Unlike dry skin, where eczema may abound, oily skin feels slick and looks shiny (which, can literally put a damper on your day).
With a smorgasbord of skincare products to choose from — toners, retinol creams and serums, the whole nine yards — we turned to two board-certified dermatologists to give us the 411 on the most sought-after products you’re likely searching for at the moment.
“You can notice that you have oily skin if you have enlarged pores, acne or blackheads,” Marina Peredo, MD, a board-certified dermatologist specializing in aesthetic dermatology and associate clinical professor at Mount Sinai Hospital with 31 years of experience, told the New York Post. “Those who have oily skin typically have an overall shine to their face and break out on the T-zone and cheeks.”
Conversely, combination skin has a similar-yet-different texture.
“Combination skin is common because sebaceous glands are more abundant in specific areas of the face, along the nose, lower forehead, and upper cheeks, commonly referred to as the T-zone,” Nava Greenfield, MD, board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group and clinical instructor at Mount Sinai department of dermatology who specializes in acne, told The Post. “In those locations skin can appear more oily but may look normal to dry in places where sebaceous glands area more sparse.”
When it comes to finding the best ingredients for oily skin, both of our experts recommend looking for products with niacinamide, which absorbs the oil on the skin, retinol which promotes cell turnover and eliminates clogged pores, plus salicylic acid, which helps fight acne.
“CeraVe’s Foaming Facial Cleanser is formulated with niacinamide to help remove oil and ceramides to help keep skin moisturized,” Peredo said. Plus, CeraVe is one of our favorite brands for body lotions and night creams.
Fittingly, Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Acne Wash has salicylic acid to help unclog pores and reduce oil production — a bright green checkmark in the eyes of Peredo. With this trio, you’re snagging a great value for your buck.
As one of Peredo’s sworn-in toners for oily skin, Thayers does the job (for less than $10, too). “Thayers’ Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel Facial Toner is formulated with witch hazel which helps reduce inflammation and has rose water and aloe vera to soothe the skin,” she adds.
Not only is Glow Recipe one of our shining star brands for skincare (just read our vitamin C review to see its formula come out on top), but it has a revolutionary toner for oily skin.
“This is a unique product — a combination of a moisturizer and exfoliant,” Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, MD, a dual board-certified dermatologist and founder of NYC’s Mudgil Dermatology PC, told The Post. “It’s best for oily skin types.”
Ole Henriksen’s Balancing Force Oil Control Toner is one of Peredo’s all-times favorites for oily skin, as it “helps reduce oil production while exfoliating the skin.” It also has salicylic acid to help fight acne.
Not only fabulous for its regal royal blue bottle, but Kypris’ Natural Clearing Facial Serum is a great balancing and soothing agent for oily skin, specifically. “It has both tea tree oil and lavender which help balance oily skin,” Greenfield notes.
“SkinMedica Vitamin C+E complex has both vitamins for antioxidant for environmental toxin protection,” Greenfield shares. Plus, it helps improve the skin’s tone and texture all the while keeping your oily skin at bay.
“Paula’s Choice Ultra-Light Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum is great because it’s lightweight and is formulated with niacinamide to help absorb oil,” Peredo said. Not only that, but it includes hyaluronic acid, which is a superstar ingredient for hydration and making the skin appear more plump.
A personal favorite, Caudalie’s Vinopure Natural Salicylic Acid Pore-Minimizing Serum takes the cake at being a relatively affordable high-quality formula. Peredo vets this product because it “is formulated with salicylic acid which helps prevent acne.”
We’re a sucker for any and all things Drunk Elephant, and its Shaba Complex Eye Serum is one of the most moisturizing products we’ve tried. “It’s formulated with niacinamide which helps with oil but also supports the under-eye skin and makes dark circles less noticeable,” Peredo explains.
“Alastin Restorative Eye Treatment is also formulated with niacinamide and it promoted a more even skin tone,” Peredo shares. Not to mention, it helps tackle common skin concerns dark circles, puffiness, fine lines and wrinkles.
“BeautyStat Universal C Skin Refiner contains vitamin C and cannabis sativa flower extract providing antioxidant and anti inflammatory support while offering adequate hydration for oily skin,” Greenfield notes. Plus, there’s a miniature version available for just $30.
Continuing on the CeraVe train, its Moisturizing Cream is a cult-favorite, as far as body lotions are concerned (but, you can also use it on your face). “CeraVe’s Moisturizing Cream is a great lightweight budget friendly, basic moisturizer that works well will oily and acne-prone skin,” Greenfield said.
Unlike CeraVe, Neutrogena’s bestselling Hydro Boost is a gel moisturizer, blessing your skin with a jelly-like formula. “It feels fresh and gentle on the skin,” Greenfield notes. “It’s also a great product for hydrating oily and acne-prone skin.”
“HydroPeptide’s Face Lift Ultra-Light Moisturizer has hyaluronic acid and peptides that brighten your skin,” Greenfield shares, vetting the product. “This is helpful because if the dullness effect that oily skin can create.”
“Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion Sunscreen SPF 50 is oil-free and non-comedogenic so it won’t break you out and make you oilier,” Peredo notes. Impressively, it’s a water-resistant formula that doesn’t leave your skin with a greasy residual finish.
“Alastin’s HydraTint Pro Mineral Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 36 is a mineral sunscreen and lightweight,” Peredo said. “It hydrates the skin while protecting it from the sun.” It’s also fragrance-free.”
We’re just as enthusiastic about Supergoop! as the exclamation that marks its popular name. According to Peredo, it’s “very light and is formulated with lactic acid and vitamin E, which prevent against environmental stressors.”
As its name suggests, Coppertone’s Pure and Simple Face Sunscreen is a no-frills, easy-to-apply product that still reins in SPF 50. “It’s a trusted facial sunscreen with physical blockers (zinc oxide) and added botanical extracts making a great, effective formulation for all skin types — including sensitive and oily skin,” Greenfield shares.
“Supergoop!’s Zincsreen is 100% mineral sunscreen that’s broad spectrum and may help contain oil on an oily face,” Greenfield shares, in recommending the protective SPF-infused product. “I like this because it has a sheer formulation and feels very light on the skin.”