10 Myths You Believe About Oily Skin (But Never Ever Should)

Need to get your oily skin under control? First, you’ll have to set the facts straight.

There are various myths about oily skin – it does not need a moisturizer, sunscreen will make you break out, you should exfoliate every day, etc. The list goes on.

I am here to help clear up some of this confusion. In this post, I would also like to shed some light on good practices that people with oily skin ought to follow!

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1) You Don’t Need A Moisturizer If You Have Oily Skin

woman with moisturizer in hand

Most people feel that when they have oily skin, they don’t need a moisturizer. When the skin already looks shiny, why would I want to add more shine to it by rubbing more moisture onto it?

It seems common sense! Well, that is the first myth about oily skin.

You see there is a minimum amount of ‘hydration’ (that is, water) that our skin compulsorily requires to stay healthy. Just because your skin has abundant oil on it does not mean it has sufficient water too.

You must not confuse hydration with oil. Your skin may have plenty of oils, but it may still be short on water. This shortage of water may be due to many reasons such as long exposure to the sun, humid weather, hormonal changes in your body, etc.

If your skin is in shortage of moisture, the skin glands go into overdrive, trying to meet that shortfall, and end up producing more oil. That, in turn, can lead to clogged pores, which don’t allow the skin to ‘breathe’.

Note that this sequence of excess oil and clogged pores would not occur in people with normal skin.

This leads to small pimples and a breakout of acne in severe cases.

Long story short, your oily skin becomes generally unhealthy, all because of lack of moisture. This is why a moisturizer is all the more important for people with oily skin.

Strange as it may sound, if you use a moisturizer, you will be less oily! The role of a moisturizer is to improve the hydration of the skin by adding water to it. Just because your skin is oily doesn’t mean it has enough water.

Now that you have understood the importance of a moisturizer, does not mean you will go running after any moisturizer! There are moisturizers that are created specifically for oily skin. A good moisturizer for oily skin is light and fast-absorbing

Look for non-oily moisturizer with ingredients like propylene glycol, dimethicone, aloe, glycerin and hyaluronic acid, that don’t trap oil into the pores. Definitely take the time to read the ingredients on the moisturizer, to avoid any harmful ingredients.

I recommend Radha Beauty Retinol Moisturizer For Face and Neutrogena Oil-Free Daily Facial Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin.

2) If You Exfoliate More, Your Skin Will Clear Up

girl with coffee scrub on face

Better Exfoliation is an important part of a skincare regimen for people with an oily complexion.

It helps to remove dead skin cells from the epidermis – the top layer of skin Exfoliation also helps prevent spots and pimples from forming.

The high amount of oil on your oily skin binds the dead cells together and keeps them from turning brittle and getting shaken off. When dead cells do not shake off, they turn into a breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria and subsequent breakouts.

This is when the exfoliator comes to the rescue. It breaks this complex of dead cells bound together by the excess sebum inherent in oily skin. These dead cells then get washed away when rinsed with water.

But, it is a myth that intemperate exfoliation of your skin will help clear it up better. Over-exfoliation is bad. How?

Over exfoliating removes not just the dead skin present on top, but also affects the layer of fresh cells present underneath. The skin gets prodded towards a higher rate of replenishment (Skin normally replenishes itself every 4 weeks).

This can result in a feeling of tightness in the skin. Redness may be seen, and in an unfortunate scenario, infection.

A skin forced into overdrive may start producing even more oil than its normal rate. That kind of defeats the whole purpose of using an exfoliator, right? So how often should you exfoliate if you have oily skin? Two to three times exfoliation a week should be enough for an average person with oily skin.

Read more about how to exfoliate oily skin.

Salicylic acid is considered the best option for exfoliating oily skin as it can penetrate your pores, prevent acne, and reduce overall blemishes in a mild but extremely effective manner. Salicylic acid is a strong anti-bacterial agent that helps to prevent and eliminate bacterial growth on the skin. It stimulates skin collagen which in turn prevents acne growth. It is soluble in the natural skin oil, hence it can reach the pores of skin cells, remove dirt and residual makeup easily along with removing dead skin cells.

