free shipping on aus orders over $50 / buy now, pay later

your oily skin care routine according to experts

Oily skin ain't all bad, so learning how to work with your oiliness will help you maintain healthy skin. Don't believe us, our dermatologist will talk you through the best skincare routine for oily skin

your oily skin care routine according to experts

If your anything like me, my skin starts looking a bit a glazed tart by the time happy hours rolls round. If you’re feeling the same vibes, it might be time to adopt a skincare routine for oily skin.

Although, it is important to mention that there are some benefits to having oily skin. For one, that excess sebum is your golden ticket to keeping your skin softer, and smoother for longer, without spending a dime. It also ages slower in comparison to dry skin because the oil produced by your oil glands keeps the skin nourished, moisturised and lubricated, while helping to prevent wrinkles and fine lines. (I’ll take that as a win)

That being said, oily skin can also lead to more congestion and sometimes acne and breakout. To help you discover the best way to care for oily skin we asked dermatologist Dr Kathleen Eusebio-Alpapara to share her tips for oily skin and the best routine for oily skin types.


What causes oily skin?

While oil glands play essential roles in maintaining healthy skin, when there is enhanced activity like large sebaceous glands producing excessive sebum or oil this can cause oily skin. Those with oily skin, most often than not, have visibly large pores and experience acne breakouts.  

Oily skin is one of the most common issues dermatologists report from their patients. So, before do a deep dive into a dermatologist oily skin routine, get to know some facts.

Fast Facts

  • The distribution of oil glands on our skin varies. For example, more sebaceous glands are found on the face than on the forearm.
  • Even on oil gland-rich areas, like the face, the sizes of oil glands differ. The face has huge sebaceous follicles producing much of its oil and are more prominent on the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin). (1)

Before we get into details of the best skincare routine for oily skin,  learn the possible reasons why you might suffer from excessive oil production. 

Age When we are born we have well-developed oil glands which eventually decrease a few weeks after birth and become active again during puberty until our 30's. The highest sebum secretion rates are seen from 15 to 35 years of age and decline continuously as we become older. (1)

Gender Some studies show that oil production in males and females is just the same. But other studies indicate that males have higher sebum levels than females except on the forehead. (1,2)

Ethnicity Some studies show East Asians and Caucasians have relatively low sebum excretions or are less oily than African Americans. (1)

Genes Yes, sometimes it's just genetic, some genes are associated with more active oil glands and can lead to acne breakouts. (1,3)

Seasonal changes Generally, our face is oilier during the warmer weather than the cold weather. So our favourite time of the year, summer, is when oil glands produce oil the most (Yikes!).  During this time, the sweat glands excrete a lot of sweat that mixes with the oil making our face a lot greasier. (1)

Diet Food rich in carbohydrates with a high glycemic index like rice, dairy products (except cheese), sugary treats, white bread, potato, and many more can stimulate facial oil excretion. (1)

Current skincare products Choosing the correct products for your skin is important. There are particular ingredients and products that are meant for oily and even acne-prone skin. 


Oily skin care routine tips

 Oily skin 'do's'  (4)

  1. Use gentle foaming cleansers.
    Choose moisturisers that are lightweight with humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin. 

  2. Use low comedogenic oils. 
    Oils like hempseed, Argan, Jojoba and grapeseed oils at night during summer or morning and night during winter.

  3. Wear sunscreen.
    If you are sweating too much due to scourging summer heat, skip your moisturiser in the morning and just use a lightweight broad-spectrum sunscreen. (5)

  4. Choose water-based and oil-free makeup.
    Blotting paper can help for a quick oiliness fix.

Oily skin 'don'ts.' (4)

  1. Use Harsh cleansers and over washing.
    Oil glands aren't just the source of sebum on your skin, we also have lipids that keep the natural skin barrier intact. Even though over washing guarantees the removal of excess oil from your skin, it can also remove the lipids in the skin barrier, causing it to dry and prone to irritation.  (1)
  1. Using oils with a high comedogenic rating like coconut and olive oils.
    Oils with high comedogenic ratings may worsen the oiliness of the skin and even production of white and blackheads leading to acne breakouts.

  2. Using heavy cream moisturisers
    These, too, can send oiliness into overdrive.
  1. Using comedogenic products.
    In general, avoid skincare products (cleansers, moisturisers, and makeup) that are comedogenic, clog pores and cause breakouts.
  1. Sleeping with your makeup on.
    That's always a big no-no.

What types of products work best for oily skin?

Dr. Eusebio-Alpapara explains that an oily skin care routine should include the following: (4,5)

  • A gentle foaming cleanser.
  • Products that can control sebum production and remove excess oil. Look for ingredients like retinol (vitamin A) and its derivatives, niacinamide (a form of vitamin b3), alpha hydroxy acids (like lactic and glycolic acids), beta hydroxy acid (salicylic acid), or a natural astringent, witch hazel. 
  • Lightweight skincare products (moisturisers, sunscreens, and makeup).

Remember: Less is more!

Your skincare routine for oily skin


  1. Double cleanse. Remove the previous night's skin care products.

  2. Hydrating serum. During winter or cold months, you may apply the hydrating serum you applied at night after cleansing.

  3. Broad-spectrumSunscreen. You can skip the moisturiser during summer and apply just a lightweight broad-spectrum sunscreen, then makeup afterward. 

Never ever forget your sunscreens. Wear them 30 mins before sun exposure. Re-apply every 2 hours if with continuous sun exposure. 

Remember: Using products for oil control like retinol, salicylic acid, lactic acid  or glycolic acid make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. 



  1. Double cleanse. Remove makeup, excess oil, and dirt using cleansing oil and a powdered cleanser.

  2.  Face toner. Witch hazel, Hamamelis virginiana,is a commonly used OTC astringent for oily skin. If the skin begins to get dry from the toner during winter, limit its application on the oily areas like the T-zone.

  3. Lightweight moisturiser or hydrating serum. Products containing humectants like glycerin and hydroxy acids, like salicylic acid, can be used to maintain skin hydration and reduce oil. If a hydrating serum is not enough during winter you can use another non-comedogenic moisturiser or serum (with a rating of 0 – eg. hempseed).  

  4. Acne spot treatment: Apply products with retinoids or benzoyl peroxide if you have a few pimples.

How do I minimise and prevent breakouts?

Acne and oily skin dermatologist advice includes using products with agents that target the reasons for pimple formation.

1. Comedones
Hydroxy acids, like lactic and glycolic acids, and salicylic acid, can remove white and blackheads clogging pores of pimple-prone skin. Retinol, vitamin A, and its derivatives also unclog pores and decrease comedone formation. (7)

2. Excess oil or sebum production
Hydroxy acids, retinol, and witch hazel do not just help get rid of comedones but excess oil as well. 

3. Bacterial (Cutibacterium acnes) proliferation and inflammation
Antibacterial agents like benzoyl peroxide, erythromycin, clindamycin will greatly help subside inflamed pimples. Other natural products like tea tree oil, an essential oil, were also proven to have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory abilities. Witch hazel is also an anti-inflammatory agent.


The takeaway

  • Stick to a good skin care routine and do it regularly. 
  • Avoid food with a high glycemic index, like sweets, and dairy products except cheese. 
  • Have a healthy lifestyle.
  • Seek professional help. What's worse than having really oily skin? Having oily and sensitive skin with ACNE, rosacea, or eczema. You need your trusted skin doctor’s help for those.