If you have oily skin, it can feel like you’re constantly battling your own face. All those popular remedies your friends swear by? You don’t need them – all you need are the right ingredients in your skincare products! In this article, we discuss some of those ingredients and some of the best clean beauty products that incorporate them into their formulas to help combat oily skin and keep it looking healthy and clear.
How to find out if you have oily skin:
The easiest way to find out whether your skin is oily or dry is simply by feeling it. If your T-zone area (forehead, nose, and chin) feels greasy at any time of day, you have oily skin. If it feels dry instead, you have dry skin. There are other methods you can use to diagnose your type of skin as well. Rub a cotton ball on various areas of your face, including both sides of your nose, across all four cheekbones under both eyes and over any red spots or pimples that may be present. The side that attracts oil is most likely where excess oil production occurs on your face.
Daily skincare routine for oily skin:
A clean beauty routine for oily skin should focus on using gentle & effective products that are rich in antioxidants. Since most oils are comedogenic (which means they can clog pores), you’ll want to minimize them as much as possible. Ideally, try for two face washes per day—one with salicylic acid and one with sulfur—in order to effectively remove oil without causing too much irritation. Some of our favorite ingredients include calming lavender, soothing aloe vera, powerful tea tree oil, hydrating hyaluronic acid, anti-inflammatory witch hazel, and more. We also recommend using a toner every night followed by a lightweight moisturizer.
Why are cleansing and face wash important for oily skin?
Cleansing is an important part of maintaining any skin type. If you’re struggling with oily skin, cleansing needs to be a routine that you get into, and preferably every day. Just make sure it’s gentle enough for your skin type. You don’t want products that will strip away all of your natural oils, leaving you with a dry appearance and excessive oil production in response. The key is finding a balance between cleansing and not over-stripping your skin when using products specifically for oily skin.
How to pick the right facial cleanser and skincare products for oily skin?
Facial cleansers are a great way to clean your skin and get rid of oil and dirt. However, if you have oily skin you need to be careful that your face wash doesn’t just add more oil or clog pores, but rather helps balance out your complexion too. In general, avoid dry ingredients such as alcohols, menthols and peppermint oil—which can all leave a cooling sensation on your skin—as well as astringents. Instead look for products with astringent or antibacterial properties, such as salicylic acid (BHA) or willow bark extract (aka salix alba), which may help unclog pores.
Ingredients to look for in cleanser and skincare products for oily skin:
Many cleansers & skincare products include natural ingredients like green tea extract, sea salt, and charcoal that help exfoliate dead skin cells without drying out your complexion. Avoid cleansers & skincare products with sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS), which can be extremely harsh on your skin. When possible, go for products made with coconut-derived surfactants or clean beauty products that are gentler on your skin.
1. Salicylic Acid and how it helps oily skin:
If you have oily skin, chances are you’ve seen products that contain salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid derived from willow bark. The active ingredient helps keep pores clean by reducing oil production and gently exfoliating. Salicylic acid can also help prevent acne by loosening dead skin cells that clog pores and reduce inflammation that causes pimples. It’s important to remember though, over-the-counter treatments containing salicylic acid should not be used on broken or sensitive skin as it may cause irritation. Because salicylic acid requires a prescription for its full strength it’s often combined with other natural ingredients such as aloe vera and calendula extract to treat oily skin and irritated skin.
2. Benzoyl Peroxide and how it helps oily skin:
If you’re prone to acne, benzoyl peroxide is an ingredient you should look for. It helps fight off bacteria that can cause breakouts on your skin, while also clearing up blackheads and pimples. It’s found in over-the-counter products like cleansers, masks and lotions, but it can also be added as a standalone ingredient. However, benzoyl peroxide shouldn’t be used more than two times a day since it can dry out your skin; most over-the-counter products recommend using it twice daily for no longer than two weeks at a time.
3. Glycolic Acid and how it helps oily skin:
Combat oily skin with glycolic acid. A lot of people don’t realize that acid is actually a misnomer for what is really an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). Glycolic acid, also known as sugar cane extract, is derived from coconut oil and sugarcane juice. As a chemical exfoliant that helps remove dead skin cells and impurities from clogged pores, it can help remove blackheads and even large comedones (small skin coloured acne pimple usually on forehead or chin) by increasing cell turnover. The best part about glycolic acid is that it works well with all types of skin tones and absorbs quickly into your skin. It is also quite affordable when compared to clean beauty products with other alternatives!
4. Niacinamide and how it helps oily skin:
One of the biggest issues with oily skin is that it can feel uncomfortable. Niacinamide, an ingredient found in many clean beauty products, has been shown to help reduce shine and improve overall skin texture by loosening sebum plugs or acne. The result? Pores that look much more refined and less visible. Additionally, niacinamide can help lighten dark spots caused by acne scars, stretch marks, or age spots.
5. Hyaluronic acid and how it helps oily skin:
Hyaluronic acid is a powerful humectant that draws moisture from wherever it can find it. When applied topically, hyaluronic acid works by creating a long-lasting film over skin that keeps water from evaporating from within or from without. And because of its high molecular weight, it won’t penetrate your skin—so you don’t have to worry about skin issues like clogged pores and breakouts, making it a prime option for those with oily skin. Hyaluronic acid also creates instant volume for dehydrated complexions, making your skin appear smooth and plump. It’s especially helpful if you live in an area that’s very dry or has low humidity levels during most of the year.
