How To Banish Oily Skin: The Ultimate Guide

Oily skin is a result of excessive sebum production by the sebaceous glands present under our skin.

The sebum produced by these glands, when produced in normal quantities, helps preserve the skin and keeps it generally healthy.

Read: Causes Of Oily Skin

But, when an excess of this sebum is produced, that gives an appearance of oily skin, making your skin appear undesirably shiny and greasy.

Often, oiliness gives rise to large pores on the skin, which, in turn, becomes a breeding ground for acne.

Even if acne doesn’t appear, when you have oily skin – you get a feeling of dirty skin. The grime becomes too conspicuous.

Read: Characteristics Of Oily Skin

Today we are going to see how to bring your oily skin under a leash and make it behave.

Remember, the key to properly taking care of your oily skin is to get rid of only the EXCESS oil (and not all of it), without losing your skin’s natural moisture.

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Are There Any Benefits Of Having Oily Skin?

Oily skin might not feel like a blessing when you are powdering your face every few hours and digging your bag for blotting paper throughout the day. But you would be surprised to know that oily skin does have some benefits.

  1. Oily skin ages more slowly, as it tends to be thicker. There are extra layers of plump skin that make wrinkles less noticeable in people with oily skin. This gives a long-lasting youthful appearance, which is a great benefit of having oily skin.
  2. Oily skin has its own natural oils, so it does not have to be nourished externally by-products that are meant to maintain essential oils in the skin.
  3. Oily skin enjoys more natural sun protection. The oils produced by our skin contain Vitamin E, which acts as a natural sunscreen to some extent (though that does not mean people with oily skin do not require sunscreen), and as an antioxidant battling free radicals. This slight protection is better than having dry skin, which is prone to redness and the ensuing itching on even short exposures to the sun.
  4. When your skincare routine consists of dabs instead of slathering, you are sure to save a lot of money on a boatload of skincare products that dry skin requires. You do not require those. Products for oily skin are all about light touch, and you are good to go.
  5. Some people prefer a natural shine on their faces, and a moderate amount of oil gives a radiant appearance to the skin.

Though it is perfectly understandable if one prefers a matte look.

You may hate the shine and the breakouts, but as you see, oily skin is not all bad.

How Do I Stop My Face From Being So Oily?

While there might not be an easy way to STOP your skin glands from producing oil, luckily there are ways to TEMPER their behavior so that they don’t get agitated. Which is all too well, because we don’t want our skin to stop producing oil altogether, right?

Your glands remain in a relaxed state when you stay hydrated, sleep an adequate number of hours, eat nutritious food, practice meditation to keep stress away, do physical exercises to keep your body in tip-top shape, etc.

Often, despite following all good life-habits, our skin glands still pour out superfluous amounts of sebum, thanks to hormonal changes in puberty, pregnancy, etc., long hours of exposure to the sun because of your occupation, sedentary lifestyle, etc.

In such circumstances, it becomes incumbent on us to CONTROL the oil present on our skin – by choosing the right kind of cleansers, exfoliators, facemasks, moisturizers, primers, toners, by applying all these products with RIGHT frequencies, by using blotting paper, following a calibrated regimen of makeup, and if all else fails – trying out medication.

By being vigilant about it, you can reduce the appearance of oiliness on your skin, and conquer this beast that has always tormented you. Discover how to get rid of oily skin forever with the following simple steps –

1. Wash Your Face Twice A Day With A Gentle Cleanser

Let’s start with the basics. Cleansing is a very important part of the skincare routine for oily skin. Dermatologists recommend washing your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser.

ReadBest Cleansers For Oily Skin And Large Pores

Go for gel cleansers, as opposed to milk cleansers. Make sure to wash your face gently instead of scrubbing, as scrubbing can irritate the skin and make it look worse.

Use warm water while cleansing your face. Hot water can dry out or irritate your skin.

Avoid over-cleansing though. Cleansing your face too often can irritate your skin.

Look for cleansers that contain sulfur, salicylic acid, or tea tree oil, all of which are great ingredients for removing excess sebum.

Avoid harsh cleansers that dry out your skin completely, as this will make your skin go into overdrive and produce even more oil. We don’t want that, right?

2. Choose “Oil-Free” And “Non-Comedogenic” Products

You obviously do not want to put more oil on your face than is already there.

Look for products that are “oil-free”.

Choose skincare products that are labeled as “non-comedogenic”. The word ‘comedogenic’ means ‘one that causes blocked skin pores’.

Read: Best Skincare Products For Oily Skin

If a product is labeled as ‘non-comedogenic’, assuming that the company has done its research and we can take its proclamation at its face value, the product will be less likely to clog your pores and are therefore less likely to trigger acne breakouts.

Read: How Reliable Are The Comedogenic Ratings?

3. Don’t Use Alcohol-Based Products

When I say alcohol in skincare or makeup products, I am referring to a drying type of alcohol that you’ll most often see listed on an ingredient label as SD alcohol, denatured alcohol, or, less often, isopropyl alcohol.

