Bustle.com By Tamim Alnuweiri May 17, 2021
As the first step of your routine, you want to start off on the right foot. Think of cleansing as a reset for your face: You’re washing and wiping away all the grime, pollution, and product build-up that accumulates on your face.
To do this properly for your skin type, King recommends looking for cleansers that contain salicylic acid. “It penetrates into pores to remove excess sebum,” she explains of the popular beta-hydroxy acid (BHA). Charcoal and clay are also great for oily complexions, says King, as they’re both effective at absorbing excess sebum. If you want a physical scrub, make sure you pick one that has soothing and moisturizing ingredients like jojoba oil to avoid dehydrating or breaking the skin barrier, she tells Bustle.
Also key? According to Dr. Ellen Marmur, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of MMSkincare, you should stay away from thick cleansing balms because they can clog oily skin — even if they do work miracles for other skin types.
Some people are iffy about the importance of a toner, but King says the product is particularly beneficial for oily and acne-prone skin. “Toners provide another way to add active ingredients like salicylic acid and witch hazel to your skin care routine,” she tells Bustle. So exfoliants like those in a toner can also help keep your pores unclogged. They can also help ensure your complexion is thoroughly clean, so it can better absorb the rest of your regimen.
Look for toners that contain active ingredients like witch hazel, for one, says King, who explains it’s a natural astringent. “It temporarily shrinks your pores, and it has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe the skin,” she says. She also recommends chemical exfoliants like glycolic and lactic acids since they both work to remove excess oil. Then, to soothe and maintain moisture, King says humectants — aka moisture preservers — are also beneficial. Her picks? Aloe vera and glycerin.
3. Eye Cream
The skin around your eyes is thin and relatively more sensitive than the rest of your face. Those with oily complexions still benefit from keeping that area moisturized. According to Marmur, this skin type should look for lighter formulas that contain ingredients like aloe vera and hyaluronic acid, which add hydration without clogging your pores.
4. Serums & Treatments
In the world of chemical exfoliants, King says oily skin types reap the most perks from BHAs. While both alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and BHAs both dissolve dead skin cells on your complexion, BHAs are oil-soluble (the latter are water-soluble). “So AHAs work on the surface of the skin, while BHAs penetrate into your pores,” she explains.
She recommends using salicylic acid in your treatment products — aka serums and face masks — out of all ingredients in this category: “It helps to prevent pores from becoming clogged and can help remove clogs that have already formed,” says King. Another bonus of salicylic acid? It treats and prevents the formation of those pesky blackheads and whiteheads, she adds.
As mentioned previously, clay and charcoal are also beneficial for oily skin facial treatments, says King. That said, they can be drying, so she advises to not leave them on for too long (or look for clay masks that also contain moisturizing ingredients).
You could also turn to a more high-tech beauty treatment: Marmur recommends LED light devices for oily skin since they help to keep pores clear. “They are chemical-free and easy to use,” she tells Bustle, adding that blue light, in particular, can help kill acne-causing bacteria and soothe skin.
After you apply your treatment product, it’s time to moisturize. And, BTW, having oily skin isn’t the same as having hydrated skin, so this step is important. “You still need to gently hydrate and nourish the skin with antioxidants and peptides, even if it’s oily,” says Marmur. King echoes this, adding that your moisturizer should be non-comedogenic and oil-free to avoid clogging pores. Pro tip: Look for those that are light, water-based gels or lotions. And steer clear of heavy creams or oil-based moisturizers, she says.
We recommend MM Balance Serums & Masks
Wearing SPF is key for absolutely all skin types, oily complexions included. Marmur recommends looking for non-comedogenic and oil-free sunscreens. And King also suggests powder sun protection products, as “they create a matte finish and they don't clog pores.” Whichever one you use, make sure to apply it all over your face — and stay on top of your reapplication game.