Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist -  Written by Shreya Singh (Pharmacist)  on 11th Nov 2020

The Ultimate Skincare Routine For Oily Skin 

Skincare Routine For Oily Skin

Having oily skin, more often than not, proves to be a nightmare! The ever-constant shine, random breakouts, enlarged pores, and sensitivity are common problems with an oily skin type.

But there’s a way to alleviate all your oily skin woes. Wondering how? Well, the one-stop solution to this lies in having the accurate and proper skincare routine that effectively targets excess sebum production and keeps your skin shine-free, healthy, and moisturized all day long.

Getting a skincare routine in place for the oily skin type is quite a challenging task. Using the wrong type of products & care can only aggravate your oily skin problems, and you can end up having clogged pores, breakouts, pimples, lackluster skin, and the list goes on and on.

Products that have a heavier consistency can make your skin look more greasy, while the products that are too light may not be enough hydrating or moisturizing.

Therefore, to help make things easier for you, we have put together this article dedicated to oily skin types. Just read along to know the good morning and evening skincare routine designed specifically for oily skin that gives you effective results in no-time and keeps your oily skin woes at bay! 

Characteristics of oily skin: 

Before we get you started with your oily skincare path, you first need to identify your skin and make sure that you have an oily skin type to choose the right products accordingly.

An oily skin type often exhibits the following characteristics: 

  • Visible shine due to excess sebum production 
  • Oiliness on the surface, while dryness persists deep within the skin 
  • Irregular texture with noticeably enlarged pores 
  • Skin is prone to having breakouts and pimples if exposed to the wrong type of products 
  • Makeup may wear off quickly

Although there is no one definite cause for that additional slick of oil on your skin, one obvious thing is that your sebaceous glands are hyperactive and are producing more oil than required. This may be due to hormonal imbalance, genetics, climatic changes, diet, stress, or using the wrong products and ingredients. And not to mention, when your skin is dehydrated and counterbalances this loss of oils, it stimulates your sebaceous glands to produce an extra amount of oils that show up on the surface of your skin.

Morning (AM) skincare routine for oily skin  

It’s best advisable to use a minimum number of products for the morning so that your skin doesn’t feel heavy and can breathe. You need to apply products that keep your oil levels in check and provide an adequate moisture amount throughout the day.

Step #1: Cleanser 

The first and most important step of any skincare routine is cleansing. Start your day by cleansing your skin to get rid of excess oil and dead skin cells that have been built up in your pores overnight. Use a mild, oil-free cleanser that refreshes and cleans your skin without stripping away the natural oils from it.

Always use a non-foaming cleanser, SLS-free, because foaming cleansers can only dry out your skin. People often believe that more foaming equals the skin’s effective cleaning, but in reality, they wear off the skin’s acid mantle and natural oil content and make your skin overly dry.

Since oily skin is more prone to get acne and breakouts, it’s best to look for ingredients such as salicylic acid in your cleanser. Salicylic acid is a potent BHA that seeps deeper into your pore linings to effectively slough off the dead skin cells, oil and debris- deeply gunked up within your pores, which prevents blockage that can lead to acne and breakouts.

It also keeps your excess oil production in check and prevents blackheads. 

Step #2: Toner 

The next step in this process is to use a toner. It’s an extremely important step in your skincare routine, as it helps restore your skin’s pH level and control oil production.

Toners not only tighten your pores but also help them look smaller and enhance your skin texture. They also help give a hydrating boost to your skin and enable the effective absorption of other actives and serums that you apply afterward.

Use a hydrating toner that is water-based and alcohol-free as alcohol-based toners can dry out the skin and increase sebum production, which is a big no-no for oily skin. 

Step #3: Serums/Actives 

In the morning, you can use serums when you want to tackle different skin concerns.

If your skin feels dehydrated, try incorporating a hydrating serum in your skincare routine. Serums containing Hyaluronic acid and Panthenol (Vit B5) can help retain your skin’s moisture levels and make it more plumped-up and dewy looking.

For brightening and anti-aging effects, Niacinamide serum and Vitamin C serum alternatively help keep your excessive oiliness at bay and give you a matt look throughout the day.

Always use a fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, lightweight formula that quickly seeps into your skin without clogging your pores.
The critical point is to use soothing ingredients in the morning that don’t make your skin photosensitive as you’ll be stepping out under the sun.

Wait for a few minutes to let your serum sink in deeper into your skin before stepping onto your moisturizer. 

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Step #4: Moisturizer 

Even though you have oily skin, this step is super important. Many people might think that if you have oily skin, you shouldn’t use a moisturizer to make your skin more greasy and oily. But the truth is, oily skin tends to be naturally dehydrated and needs additional hydration in the form of a daily moisturizer. If your skin is dehydrated or deprived of moisture, it can trigger your sebaceous glands to produce excess oils to compensate for the loss.

