If you’re on a quest to find the best moisturizer for closed comedones, look no further. I’m here to share several ones that can help prevent these stubborn bumps.
I’ll list suitable creams that help with prevention, and may also have ingredients that treat whiteheads — check the individual reviews for more information on that.
And further down, you’ll find other effective ways to get rid of closed comedones quickly and keep your pores clean as simply using a moisturizer may not be effective, nor will it give fast enough results.
What this article will cover:
- Understanding closed comedones — what are they, how are they formed?
- Essential qualities that good moisturizers for whiteheads must have.
- The best moisturizers for closed comedones for each skin type.
- Other ways to combat closed comedones quickly and effectively.
Let’s dive right into the answers without any delay, shall we?
What are closed comedones?
Closed comedones, often referred to as whiteheads, are a type of acne that forms when oil (sebum) and dead skin cells block a hair follicle, causing tiny little bumps under the skin.
Unlike regular comedonal acne, which usually has a pus-like tip, closed comedones have a small, white bump and don’t break open as easily, so don’t even attempt to extract them.
They are more stubborn and can linger under the skin for weeks or even months if not treated properly.
So, whiteheads are closed comedones, and blackheads are open comedones.
Best face moisturizers for closed comedones
Best moisturizers for closed comedones for oily skin
Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel
The Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel is a moisturizing and soothing gel that combines the natural power of aloe vera and propolis extract.
It comes in a nice, big tube of 3.38 fl oz (approximately 100 ml), and is priced at around $14.90 – great value for its price!
What sets this soothing gel apart is its minimalistic, yet effective ingredient list.
Aloe vera extract is well-known for its hydrating and soothing qualities, allowing wounds to heal faster (great for acne-prone skin!).
This is combined with propolis extract, renowned for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects.
Together, these ingredients work synergistically to soothe and hydrate the skin, while also helping to manage blemishes and irritation. The cream is great to prevent the little bumps on your skin.
What we like:
- The simple formula is all your oily skin can need from a daily moisturizer — it’s light, soaks in quickly, and has no heavy, pore-clogging oils and sebum in it — perfect if you want to prevent closed comedones.
- Great value for money – at $4.41 per fl oz, it’s an affordable option for such an effective product. A tube can last anywhere from two to three months of consistent use.
- Versatile – It’s suitable for normal, combination, sensitive, oily, acne-prone skin, which forms a wide audience for this moisturizer.
- I love the fact that this gel doesn’t feel sticky or oily, yet offers a good amount of hydration. It dries down well and hydrates for hours.
What to consider:
- People with dry skin will not find this moisturizer very effective. My combination skin tends to crave some hydration after a few hours if I don’t use moisturizing sunscreen.
- This facial moisturizer is great for layering underneath another product. If you’re layering your moisturizers, this one is a great base.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel
The Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel is a high-performance moisturizer that will not clog the hair follicles and form whiteheads and little bumps. It hydrates deeply without any heavy or greasy residue, making it a perfect fit for most skin types.
The product is offered in a 1.7 fl oz (approximately 50 ml) size, priced at around $14.76. It’s also available in different sizes, including 0.5 fl oz (15 ml) and 3.6 fl oz (105 ml).
This gel moisturizer is formulated with hyaluronic acid, a natural hydrator found in the skin that helps retain water for a supple and smooth complexion.
It’s an oil-free, dye-free, non-comedogenic moisturizer that absorbs fast, offers long-lasting hydration, and instantly quenches your skin.
What we like:
- Lightweight and fast absorbing – Despite its deep moisturizing power, it’s incredibly light and quickly absorbs into the skin without leaving any residue.
- Hydrating powerhouse – With hyaluronic acid as its active ingredient, it provides long-lasting hydration.
- The experience of applying this cream is a true pleasure — it has a subtle fresh scent, feels great on the skin, and has a slightly refreshing feel upon application.
- Works wonders for oily skin types that may have a problem with water balance and the overproduction of sebum (excess oil production) because they are not hydrated enough. This cream guarantees excellent hydration throughout the whole day and it dries matte on your face.
What to consider:
- Though this moisturizer is generally well-tolerated, people sensitive to fragrance can find this irritating.
- People with combination skin leaning more towards normal and dry will need to add more moisturizing products before or after this cream, as this will not be enough for them.
Best moisturizers for closed comedones for dry skin
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream for Dry Skin
The Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream for Dry Skin is the twin to the product above but is tailored towards extra-dry skin. It’s a powerful moisturizer specifically formulated to provide deep, long-lasting hydration.
Neutrogena as a brand may sound basic, but dermatologists recommend it for a reason — it’s affordable, effective, and most importantly – safe.