So, read the ingredients of the product when you buy an exfoliator next time. If one of the ingredients is Salicylic Acid, then, Bingo!

I recommend NeedCrystal’s Face Scrub With Salicylic Acid. It has some amazing reviews on Amazon in case you want to check it out.

Check out these DIY scrub recipes for oily skin.

3) Sunscreen Will Make You Break Out

Packing Beach Camera Sunscreen Concept

I hear this misconception all the time from people with oily/acne-prone skin. It would seem understandable because most sunscreens are lotion based, that is, they have an oily base.

Therefore, they leave the skin feeling oilier. Also, because these sunscreens are oil-based, they may increase your problems with acne or pimples.

A lot of people report that they have used several kinds of sunscreens but none of them seem to suit them and their skin appears oilier and greasier when they put on sunscreen.

This is unfortunate and understandably gives rise to the misconception that sunscreen is bad for oily skin.

But, this is a myth.

If you don’t use sunscreen, you expose yourself to the harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun. That can not only give you sunburn but also carries the risk of causing skin cancer in the long term.

The risk is more for people who get exposed to the sun for long hours. Also, exposure to the sun without sunscreen can dry out the surface oils.

This triggers the sebaceous glands under the skin to pour out even more oil. That defeats the whole intention behind not using sunscreen.

The trick here is to choose the RIGHT kind of sunscreen for your skin. I would look for mineral sunscreens like titanium or zinc that won’t cause you irritation or make you breakout.

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, and your skin appears better.

The perfect sunscreen for your skin can only be arrived at by trial and run.

Try out EltaMD UV Clear or Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunscreen based on my recommendation,  if you are not sure which sunscreen to choose for your oily skin. 

4) You Need To Wash Your Face Constantly

There is a myth about oily skin that you need to wash your face constantly throughout the day to get rid of oily skin. The fact is that you need to wash your face only two times a day, with a cleanser designed to help reduce the appearance of oil.

Over-cleansing can lead to an increase in oil production, which can leave your complexion looking even greasier.

Read: Best Face Washes For Oily Skin Drugstore

Don’t just use any cleanser. Use one that is meant for oily skin.

Look for a cleanser with a matte finish, as it can help keep your face from looking overly shiny throughout the day. Cetaphil PRO DermaControl Oil Removing Foam Wash fits the bill. It is specifically designed for people with oily and acne-prone skin.

If you feel that one cleanser is not enough to completely cleanse your face, go for a double cleanse. This involves first using a no-rinse cleansing option like micellar water to remove all the dirt, makeup, and excess oil from the surface of the skin, followed by a rinse-off cleanser to remove any remaining impurities.

Pair the Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water with your Cetaphil PRO DermaControl Oil Removing Foam Wash

Of course, you may be tempted to wash your face several times a day, but the fact is that you must wash your face no more than two times a day, even if you have oily skin. So stick to your schedule of morning and evening cleansing.


5) Makeup Will Make Your Skin Worse


Let’s be real. Oily skin can be difficult to deal with. When your face starts looking greasy, it takes a toll on your makeup look.

Does that mean oily skin people cannot apply makeup?

The fact is that you can definitely wear makeup, but choose your makeup wisely. Avoid pore-clogging foundations that feel heavy on the skin.

Read the ingredients of the makeup products carefully and choose the ones that mention keywords like “non-comedogenic”, “oil-control” or “mattifying”, like the Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation.

Use a primer before applying the rest of your makeup. Every morning after applying your favorite moisturizer, apply a matte primer like the Rimmel Stay Matte Primer, all over your face, or to the targeted areas.

If there is only a little that you want to cover up, choose powder over foundation like the Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder, which is lightweight and long-lasting. 

Irrespective of the product you use, remove makeup before you sleep, or even better, right after you come home so that your skin can breathe a little. Grab the Cetaphil Gentle Waterproof Makeup Remover.