Always use an oil-free, lightweight, gel-based moisturizer to maintain your skin’s moisture levels and keep it non-greasy all day long. Make sure that your moisturizer is non-comedogenic so that it doesn’t clog up your pores.

Look for hydrating and repairing ingredients such as Hyaluronic acid, Vitamin E, B5, and C to get the most out of your moisturizer. 

Step #5: Sunscreen 

Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen in the daytime is a non-negotiable step. No matter what you do, never skip your sunscreen. None of your skincare tricks or products will work if a sunscreen layer does not protect your skin.

Use a good sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30 and above with a UVA rating of PA+++ to shield your skin from the harmful UV rays and prevent sun damage, which can aid in premature aging.

Look for water-based, non-comedogenic, lightweight sunscreen, mainly meant for oily skin to ensure that it doesn’t make your skin over greasy. Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before heading outdoors. 

Evening (PM) skincare routine for oily skin 

You need to religiously follow a nighttime skincare routine before you hit the bed to ensure that your skin can heal, repair and regenerate overnight. This is the perfect time for targeted treatments concerning a specific skin issue. 

Step#1: Cleanser 

Following the same steps as your morning routine, start by cleansing your face to eliminate any excess makeup, dirt, and oil after a long day. You could either use your same morning cleanser, or you can go for a double cleanse to take out your stubborn makeup.

For double cleansing, start using a mild oil cleanser to break up all the makeup and follow it up with your usual cleanser. 

Step#2: Toner 

Toning is essential in the night, too, to minimize excess sebum production and minimize the appearance of pores. 

Step#3: Hydration 

Before using direct acids or chemical exfoliants on your face, it’s necessary to follow up with an excellent hydrating ingredient such as Hyaluronic Acid. It helps ensure that your skin doesn’t get overly dried out because of acids and eases any inflammation or irritation that can occur after using direct acids. 

Step#4: Chemical Exfoliation (2-3 times a week) 

Oily skin is specifically prone to having dead skin cell build-up, blackheads, and clogged pores. On-top-of that, environmental aggressors and pollutants can harm your skin, making it dull, lackluster, rough, and can lead to uneven skin tone. Therefore, to prevent clogged pores and irregular skin, it’s essential to exfoliate your skin with a gentle exfoliant regularly.

A chemical exfoliant is usually preferred over a physical one as it is more gentle on the skin and effectively shed off all the dead skin cells and debris.

With regular exfoliation, your skin feels smoother, brighter with unclogged pores, which result in minimal breakouts and blackheads.  

Minimalist's Tip:

You can use AHAs (5-10%) and BHAs (1-2%) for chemical exfoliation. They help boost the cell turnover, lighten dark spots, and add radiance to the dull skin. 

Dr. Harshna Bijlani -– Mumbai-based celebrity skin expert and Medical Head at The AgeLess Clinic, says,

For exfoliation, I use a direct acid exfoliator that uses glycolic acid instead of beaded exfoliants that tend to damage the skin.

Step#5: Serums/Actives (Daily) 

The night is the perfect time to treat your skin with active ingredients and concentrated treatments like Retinol that can work its magic on your skin while you’re sleeping.

Retinol is a gold-star anti-aging ingredient that can work as a savior for oily skin by boosting the pace of cell turnover and unclogging the pores. However, it is beneficial/advised to start slow and use a low concentration until you build up your tolerance. 

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Step#6: Moisturiser 

You can either use your usual lightweight, water-based moisturizer during the night or go for heavier, thicker ones to eliminate excessive dryness. Using overnight hydration masks or serum sheet masks occasionally can help reveal a more radiant-looking skin. 

Weekend Peeling Solution 

To get rid of pigmentation, post-acne scars, and dark spots, you can use a peeling solution on weekends. They are a powerful solution of potent acids, which sheds off the superficial dead skin layer to reveal the brighter, fresher, even-toned skin underneath.

You can use a peeling solution with AHA 25% + PHA 5% + BHA 2%  to flush out all the dead skin debris and impurities from the pores. 

AHA 25% + PHA 5% + BHA 2%
AHA 25% + PHA 5% + BHA 2%

AHA 25% + PHA 5% + BHA 2%

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The Takeaways 

If you have oily skin, religiously following the right skincare routine can be life-changing. It can help control excess sebum production and make your skin shine-free, which further prevents occasional breakouts and pimples.

Cleansing, toning, treatment with active ingredients, and moisturizing in the morning and evening are the necessary key steps in maintaining a healthy skincare routine.

Always choose the right products and ingredients designed specifically for oily skin to keep excess oiliness and shininess at bay.