The product comes in a 1.7 fl oz (approximately 50 ml) jar. While you can find this gem for around $25, the exact price varies depending on the retailer, so it’s a good idea to check different sources for the best deal.
It’s a fragrance-free, dye-free, oil-free, and non-comedogenic moisturizer infused with hyaluronic acid.
What we like:
- Extra hydration – This product is specifically formulated for extra-dry skin, delivering intense, long-lasting hydration throughout the day.
- Fast absorbing – Despite its rich formula, this face moisturizer absorbs quickly like a gel while having the moisturizing power of a cream. Your skin drinks this up instantly.
- Hypoallergenic – Free from potential irritants like dyes and fragrances, this product is suitable for sensitive skin, too.
- Quick application – Unlike most other rich creams for dry skin, this one is fast to apply, leaving room for other skin care products or makeup on a fast-paced morning.
What to consider:
Unlike its alternative for oily skin, this face cream doesn’t have any fragrance whatsoever, so you won’t have the same elevated experience when applying this one. It’s a positive for sensitive skin types though 🙂
Vichy Aqualia Thermal Rich Cream
The Vichy Aqualia Thermal Gel Cream is another intense, long-lasting daily moisturizer perfect for those of you with dry skin and closed comedones.
Its lightweight texture and active ingredients provide an optimal level of hydration, leaving the skin feeling refreshed and comfortable.
The cream comes in a 1 fl oz (30 ml) and 1.70 fl oz (50ml) container for around $35 (if you choose the smaller version).
In terms of ingredients, here we have an effective blend of hyaluronic acid, Vichy thermal water, shea butter, and glycerin — everything you need for deep hydration throughout the day.
What we like:
- Amazing experience – this one feels so good upon and after application, a true sensory feast.
- Doesn’t clog pores – even though the formula is on the richer side, it’s also very lightweight, absorbs quickly, and doesn’t cause closed comedones and comedonal acne.
- A little goes a long way – use this sparingly, a tiny amount is all you need to cover your face and get the needed hydration.
- Perfect for mature skin – the thick formula is everything you need for a well-aging experience.
What to consider:
There’s fragrance and alcohol denat in the formula, so those of you with sensitive skin would do well to choose another option from my list of moisturizers for closed comedones.
Best moisturizers for closed comedones for sensitive skin
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Sensitive Fluide
The La Roche-Posay Toleriane Sensitive Fluide is a safe bet for those of you prone to closed comedones who also have sensitive skin, which is why you’ll see it recommended by dermatologists.
It’s an oil-free face moisturizer specifically designed to soothe sensitized and sensitive skin. It is formulated with a minimal ingredient list to cater to the needs of this target group of consumers.
This moisturizer comes in a 1.4 fl oz (about 41 ml) bottle, and it costs around $31 — a pretty standard price for such quality, French pharmacy is known for their effective formulas.
This one stands out with its niacinamide content, known for its anti-acne, skin-brightening, and skin barrier-supporting effects. Having niacinamide in your face moisturizer is a great way to exclude any additional serums and products with this ingredient and save on skincare costs.
What we like:
- A minimal ingredient list – with only 10 ingredients in its formula, this moisturizer caters to those of you who appreciate a minimalistic product — sensitive folks.
- Fast-absorbing and lightweight – Its light texture absorbs quickly and leaves a matte finish.
- Doesn’t clog pores – the formula is oil-free, which means that people with acne-prone skin can rest assured that this moisturizer will not form blackheads (open comedones) or whiteheads (closed comedones).
- A trusty basic – this has no frills to it, it’s effective at what it does and can be trusted for your day-to-day moisturizing needs.
What to consider:
The no-frills factor can be considered a con by those of you into a more luxurious experience.
Best moisturizers for closed comedones for mature skin
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Moisturizer With Retinol
The Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Moisturizer is a retinol-infused anti-aging moisturizer that has the capability to not only prevent but also treat closed comedones. It’s a dermatologist’s favorite, for a reason.
The moisturizer is available in a 1.7 fl oz (approximately 50 ml) jar with an approximate price tag of around $21, translating to about $12.62 per ounce.
The star ingredient of this cream is retinol, which is a popular multitasking active — it speeds up the natural skin exfoliation abilities which means that dead skin cells will get shed more quickly, diminishes fine lines and wrinkles, and works to reduce age spots.
We also have pure l-ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) in the ingredients, it’s recognized for its antioxidant and skin-brightening abilities and has the potential to increase collagen production in your skin.
You can see how good this is for aging skin, there’s a reason for all the positive reviews online.
