Oily Skin Routine

Oily Skin Routine Featured Photo

Skincare is a passion of mine and it’s one topic I’ll never get tired of researching and reading about. Everyday, I learn something new about my skin and how to take better care of it.

I’m a self-proclaimed skincare enthusiast but I got into the whole skincare game pretty late, in my late teens, to be exact. This is probably the whole reason behind my interest in learning all about the game as I feel like I have a lot to catch up on..

I personally have a more combination skin type. But in the past few months, I started noticing my skin is starting to lean towards being more oily. Due to the change, I’m also in the midst of revisiting (and modifying, if needed) my skincare regimen.

If you also have oily skin and have hit a stump on how you should build your skincare routine, I’ve got you covered right here!

What is Oily Skin?

Oily skin occurs when there is an overproduction of sebum aka oil from the skin’s oil glands, called sebaceous glands.

Everybody’s skin produces oil. Sebum is that oily substance that protects and moisturizes skin to prevent it from drying out too much. But when there is an overproduction of this oily substance, this leads to oily skin.

Oily skin looks and feels greasy. People with this skin type often look shiny and glowing, and not in the flattering way.

The oil the face produces attracts and mixes with dirt and bacteria from daily activities. This is why oily skin is often, though not always, accompanied by acne and breakouts. Inflammation, acne, and breakouts are some common skin concerns people with oily skin deal with.

This is why a skincare routine that can help balance your skin’s excess oil production but still keep it healthy and hydrated is essential. With the right skincare steps and products, you can be on your way to addressing these major skin concerns.

Who has oily skin?

Anyone can have oily skin, though it’s typically more common in teens. The skin tends to get drier with age, but this doesn’t automatically mean adults can’t have oily skin because they still do.

Your genetics also play a huge part in your skin type. If you have immediate family members with oily skin, chances are you also have oily skin.

Your environment can also affect your skin’s oil production. People who live in hot and humid climates might notice more oil on their face than people who live in much colder climates.

Stress and hormones can also be factors contributing to oily skin. And if you have somewhat enlarged pores, this might be causing the skin’s excess oil production.

Lastly, you might want to revisit your current skincare routine and the products you’re currently using. Using the wrong products on your face can potentially be the root cause of your oily skin concerns.

Oily Skin Routine (+ Top Products For Oily Skin You Should Try!)

Oily skin is a common skin concern among many. It’s especially a huge concern for people who have to deal with acne and breakouts along with it. But with the right skincare routine and products sun up and sun down, you can address these multiple concerns.

What we have below is just a basic skincare routine for oily skin to get you started on your journey towards a healthier skin. You can of course modify and revisit steps so it caters to your every need.

Step 1: Cleanser

All the best skincare routines, no matter your skin type, start with cleanser.

If you have oily skin, you’re less prone to dryness even with frequent face washing so it’s suggested to wash your face with a cleanser day and night. This is a very important step to remove excess sebum and all the dirt that comes with it.

Many people tend to skip the cleanser in the morning, thinking their face didn’t get dirty overnight because they just slept. The truth is, during the night, your skin is busy producing a lot of oils, shedding and renewing old skin cells in the process. When you wake up, it’s very important to start your day with a cleanser to get rid of all this oil and dirt from the night before.

Many recommend either a gentle foaming cleanser, a gentle salicylic cleanser to help with oil control and prevent future breakouts, or any cleanser specially formulated for oily skin. Learn about cleansers made with oil vs water.

You might want to try CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser or Cetaphil Pro Oil Removing Foam Wash.

Step 2: Toner

Now, a toner isn’t a necessity for any skincare routine. But if you want to go ahead with a toner after washing your face, it would be best to get your hands on an exfoliating toner.

Toners with salicylic acid or glycolic acid will work to absorb all that excess oil and even help prevent breakouts. These help get rid of dead skin cells and prevent your pores from clogging.

Remember though, if you’re going for an exfoliating toner, limit usage for about one to two times a week as too much can actually be very damaging to your skin.

A balancing toner is also a great way to go so you can get rid of all the excess oil without stripping essential natural oils off of your face.

For oily skin, take a look at Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Toner or COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid.

Step 3: Treatment

The treatment step is where you can modify as much as you please, all according to what your skin needs.

The treatment step of your skincare routine is where you address and focus on specific skin concerns.

With oily skin, the main issues are typically excess sebum production, acne, and breakouts. Retinol is a good treatment for oily skin. This has superb cell turnover properties and helps keep acne under control all the while keeping pores clean.

Serums and treatments containing salicylic acid, glycolic acid, benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, or niacinamide are a go-to for many people with oily skin. All these soothe skin, control excess oil, and prevent future breakouts.

Also keep in mind that anything with acids and active ingredients should be used sparingly and as recommended. Anything too much can lead to irritation and can further damage your skin’s barrier.

For oily skin special treatments and serums, check out The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% or Paula’s Choice 1% Retinol Treatment.

Step 4: Moisturizer

Many people like to think that those with oily skin don’t need moisturizer. The truth is, regardless of your skin type, moisturizing isn’t a step you should skip, day and night.

If you have oily skin, you should carefully choose the moisturizer to incorporate into your routine. For our oily skin friends, reach out for a moisturizer that’s lightweight, oil-free, water-based, and noncomedogenic.

