Unwanted shine, clogged pores, frustrating breakouts… does this sound like your skin? If so, you might have oily skin but here is the good news: getting your skin’s oil production under control isn’t as hard as you might think.
Read on as we explain how to care for oily skin and discover derm-approved advice from Dr Michelle Henry, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City.
How do you know you have oily skin?
The first step to building a skincare regimen that delivers the results you want is to determine your skin type – but how? It’s easy: simply skip your morning face cream and check in on how your skin feels and looks after 12 pm. If you’re oily or shiny all over, you know what skin type you have!
Those with oily skin may also notice that their pores look enlarged and clogged, particularly around the T-zone, causing blemishes and blackheads to appear. Additionally, if you leave oil on your phone after a call or if your makeup seems to always slide off your face as the day goes by, chances are that you have oily skin.
What causes oily skin?
So, you’ve discovered you have oily skin. What you might be wondering now is… why? Put simply, oily skin is caused by the overproduction of sebum by your sebaceous glands and there is a number of possible reasons why this might happen:
Genetics - Your genetics play a huge role in determining your skin type. If one of your parents has oily skin, that is most likely why you have it too. While you can’t do anything to change your genetics, adjusting your skincare routine can help you deal with the common signs of oily skin, but we’ll get to that soon.
Wrong skincare products - Take a look at your skincare collection. Does it include oily skin products that are specifically developed to target your skincare concerns? Are your skincare essentials oil-free and non-comedogenic? If not, that might just be what’s leading to overactive sebum production.
Wrong skincare routine - Another possibility is that your skincare routine might not be the most appropriate for your skin type. Two common mistakes people with oily skin make is skipping their moisturiser or overwashing their face. Although these might seem like effective ways to eliminate oil, you might actually be doing the opposite, stripping your skin of moisture and causing your sebaceous glands to overcompensate.
Poor diet - Your skin is what you eat and, when consumed too frequently, foods that contain dairy, sugar and refined carbohydrates may cause your skin to produce excess oil. We’re not saying, of course, that you should eliminate these foods from your diet. The secret is to find a balance between what you love and what’s good for you!
Climate - Do you live in a humid or tropical climate? This type of weather tends to stimulate oil production, particularly during the summer months. The key here is to adjust your skincare routine so that your dermis can deal with the humidity and high heat.
What are the best skincare ingredients for oily skin?
The rule of thumb is to find balanced ingredients that will help control oil production, without causing your skin to become too dry and dull. Four of our favourite ingredients for oily skin are:
Retinol for oily skin is able to accelerate cell turnover, helping to clear out your pores from dead skin and, in turn, minimise those annoying blemishes and blackheads you can’t seem to get rid of. Speaking on blackheads, be sure not to pick them. As tempting as it might be, it “can stretch the elastic around the pores, which makes them wider and larger, and they won’t bounce back into shape,” explains Dr Michelle. Let retinol do its magic instead!
Salicylic acid has many benefits, one of which is its ability to prevent and eliminate blemishes, which you know by now should be one of your main skincare goals. “It’s a highly effective and super-gentle chemical exfoliant that whisks away pore-clogging dead skin cells to pave the way for clearer skin,” says Dr Michelle.
Niacinamide, otherwise known as vitamin B3, is a soothing ingredient that not only promotes collagen production but is also able to absorb excess sebum and calm skin inflammation, keeping blemishes at bay.
Hyaluronic acid - yes, it is a humectant, but that doesn’t mean that you should skip it! In fact, “hyaluronic acid is a must-have, regardless of your skin type,” says Dr Michelle. Using hyaluronic acid for oily skin will feed it with healthy (and lightweight) moisture, preventing your glands from having to overcompensate and produce excess oil.
What is the best skincare routine for oily skin?
Quick and easy, our oil-controlling skincare regimen is perfect for busy women who typically don’t have much time in the morning. You can always add more steps whenever you (can and) feel like treating yourself, but the three must-do’s are:
Step #1: Start with a salicylic acid cleanser for oily skin
Once or twice a week, it’s also a good idea to exfoliate your skin and we recommend using our All About Clean™ 2-in-1 Charcoal Mask + Scrub, as it is developed with clay, another essential ingredient to balance out oily skin.
Step #2: Apply a pore minimising serum
Step #3: Apply a lightweight moisturiser
At night: Time to cleanse again
Double cleansing is a powerful way to combat excess sebum production. However, you should always be careful not to overwash your face, monitoring how your skin reacts and adjusting your routine accordingly.
You can use your morning cleanser again or, if you’re wearing makeup, opt for micellar milk for gentle yet deep cleansing. Our All-in-One Cleansing Micellar Milk + Makeup Remover is a great option – just be sure to select the version for skin types 3 & 4.
Finish with a layer of our Smart Night™ Clinical MD Multi-Dimensional Repair Treatment Retinol to benefit from a mix of retinol, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid that will help repair your skin while you recharge batteries.
What is the best makeup for oily skin?
You’ve got all your oily skincare essentials but what about makeup? Using the wrong cosmetics for your skin type can further damage your skin but avoiding that is easy. Here are our top tips for choosing makeup for oily skin:
Go oil-free. This one should go without saying, but whatever makeup product you’re shopping for, if it’s not oil-free, it’s not for you.
Always start with a primer for oily skin. This will help create the perfect canvas for your makeup, while also preventing it from sliding off throughout the day.
Find the best foundation for oily skin, that treats breakouts without clogging pores. “Anti-Blemish Solutions Liquid Makeup is a lightweight foundation with salicylic acid to treat and prevent blemishes. It camouflages any existing blemishes by reducing redness and instantly reduces the appearance of pores without accentuating breakouts,” explains Dr Michelle.
Carry blotting papers in your bag. They are a quick and easy way to cleanse any unwanted shine by lifting oil from your skin in just a few seconds.
And there you have it, the perfect skincare routine for oily skin! Use our derm-approved tips and products to care for oily skin and achieve the complexion you’ve always dreamed of. For more oily skin products, check our oil-free collection.