How to Exfoliate Oily Skin & How Often You Should Do It

If you’ve got oily skin, adding an exfoliator to your daily skin care routine can be tough. 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 can scratch and aggravate the skin leaving it red and tender feeling. So, what can you do? This guide contains a few natural home remedies for gentle exfoliants and some key ingredients to look out for should you want to purchase an exfoliating scrub from a beauty or drugstore.

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 you’re a scrub at home using all-natural ingredients is a great – and often cheaper – option. Below are a few of our favourite simple scrubs.


Cucumber is a very mild astringent, as such, it's great for removing oil from the skin without over drying it. It can also shrink pores – reducing the chances of clogging that can ultimately lead to break out. Just finely grate half a cucumber and massage it into your affected areas for around 5 minutes before rinsing with cold water. Super cheap, super easy and chemical free – we suggest a cucumber scrub one or twice a week.

Coconut Oil.

You probably knew coconut oil would be somewhere on this list. In the past couple of years its virtues as a tooth whitener, fat buster, hair conditioner and much more 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 oil, we add 1 tablespoon of coconut sugar – this helps remove any dead skin cells. Just 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.

Red Lentil 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 dead skin cells, helping 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, this helps with the generation of new healthy skin cells. 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 the scrub, just crush 2 tsp of lentils, add a half a tsp of turmeric and mix with 2 tsp of yoghurt or oil. Clean your face and pat dry with a clean towel before massaging the scrub into your face for 2-3 minutes. Rinse with water and repeat once a week.


People have sworn by the healing properties of honey for years, and we can see why. It can work wonders on our skin! Especially if its oily and sensitive. Honey can kill germs and bacteria on the skin and remove any excess sebum without stripping away oil completely – which leaves skin over dry. In 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 tsp of each ingredient – add an extra scoop of sugar if your mix is too runny – and apply to face using circular motions for 3 minutes. Rinse with warm water then splash with cold to close any open pores.

Over the counter exfoliants and face scrubs

When it comes to over the counter exfoliators, it can be a bit over whelming. 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.

Ingredients and products oily skin loves.


Clay and mud-based masks are easy to come buy 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.

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 clear your face of dead skin cells and unclog pores, but they are much gentler on your skin.

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 scare, 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.

Consistency is key.

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.

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