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How to Build A Skincare Routine for Oily Skin That’s Actually Good?

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It takes effort to keep oily skin under control (from someone who’s been through the struggle), but it is possible. With a constant tendency to break out, oily skin is probably the toughest to deal with. But you are here now, where all tips for taking care of oily skin are.

Why is my skin oily?

Genetics, lifestyle, where you live, age, skipping moisturizer, or overdoing your skincare routine, many could be the causes of your oily skin. Under your pores are located the sebaceous glands, which produce natural oil (sebum) to keep skin hydrated and defend its barrier function. Oil gives moisture and that plump look to your skin. Just that some people’s glands secrete more oil than needed, hence the excess sebum and a little extra shine. When the sebum mixes with dead skin cells and gets stuck in your pores, breakouts arise. 

Oily skin is just another skin type, and while you can’t get rid of it, you can learn how to keep it under control. And hey, you wouldn’t even want to get rid of it! That because, on the flip side, oily skin ages slower. Yes, that oil works as an occlusive moisturizer that helps ward off wrinkles and creates a protective barrier on the skin’s surface to prevent water loss while acting as a protective barrier against external aggressors. You still want to escape oily skin? I thought so..


But fear not. Here are the most important rules to follow for a perfect skincare routine for oily skin.

Morning routine for oily skin

Your morning skincare routine is one hell of a critical piece of the puzzle. The dirt, excess oils, and impurities built up on your skin during the night can clog pores if you don’t remove them. So, the best way to kick off a fabulous day is to start with a rigorous skincare routine that your skin will love you for. As a lifetime oily skin fighter, here’s what I find to be the most important steps for an AM skincare routine, plus some products I like.


The best cleansers for oily skin are foamy ones. That’s because they help get rid of oil better than other types. A suitable face wash for oily skin should help you control excess sebum without ripping off its essential oil or unbalancing your skin’s pH. For the best, pick one that addresses oily skin type, made without oil, and non-comedogenic. 

Murad Clarifying Cleanser - Acne Face Wash
Murad Clarifying Cleanser – Acne Face Wash


You’ve probably heard that oily skin should use an astringent toner, but that’s not true. This will only dry out your skin, compromise your skin barrier, leading to breakouts, irritations, and even more oil. A good toner should increase the cells’ turnover, preparing the skin for what you’re applying after toning. For that to happen, your toner needs to include ingredients like AHAs and BHAs. Look for glycolicsalicyliclactic acids; they clear your pores, reduce sebum production and help exfoliate your skin. To be sure your toner won’t dry your skin, besides these oil-fighters, it would be good if they’d include calming ingredients, such as niacinamide, antioxidants, H.A., or aloe vera. 

bareMinerals Poreless Exfoliating Toner
bareMinerals Poreless Exfoliating Toner

Eye cream

No matter the skin type, the eye area is sensitive for everyone. Your most delicate skin is prone to damage since it’s so thin. To give it a little boost, apply a nourishing eye cream, maybe infused with vitamins A, C, E, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides.

Lancôme Rénergie Ultra Dark Circle Correcting Eye Cream
Lancôme Rénergie Ultra Correcting Eye Cream

Antioxidant serum

You need a product filled with antioxidants to neutralize the damage done by free radicals, like U.V., pollutants, and smoke. All these participate in destroying your skin’s barrier, and a broken skin barrier has higher chances of irritations and pimples. When antioxidants are found in serum, the chances they truly shield your skin are higher. This is because serums are water-based and have the smallest molecules. They penetrate deeper into the inner skin layer, hence, better effects. An as a pro tip: always look for a serum in an amber bottle or one that doesn’t let light in. Otherwise, the antioxidants in it will oxidize, so the product won’t have any effects.

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic with 15% L-Ascorbic Acid

Moisturizer with SPF

“Oily skin doesn’t need moisturizer” is just another myth. Oily skin does need hydration as much as the rest of the skin types. If you skip this step, your skin will feel it and, in an attempt to replenish that hydration level, will secrete more sebum, so yeah, you don’t want that. And since SPF is non-negotiable, a moisturizer with SPF for oily skin might come in handy.

Aveda Daily Light Guard Defense
Aveda Daily Light Guard Defense Fluid SPF 30


Makeup also should be picked along with the skin type. Oily skin should turn head to powder foundations as they can absorb excess oil, leave a matte finish and give natural SPF. However, if you fancy liquid foundations, look for one with a matte finish, oil-free and non-comedogenic. And if you don’t strive for full coverage, a CC cream formulated for oily skin will give you also benefits, not only sheer coverage. Also, you can add a mattifying gel to your makeup bag, and don’t forget about setting powder. Or better, an organic setting powder.