6. Zinc PCA and how it helps oily skin:
Oily skin occurs when your pores get clogged with excess oil and dead skin cells. Zinc PCA (Zn-PCA) is an ingredient that helps control and balance oily, blemish-prone skin because it reduces sebum production and calms inflammation caused by acne breakouts. It also works to even out your complexion and texture by reducing shine. Lastly, it protects your skin against environmental pollutants by keeping dirt and grime from getting stuck in your pores. Zinc PCA is commonly found in face washes, moisturizers, spot treatments, primers and more.
Ready to get your skincare routine started for your oily skin?
If you’re not sure about what products to use or where to start, then here are some products that you should be looking into when shopping for clean beauty products.
1) Best Facial Cleansers for oily skin:
Oily skin requires gentle cleansers that won’t over-strip your skin. Find one that contains salicylic acid or glycolic acid, which will help dissolve dirt and oil without causing irritation. If you want to incorporate a wash-off product like a mask, look for one with kaolin clay (it’s milder than other clays). Or try applying some baking soda on damp skin; it has oil-absorbing properties and works as an exfoliant too. Apply at night, before you go to bed; leave it on for 20 minutes, then rinse off with warm water. Do not do the baking soda routine more than once per week as it may harm your skin. Hera are some of our favourites:
- Paul Pender's Face Wash Alpina & Tea Tree Cleansing Wash For Normal to oily skin:
- Vedaearth Refreshing Face Wash with Lemon & Rosemary For Oily Skin:
- SkinYoga Oats and Roses Face Wash For All Skin Types and Sensitive Skin
This face wash for all skin types a nd sensitive skin is full of nourishing ingredients that are made right here in India, including organic rose water, and oat extract making it an enriched combination full of Vitamin C. It lathers up quickly with its creamy consistency and rinses clean without drying out the face. The rose petals also adds some fragrance making it very refreshing to use as well.
2) Best Toners & Face Mist For Oily Skin
The best toners for oily skin will be oil-free, non-comedogenic, and pH balanced. Choosing a toner with these three traits will help combat oily skin by reducing excess oil production while also keeping pores clear. There are many great brands that offer clean toners that can really get rid of excess shine on your face. Here are some of our favourites:
- Amara Naturals Face Toner - Gauri Turmeric Haldi Water:
- RawConcoctions Face Mist Ambrosia (Saffron & Marigold, Healing & Soothing) For All Skin Types:
Ambrosia is an ancient skin elixir that has been used for centuries by women in India. It is a combination of saffron and marigold that instantly cools and soothes your skin, giving it a healthy glow. If you’re looking for a spray that can instantly soothe and cool down oily skin, look no further than RawConcoctions Face Mist Ambrosia. Made with vegan, certified organic ingredients and essential oils, it’s also free of Mineral oils, synthetic fragrances, colorants, sulfates, silicones, parabens, and other harmful chemicals. It’s cruelty free as well. These are also made in small batches making sure the freshness & essence of natural ingredients is intact.
3) Best Moisturizers and Serums for Oily Skin
If you have oily skin, you know just how unpleasant and inconvenient it can be. Oily skin is never too far from a breakout and feels sticky and oily all day long. The best thing about having oily skin is your choice of moisturizers and serums—you want them to be lightweight, fast-absorbing, oil-free or serum-based with natural oils like jojoba oil for example. Some of our favorites include The Skin Pantry’s Almond & Aloe Whisper Face Moisturiser and Paul Penders Juniper & Yarrow Moisturizer.
- Anour Aloe Glaze Aloevera Gel Moisturizer:
- Disguise Cosmetics C + C Sorbet Face Moisturizer & Hydration Balm
We’re a little obsessed with Disguise Cosmetics, not only because they’re a clean beauty brand with a genius name, but also because their products are seriously one of our favorites. Their Face Moisturizer C + C Sorbet Hydration Balm is non-greasy and works wonders on oily skin. The best part? It absorbs into your skin quickly, so you won’t feel like you have residue on your face all day.
4) Best Facial Scrubs for Oily Skin
The best facial scrubs for oily skin will help you get rid of all that excess oil, without leaving your face dry and irritated. It’s a careful balance that often requires a few different products. If you want to make your own scrub or can’t find one at your local drugstore, there are several DIY recipes online. The key is using gentle ingredients like baking soda and oatmeal as exfoliants, because harsh scrubbing particles (like salt) could cause damage and irritation. Lemon juice is another effective natural exfoliant that works especially well on dark marks; just be sure not to apply it directly to skin, as it may irritate sensitive skin types. Here's one of our favourites:
- Active Glow Facial Scrub
Ready to start your skincare routine & start taking care of your oily skin? Explore Clean Beauty Booth & buy clean beauty products formulated for oily skin.
All ingredients mentioned in the article have been double-checked to ensure it has the BEST or GOOD rating in Paula's Choice Skincare Ingredient Dictionary.