Choosing the Right Moisturizer for Oily Skin

March 6, 2012By

Treating oily skin can seem like a complex series of contradictions that’s nearly impossible to make heads or tails of. It seems like the last thing to do would be to rub moisturizers into the skin to accomplish the same job that all of that excess oil is supposed to do—wouldn’t that just make the problem worse? Won’t that undo the cleanser’s work and just make the skin greasy again? Strangely enough, moisturizing is one of the best things people with this (or really any) skin type can do, as long as they use a good moisturizer for oily skin.

Choosing the Right Moisturizer for Your Oily Skin

What Not to Use

Photo of a woman using moisturizer for oily skinPeople who have oily skin should avoid oil-based or greasy products. While petroleum jelly and similar products may be highly effective moisturizers and good choices for dry skin care, they work by forming a barrier on the skin that may block pores. This can potentially lead to higher rates of acne and blemishes in people who already experience excess oil production, as sebum can become trapped and build up creating a breeding ground for bacteria. These types of products are considered “occlusive” checking labels for this title can help with figuring out which ones to avoid.

Things to Look For

“Noncomedogenic” is good news: it means the product will leave pores clear, allowing the skin to function naturally. Humectants, which take moisture from the air or the lower layers of the skin to add moisture to the surface, are perfectly acceptable in a moisturizer best suited for oily skin and work well for keeping it hydrated.

Scents and Perfumes

Scented moisturizers can be problematic, as certain people can have allergic reactions to the perfumes. Those who’ve had bad experiences with moisturizers in the past may want to simply try an unscented product and see if it works well for them. However, perfumes do not necessarily make a bad moisturizer for your oily skin. People who like the smell and find that perfumed moisturizers work just as well for them as unscented ones can certainly continue to use these products.


Moisturizing skin cream that includes clay can help with the situation by continuously absorbing oil after application. This can prevent acne from forming and make skin look healthier and less greasy.

Other Products and Steps to Healthy Skin

Choosing the right kind of moisturizers is only the first step—if the rest of the user’s regimen isn’t up to par, he or she will still experience problems. Gentle cleansers are always preferable to strong ones, as the latter can dry out the skin, making it vulnerable and causing it to produce even more oil in response. Those who wish to cover up acne should also be careful to use specially-formulated foundation for oily skin. Finally, while it may be good to add one or two more oil- or acne-fighting products, it’s always important to avoid overdoing it, and dry or peeling skin means it’s a good time to stop using so much.

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