The Best Face Exfoliator for Oily Skin
If you’ve got oily skin, you'll probably spend a lot of time thinking about your skin texture and tone and what skincare products may work best for you. Added to the battle with the shine that you may have, is the fact that often, oily skin can also be acne-prone skin, meaning that you need to also consider spots and breakouts.
The same goes if you have combination skin, with an oily T zone (the forehead, nose and chin) and drier cheeks, temples and jawline.
Finding the right products that leave your skin feeling happy can be a challenge if you have oily skin and acne or combination skin.
In this article, we're going to focus on the best exfoliators for oily skin, that will remove dead skin cells, improve an uneven skin tone and protect the natural skin barrier. (If you're looking for oily skin cleansers or moisturisers to reduce shine, then head over to those pages too. We cover all aspects of contrary skin here at Sönd!)
People with oily skin often find that adding an exfoliator to a daily skin care routine can be tough. Exfoliation to remove dead cells and grime using harsh chemical exfoliants, or over exfoliating, can dry out the skin too much, triggering the production of even more oil from the sebaceous glands. Hard beads or exfoliating particles found in some products can scratch and aggravate the skin leaving it looking red and feeling tender. So, what can you do?
This guide contains a few natural home remedies to gently exfoliate plus some key ingredients to look out for should you want to purchase an exfoliating scrub from a beauty brand or chemist shop.
Why Use an Exfoliator for Oily Skin?
Our skin is covered with thousands of tiny pores. Within these pores, are the sebaceous glands - glands that produce sebum, the natural wax like skin oil that helps your skin stay moisturised. Normal skin cell turnover means that dead skin cells are pushed away from the top layer of your skin and replaced with new ones.
The problem with oily skin, is that this sebum is overproduced. Rather than simply protecting the skin, it becomes overloaded and the pores become blocked. This can then trap dirt, sweat, makeup and dead skin cells within the pores, and this can then lead to spots and breakouts.
Not only that, when the pores become blocked, the sebaceous glands can release more sebum, leading to more greasiness and shine. It's an endless cycle.
So, the answer is, to cleanse the skin. Number one priority - twice a day. Cleansing helps to keep the pores clear of dirt and debris, as well as excess sebum, which helps to reduce pore blockages and shine.
But exfoliating also buffs away dead skin cells and deep seated dirt, and is just as important, once or twice a week, to make the skin smooth and free from pore blockages. Using products to exfoliate the skin leads to brighter skin that's less likely to break out.
People with sensitive skin types that's also prone to oiliness should take care not to over exfoliate away dead skin and debris, as it could cause their skin to react and become red and inflamed.
So, what should we be using on oily skin to get rid of dead skin cells and brighten the complexion? What's the best scrub for oily skin? As ever, there is no one definitive answer. The answer in truth, is that the best exfoliator for oily skin is the one that works best for both your lifestyle and your own, beautiful, radiant skin.
Let's look at some natural exfoliators that even skin tone and some of the shop bought products and ingredients that say goodbye to dull skin without stripping away too much of that natural, beneficial oil.
Best Homemade Face Scrubs for Oily Skin
If you want to know exactly what you’re putting on your face and be able to tailor the ingredients to your specific needs, making your own scrub at home using all-natural ingredients is a great – and often cheaper – option. Below are a few of our favourite simple scrubs to naturally improve skin texture.
Cucumber: Ideal for Sensitive Skin
Cucumber is a very mild astringent, as such, it's great for removing oil from the skin naturally, without making your skin dry. It can also shrink pores – reducing the chances of pore clogging that can ultimately lead to a break out.
Cleanse your skin then finely grate half a cucumber and massage it into your skin for five or so minutes before rinsing with cool water. Super cheap, super easy and chemical free – we suggest a cucumber scrub one or twice a week.
Coconut Oil Face Exfoliator for Oily Skin
You probably knew coconut oil would be somewhere on this list. The benefits of coconut oil on the skin and face are often spoken about. In the past couple of years, its virtues also includes use as a tooth whitener, fat buster, hair conditioner and much more, as have been extolled across the internet.
As an exfoliant, it’s the skin nourishing and impurity absorbing qualities of coconut oil that make it a great ingredient. To one tablespoon of coconut oil, we add 1 tablespoon of coconut sugar – this helps to remove any dead skin cells whilst being gentle on the skin.
Simply massage the oil and sugar paste in to the skin gently for five minutes before rinsing thoroughly with warm water – ensuring no residual paste is left sitting on the skin. For best results repeat twice a week - this mask is suitable for all skin types, even oily skin!
