Because non-greasy, non pore-clogging moisturisers DO exist
The best moisturiser for oily skin may seem counter-intuitive, but believe it or not, oily skin can still get dehydrated. Not all moisturisers target the same thing, and you’ll need a completely different set of ingredients to someone with dry or flaky skin.
Fortunately, once you’re clued up on the ingredients to look for, finding the right cream for your skin type is nowhere near as hard as you might think.
But, first thing’s first, you need to know a bit more about why your skin is the way it is. We spoke to consultant dermatologist Dr Sharon Wong to get the low down on oily skin, from causes to treatments.
Why do you get oily skin in the first place?
Oily skin is caused by an excess in the production of sebum, which can lead to blemishes and acne.
‘This is mainly a genetic trait, but is also heavily influenced by hormone changes that increase the mount of male hormones, known as androgens, in the system – such as during puberty or polycystic ovary syndrome,’ Dr Wong explains.
‘Androgens stimulate the grease glands in the skin, resulting in excess production of sebum.’
There are various other external factors that may worsen oily skin, including the use of products which disturb the oil balance in the skin.
How to treat oily skin
Diet and oily skin
We’re sure you’re already well aware of the impact that sugar has on your skin (aka ‘sugar face‘), so it’s well worth taking a look at your diet if your skin is particularly congested
‘Cutting out refined sugars, highly processed foods and saturated fats can help to reduce sebum production in some individuals,’ Doctor Wong explains.
As well as processed foods, some people notice a link between eating dairy and acne severity.
Master your oily skincare routine
While you might already know about the best acne treatments for oily skin, but you need to be selective with the rest of your skincare as well.
‘Wash your face twice a day, in the morning and evening only, and ensure all make-up is removed before going to bed ‘ Dr Wong advises. ‘Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), such as salicylic acid in face washes, can help to cut through grease but also effectively unclogs your pores and ensures a deep cleanse.’
Be sure you don’t over-wash your skin to try and remedy excess oil, though. ‘Oily skin has nothing to do with poor hygiene, so washing more frequently is not necessary – if anything, this will dry out your skin and trigger more sebum production.’
She also stresses that you don’t need a toner: ‘many contain alcohols which can damage the barrier function of the skin, making it more sensitive and irritated.’
Exfoliate – but don’t over-do it
Naturally you want to buff away old skin cells and clarify your pores where possible, but it’s important not to go over the top with face-scrubbing.
‘Exfoliation encourages healthy skin turnover,’ Dr Wong says. ‘It also helps remove surface dead skin cells and prevent blocking of pores, but again, being over-aggressive with exfoliation can leave your skin sensitive or cause breakouts.’
To minimise irritation, avoid face scrubs with harsh particles. Instead opt for a cleanser containing – you guessed it – salicylic acid, which will help gently slough away dead skin cells and purify your pores.
Another way to combat oiliness is so use a retinol on the reg.
‘Using a retinoid (Vitamin A) product at night and having regular chemical peels – such as glycolic acid, lactic acid or salicylic acid peels – can reduce oiliness of the skin and prevent acne breakouts,’ advises Dr Wong.
Before applying your night cream, we recommend using Murad’s recent release, the Retinol Youth Renewal Serum, as unlike a lot of retinoids it’s not too harsh on the skin.
Moisturiser is key
Although your skin is overdoing it on the grease front, it still needs some hydration to maintain the skin barrier’s health. ‘Many anti-acne products dry out skin, so it is important to rehydrate it to prevent overproduction of sebum to combat the dryness,’ Dr Wong says.
So what should you look for when buying oily skin friendly products? ‘Avoid heavy moisturisers and opt for oil-free creams or serums instead.’
With that in mind, we’ve sourced different types moisturiser for oily skin below for you to add into your skincare routine now.
The best moisturiser for oily skin and open pores
The Ordinary is one of the biggest skincare brands on the market (and Instagram) at the moment; not only is their skincare high performance and good quality, but their prices are bank balance friendly. Pretty much everything is under a tenner. Their Natural Moisturizing Factors is oil-free, alcohol-free and silicone-free, making it the perfect moisturiser for oily skin as it won’t clog up pores and make them more visible.
Can you buy moisturiser for oily skin with SPF?
It can be a real struggle to find a moisturiser with a good SPF that’s simultaneously not too greasy or heavy – as SPF notoriously is. Fortunately, there are a few carefully formulated moisturisers that benefit oily skin and protect from the damaging effects of the sun.
Dermalogica is well known as a brand that caters for the needs of oily-skinned people, and their Mattifying SPF 30 lotion works to mop up excess oil, while also shielding against sun damage. So, no more oily sunscreen problems.
What about tinted moisturiser for oily skin?
There’s been many a debate over the years as to whether or not foundation is bad for acne, so you may have chosen to go without in a bid to help clear up your skin. But be aware that it is possible to buy the best foundation for oily skin, too.
‘Avoid heavy foundation and look for key words like matte-effect, oil free and non-comedogenic (not pore-clogging) when choosing your make-up,’ says Dr Wong.
A tinted moisturiser or BB cream will provide lightweight coverage, if you feel self conscious about your skin, without the heaviness of foundation. We recommend Clinique’s Anti-Blemish Solutions BB Cream, which is oil free and has the added benefit of SPF 40. But what’s particularly great about this BB is that it’s both mattifying and buildable, meaning you can cover your blemishes
‘Oil control blotting paper or pads can be helpful on-the-go for those greasy areas that may break through in the middle of the day,’ Dr Wong adds.