6) Greasy Food Makes Oily Skin Worse

Many people think that a high-fat diet makes skin oilier. This is a myth.

There isn’t enough research to substantiate the fact that a high-fat diet is a reason for oily skin. The only known fact is that excessive production of sebum by sebaceous glands causes oily skin.

Skin that tends to be oily has more to do with hormones than what you eat. Although a high-fat diet is not directly related to the production of excess oil, it’s not true that diet doesn’t have any effect on oil production at all.

Certain foods like sugar, when consumed in large amounts, can lead to excess oil production in many individuals. In a few patients, milk or nuts may aggravate acne. Choosing healthy foods is the best way to eat, no matter what your skin type is.

Try to include food that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, as the omega-3s found in oily fish may limit the production of inflammatory chemicals that are responsible for breakouts.

If you do not eat fish, you can supplement that with high-quality omega-3 fish oil.

Here’s the complete guide on the best diet for oily skin to follow.

7) You Should Use Alcohol-Based Skin Products To Get Rid Of Oily Skin

With so much misleading information out there about alcohol in skincare, it’s really not surprising that people believe it’s not bad for skin at all. The fact is that alcohol in any skincare is a problem.

Although alcohol based products strip excess oil from your face, they don’t do the skin any good in the long run. They will only make the surface of your skin dry, which will make your skin produce more oil to compensate.

Don’t be too tempted to use alcohol-based products, as they will do more harm than good in the long run.

The irony of alcohol-based products claiming to control oily skin is that they can actually cause more oiliness, by getting the skin rid of all the necessary oils. Refrain from using these products, and go for an alcohol-free product like this one.

8) Oily Skin Will Definitely Cause Acne

woman with acne prone skin

Does oily skin cause acne? Maybe. In many ways, oily skin and acne are related. That’s because excess oil on your face most likely will clog pores and attract bacteria.

But, not all patients with oily skin break out. Plus, there are a lot of people with dry skin that have acne.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, any type of skin can develop whiteheads, blackheads and pimples. Acne is most likely to develop when an oily substance called sebum produced by sebaceous (oil-making) glands mixes with dead skin cells and other debris to plug pores and cause bacteria to thrive.

Hormones are one of the causes of acne. The second reason for acne besides hormones is heredity. If there is a family history of acne, you might have acne too, or you might not.

So, yes there is a connection between oily skin and acne, but it’s a myth that oily skin will definitely cause acne. Fortunately, there are a lot of effective treatments for acne available in the market like Proactiv Solution 3-Step Acne Treatment System (30 Day).

You can even try out these homemade face masks for acne scars if your acne is not that severe.

9) Oily Skin = Dirty Skin

It is a myth that oily skin is caused by a lack of hygiene. If that was true, we could easily fix it by washing our face repetitively.

The truth is that cleansing your skin too much can make the problem worse, just like avoiding moisturizing and over-washing, your skin can produce excess oil.

Stick to cleansing twice a day by using a gentle cleanser that contains a little benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid like the CeraVe Salicylic Acid Cleanser that removes excess oil and dirt without making your skin too dry. 

Also, avoid cleansers and toners containing alcohol as they can strip oil from your skin.

10) Chocolate Makes Oily Skin Worse

girl eating chocolate

People think chocolate causes the skin to become more oily, but the fact is that it all depends on the type of chocolate you are eating.

Milk chocolate contains two things that are known to cause acne and oily skin – milk and sugar. Milk, for instance, is linked to skin oiliness and acne, most likely because of the levels of hormones in milk.

The added refined sugars in chocolate spike blood sugar, leading the body to produce insulin, which then increases the likelihood of oily skin.

Dark chocolate doesn’t contain milk, and varieties that have a cocoa content of 70% or higher contain less sugar (the higher the cocoa content, the lower the amount of sugar).

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So these were some of the most popular oily skin myths busted. Is there any other oily skin myth that you want to share? I would love it if you comment down below 🙂

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1 thought on “10 Myths You Believe About Oily Skin (But Never Ever Should)”

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