Red Lentil Face Scrub
The three ingredients in this simple scrub – red lentils, yoghurt and turmeric – all work to combat a different trigger and symptom of oily skin.
The rough outer skins of the lentils exfoliate away the dead skin cells, helping to prevent clogging of pores and promoting better drainage of excess oils. Turmeric is great for improving circulation - increasing the blood flow to your face means more oxygen and water are delivered to the skin. This helps with the generation of new healthy skin cells and is especially beneficial for areas of dry skin.
The yoghurt soothes the skin and helps control oil production. If you have acne prone oily skin, then swap out the yoghurt for coconut oil as some people find dairy is one of their breakout triggers.
To make this scrub, simply crush two teaspoons of lentils, add a half a teaspoon of turmeric and mix with 2 teaspoons of yoghurt or oil. Cleanse your face and pat dry with a clean towel before massaging the scrub into your face for two to three minutes. Rinse with water and repeat once a week for super smooth skin.
People have sworn by the healing properties of honey for years, and we can see why - it truly is one of the best exfoliators around. It can work wonders on oily, irritated, flaky skin! Especially if it's very sensitive. Honey can kill germs and bacteria on the skin and remove any excess sebum and dead skin cells without stripping away oil completely – which leaves the skin overly dry.
For this scrub, we mix honey with brown sugar which is a natural humectant (basically it moisturises the skin by helping retain and preserve its natural moisture) and olive oil. Just use 1 teaspoon of each ingredient – add an extra scoop of sugar if your mix is too runny – and apply to the surface of the skin using circular motions for three minutes. Rinse with warm water then splash with cold to close any open pores.
It will help to brighten your skin as it evens out skin tone and is best for oily skin that doesn't react well to harsh, chemical ingredients.
Shop Bought Exfoliants and Face Scrubs
When it comes to over the counter exfoliators, it can be a bit overwhelming. There are scrubs, creams and gels, all with different ingredients. But if you’ve got sensitive oily skin, it’s important to know what's going to give you the best results whilst be gentle on your skin.
Don't be put off by the word 'chemical'. Chemical exfoliants is the name given to alpha hydroxy acids (or AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (or BHAs) that mainly derive from fruits and act as an exfoliant when applied to the skin.
They gently remove the top layer of the skin, leading to a brighter skin tone and they're a good option for all skin types.
Glycolic acid is an example of an AHA and is great for oily skin.
Salicylic acid is an example of an AHA that helps to keep the skin fresh by deeply exfoliating and promoting new skin cells.
A Closer Look at Ingredients: The Best Face Exfoliators for Oily Skin
Other beauty products might contain specific ingredients designed to remove dead skin cells without stripping the skin. Here's more on the most common ingredients.
Clay: Removing Excess Oil
Clay and mud-based masks are easy to come by these days and if you’ve got oily skin, they can be a great choice. They are great for absorbing impurities and excess oil, removing dead skin and are packed full of minerals and vitamins for healthy, glowing skin.
The Sönd Purifying Clay Mask has been specially developed with skin just like yours in mind.
Ground Fruit Kernels and Sugar
A lot of over the counter exfoliators and face scrubs contain micro-beads. These are actually tiny plastic balls that work by scratching at the skin. Not only are these bad for the environment (all that plastic getting washed down the sink), but if your skin is oily or acne prone, these can be harsh and abrasive.
Instead, look for products that contain coconut or brown sugar and/or ground fruit kernels. These will still help to clear your face of dead skin cells and unclog pores, but they are much gentler on your skin.
How to Exfoliate with Konjac Root Sponges
Great for those with extremely sensitive skin, a natural cleansing sponge made from Konjac root is easy on the skin but tough on oils and dirt.
You’ll need to do a little research into these products – different colours represent different active ingredients – but if you're into all natural, vegan friendly skin care, then this could be the product for you. They are gentle enough to be used twice a day and just need to be soaked in water before use.
Looking After Your Skin with Sönd
As with any skin type, if you are looking to improve oily skin long-term, sticking to your skincare routine consistently is key. If you’re planning to add an exfoliant to your regime, don’t overdo it. If you’re using one of our home remedies, follow our guidance on how often you should be using it and if you buy over the counter, always follow the directions on the product.
Hopefully you’ve found this helpful and we’ve put you on the path happy, healthy, glowing skin.
For all your other skin needs, including our silicon Face Exfoliator that helps to deliver your cleanser deeper into your skin, check out the rest of our alkalising skincare range. Oily skin is one of the most difficult skin types to keep under control. But it's not impossible, especially with Sönd!
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.