These types of volatile alcohols give products a quick-drying finish, so it appeals a lot to people with oily skin. It may seem like a quick-fix to your issues, but like all quick-fixes, it is not good for the cause in the long run.

Avoid alcohol-based skincare products, as alcohol tends to dry out your skin completely, making it produce even more oil. Alcohol also tends to irritate the skin.

4. Apply A Moisturizer Daily

Most people feel that when they have oily skin, they don’t need a moisturizer. It’s a myth.

Read: Oily Skin Myths You Need To Stop Believing Now

The fact is that when you have oily skin, it’s all the more important to use a moisturizer. Let’s take a quick look at why is that so?

See, hydration of skin is different from the oil in the skin. A minimum hydration/moisture of the skin is compulsory for it to function healthily.

The skin can become deficient in moisture due to many reasons like long exposure to the oppressive sun, humid climate, etc. It is important to replenish this moisture.

If we don’t, sebaceous glands get tricked into believing that there is a shortfall and respond by trying to meet this shortfall by producing more oil. That defeats the purpose of not using a moisturizer in the first place.

So, when you use a moisturizer, you actually help your skin to balance your oil production, therefore making you less oily.

For balancing oily skin, make sure you choose a water-based, non-comedogenic moisturizer. A lightweight, oil-free moisturizer is really the best choice for oily skin. 

5. Introduce A Toner In Your Skincare Routine

Toner helps to tighten your pores and removes any excess oil from your face.

After using a cleanser, use a mild, alcohol-free toner to get rid of any impurities and oil that your cleanser might have missed.

There are various kinds of toners available in the market. Make sure you choose a toner designed specifically for daily skincare for oily skin.

6. Wear A Sunscreen When Stepping Out

People with oily skin believe that applying sunscreen will make them break out. It’s another myth associated with oily skin.

It is essential for our skin to wear sunscreen every single day because the relentless sun can burn up your skin. But make sure you choose a “non-oily/oil-free” sunscreen.

People with oily skin may find that their skin responds better to a gel-based sunscreen. A gel-based sunscreen has water as its base, so it does not block off the pores on the surface of the skin, and it sometimes gives a matte appearance to the skin.

Make sure your sunscreen has an SPF of at least 15.

7. Prime It Up

When applying makeup, first use a mattifying or oil-control primer as the base. This will absorb oil throughout the day, making your face look shine-free.

You can also apply some powder to soak up excess oil from your face’s oiliest areas, like your T-Zone (nose and forehead).

8. Exfoliate Once A Week

Exfoliation is vital to get rid of any dead skin cells that may be clogging your pores.

Sometimes people tend to think that oily skin can be tamed by rigorous and repeated usage of exfoliators. That is another myth. Too much and too frequent exfoliation is bad for oily skin.

Take a scrub with fine granules and massage it gently on your face, focusing on the areas that are particularly oily or particularly congested.

Avoid exfoliating more than twice a week though, as over-exfoliation can strip your skin of its natural oils.

Use gentle scrubs that do not dry out your skin entirely and do not cause irritation.

9. Remove Makeup Before Going To Sleep

Never sleep with your makeup on. Make it a habit to remove any product from your face before going to bed.

Keeping makeup on your face overnight can lead to makeup clogging in your pores and lead to acne breakouts.

10. Avoid Touching Your Face Throughout The Day

Avoid the temptation to touch your face with your hands every now and then. This can transfer any dirt, dust, or bacteria from your hands to your face.

Make sure you wash your hands properly before applying any cleanser, moisturizer, or other products to your face.

11. Blot Your Heart Out

Always carry blotting sheets in your handbag. They are a great temporary fix for getting rid of excess oil on your face.

They are also quite convenient and easy to use. You just take one in hand and dab your face with it.

If your face starts looking greasy late in the day, blotting papers are your friend. Dabbing your face with such oil-absorbing blotting papers can keep the shine away for quite a while.

Just take out a blotting sheet, and press it on the oily areas of your face for a few seconds. Avoid scrubbing hard, as it can irritate your skin and aggravate your acne condition.

12. Use A Deep Cleansing Face Mask Once A Week

Try deep cleansing face masks to give yourself a mini facial for oily skin at home. Deep cleansing masks penetrate deep into the skin and get rid of any impurities or excess oil present in the pores.

I suggest using face masks only once or twice a week, as some of them can dry out your skin when used on a more regular basis. A gentle face wash is enough for your daily needs.

Face masks containing clay as one of the ingredients, work great to soak up excess oil, reducing shine for several days.

Look for ingredients like aloe vera and honey, these get rid of excess oil without making the skin dry.

13. If You Are Suffering From Acne, Use Over The Counter Medication

If your oily skin is causing acne, use over-the-counter products for treating acne.

Products containing benzoyl peroxide help to get rid of bacteria that build up on your skin and remove any dead skin cells that potentially clog your pores.

