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Oily Skin: What It Is, How to Cope, and the Best Facial Products for You

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Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is general in nature and for informational purposes. It is not meant to substitute for the advice... read more

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is general in nature and for informational purposes. It is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. None of the statements on this site are a recommendation as to how to treat any particular disease or health-related condition. If you suspect you have a disease or health-related condition of any kind, you should contact your health care professional immediately. Please read all product packaging carefully and consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise, supplementation or medication program. Cosmetic products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. read less

oily skin

Seems we always want what we don’t have. If we have straight hair, we wish it was more wavy or curly. If we have curly hair, we spend all kinds of time straightening it.

The same seems to apply to skin—those of us with dry skin wish only for more hydration, while those of us with oily skin get so fed up with the endless shininess!

What's Your Skin Score Quiz

“I have super oily skin with large pores,” says one of our blog readers, “we are talking shiny after an hour of my morning cleanse.”

This sums up the problem with oily skin very nicely—shininess and large pores. Is there anything you can do that will help? We have some solutions for you to try.

What is Oily Skin?

Some people think they have oily skin, when in truth, they have combination skin—oily only in the T-zone, or the forehead, nose, and chin areas. Truly oily skin typically has the following characteristics:

  • looks shiny or greasy everywhere
  • appears thick and coarse
  • has enlarged pores
  • occasional breakouts

One way to test your skin to see if it is truly oily is to wash it in the morning with a gentle cleanser, pat it dry, avoid applying any make-up or lotion, and wait an hour or two. When you look in the mirror, if your face is shiny and covered in oil, you have oily skin. If your cheeks are dry but your forehead and nose are shiny, you have combination skin, which we’ll cover in another post!

What Causes it?

Oily skin is caused by over-active sebaceous glands that produce excessive amounts of skin oil, called “sebum.” Typically it is hereditary, meaning that if one or both of your parents had oily skin, you may have it, too. In addition, exposing the skin to too many products that upset its own natural balance can also trigger the over-production of oil.

What Are the Problems Associated with Oily Skin?

If you have oily skin, you may also suffer from the following problems:

  • Clogged pores: too much oil dirt and clogs pores
  • Shine: oily skin looks shiny and greasy
  • Runny Cosmetics: you have a hard time keeping makeup in place and often have to blot and reapply

The good news is that oily skin ages more slowly than dry skin, so when you move into your 40s and beyond, you may actually be thankful for your oiliness!

“I’ve learned to love and embrace my oily skin,” says another one of our readers. “Look at all those poor women out there with dry skin who constantly have to replace what we already have in abundance!”

Daily Routine for Combatting Excess Oil

Even though your skin may age more slowly than other types, that’s little consolation when you’re looking at large pores and shine. When looking for ways to help control your oil production, start with some basic steps.

  1. Wash only twice a day. Even though the oil crops back up within a couple hours, resist the urge to wash again. If you strip the oils too much, your skin will react by producing even more, which is definitely what you don’t want. If you wash off that excess oil more than that, use water alone.
  2. Use a dissolving cleanser. You want your cleanser to gently dissolve the oils and deeply clean at the same time. Try our Citrus Mint Facial Cleanser, which is formulated specifically for oiliness. It will remove dirt, excess oil, and impurities without harsh chemicals, and will help unclog pores. Use warm water, and massage the cleanser into your skin for at least one minute before rinsing off.
  3. Tone carefully. Again, the danger here is over-stripping your natural oils and causing a backfire in oil production. You want a toner that is gentle but effective. Try my Rosemary Toning Mist, which helps clean and give the skin a balanced appearance, plus it is a leave-on toner, which provides lasting benefits.
  4. Balance the oils in your skin. This is critical in oily skin types, and the step that most people struggle with. You know the problem is too much oil, so you try to get rid of that oil, but oftentimes that means harsh products that just strip the skin, damage the outer layer, and lead to increased oil production in the long run, as well as accelerated aging. Natural oils have an amazing ability to work with the body to balance the way your skin looks, which is why I’m so sold on them. You may think, “apply oils to oily skin?” But just try it—you’ll be amazed at the results, I’m sure. Use the Herbal Facial Oil for Oily Skin, made especially for oily skin types. Apply it every day after cleansing and you’ll notice a more balanced look.

