Skin Types

Control the Shine: Our Best Tips for Managing Oily Skin

Written by Dahvi Shira

Does your skin look like you’re doused in oil by the end of every day?   While you are free from dry skin and itchiness, oily skin can also present its own set of battles. But before we get into oily skin and how to manage it, let’s make one thing clear: No one looks like an Instagram filter IRL.  So even though it can feel discouraging to deal with skin issues – whatever yours may be – just know that absolutely no one’s skin is perfect

While unfortunately you can’t “cure” oily skin (or dry skin for that matter), you can work towards a happy, healthy complexion with a committed, well-considered skincare routine. 

From what ingredients to look out for, to the formulations to avoid, here’s everything you need to know about transforming oily skin into manageable, while still keeping a healthy and hydrated complexion.

What Is Oily Skin?

Sebum isn’t exactly a word that just rolls off the tongue. And it’s the excess of its production that can feel as icky as the word itself.  Sebum is simply the oil our skin naturally produces.  When your skin is balanced, said oil can actually be quite beneficial. It serves to moisturize the skin, limit the growth of bacteria and prevent dryness and dehydration. But, when the skin isn’t balanced, sebum can make the complexion appear shiny and feel greasy, especially throughout the T-zone.  It can also cause pores to look larger and your makeup to slide off more easily. 

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Ways to Manage Oily Skin

Now, when it comes to tackling oily skin, let’s start off by holding on the harsh scrubs and drying products.  And while you may think moisturizer and oily skin won’t mix, it’s actually quite the contrary – by avoiding moisture, your skin creates even more oil to combat the dryness.   

Now although it can be difficult to completely get rid of oily skin, there’s definitely a few different ways you can manage it:

1. Cleanse Twice Per Day

You’ve probably been warned to avoid overcleansing, so you don’t dry out your skin, but it’s also quite important to use a cleanser that best fits your skin type. Using a gentle cleanser, for example, can help reduce oil sitting on the skin, and it;s important to cleanse in both the morning and evening.   Throughout the evening while you sleep, bacteria can accumulate on your complexion, and it most definitely gets exposed while you’re out and about during the day… so, just ensure you stay consistent and wash your face (no matter how tired you are at the end of the day).

2. Choose Skincare Ingredients Carefully

Much like dry skin or sensitive skin, there are particular ingredients you can implement into your routine to help best manage:

  • Retinol:  Although this is great for reducing signs of aging, it also targets oily skin.  It has the ability to help accelerate cell turnover, sloughing off dead skin cells to promote cell turnover and help bring in fresh new ones.
  • Niacinamide: Also known as vitamin B3, niacinamide is another versatile ingredient with multiple benefits. It soothes, protects and supports collagen in the skin to help minimize the results of increased oil production.
  • Clay: Whether it's kaolin, bentonite or rose, clay is a must-try for oily skin.  It’s terrific with sebum absorption, and leaves skin with a smooth, matte feel.

3. Use an Effective Exfoliator

Did you know an exfoliator can be the ideal treatment for an oily face?  These chemical products help improve dullness and unblock pores, which can in turn, help to prevent breakouts.  Your Favorite Ex Exfoliating Pads retexturize the skin, buff away dead skin cells and help to manage excess sebum. 

4. Maintain Moisture

Yes, an oily skin treatment does call for moisturizer, even if it seems counterintuitive.   Look for a moisturizer that is lightweight, oil-free and water-based, like our Xtremely Rich Moisturizer to encourage healthy-looking, dewy skin that stays hydrated throughout the day.

Another surprising tip?  You shouldn’t steer clear from face oils either, as they also help to lock in moisture, soothe dryness and keep skin healthy. 

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5. Avoid Harsh Products 

To properly care for oily skin, you will want to avoid harsh products. Diving in with something known to strip the skin isn’t going to keep the oil at bay—but rather, exacerbate the situation, because the skin will feel like it needs to make up for the shortage. When the skin is stripped or dried out, it actually goes into oil production overload.

With this said, the main culprits to avoid are alcohols, astringents and sulfates. Products with these ingredients can interfere and disrupt your skin barrier, which can make it more prone to sensitivity, breakouts, inflammation and dehydration. 

6. Consider Your Hormones

Internal hormone fluctuations can also be one of the main causes of imbalanced oil levels, directly correlating from the hormone, androgen.  When androgen is in abundance (which is often right before menstruation, or if you have PCOS), it sends messages to our sebaceous glands telling them to produce more oil.

Androgens can also be released in times of stress, or through internal shifts such as the menstrual cycle, contraception, puberty, pregnancy and postnatal, and menopause. Multiple studies indicate a strong correlation between stress levels and sebum production in people with acne-prone skin. Of course, these situations are often out of your control, but you work to maintain balance by finding ways to reduce stress levels with exercise, sleep and a healthy diet.

7. Choose Foundation for Your Skin Type

Much like skincare, there are also different recommendations for makeup, based on particular skin types. If you’re wondering how to reduce oily skin (or at least the appearance of it), you may want to avoid longwear liquid foundations.  Mineral powders are likely more up your alley, as they’re formulated with many more benefits.  They’re typically non-comedogenic in nature (meaning they won’t clog your pores), absorb oil in the complexion, and can easily be layered up as the day goes on.  However, if you are a liquid loyalist, you can still get by by just using a setting powder over the foundation to ensure longer coverage with a less greasy feeling.

Caring for Oily Skin All Year Round

Oily skin can be unpredictable, especially when it comes to seasonal changes, hormonal fluxes and a variety of both internal and external factors that can lead to an overproduction of oil.  However, with some trial and error on finding what works with your specific skin type, oily skin can become very manageable. 

Like anything else in life, it’s most important to pay attention to your own body and skin, as it’s very personal and unique to each individual.  By closely watching your routine and how your skin gets affected by external (or internal) factors, you can learn a bit more about your complexion and its specific triggers.  From there, it’s easier to adjust and cater your routine around what feels right for your skin in the moment.