Oily skin can be shiny, prone to spots and difficult to manage. To control these problems and achieve smooth, healthy-looking skin, it’s important both to understand the causes of the oiliness and to find the right skincare regime.
Skin that’s prone to oiliness can be caused by your genes and your hormones, stress, dehydration, climate, irritants, or any combination of these and other factors.
Some of these causes can be addressed through lifestyle changes. However, to manage your oily skin effectively, good skincare is also crucial. Choosing the best face wash for oily skin can be daunting. So we’ve put together this simple guide to choosing an oily skin cleanser that will help you pick the right products for your skin.
How to Tackle Oily Skin
Having oily skin can feel like a never ending battle with the mattifying face powder. But there are things you can do that can help you manage your skin.
First up, the single most important thing you can do to help your oily skin is to cleanse your skin regularly and effectively, at least twice a day. Using a gentle cleanser for oily skin helps to not only remove dirt and makeup, but excess oil and the pollution and grime that can build up on the skin each day.
Anything that’s allowed to build up on the skin can collect in the pores, clogging them. Then the clogged pores become covered with a layer of sebum, effectively trapping in the dirt and grime, which can then lead to skin irritation and spots.
Oily skin is skin that produces excess sebum, for a number of reasons. Sebum is naturally produced by the skin to help keep it hydrated and forms a protective layer to protect it from the elements. When sebum is produced excessively, due to hormones, genetics, stress or any other number of reasons, the skin becomes oily as the sebum builds up during the day.
If we leave dirt, makeup, sweat and environmental pollutants on the skin, excess sebum will seal it all in, causing havoc. Hence the need for an effective oily skin cleanser. (But more on the best cleansers for oily skin later.)
Exfoliating is also beneficial for oily skin, once or twice a week. This deep cleans the skin, helping to remove dirt and dead skin cells from the pores.
Never underestimate the power of a good skin moisturiser, either. If you have oily skin, it can be tempting to skip the moisturiser. But after cleansing, even oily skin will feel dry for a while, before the skin makes more sebum to replace the layer that’s been lost to cleansing.
If you don't moisturise after cleansing, the skin will overcompensate and produce even more sebum, leading to oilier skin. Opt for a lightweight moisturiser that's designed to support oily skin.
After moisturiser, try a mattifying primer before makeup, to help keep the shine at bay. Follow with makeup developed for oily skin - powder foundation is generally better at keeping the skin matte and shine free than a liquid or creme foundation.
Cleansing Oily Skin - Why is it Important?
As we mentioned above, cleansing using a facial cleanser for oily skin, is the most important step in an effective skincare routine for oily skin.
Cleansing any skin type helps to remove dirt, sweat, toxins, oil, bacteria and dead skin cells from the surface of the skin as well as the pores. But for oily skin this is especially important for two reasons - to remove excess oil and to help prevent dirt becoming trapped in the pores.
The best face wash for oily skin will be one that also respects the natural pH balance of the skin, which will help to manage oil production.
How Often Should I Cleanse My Oily Skin?
All skin types, but especially oily skin types, should cleanse their skin twice a day. Cleansing at night removes makeup as well as dirt, oil, sweat and toxins that have accumulated on the skin during the day.
Cleansing in the morning removes the sweat, oil and dead skin cells that have built up over night and provides a good base for adding skincare products and makeup. You can use a lighter cleanser in the morning if you wish, such as a quick sweep with a toner or cream cleanser.
How Should I Cleanse My Oily Skin?
A cleanser for oily skin needs to be gentle, above all else. Oily skin can become sensitive and irritated, so it’s important to use gentle skincare products including a gentle facial cleanser for oily skin.
It’s up to personal preference whether you use a face wash or a creamy cleanser. Either way, use circular movements to gently massage the cleanser into your skin, remove with a soft cloth and if necessary (as with a face wash) use lukewarm water to rinse. Too hot or too cold, and it could irritate your skin.
Vigorous scrubbing or the use of a rough cloth might be tempting to rid your skin of oil, but it’ll only serve to trigger even more oil production. After cleansing, pat, don’t rub, your skin dry with a soft, clean towel. Follow with the rest of your skincare regime.
What Should I Look for in a Cleanser for Oily Skin?
The best cleansers for oily skin are those that have been developed for oily skin and contain natural, gentle ingredients. They’re also non pore blocking, or “non comedogenic” and pH balanced.
Whether a creamy cleanser or a face wash, oily skin cleansers are also calming and gentle, so that they don’t strip the skin of its natural oils, sending oil production into overdrive.
Here’s more detail on choosing the best facial cleanser for oily skin.
Oily Skin Cleanser Options
There are three main options when it comes to selecting a cleanser for oily skin: oil or cream cleansers, face washes and face scrubs.
Oil or Cream Cleansers for Oily Skin
Oil or cream cleansers are applied directly to the skin, then gently wiped away using cotton wool or tissue.
It may seem counterintuitive to use an oil cleanser for oily skin; however, some people find that these types of cleansers can nourish stressed skin, and are effective at removing irritants such as makeup, without drying the skin.
The best cream cleanser and most oil cleansers contain natural ingredients - look out for shea butter, jojoba oil or coconut oil-based products.
Face Washes for Oily Skin
A face wash works in combination with water, creating a foam. This is massaged over the face and and washed away from your skin, along with any grime.
The best face wash for oily skin is gentle and soap-free. Avoid harsh medicated washes that will strip your skin of its own natural oils as these can trigger further oil production. Look out for soap-free products containing essential oils, such as tea tree, lavender, and chamomile.
If you have oily skin in conjunction with acne prone skin, look for a face wash that contains tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is an effective but gentle antimicrobial agent that can help to manage acne skin conditions.
Face Scrubs for Oily Skin
Face scrubs are cream or gel-based products containing tiny particles that are massaged over the skin to remove dirt and exfoliate dead skin. (Choose them carefully, and avoid those that contain plastic microparticles and instead contain natural exfoliants such as ground peach stone or used coffee grounds.)
The best face scrub for oily skin is based on gentle, natural ingredients. To avoid scratching and irritating your skin, choose a scrub that contains smooth, soft or dissolving particles, and massage very gently. Look out for scrubs containing sugar, salt and ground fruit kernels.
Exfoliating can dry out your skin and cause irritation if used too often so limit them to once or twice a week.
Best Moisturisers for Oily Skin
Surprisingly for some, once you have cleansed effectively, correctly moisturising your oily skin is also essential for the best results. Choose products that will help maintain your skin's natural moisture, whilst still allowing it to breathe. The best moisturisers for oily skin will also actively help to keep your skin's natural pH level balanced, minimising excess oil production.
Look out for soothing, slightly alkaline products containing natural ingredients. Sönd's allergy-free alkaline day and night creams, made with shea butter, pomegranate extract and natural essential oils, are a great option to try.
It's then a good idea to follow your oily skin skincare regime with the best makeup for oily skin so ensure you keep the shine and oil at bay. Everyone's skin is unique, so finding the best products for oily skin may take a little experimentation. Use the guidelines above to successfully navigate the vast number of product options available and have your oily skin looking and feeling great!
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.