Ready to shop skincare? Scroll through our round up of moisturiser for oily skin, and wave good bye to your shiny skin woes.
Scented lightly with the brand’s gorgeous signature perfume – a mixture of borage and avocado – this light moisturiser sinks into skin easily and leaves skin clearer, healthier and with smaller pores.
Gentle and pure enough for eczema suffers, Liz Earle’s Skin Repair Light Moisturiser gives the most uneven complexion a soft and smooth texture. Combine with the cult Cleanse and Polish for a truly deep clean and oil-free feeling.
A life-saver for oily skin, Murad’s Oil-Control Mattifier works quickly on contact with the skin to beat shine and keep your complexion matte and even. Don’t be alarmed by the thick texture: This cream absorbs almost instantly to leave the skin feeling light to the touch and ready for foundation.
Willow bark extract gently exfoliates to help keep skin fresh and free from pore-clogging nasties – a must for an oily complexion. There’s also an SPF 15 included, as an added skincare bonus.
This is a skincare classic. Thousands are sold every second, thanks to big promises and effective results. Despite the gel formula and the oil-free ingredients, this light-weight moisturiser is still really hydrating, so you don’t need to compromise a matte finish for seriously soft skin.
We love the slightly cooling and incredibly refreshing effect on application – something that can be improved by keeping your moisturiser in the fridge. Perfect for the humidity, keeping oil and sweat at bay, DD Moisturising Gel absorbs quickly into the skin – meaning you are ready for flawless make-up application in seconds.
Known to combat excess oil production, this lightweight moisturiser leaves skin incredibly soft and supple with a great matte finish. A dehydrated complexion can prompt the skin to over-produce oil – Dermalogica’s Active Moist Lotion works wonders to combat this and balance the skin’s natural oil levels.
Thanks to natural ingredients including lemon, cucumber and burdock. texture is evened out, hydration is maintained and skin is softened. A great no frills, no fuss option for for every day, you can’t go wrong with this must-have.
This serum has a revolutionary formula packed with active ingredients and works in three different ways. Firstly, it purifies to combat surface sebum and reduces excess shine. Next, it lightly quenches the skin to restore the natural balance, and finally it tightens dilated pores, reducing further oily excretions. The effect is wonderfully clear, revived skin.
This clever serum is effectively treating the cause of oily skin, not just masking it for one day. Salicylic acid, a proven acne treatment, keeps skin seriously clean and free from spot-causing bacteria. Lighter and easy to massage into skin, this is a great everyday moisturiser and make-up base.
There’s no need to break the bank with your beauty routine these days, as high street brands offer some great cheaper alternatives to luxury favourites. Look to Simple and its budget-busting skincare range if you need proof.
Its bargain-basement Clear Skin Oil-Balancing Moisturiser instantly smoothes skin, leaving it clear and glowing but shine-free, thanks to its key ingredient – zinc PCA – which absorbs excess oil.
A firm favourite that can always be found backstage at fashion week, the Decleor Aroma Purete Shine Control Oxygenating Fluid makes an effective base for make up application. Leaving skin mattified, as well as deeply moisturised, the Oxygenating Complex helps skin to breathe by increasing the consumption of oxygen, therefore improving cellular activity and helping combat lifeless skin.
As you can imagine, an oxygen-based product like this leaves skin feeling really clean and pure, which is a welcome change for anyone with an excessively oily complexion. Madagascan water lily, bamboo and lotus extracts gently eradicate that excess oil to leave skin matte but hydrated, all day.
Neutrogena Visibly Clear Pink Grapefruit daily facial moisturiser has a fresh fragrance and leaves skin looking beautifully clear and healthy. It’s action triad includes hydration (fast-absorbing and soft to touch), cleansing (prevents spots by cleaning pores) and refreshment (uplifts your senses giving you that fresh feeling). See this as prevention rather than cure and use daily to combat the early signs of oily skin, before the shine sets in.
Acne suffers can also rejoice, as this moisturiser can help to heal problem skin, reducing spots and preventing new blemishes from forming. This light moisturiser also sinks in incredibly quickly, so at night, try applying a few layers, letting each one sink in before adding the next.
Pinks Boutique Lemongrass and Cemellia Moisturiser – specially formulated for oily skin types – is a water-based lotion that balances and refreshes. Containing Camellia oil, used in skin care by Japanese women for many years, plus aloe vera to soothe and heal, this delicate fluid is 100% natural and 89.5% organic – perfect for summer or winter.
Lemongrass is a natural antiseptic with healing properties that will help to clear up acne-prone skin. Packed full of omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants, this sweet-smelling moisturiser improves the skin’s elasticity and protects against environmental damage that will only aggravate an oily complexion.
The Good Things Miracle Mattifier Moisturiser pulls off a clever balancing act to keep skin moisturised, smooth and matte. Suitable for vegans and vegetarians, this plant-based cream smells totally delicious and feels comfortable and soft on the skin.
The squeezy tube also means that this cream is way more hygienic than a jar (a must for acne-prone skin), with little mess or waste, making it great value for money. Use in the mornings to help keep you make-up in place all day.