Salicylic acid is another ingredient that is useful in unclogging pores and preventing acne breakouts.

If nothing seems to be working, consider seeing a dermatologist. The doctor might prescribe topical creams with tretinoin, adapalene, or tazarotene, which control oily skin, and in turn acne flare-ups.

14. Try The No Makeup Look

Makeup can feel really heavy on the skin, especially in summers. It tends to melt into your pores and clog them, causing the skin to look unpleasantly greasy.

Summer skincare for oily skin is really a necessity if you don’t want to look like a grease ball.

You can scale back on makeup and use a tinted moisturizer with silicone instead.

15. What You Eat Matters

Although there is no research to prove that a high-fat diet affects oil production, some types of foods may affect oil production in certain individuals.

Certain foods like sugar, when consumed in large amounts, can lead to excess oil production in many individuals.

In a few people, milk and/or nuts may aggravate acne. Spicy food may dilate your blood vessels and make you perspire.

Limit yourself to just one drink at night if you are a drinker, and having spicy food no more than once a week.

Here’s the only diet plan for oily skin you need to follow.

What Should I Eat For Oily Skin?

Load up on healthy foods like carrots instead, which are rich in Vitamin A, and help to control oil secretion.

Foods rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids improve the appearance and texture of your skin.

Blueberries, beans, cranberries, apples, are good sources of antioxidants, whereas, salmon, tuna, walnuts, and flaxseeds, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Eat fresh fruits and vegetables as much as possible.

16. Switch From A Night Cream To A Night Serum

Take your nighttime beauty routine down a notch. If you have been using a night cream, switch to a hydrating serum instead.

You don’t have to use a serum all over your face. Areas like the nose already have enough oil glands, so you can skip applying serums on your nose.

Be sure the product contains salicylic acid, glycolic acid, caffeine, or niacinamide – all great ingredients for a night serum.

17. Try Home Remedies For Oily Skin And Pimples

There are a few naturally occurring, and easily accessible substances that can easily clean up all the muck from the skin and help unclog your skin pores. These substances are effective on any kind of oily skin too.

I have written another article, compiling natural remedies for oily skin. Do read that article to know more about this.

Try those home remedies to get rid of an oily face, if you, like me, are also someone wondering how to control your oily skin naturally.

18. Stay Hydrated

In addition to following a good oily skincare routine, it’s essential to stay hydrated throughout the day, because oily skin can tend to become quite dehydrated at times.

Inadequate water in the body can lead to wrinkles, dull skin, and acne breakouts. Dehydration stimulates the sebaceous glands to produce more oil.

To avoid all this, you should drink at least 2-3 liters of water every day.

If you do not like drinking plain water, try lemon water instead. It’s hydrating and rich in antioxidants and Vitamin C.

Vitamin C helps to get glowing skin and get rid of excess oil from the face.

19. Indulge In Some Form Of Physical Activity

Try to get plenty of physical exercise during the day, as it is known to help in getting rid of oil.

Yes, you heard that right. Exercise will help to keep your skin smooth and healthy. Aim to take out at least 30 minutes to 1 hour for yourself every day.

Do yoga, I prefer it in the mornings, or go to the gym, or ride a bicycle in the mornings, or just simply go running.

But make sure you always take a shower after any physical activity. If you let the bacteria and dirt sit on your skin for long, it invites more skin problems.

20. Perform Stress Reducing Activities

Stress can increase the level of hormones called androgens and cortisol in the body. This stimulates the sebaceous glands leading to the production of more oil.

Stress is one of the main causes of oily skin on the face. You need to counteract the effect of stress by performing more stress-reducing activities.

Yoga is an excellent stress-buster. Meditation and slow, measured breathing also help to counter stress.

Personally, I have found pranayama to be an excellent stress-buster.

21. Get Plenty Of Sleep

A full night’s rest is essential to renew your skin. A lack of sleep disturbs your body’s ability to maintain healthy skin.

If you hate to wake up with wrinkles and baggy eyes, aim to get at least 8-9 hours of sleep.

Sleeping for more than 10 hours a day is equally bad. Oversleeping can break your skin cells, and your skin can lose its luster.


Left untreated, oily skin can lead to a host of other skin issues like acne, blackheads, and dull skin. It is imperative to find a way to treat oily skin right away.

As you can see, many self-care techniques and home remedies are available to reduce oily skin. The best course of action is to figure out what works for you. Everyone’s skin is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to skincare.

Try different products for your skin, and find out what products give good results. Then form a skincare routine for yourself and follow it religiously.

If you feel something is not working out for you, just change it. There are a plethora of products available in the market to choose from.

If self-treatment doesn’t work, do not hesitate to visit a dermatologist in order to prevent serious complications. 

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How do you manage oily skin? I hope you got something useful from this article. Don’t forget to add your suggestions below. If you liked the article, share it with your friends too. Thanks for reading. 🙂

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