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How should I take care of my face if I have oily skin?

Howard L. Brooks, MD
Dermatology
If you have oily skin, you still need to moisturize; you also need to use a gentle cleanser with glyceride, and a moisturizer with SPF. Watch dermatologist Howard Brooks, MD, explain this routine, and share a natural recipe for a healing mask. 
Audrey Kunin, MD
Dermatology
Let's talk daily skin care, cleansing, oil control, moisturizers and sun protection factor (SPF). While oily areas can be limited to the t-zone (combination skin), or affect the entire face (oily skin type), I'm a big believer in simplicity and convenience when it comes to skin care. Today's cosmetic technology allows one to use products over the whole face avoiding the anxiety of where exactly to apply something.
  • Cleanse. Use either a gentle soap-free cleanser or if you're really wanting to cut through and remove grease and grime, use a cleanser containing between 10-15% buffered glycolic acid.
  • Oil Control. We have come a very long way in oil control technology. Microscopic polymer sponges literally soak up excessive oiliness without leaving skin dried out. When reading labels, look for the ingredient acrylates copolymer. Avoid silicon- based skin primers/oil-control products. These lie upon the surface of the skin on top of the oil. Skin may appear mattified, but in reality, it's an illusion. Envision plastic wrap on top of olive oil. Skin becomes smothered and oils push more deeply into the glands, encouraging acne outbreaks.
  • Moisturize. If your skin is oily, does it need a moisturizer? Probably not; at least not one used all over every single day. Remember, sebum is a moisturizer. Combine that along with hydration provided by sunscreen and any anti-aging creams/lotions and skin is good to go. Of course, this may vary by season or if you have extremely dry zones. The best rule of thumb is pay attention to what your skin is telling you and act accordingly.
  • Sun Protection. No skin care routine is complete without sunscreen. I have my personal bias as I have been plagued throughout my life with oily skin. While I have found that there are innumerable sunscreens on the market labeled as oil-free, or lightweight, none were equal to the challenge of my skin. Look for those containing oil-reducing polymers which soak up only the excessive skin oils. They mattify without leaving your skin dry or irritated (meaning they are ideal for any and all skin types). And make certain your sun protection is labeled broad spectrum (ultraviolet-A [UVA] and ultraviolet-B [UVB]), and use a minimum of SPF 30.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.