylic acid for exfoliation, sustained release hyaluronic acid for intense hydration, Korean red pine extract to interrupt bacteria growth, and ginger root extract to soothe irritated skin.

According to Murad, 92% noticed a clearer complexion after 4 weeks and skin analysis under UV light showed a dramatic reduction in bacteria residue (see below), which means fewer breakouts and healthier-looking skin.

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My Verdict: If you’re looking for the latest-and-greatest in acne treatment, Murad’s newest Clarifying Oil-Free Water Gel might be the answer to your acne problems.

6

BEST FOR OILY SKIN

Caudalie
Vinopure Skin Perfecting Mattifying Fluid

Get It @ Caudalie, Amazon


Best For: Oily Skin Types, Enlarged Pores, Blemishes

Key Ingredients:
• Organic Rose Water
• Organic Essential Oils
• Natural Salicylic Acid
• Grape Polyphenols
• Natural Silica Powders

Key Features:
• Non-Comedogenic
• 97% Natural (10% Organic)
• No Parabens, Phthalates, Mineral Oil, or Phenoxyethanol

Whether you’re preparing for an important day or just want to look your best every day, a mattifying moisturizer like Caudalie Vinopure Skin Perfecting Mattifying Fluid can help absorb excess shine from oily skin, conceal pores and imperfections, and visibly refine skin texture.

Caudalie is known for its luxury grape-inspired products from France and this one is no exception.

Grape polyphenols from grape seed extract are blended with organic rose water, organic essential oils, and natural salicylic acid, for skin and sensory perfection.

Meanwhile, natural silica powders conceal blemishes and imperfections for a refined and mattified finish.

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My Verdict: If you’re looking for a moisturizer that both mattifies and helps improve your underlying skin problems, Caudalie is a fantastic option, especially for oily skin types.

7

BEST FOR ENLARGED PORES

Bioderma
Sébium Pore Refiner

Get It @ Amazon


Best For: Enlarged Pores

Key Ingredients:
• Silica Powders
• Anti-Reflection Particles
• Salicylic Acid
• Agaric Acid

Key Features:
• Non-Comedogenic
• Fluidactiv™ Complex
• D.A.F.™ Complex

Bioderma is another French skincare brand with an excellent mattifying moisturizer for reducing excess oils, tightening enlarged pores, and smoothing skin texture.

The Sébium Pore Refiner, as the name suggests, helps regulate the quality of sebum (your skin’s natural oils) to prevent clogged pores that eventually lead to acne.

An exclusive Fluidactiv™ Complex, invented by founder Jean-Noël Thorel, consists of lipophilic antioxidants that prevent sebum oxidation and thickening, allowing it to flow freely without forming comedones (Google Patents).

Silica powders and anti-reflection particles help correct shiny T-zone areas while salicylic acid treats blemishes and agaric acid minimizes pore appearance.

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My Verdict: If you want a mattifying moisturizer with world-class technology for under $20, Bioderma is an excellent choice that shrinks pores, prevents breakouts, and refines skin.

8

BEST FOR SMOOTHER SKIN

Korres Pomegranate Pore Blurring Gel Moisturizer

Get It @ Amazon


Best For: Baby-Smooth Skin

Key Ingredients:
• 15% Pomegranate Water
• Pomegranate Enzymes
• Salicylic Acid
• Willowherb Extract

Key Features:
• Dermatologist Tested
• Gel Cream Texture
• Recyclable Packaging
• Cruelty Free

From the sunny shores of Greece comes a skincare brand that combines tradition with natural ingredients.

Founded in 1996 by Giorgios Korres, the KORRES brand features traditional Greek botanicals like Olympus Tea while avoiding 2,000+ potentially toxic ingredients.

The Pomegranate Pore Blurring Gel Moisturizer is full of fruity goodness with 15% pomegratate water along with pomegrate enzymes rich in antioxidants and tannins to regenerate skin cells and promote a healthy glow.

Meanwhile, salicylic acid dissolves dead skin cells and willowherb extract reduces oiliness and pore sizes.

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My Verdict: While you can’t travel to Greece during this pandemic, you can still give your skin a virtual vacation with the fruity Pomegranate Pore Blurring Gel Moisturizer.

9

BEST FOR PSORIASIS

CeraVe Psoriasis Moisturizing Cream

Get It @ Amazon


Best For: Psoriasis

Key Ingredients:
• 2% Salicylic Acid
• Lactic Acid
• Niacinamide
• 3 Essential Ceramides
• Shea Butter & 5% Urea

Key Features:
• Recognized by the National Psoriasis Foundation
• Non-Comedogenic
• Fragrance-Free

Psoriasis is an inflammatory disease that causes your body’s skin cells to regenerate much faster than normal.

Normal skin cells turnover in a month’s time, but psoriasis causes them to do this in only 3-4 days. And instead of shedding, these skin cells pile up to form scaly plaques that may itch, burn, or sting (source: Psoriasis.org).

While the root cause of psoriasis is unknown, products like CeraVe can help relieve psoriasis symptoms by removing scaly plaques with 2% salicylic acid while restoring your skin barrier with 3 essential ceramides.

Meanwhile, niacinamide calms inflammation, lactic acid provides gentle exfoliation, and shea butter & 5% urea restores hydration to dry, cracked skin.

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My Verdict: If you’re struggling with psoriasis, use CeraVe’s Psoriasis Moisturizing Cream to remove scaly plaques and relieve common symptoms like itching, burning, and stinging.

10

BEST FOR KERATOSIS PILARIS & ECZEMA

CeraVe SA Lotion For
Rough & Bumpy Skin

Get It @ Amazon


Best For: Keratosis Pilaris, Eczema, Dry & Rough Skin

Key Ingredients:
Salicylic Acid
Lactic Acid
Hyaluronic Acid
Vitamin D
3 Essential Ceramides

Key Features:
• Accepted by the National Eczema Association
• Non-Comedogenic
• Hypoallergenic
• Fragrance-Free

For keratosis pilaris (KP) and eczema, CeraVe has another great product called SA Lotion for Rough & Bumpy Skin.

This salicylic acid lotion helps smooth and soothe dry skin on your legs, elbows, and knees, while reducing the bumps and itchiness associated with KP and eczema.

Lactic acid works together with salicylic acid to exfoliate dead skin cells and open up keratin plugs, the root cause of keratosis pilaris and eczema (source: Mayo Clinic).

Hyaluronic acid and essential ceramides 1, 3, and 6-II help hydrate and replenish your skin’s natural barrier.

Overall, SA Lotion is an excellent remedy for dry skin and has received over 8,000 reviews on Amazon!

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My Verdict: If you want an affordable body lotion that treats keratosis pilaris and eczema, look no further than CeraVe SA Lotion for Rough & Bumpy Skin.

Editor & Chief Detective at TheDermDetective.com

Hi there! I've had skin problems almost all my life, from acne to scars to KP and more. That's why I created TheDermDetective.com to help you SOLVE YOUR SKIN MYSTERY with science and in-depth investigations! 🕵️‍♂️

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