What we like:
- A trusty bestseller – if you’re looking for a staple product that can enter both your morning and evening routine, look no further as this one is a hit with many skincare enthusiasts.
- Super affordable – for the quality that you get, I’d say that this moisturizer for closed comedones is an amazing investment.
- Suitable for sensitive skin – the absence of common skin irritants means that this one will be loved even by those of you with sensitive skin.
- Truly works – this one delivers on all its claims and more, which is why it has such a cult following.
What to consider:
Although there’s no fragrance listed in the ingredients list, it still has a slight scent — nothing too obtrusive though.
What causes closed comedones?
Earlier we covered what are closed comedones, but what causes them?
Closed comedones can be caused by several factors:
- Excessive sebum production – overactive sebaceous glands can lead to excess oil production, which can clog pores and lead to whiteheads, blackheads (open comedones), and breakouts.
- Hormonal fluctuations – changes in our hormone levels sometimes stimulate sebaceous glands to produce more oil, which as we already know, can result in closed comedones.
- Inadequate face cleansing – if you’re not removing makeup or dirt from your skin properly, this can clog pores and cause whiteheads. Always use a good face cleanser suitable for your skin type and beauty lifestyle.
- Some skincare and makeup products – some thick, comedogenic products can block your pores and promote the formation of closed comedones and blackheads.
- Stress – increased stress levels can trigger hormonal changes, which, as I’ve pointed out, can cause whiteheads among a host of other negative effects.
Are closed comedones and milia the same thing?
No, closed comedones and milia are not the same. Closed comedones or whiteheads are a type of acne that forms when a plug of skin cells and oil becomes trapped within the hair follicle.
Milia, on the other hand, are small, bump-like cysts under the skin, formed by keratin which gets trapped beneath the skin’s surface.
Although they may look similar, their cause and treatment are different. If you have milia around your eyes, I have a separate article that discusses the best eye creams that won’t cause milia.
Should I moisturize if I have whiteheads?
It’s essential to keep your skin moisturized even if you’re dealing with whiteheads because maintaining optimal skin health requires hydration.
However, it would help if you opted for non-comedogenic moisturizers that won’t clog your pores and form closed comedones. Oil-free and gel-type moisturizers will be your best friends in this mission, as certain oils can contribute to forming whiteheads.
Is niacinamide good for whiteheads?
Niacinamide is an excellent ingredient for overall skin health but it cannot be considered as a treatment of whiteheads. It works well with other active ingredients, enhancing their effects without causing irritation.
Although it can help with skin texture and pore appearance, for faster and more effective results against whiteheads, it’s best to use other active ingredients.
What skincare helps with whiteheads?
Topical treatments such as toners, serums, and creams containing special active ingredients can combat closed comedones.
Opt for leave-on products as they have more time to penetrate the skin and work effectively. Wash-off products or masks may not have enough contact time with the skin to give a significant difference.
Some of the active ingredients that are treatments of comedones include:
- AHAs – alpha hydroxy acids such as lactic acid, glycolic acid, and mandelic acid can buffer the topmost layer of your skin and remove the dead skin cells that get trapped inside your pores.
- Salicylic acid – a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that goes deep into your pores to exfoliate the skin, unclogs the pores, and prevent any buildup in your skin.
- Benzoyl peroxide – It kills acne-causing bacteria and helps unclog pores but it’s mostly recommended for inflammatory acne, not so much for whiteheads and blackheads, although it’s still beneficial.
- Retinoids – this group of skincare ingredients (Differin being one of the most famous skincare products) helps to increase skin cell turnover and prevent pores from clogging effectively decreasing the chances for whitehead formation.
Make sure to include skincare products with these ingredients to see your closed comedones diminishing faster.
What not to do with whiteheads?
Never try to squeeze them. This can lead to skin rupture and spreading of bacteria, and can possibly cause scarring. An effective skincare routine is everything you need to prevent and treat closed comedones.
Also, make sure to avoid overloading your skin with multiple active ingredients in different skincare products. Stick to a few essential products that help treat whiteheads to avoid potential irritation.
Are whiteheads caused by too dry or oily skin?
Unfortunately, both dry and oily skin types can develop whiteheads. They are more related to factors like using inappropriate skincare products, hormonal imbalances, or poor cleansing routines, rather than skin type alone.
I’ve already written about how you can build a good basic skincare routine — you don’t need to break the bank to achieve good skin health and combat common concerns. And I’ve also scratched the topic when writing about how to build a regime with The Ordinary products.
Should you have any questions or praise about this article (it’s always good to know if a post was helpful!), don’t hesitate to let me know below!
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