Eight Tips for Oily Types

Once you’ve got your daily routine down, it’s time to add in a few extra steps that will improve the appearance and behavior of your skin.

  1. Use a mask 2-3 times a week. Masks help reduce the oily appearance on the face for days at a time. Plus they can help pores appear smaller. Try our Purifying Mud Mask, which uses mineral rich clays to give a toner and tighter appearance to the skin.
  2. Exfoliate 2-3 times a week. Try the Kaolin Micro Exfoliant, which leaves your looking skin smooth and clean. Just be careful not to over-exfoliate, because that can cause skin damage and may encourage your skin you produce more oil.
  3. Consider your diet. Foods high in fats, sugars, and unhealthy oils can cause a negative reaction in your skin. Choose healthy fruits and vegetables and lean proteins, and cut down on sugar-sweetened beverages.
  4. Try witch hazel before applying makeup. It’s a natural salicylic acid toner. Wiping your face before applying makeup will help soak up excess oil without stripping your skin.
  5. Use a light moisturizer. It can be a little counter-intuitive, but using a light moisturizer with infused ingredients that cleanse can help your skin balance out its own oils overtime so that you don’t stay so oily.
  6. Use oil-free cosmetics. When choosing makeup products, always find oil-free or “non-comedogenic” products that won’t clog pores.
  7. Don’t overdo powder. You may think that more powder would help soak up excess oil, but it can actually get cakey and may encourage your skin to pump out more oil. Apply powder sparingly only on shiny areas, and use a matte translucent formula.
  8. Remember sun protection. No matter what kind of skin you have, you need to protect it from the sun, which is enemy #1 when it comes to aging! Look for zinc oxide formulas.
Do you have oily skin? How do you cope? Share your wisdom in the comments below.
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COMMENTS ( 32 and counting )
  1. Amanda Atwell says:

    Haha I thought mosquitoes never bit me because I wasn’t sweet enough, but it’s actually to do with genetics, too. They have preferential blood types lol.

  2. Amelia says:

    Monsia is my preference

  3. hanna says:

    hey . is this product available at Malaysia ? i means like in watsons or gurdiance maybe ?

  4. samke says:

    I have a combination skin, its also itching while m trying to wash

  5. Kristy Ross says:

    Hi, Monsia makes the best in my opinion.

  6. pillar says:

    I have suffered with a very oily T zone for years but the other areas of my face are very dry and because I use powder make up this has become a problem for me as I get older because these patches are becoming more noticeable.

    I have tried numerous moisturisers which claim to be for all skin types but the ONLY one that worked for me was the pH Equilibrium Moisturizer from Made from Earth. It balances out my face and does not irritate my sensitive skin. I bought mine online at the Made from Earth website.

  7. Thanks for sharing amazing tips for oily skin. My sister has very oily skin. She keeps trying new products everyday to remove oily from her skin but all of them works for some time only. I will share your tips to her. I hope she will get permanent solution to get rid of oily skin.

  8. Sophie Addison says:

    Thanks for sharing amazing tips.
    I have oily skin and for that I am using a clarifying toner named as Maxatone. It keeps my face hydrated and lusciously soft without becoming oily or greasy looking. I am very much happy with the results. One can try this product.

  9. Aloysius says:

    Hi , im suffering from acne for about 3years now . I have really oily skin and everyday after i wash my face, about 2 hours later ,there will be alot of oil on my face. i feel really insecure about it.i will start using a blotting paper to wipe of all the oil. i will use about 2 or 3 blotting papers a day. does using a moisturizer really work? I read that it helps to control the oil production on the face .please recommend some moisturizers for oily and acne prone skin ;(

    • Annmarie Skin Care says:

      For clogged pores, we recommend taking a holistic approach. It’s important to consider your environment, genes, hormones, stress, emotional wellness, hydration, and nutrition. Skin Care products can only do so much!

