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Skin Care Routine for Oily Skin: The Basics
What is Oily Skin
Before diving into developing a skin care routine for oily skin, let’s take just a moment to review what oily skin is and what causes it.
Our bodies produce sebum to keep the skin protected and hydrated, but in some individuals, the body produces too much sebum. Sebum is very oil and waxy, and when too much is produced it can mix in along with bacteria and dead skin cells. This mix of sebum, dead cells, and bacteria then becomes trapped in the pores on the face, resulting in breakouts.
In many cases, the reason for excess oil production is due to genetics. Parents with oily skin are more likely to have children who also have oily skin. However, in some cases, oily skin is caused by other factors. These can include stress, environmental stressors, and hormones.
If you have oily skin, you’re likely all too familiar with the signs of oily skin, but as a recap, these can include:
- Greasy skin
- An uneven skin texture
- Shiny skin
- Skin breakouts
- Large pores
While oily skin certainly isn’t ideal, it also isn’t the end of the world. There are many products out there designed to reduce oil build-up, unclog pores, and reduce grease. Finding the right products and integrating them into a proper oily skin care routine can help you stay on top of your oily skin and keep it from getting in your way.
What Ingredients are Good for Oily Skin
Before adding any skincare products to your cart, look at the ingredient list. There are a number of ingredients that are good for oily skin, but also many ingredients that those with oily skin should try to avoid.
Some ingredients that are great for oily skin include:
- Aloe vera
- Hyaluronic acid
- Rosemary extract
- Rose oil
- Bentonite and kaolin clay
- Tea tree oil
- Clary sage
On the flip side, try to avoid skincare products that list these ingredients:
- Coconut oil
- Sodium lauryl sulfate
Recommended Products for Oily Skin
What is a good skin care routine for oily skin?
What is the best skin care routine for oily skin? Every individual is different, so the right routine for you will likely look different from the ideal skin care routine for someone else.
Below, we’ll share a sample oily skin care routine that you can customize to match your exact needs. Use what we share as a starting point, and see how your skin reacts and make any necessary changes or modification.
Morning Skin Care Routine for Oily Skin
The right morning routine for your oily skin can help set the tone for the rest of the day. Below, we’ll highlight some essential steps and product recommendations to add to your morning routine.
- Cleanser: Start each morning by washing your face using a gentle foaming cleanser. This will help remove excess oil and debris from your face to keep your pores clear. We recommend the Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser.
- Exfoliator: Every other day or so (or less if your skin is too sensitive) use an exfoliator to remove dead skin cells from your face. BHA exfoliants, such as Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, can penetrate into the pores to get rid of excess sebum. Doing this can reduce breakouts.
- Toner: Use a natural alcohol-free toner, such as AcneFree Witch Hazel Mattifying Toner, next. Toners hydrate the skin and reduce the appearance of pores. Choosing an alcohol-free toner is essential, since alcohol can dry your skin out too much.
- Serum: Serums are designed to improve the tone and texture of the skin. Some good ingredients to look for in a serum for oily skin include tea tree oil, witch hazel, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E. One of the serums we recommend is Cos De Baha Niacinamide 10 Serum.
- Moisturizer: Next, choose an oil-free moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated. If your skin thinks it is too dry, it will produce more oil. We recommend trying La Roche-Posay Tolerian Double Repair Face Moisturizer.
- Eye cream: Be sure to apply some eye cream to keep the area around your eyes moisturized. This part of the skin does not contain oil glands, so it is as essential to look for an oily skin formulation. You might want to try Olay Regenerist Retinol Eye Cream.
- Sunscreen: Regardless of your skin type, you should always apply sunscreen to protect your skin from damage. Choose an oil-free mineral sunscreen, such as Aveeno Positively MineralSensitive Skin Sunscreen.
Day Time Skin Care Routine for Oily Skin
How can I take care of my oily skin daily? Follow these steps, and consider our product recommendations, to keep your oily skin under control during the daytime.
- Blotting papers: Blotting papers, such as Pleasing Care Natural Premium Oil Blotting Tissues, can help you remove excess oil from your face to keep it from building up and making your face too shiny or greasy.
- Toners: Reapplying toner throughout the day can help you keep your skin hydrated and keep pores minimized. As we shared above, be sure to stay clear of toners with alcohol. A great alcohol-free toner is THAYERS Alcohol-Free Original Witch Hazel Facial Toner with Aloe Vera, with two extra key ingredients that are good for oily skin.
- Cleanser after exercise: If you engage in vigorous exercise or work up a sweat, take some time to use your cleanser to clean your face again. This will help remove that excess oil and debris to keep them from clogging your pores.
- Reapply sunscreen: If you’re spending time outside, be sure to reapply an oil-free sunscreen to protect your face and keep it from burning.
- Avoid touching your face: It may be challenging, but try to avoid touching your face. Doing so will introduce new bacteria to your face, and that new bacteria could clog your pores.
Nighttime Skin Care Routine for Oily Skin?
A very popular question is, “what should I apply on my face for oily skin at night?” Use these skin care tips to help set up an evening oily skin care routine.
