Oily skin is one of the most common skin concerns. It presents some unique challenges, like a shiny complexion and acne breakouts.
The good news? With the right skin care routine and products, these issues can be less of a problem.
To help take the guesswork out of how to care for an oily complexion, we turned to a couple of skin care experts. We specifically asked them to share their top tips for developing a daily skin care routine for oily skin.
The result: a simple four-step routine you can use in the morning and evening to keep your skin healthy, clear, and shine-free.
The most important step of any skin care routine is cleansing your skin.
“Though most people should be washing their face morning and night, it’s especially important for those with oily skin to give their face a complete cleanse in the morning,” Lee says.
Even though you might feel like your skin is still clean from the night before, Lee says that during the night your skin is busy shedding skin cells and producing oils.
That’s why washing with a good exfoliating cleanser, both in the morning and evening, is recommended.
She likes to use a cleanser or wash with salicylic acid.
“This is going to really help clear away excess oil and dead skin to prevent buildup in the pores,” Lee adds.
Once your skin is clean and free from any makeup, dirt, and oil, Lee suggests you follow with an exfoliating toner that contains either:
- salicylic acid
- glycolic acid
- lactic acid
This step will depend on your specific skin concerns. But in general, if you’re prone to acne, Lee says you should be using benzoyl peroxide or sulfur in the daytime to help curb oil production and prevent breakouts.
In the evening, Lee recommends a retinol product to help keep pores clear and skin glowing.
Some of her favorite treatment products from her skin care line include BP Lotion, Sulfur Lotion, and Retinol Serum.
Other popular over-the-counter retinol products include Roc Retinol Correxion Night Cream, CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum, and Paula’s Choice 1% Retinol Booster.
One quick note for people with oily skin: Lee likes to remind people with oily skin that they’re actually lucky.
“If you have more oils in your skin, you’re likely to ward off wrinkles and fine lines for a bit longer than someone with dry skin,” she says.
Moisturizing is a very important step if you have oily skin.
“There is some belief that if you have oily skin, you don’t need to or shouldn’t moisturize,” Lee says. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
“All skin types need moisturizer, but if you have oily skin, you should be more careful with what kind of moisturizer you’re using,” Lee says.
Her recommendation? Look for a moisturizer that’s:
- free of oils
Any moisturizer that’s formulated for acne-prone skin should meet these criteria.
Developing a daily skin care routine that works for you is the first step toward managing oily skin.
Once you’ve made this a habit, you may want to consider incorporating other, less frequent steps into your routine, like those outlined below.
Use blotting papers
If your skin seems to shine all day long, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends using blotting papers to control excess oil.
To do this, gently press the paper against your skin for a few seconds. This should help absorb most of the oil. Repeat throughout the day as needed.
Wash after exercise
In addition to your morning and evening routine, the AAD recommends washing your face after you exercise. This is especially important if you don’t plan on showering soon.
Washing your face will help remove sweat, oil, and dirt that may build up while you’re exercising.
This doesn’t have to be an elaborate four-step process. Simply wash your face with your regular cleanser and apply a light layer of moisturizer.
The sooner you can do this after exercise, the better.
Choose products wisely
When it comes to purchasing skin care products, Dr. Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, founder of Mudgil Dermatology in New York City, says to choose wisely.
“Avoid any products with alcohol, which can cause a paradoxical increased amount of oil secretion. Also, avoid anything thick or greasy, like cocoa butter, shea butter, and Vaseline,” he says.
A few of his favorites include the foaming facial cleansers from CeraVe and Neutrogena.
Wear sunscreen outdoors
When outdoors, be sure to wear a sunscreen that’s at least SPF 30.
Mudgil suggests using a sunscreen that contains either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. These ingredients can help prevent acne breakouts.
To make things easier, try to wear a daily moisturizer with sunscreen in it so you’ll always be protected.
If you have oily skin, following a daily skin care regimen is the best way to reduce breakouts and control shininess.
Cleansing, toning, treating your skin, and moisturizing both morning and night are key steps in a daily skin care routine.
Choosing the right products, wearing sunscreen, using blotting papers, and washing your face after exercising can also reduce oiliness and help keep your skin clear and healthy.