      Washing your face with a mild cleanser, like our Citrus Mint Cleanser, two times a day will be very beneficial. This product will help to unclog pores. It has great cleansing properties from the rosemary, witch hazel, and peppermint that help purify and balance skin.

      Using our Rosemary Toning Mist can also help to balance natural skin oils. Rosemary cleans impurities for a brightened appearance.

      Our Herbal Facial Oils are fantastic moisturizers, especially for those with clogged pores. Oils are more readily absorbed into the skin than lotions because our skin produces oils for moisturization naturally. It seems contrary to put a facial oil on skin with clogged pores, but by using an oil your skin will sense that moisture levels are more normalized which helps balance vital skin oils. Our best recommendation would be our Herbal Facial Oil for Oily Skin, but if you have sensitive, dry, or combination skin you may want to try either the Unscented Facial Oil, or the Herbal Facial Oil for Normal & Combination Skin.

      Once or twice a week, or even as a spot treatment, we recommend using the Purifying Mud Mask which deeply purifies and promotes skin’s natural mineral balance.

  10. Windows says:

    Excellent post. Keep posting such kind of information on your page.
    Im really impressed by it.
    Hello there, You’ve done an incredible job. I’ll definitely digg it and personally recommend to my friends.
    I’m sure they will be benefited from this site.

  11. Dani says:

    I tried using coconut oil for my oily (or rather, combination skin (I get a very oily t-zone but my cheeks are quite dry)), to no avail, then I discovered 100% aloe Vera gel, OMG my skin LOVES this stuff! I still use coconut oil maybe 2-3 times a week, as a coconut oil and baking soda scrub, but once a day is too much for me.. but aloe is my new god send! I use it on my hair too. It’s amazing stuff!

  12. steff says:

    hi im 14 and i have an oily skin..first, i had a scar on my face 3 years ago and its still there what could i do to remove it…and second, my eyes gets so puffy sometimes what can i do….third, my face skin has some dead cells what can i do..lastly, i have a big pimple what can i do to heal it fast?

  13. Jessica says:

    I pretty much have oily skin because my entire face will get oily. Not only is my face oily, but I also have acne, my biggest concern is the cystic acne. I’m thinking it’s more hormonal because when it’s that time of the month my face FREAKS out especially around my jawline and under my chin. My dermatologist has recommended Accutane but I really do not want to get on Accutane because of the side effects. This has dramatically brought my self esteem down, but don’t know what else to try. I’ve done coconut oil as a cleanser since I was told to do the oil approach. It did make my face feel amazing, but I was starting to wonder if that clogged my pores because my breakouts started to get worse. Oh, I also forgot ro mention I have extremely sensitive skin with Rosacea. I’m extremely allergic to benzoyl peroxide. I’ve changed my diet started to include green smoothies every morning. I cut out dairy last week to see if that’ll help. As a face wash I use CeraVe in the morning and “Say Yes to tomatoes” facial cleanser for acne at night with a spin brush (I’ve seen a difference from my cheeks up with this approach). I also use a sea salt with water toner day and night along with witch hazel after I wash off the sea salt, in the morning I also use Aczone that my dermatologist gave me (I’ve only been using that for a week). For moisturizer I use the Cetaphil for acne prone skin with SPF. I know this is a long post, but maybe someone out there can relate and can give me some recommendations. I just really do not want to get on Accutane. I HATE acne by the way! Thanks in advance!

    • Annmarie Skin Care says:

      Hey Jessica,

      We’re sorry to hear that you’re experiencing something with you’re skin that you’re not happy with. We would suggest visiting with an esthetician to get an idea of exactly what’s going on with your skin and what your skin is really needing. If this is an internal issue, the skin care you use isn’t 100% the answer, but it’s good to check out the ingredients of what you are using. Those products do have chemical ingredients that may not be helping. We also suggest a visit with a holistic healer to get an idea of how the intersection of your internal body chemistry may be affecting your skin. Good luck!

    • Lisa says:

      Sorry to hear about your problem. I would really suggest quitting sugar, gluten processed food and mil products for a while, at least 2-3 weeks and incorporating more vegetables and see if it makes a difference. I think you will get a good result. All the best!

