If you suffer from oily skin, you know what a pain it is to experience runny makeup, breakouts and and shine. But excess oil on the face isn’t just a seasonal problem. Oily skin is the result of overproduction of sebum, a natural oil in the pores. If skin is visibly shiny within an hour of washing your face, you can diagnose your skin type as oily. “If you are not telling the skin morning and night to stop producing so much oil, it will break out,” says Joanna Vargas, celebrity facialist and founder of Joanna Vargas Salon and Skincare Collection. We asked the experts for their best tips on how to minimize oily skin, so you can let your natural beauty shine — not your forehead.
“Over-exfoliation is very common, particularly in women who are acne-prone or oily because they feel they need to get their pores ‘squeaky-clean’ or they will break out more,” says Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington, D.C. “This is false. Not only can it be harmful to over-exfoliate (the chronic inflammation can speed up the aging process) but it can actually backfire, leading to more oil!”
Dr. Tanzi recommends using a glycolic acid cleanser with a Clarisonic brush to cleanse oily skin. NYC-based plastic surgeon Dr. Stafford Broumand recommends Dermaquest Anti Bacterial Enzyme Cleanser ($33.50, dermaquestinc.com). “It is a gel cleanser that prevents irritation and bacterial organization,” he explains.
Find the Right Moisturizer
Just because your skin is oily doesn’t mean you have to steer clear of moisturizer. Vargas recommends looking for one with zinc or jojoba oil because they control oil production by signaling the skin to not produce excess sebum. Joanna Vargas Daily Hydrating Cream ($75, joannavargas-skincare.com) controls oil production with zinc while it hydrates, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and increasing skin’s luminosity.
Choose a Non-Greasy Sunscreen
Sunscreens can be especially greasy on the face. Look for a formula like the Jan Marini Physical Protectant Sunscreen ($48, janmarini.com) that provides a sheer matte finish and contains microscopic sponges that control oil production. Dr. Tanzi recommends extremely oily skin types stick to a powder sunscreen with zinc, like Colorscience Sunforgettable Mineral Sunscreen Brush SPF 50 ($60, colorescience.com), to absorb the excess oil and still provide sun protection.
Skip the Face Towel
“Instead of wiping the face with your bath towel, use a paper towel instead,” says Vargas. “If you are breaking out and use the same towel on your face for a few days, it will spread the bacteria [and oil] and make the breakout even worse. A paper towel can be thrown away after use, so it this will help to keep the skin clean and clear.”