Evening routine for oily skin

Cleanse, remove makeup is not to mention, you know it yet very well, don’t you? And then use the toner. 


At night, you can opt for a serum with retinol or one with zinc. 

Retinoids — vitamin A derivatives — are widely used to address anti-aging concerns, but also acne and oily skin. The small molecules that make up retinol go beneath the outer skin’s layer, reaching the dermis. This is where it helps neutralize free radicals, boosting collagen and elastin production. In turn, this creates that plump effects, minimizing fine lines and large pores look. On top of that, retinol has exfoliating benefits, improving skin tone and texture. Thus, it has healing effects for acne scarring as well. Retinol also helps unclog pores, preventing blemishes from forming. Lastly, retinol balances hydration in your skin, and it’s a key ingredient in reducing sebum levels. Go figure how good this element is for oily skin. Add one of these retinol serums to your skincare regimen.

Another acne-fighter ingredient is zinc. This mineral has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory effects while regulates oil production and protects the skin’s barrier. It also has been shown that zinc protects the skin and helps it regenerate. So you can take your daily quota of zinc from a serum meant to go deep into the skin layers and bring your skin to its best condition.

Pai Copaiba & Zinc Blemish Serum
Pai Copaiba & Zinc Blemish Serum


Rather than using the same moisturizer as you do at AM, you need a formula made to nourish your skin more, yet it shouldn’t be heavy. When sleeping, the skin produces less sebum, leading to transepidermal water loss. If you don’t keep it moisturized during the night, it will secrete even more oil to replenish that loss during the day. So, a night cream made for oily skin is not to be skipped.

SkinCeuticals 10% Glycolic Renew Overnight
SkinCeuticals 10% Glycolic Renew Overnight

And finally, layer your eye cream.


Weekly Routine

In addition to your daily skincare, here are steps in your skincare regimen that you can’t do daily, but they need to be done weekly.

Exfoliation/ Scrubs/ Peeling

Without exfoliation, dead skin cell build-up lead to a dull look, more oil, and more chances for pimples to appear. A scrub or exfoliator will help remove the dirt that clogs your pores while diminishing the apparition of dark spots, scars, and blackheads. Plus, what you apply after scrubbing will get better absorbed into the skin; hence your skin takes more advantage of products. Here are the best scrubs for oily skin.

The Ordinary AHA
The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution


A mask once or twice a week is mandatory, especially for oily skin with a tendency to break out. And which is a hero ingredient for excess sebum in a mask? You may have guessed it… clay! You can either buy a mask that targets excess oil, or you can do one yourself. I’ll now reveal my secret mask, one that I use for my forever-oily skin, which I created under my cosmetician’s guidance. A tablespoon of clay powder, three drops of organic tea tree essential oil, the gel from an aloe vera leaf, and a tablespoon of honey. Mix everything, apply on clean and dry skin and let it work for 20 minutes. I promise your skin will literally love this!

Monthly routine

This is not imperative, but it would help a lot if you’d do it: go for a monthly facial. There is where you get a deep cleaning, blackheads and pimples extractions, a mask or peel, and a relaxing massage — all performed by an expert with professional-grade products and devices, who also give you advice and hints. So, don’t underestimate the power of a monthly facial. 

P.S.: As long as oily skin is prone to break out, the scars left by pimples are a real concern. What can you do about it? Either you can opt for a dermaroller or a microneedling pen to use at home. Add any of these tools to your monthly skincare regimen to get rid of scars left by acne.

BUT! Please don’t use them if you have active breakouts or irritations — you risk worsening your situation. 


No doubt you already are in the theme with the strong correlation of sport and skin condition. A lot of studies indicated that stress and breakouts influence one another. Exercise reduces stress hormones in the body, naturally decreasing the chances of pimples appearing, plus you get that natural glowy and firm look. By its very nature, exercising makes you sweat, and this has a substantial positive effect: the pores open up, and excess sebum and dirt are naturally removed. 

To end

Now you’ve got all you need to control your oily skin, prevent blemishes from appearing and get rid of scars. Before you go, stay patient and follow your skincare routine strictly to see results because great skin is one thing that doesn’t come easy. It takes time and effort, but it is all worths it!

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