  14. Selina says:

    Its sounds very help full. I will try those 7 tips.

    Thank you…………..

  15. Laurie says:

    I have struggled with oily skin and the resulting large pores since I was a teen. Makeup changes color and starts sliding off your skin within a few hours and blotting every two to three hours is frustrating (and people look at you strangely, even when you’re in your own car). I have found that in this instance, less is more. Makeup should be reduced, not increased. When you reach your 40s, skin might become drier in the winter months and remain oily when the humidity rises again. In your 50s the issues only increase and we are scrambling to find proper ‘moisture replacement’ techniques like people with dry skin (thank you, AG). I have two regimens now for the two seasons: dry and humid. In the dry season, I use hydrating face care and make a ‘bb’-type foundation, but the humid season demands less makeup and very light moisturizing. Not moisturizing or using any foundation means my face will become even more oily! Humidity means increased mask usage, but care in not irritating the skin (oily skin tends to be sensitive, too). I like to exfoliate with a nubby, raw silk cloth as I rinse the cleanser several times a week. Too much exfoliation irritates around my nose first and is a warning sign. As I’ve grown older, and experienced some dry skin issues, I’m grateful to have oily skin – even with its difficulties. It really is easier to remove excess oil than to replace it!

  16. Joyce says:

    I used your samples once. I saw an immediate change on my oily face & I love the scent. I’ll order again soon.

    .

  17. Trace says:

    Hi,
    I’m an oily male being and love the AM products available for this skin type however I have stopped ordering only due to freight costs as I’m in Australia and I suppose the AUD to USD conversion ain’t great apparently better than it’s been for little while though.

    Is there interest from anyone in Australia to stock your products? I have googled but the closest I got was from BeGood Organics in NZ.

    Regards,
    Trace

  18. huguette says:

    do you know what to use for rosacea?

    • Annmarie Skin Care says:

      Hi there! Unfortunately, due to very strict FDA regulations, we are unable to recommend, diagnose, suggest, or prescribe any of our products for any specific purpose, including rosacea. We do, however, suggest working with a holistic practitioner to figure out what your potential triggers are that are causing your rosacea.

      I am happy to give you information on caring for sensitive skin, if that is something that you’re concerned about.

      Here is our quick guide for what generally works best to alleviate temporary redness or discomfort. (Complete ingredient lists and instructions are on each product page of our website.)

      1-2 times per day:

      Aloe Herb Cleanser: Mildly massage into damp skin and gently remove with warm water. This creamy, pH balanced cleanser has calming properties.
      Neroli Toning Mist: Use 2-4 spritzes as often as you like for a boost of soothing hydration.
      Anti-Aging Serum: Pump a small amount into your palm. With your other hand dab the serum around your face, then gently blend in. This aloe-based formula will cool, hydrate and nourish the skin. The rose distillate, a main ingredient, creates a calming sensation.
      Herbal Facial Oil for Sensitive Skin (Formerly Unscented Facial Oil): Pump a small amount into your palm. With your other hand dab the oil around your face, then gently blend in. This product moisturizes and nourishes the skin.

      1-2 times per week:

      Ayurvedic Facial Scrub: Make a paste in your hand by blending about a half-teaspoon of the scrub powder with 2-3 pumps of cleanser and a few drops of water. Use this mix to gently scrub and cleanse your face, then rinse off. This important exfoliating step helps prepare the skin to absorb nutrients.

      Coconut Honey Mask: After cleansing apply this indulgent mask generously, including around the eyes. For deep penetration, warm skin first with a warm wash cloth or apply while soaking in a hot bath. Leave on for at least 15 minutes. Gently remove with a wet cloth and pat skin dry. This mask will truly leave your skin radiant and glowing!

      Sensitive skin is so unique, just like you! Please spot-test all products to check for allergic reaction or flare-up.

  19. Caryn says:

    I have oily skin and LOVE your products!!! Unfortunately your under eye cream causes the skin to react along the cheek bone (under the eye). Any suggestions?

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