5 Proven Ways to Fight Oily Skin All Day Long
Use this oil-banishing skincare routine to keep shiny skin at bay from morning until night.
A fresh, dewy glow makes skin look youthful and healthy, but an oily complexion can quickly turn from radiant to greasy throughout the day. If one of your top skin concerns is managing an oily face (or even a persistent problem area like the T-zone), consider these tips and product suggestions from Dr. Brent Wainwright, a CareMount Medical dermatologist and a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.
What Causes Oily Skin?
The most common reason for oily skin is an overproduction of sebum—that oily substance that comes out of pores. The sebum exists to protect your skin, and it is linked to your hereditary traits and hormone levels in the body, Dr. Wainwright says. When the sebaceous glands are overproducing, there are a few ways to effectively address the oil overload throughout the day.
The Best Skin Care Routine for Oily Skin
Though it may seem counterintuitive, resist the urge to overwash your face, use toners, and scrubs; these products only offer short-term oil relief, and the extra dryness convinces your sebaceous glands they need to produce even more oil. Dr. Wainwright recommends the less-is-more approach to keep your skin from overproducing oil. Start with a gentle face cleanser in the morning (try CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser, $11.99), then layer it with an oil-controlling mattifying gel (try OC Eight Professional Mattifying Gel, $27.99). If you want to wear makeup, stick to mineral-base makeups that are mattifying. Throughout the day, blot your face with oil-absorbing sheets to keep oil sheen under control without overdrying the skin.
Step 1: Wash face with a facial cleanser.
Step 2: Pat face and body dry with a towel, being sure to not overrub the skin.
Step 3: Apply an oil-controlling mattifying gel.
Step 4: If desired, apply a mineral-base makeup.
Step 5: Throughout the day, gently pat face with oil-blotting papers to keep oil sheen under control.
The Best Facial Cleansers for Oily Skin
Drugstore skin-care brands like Neutrogena, Aveeno, and CeraVe offer both gentle foaming cleansers and hydrating cleansers for all types of skin concerns. Dr. Wainwright advises patients with oily skin to shop for foaming cleansers because they are gentler than soaps, and the foaming action addresses dirt and oil without overdrying. Try Neutrogena's Oil-Free Acne Wash, $18.90 for a three-pack, which is lauded as an effective cleanser for minimizing oil while keeping acne at bay.
There are also many quality drugstore cleansers for people who experience oily skin without acne. Try CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser, $11.99.
The Best Mattifying Gel for Oily Skin
The secret weapon to invisible oil protection: mattifying gel (try OC Eight Professional Mattifying Gel, $27.99). Wainwright recommends applying the gel to clean, dry skin in the morning to maintain a matte appearance throughout the day—the mattifying gel can keep you photo-ready for hours.
Many women wear makeup over it, but it's also a popular product with men because no one knows it's there, Wainwright says.
The Best Foundations for Oily Skin
A mineral-base formula with SPF is the best formula for oily-skinned individuals. Dr. Wainwright recommends a mineral-base makeup like bareMinerals, which carries a line of matte foundations with SPF protection. High-end products like bareMinerals tend to be better for acne-prone or oily skin because they absorb some of the skin's oil throughout the day without clogging pores. Other good drugstore options include the L'Oreal True Match Mineral Foundation, which combines preservative- and fragrance-free mineral powder with SPF coverage.
The Best Blotting Paper for Oily Skin
Clean & Clear's oil-absorbing blotting sheets are a fan-favorite for good reason—they are discrete, inexpensive, and satisfyingly effective. Just take out a thin sheet, pat it gently to your skin, and watch the shine disappear. It's a tie between what's more gratifying: seeing the oil on the sheet after you are done blotting or looking in the mirror and noticing an oil-free complexion.
"I recommend if you are at work or at school, use a blotting paper midday to soak up the excess oil and take away that sheen," Dr. Wainwright says. "It's fine to remove oil in that fashion because it avoids alcohol-base products that will really strip the oil away, and the oil glands will make more oil."