- Cleanser: Just as you need to cleanse your face in the morning, you should also do so at night. This will remove excess oil, debris, and makeup before you head to bed. Going to bed without cleansing your face, can cause your pores to become clogged. So don’t forget to use your oil free face cleanser before going to bed.
- Detox mask: A few times a week, try using a detox mask, like Caudalie Instant Detox Clay Mask, for a deep cleaning. Detox masks can remove the buildup of dirt and oil and even the texture of your skin.
- Toner: Next, apply toner one more time. This will help remove environmental stressors and prepare your skin for the last few steps of your evening routine.
- Retinol: Serums or creams with retinol, such as The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane, help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. They also help cleanse the skin. Retinol works best in a nighttime routine, rather than a morning routine, since it increases the sun’s sensitivity to sunlight.
- Moisturizer: Since you’re cleansing your face again at night, you’ll want to moisturize it again. This will keep your skin from getting too dried out. Opt for a moisturizer over a night cream, since night creams can be too heavy for those with oily skin.
- Eye cream: Finally, before heading to bed, apply eye cream around your eyes. This can help soothe skin that was irritated during the day or when removing your makeup.
What do dermatologists recommend for oily skin?
Dermatologists are doctors who treat various skin conditions. They have a lot of experience and expertise on the subject area, so if you are really struggling with keeping your oily skin under control, you can consider scheduling an appointment with a dermatologist.
You can also read through these tips for oily skin from leading dermatologists to see if there are any changes you can make that may help your oily skin before making an appointment with a dermatologist.
- Keep your skin clean. Using a foaming cleanser each morning and evening to remove excess oils and bacteria from the skin.
- If there is still too much oil on your face after cleansing, try integrating a product formulated with salicylic acid, glycolic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or beta-hydroxy acid to remove excess oil buildup.
- Remove excess oil buildup during the day using blotting paper. This can keep your skin from getting too greasy and won’t dry out your skin.
- Occasionally using a mask or clay to cleanse your pores and remove excess oil. Avoid using them too frequently so your skin doesn’t get dried out.
- Keep your skin moisturized using an oil-free moisturizer.
- Be sure to apply sunscreen to your face when spending time outside, but take care to choose an oil-free sunscreen.
- If you can’t manage your oily skin using products you can purchase over the counter, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist. They may recommend chemical peels, laser treatments, or prescription creams to help your skin.
Also consider trying one of these dermatologist-recommended skincare products for oily skin:
- Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Fighting Facial Cleanser
- CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser
- Cetaphil Pro Oil Absorbing Moisturizer with SPF 30
- SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
- Neutrogena Hydro Boost
- EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
Do and Don’ts for Oily Skin
Below we’ve put together some do’s and don’ts for managing oily skin. Use these to help you perfect your oily skin care routine.
- Wash your face, without scrubbing it, each morning and evening. If you exercise or get sweaty during the day, wash it again after the activity.
- Choose a gentle face wash. Stronger isn’t better and can be too harsh for oily skin. Dermatologists recommend foaming face wash for individuals with acne.
- Look for oil-free and non-comedogenic skin care products. Products made without oil won’t clog your pores, which can result in acne.
- Apply a moisturizer with SPF to your face every day to ensure your skin is sufficiently hydrated.
- Use water-based makeup products. Avoid any makeup products that are made using oil.
- Use blotting papers as needed to absorb oil and prevent it from sitting on your face or clogging your pores.
- Avoid using any alcohol-based or oil-based cleansers, as they may irritate oily skin.
- Avoid touching your face too much. This can spread the oil around and also introduce new bacteria from your hands.
- Remove your makeup before you go to sleep. Do not go to bed while you still have makeup on your face.
Oily Skin Care FAQs
What is good for oily skin?
Finding the right routine and treatments for oily skin is key. If you have oily skin, you’ll need to wash your face regularly with a gentle cleanser. You may also want to consider establishing a consistent exfoliation routine to clear your pores of excess oil and debris. Some individuals with oily skin have also found success using natural astringent toners to reduce the size of their pores and remove excess debris from the pores to keep them clear.
Another important thing to do when you have oily skin is to always gently pat your skin dry after washing your face. Using blotting papers throughout the day to remove excess oil can reduce shine and grease. Keeping oily skin moisturized is also important. Choose an oil-free moisturizer to protect the skin and keep it hydrated.
What can I use for oily face?
If you have an oily-face, look for non-comedogenic skincare products that won’t clog your pores. These oil-free products will help prevent excess oil from building up and causing your skin to breakout.
Taking Care of Your Oily Skin
If you have oily skin, we hope you’ve found some helpful tips to set up a skin care routine that will work for you. With the right routine and the right skincare products, you’ll be impressed with how much better your oily skin looks and feels!
Check out these related posts on our blog:
- Best Face Moisturizer for Oily Skin
- Best Eyeliner for Oily Lids
- Face Wash for Sensitive Oily Skin
- Best Under Eye Primers for Wrinkles
- Best Salicylic Acid Toner