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Oily Skin: What It Is, How to Cope, and the Best 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 Oily Skin?

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 that you don’t have dry skin!

“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! Look at all those poor women out there with dry skin who have more lines and wrinkles than those of us with oily skin!”

Daily Routine for Oily Skin

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 oily skin. It will remove dirt, 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.

Seven Steps 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 Dead Sea Scrub, 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 toner. Wiping your face before applying makeup will help soak up excess oil without stripping your skin.
  5. Use oil-free cosmetics. When choosing makeup products, always find oil-free or “non-comedogenic” products that won’t clog pores.
  6. 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.
  7. 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? Please share your ideas.

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COMMENTS ( 23 and counting )
  1. Sami says:

    Special thanks for teaching on the way to recognize combination skin as supposed to oily skin. My forhead and nose area stay oily, while around my mouth tends to get very dry after washing. I probably could attribute mines to genetics, but am guilty of being a sweets machine. I also finally realized this is why mosquitoes love me so much. I am just too sweet. I usually try to use mattifiers to tone down the oily look, and I love the results, but hours later the shine fights back. Let’s forget wearing makeup without a continual refreshing. Even my eye makeup tends to fade into the oilyness of my day. Because I go for a more natural look, it doesn’t bother me to much. Mascara, lip gloss, and brow definition are my normal regime.

    I love learning about new products, but have switched to using products with ingredients I can identify and pronounce. I look forward to trying your products and maybe concocting something of my own one day.

  2. 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.

  3. Amelia says:

    Monsia is my preference

  4. hanna says:

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

  5. samke says:

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

  6. Kristy Ross says:

    Hi, Monsia makes the best in my opinion.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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?

  14. 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!

  15. Selina says:

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

    Thank you…………..

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