If a moisturizer is specially-formulated for acne-prone skin, then you’re also on the right track.

For the best oily skin moisturizers, check out SkinFix Barrier+ Skin Barrier Niacinamide Restoring Gel Cream or La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Oil-FRee Mattifying Moisturizer.

Step 5: SPF

SPF is that one skincare step no one should ever skip. Always end your skincare routine by slathering a good layer of SPF, even if you’re not going out. Look for sunscreens with at least SPF30 and apply this every single morning, every single day to cap off your routine.

It’s best to look for sunscreens compatible or specially-formulated for oily or acne-prone skin. Lightweight and oil-free products, including SPF, are also the way to go for oily skin.

Sunscreens formulated with zinc oxide or titanium oxide also fare well with oily skin as these ingredients are known to keep acne and breakouts under control.

For some of the best SPF for oily skin, check out EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen and La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Sunscreen.

Look for These Ingredients for Oily Skin


Retinol is a popular anti-aging ingredient. On top of that, it helps accelerate cell turnover. This removes dead skin cells to make way for new, fresh ones. It also helps keep oil production under control and prevent the clogging of pores. This brightens skin without the shiny sheen.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is an effective ingredient to help keep acne under control and prevent future breakouts. It’s able to go deep to unclog pores and sucks out all the excess oil, dirt, and bacteria. Without all that oil, dirt, and bacteria, this also helps prevent blackheads and whiteheads.

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is a great chemical exfoliator for oily skin. It aids in removing dead skin cells to reveal a brighter, fresher skin underneath. This also helps control excess oil production and keeps pores from clogging. If you’re interested in exfoliating by micro blading oily skin, read this article.


Niacinamide is known to absorb that excess oil, to control oily skin. This also aids in collagen production and works to soothe and calm acne flare ups and inflammation. It’s also been noted to help with the appearance of dark spots and enlarged pores.

Hyaluronic Acid

Oily skin is not hydrated skin so you still need proper hydration. You can get this from hyaluronic acid. This moisturizes, hydrates, and plumps up the skin while being notoriously lightweight and without the added grease.

Avoid These Ingredients for Oily Skin


Alcohol may seem like an effective ingredient in removing excess oil and greasiness but it does so only temporarily. It’s very stripping and will only strip off the skin’s natural moisture and the skin’s protective barrier. As a result, the skin overcompensates by producing even more oil that can lead to further irritation and inflammation.

This is a specially-stripping ingredient for those with sensitive skin.

Occlusive ingredients

Occlusive ingredients form a barrier on skin and prevent any moisture loss. While they work wonders for dry skin, they can be too heavy and greasy on oily skin. Occlusive ingredients include petroleum, mineral oils, paraffin, and waxes so keep an eye out for these names in building your skin care routine.

Harsh physical scrubs

Exfoliation is key to healthy skin, but overdoing it with harsh physical scrubs can lead to over drying. When skin is over dried, it compensates by producing even more oil which can lead to more irritation and breakouts. Gentle scrubs and chemical exfoliants are always the right way to go.

Keep in Mind These Skincare Tips for Oily Skin

DO use blotting papers

Blotting papers are a great and easy fix to face that seems to shine throughout the day, and the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) agrees. These absorb any excess oil from your face so you don’t feel too greasy. Simply press, never rub or drag, the paper against your face and let it absorb the oil.

DON’T skip sunscreen

Never skip sunscreen. You don’t need to be heading out to wear SPF. Even if you stay indoors all day, SPF is still a must. An SPF30 or higher is highly recommended.

DO wash your face after exercising

The AAD also recommends washing your face after you exercise and sweat. This is especially important if you’re not planning on showering anytime soon.

DON’T touch your face throughout the day

Though it can be tempting, avoid touching your face throughout the day. Doing so only when you’re cleansing, doing your skincare routine, or applying makeup. Doing so outside of these circumstances can only transfer the dirt and bacteria from your hands to your face.

DO use makeup remover

If you wear makeup, your cleanser may not be enough to remove them all at the end of the day. Make sure you use a gentle makeup remover to remove all traces of it.

Also, make sure to clean your makeup tools as well. Check out the best machines to clean makeup brushes.


Oily skin is a common skin concern among many people. And along with all the excess oil comes skin prone to acne, inflammation, and breakouts.

A skincare routine specially designed for oily skin types is the key to keep all the excess oil and inflammation under control.

Step 1: Cleanser. Taking care of your skin always starts with cleansing. A gentle foaming cleanser or a gentle salicylic cleanser should do wonders for oily skin.

Step 2: Toner. While not necessary, a toner with salicylic acid or glycolic acid will be a good way to control excess oil and prevent clogged pores on oily skin.

Step 3: Treatment. Serums and treatments with salicylic acid, glycolic acid, benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, or niacinamide help oily skin by soothing, absorbing oil, and even preventing future flare ups.

Step 4: Moisturizer. Oily skin also needs moisture. A water-based, oil-free, and non-comedogenic moisturizer is best for oily skin.

Step 5: SPF. Never forget to apply sunscreen during the day, even if you’re not going out.

And that has been our guide on the basics of an oily skin routine! Cheers to your happy and healthy skin!

Michelle Jackson
Michelle Jackson