A Guide to Products for Oily Skin

March 3, 2012By

Oily skin often looks bad, feels unpleasant, and leads to acne. But with so many products on the market, how can anyone tell what they need and what’s just another exaggerated ad? Is it good to have as many different treatments as possible, or is a simple skin cream good enough? Here are a few tips and descriptions that can help answer those questions:

How to Choose Products for Oily Skin:

Facial Cleanser

Photo of a woman using products for oily skinThe first step toward fighting oily skin is to pick a dedicated facial cleanser. Companies like Cetaphil and Neutrogena make several effective face washes that are often recommended by doctors. Use a gentle wash to clean the skin without turning it into a desert.


Moisturizing is important for all skin types. But as one would expect, the wrong type of moisturizer will only make things worse. Choose products that market themselves for being the way you want your skin to be: oil-free. Aveeno, Olay, and a huge number of other companies market oil-free moisturizers that will help keep skin feeling soft and pleasant without making it greasy.

Although it’s best to moisturize as part of a cleansing routine (within a few minutes of drying off), keeping one of these products on hand is important even for those who don’t want to make it a daily habit. Bad weather, overuse of a product or any of a number of variables can make even the oiliest skin painfully dry. Oil-free moisturizers are often the best lotion for dry skin in people with this skin type.

Pads and Paper

A shiny layer of oil can be embarrassing in public, so it may be a good idea to keep medicated or non-medicated pads and papers on hand for situations like presentations, interviews or dates. Medicated ones may overdo it, but they’re arguably the most effective portable “emergency” solution for oily skin. Oxy and Stridex pads are popular choices. Non-medicated blotting paper or oil-absorbing sheets, on the other hand, will avoid drying out the skin, but may not be effective enough for very oily skin; Clean & Clear is probably the most successful brand offering these sheets today.


Foundation is meant to cover up blemishes, scars, and other skin problems, and it can be effective not only at hiding oily skin, but at actually treating it. Foundations with clay, such as those offered by Tarte or Iman, can absorb oil throughout the day. This way, the oil isn’t being locked into your pores, where it can cause acne. As with moisturizers, it’s good to avoid using those with oil-based ingredients, as they’ll cause the same problems. Just remember that using too many skin care products at the same time may result in dryness.

Masks or Masques

Masks and cold creams are great for overnight treatment, drawing oil from the skin all night long to keep pores clean and clear. Clay works the same way in a mask as it does in a foundation, and can be very effective. They’re also excellent for aiding exfoliation, making them powerful treatments for acne. Yonka offers several popular clay-based clarifying masques.

This is a product that should be approached cautiously, though, as it’s very easy to overdo one’s skin treatment with something that lasts overnight, especially if it’s combined with day-long applications like foundation. It might be best to only put it on problem areas like the T-zone first, and apply to other areas as needed.

By using the right combination of quality products for your oily skin (no more than necessary), it’s possible to control oil and have a clear, healthy complexion.

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