How To Control Oily Skin

Let's face it – shiny, greasy skin isn't ideal. Learning how to control oily skin can make a huge improvement in your overall complexion and appearance.

Oily skin is often synonymous with acne, large pores and a greasy appearance. And many skin care products can just aggravate the problem.

If you’ve got oily skin, you might feel like you’re constantly fighting a losing battle to remove excess shine and oil from your face… and even battling breakouts!

By learning the causes of oily skin, you can learn how to care for it and control it.

Causes of oily skin

Oily complexions occur due to overactive sebaceous glands that produce too much sebum (or oil). As sebum accumulates on skin, your face looks more and more shiny. Also, oil builds up in pores, mixing with bacteria and dead cells, causing breakouts.

What stimulates sebaceous glands to pump out the oil? The main factors include:

  • Hormonal changes: During adolescence, pregnancy or menopause, hormonal fluctuations can cause increased oil production.
  • Genetics: Like other skin types, oily skin can also be inherited. If your parents had oily skin, there’s a good chance you will, too.
  • Thick, heavy cosmetics: Certain cosmetics or skincare products can cause the skin to look oilier, especially if they’re occlusive or heavy. Steer clear of oil-based products and heavy creams.


How to Control Oily Skin

Step 1 : Cleanse Correctly

You should cleanse your skin every day, morning and night, but try not to wash it more than twice per day! Over-washing can dry out the complexion which can cause the skin to produce MORE oil to compensate.

Avoid using harsh cleansers, soaps, masks, facial scrubs, and astringents that leave the skin feeling tight. This tightness will restrict oil flow and lead to clogged pores later.

When cleansing, do not scrub skin or wash vigorously. This can irritate skin and clog pores. Instead, gently massage the face when cleansing to avoid pushing dirt and oil into the pores and then rinse with warm water to help dissolve oil. For the best results, try a gel cleanser that gently removes oil, dirt and makeup.

Step 2 : Refine with a Mask

Deep-cleansing clay and mud masks may not actually decrease the amount of oil on the skin long term, but they can really improve its appearance, texture and tone. Aim to use a mud or clay mask one or two times a week.

Step 3 : Moisturize

Many people concerned with how to control oily skin may skip this step, because they think lotion will only make their skin oilier.

This is false! Especially if you're using targeted products to counteract the oiliness. The best moisturizer for oily skin is one that's oil-free or water-based and won't clog pores.

Depending on your level of oiliness, you may not need to moisturize your entire face. You can choose to only moisturize the areas that need it, such as around the eyes. However, if you have mature skin, you should moisture your entire face.

Step 4 : Try Oil-Reducing Products

Oil-reducing products can come in many different forms: toners, serums, moisturizers, primers, etc.

You'll have to determine which formula type you prefer and what fits into your skincare regimen best, but here are some of the top rated oil-control products that you can choose from:

Murad Oil-Control Mattifier SPF 15

Immediately mattifies and controls oil for up to 8 hours, while providing protection from the sun.


DERMAdoctor Tease Zone, Oil Control Gel

Mattifying gel that vanishes on contact without a hint of residue. Made with micro-particles that "soak up" sebum produced by sebaceous oil glands.

SkinMedica Rejuvenative Toner

Toner designed to remove excess oil and impurities while restoring the skin's pH balance.


La Roche-posay Effaclar M Daily Mattifying Moisturizer

Helps neutralize shine for lastingly matte, clear and balanced skin. Light, oil-free formula. Helps clear sebum-clogged pores at the source. Non-comedogenic



Step 5 : Apply Sunscreen

Wearing sunscreen daily is one of the best ways to care for your skin, regardless of skin type. Oily skin types should use an oil-free formula with SPF 15 or higher. For product recommendations, check out my article on the best sunscreen for oily skin.

With these tips on how to control oily skin, hopefully you can start seeing an improved complexion in no time.

And although oily skin can be a drag, always try to remind yourself of the positives - It’s commonly said that oily skin is slower to show fine lines, discoloration and wrinkles!

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