**This post may contain affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). I also am a MIG Living Independent Ambassador. Please read my affiliate disclosure for more information.**
Learning how to treat oily skin has been years in the making for me.
I’ve had a long, dark history with my oily, acne-prone skin since I was in middle school, possibly even earlier. I’ve tried a million things, even two rounds of Accutane that cleared the acne for a while but not forever. My time on Accutane was the only time my skin wasn’t an oil slick (because the medicine was so drying).
I’ve had periods when my skin is clear and other times when it breaks out like crazy. At this point in my life, now that I’m 35, if I have breakouts, they tend to be on my back. My face is mostly clear but still super oily.
After all the years of acne – plus picking at said acne (ahhh, sooo sooo bad!) – I’m incredibly lucky that I don’t have any scarring. What’s funny (strange?) is that people tell me all the time that I have beautiful skin but I still have trouble seeing it because my face wasn’t clear for so long.
I guess I’m even starting to embrace my lingering, oily skin because according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, people with oily skin tend to have less wrinkles! So remember that the next time you’re embarrassed because you left a grease spot after leaning your forehead against a window. (Please tell me I’m not the only one this happens to!)
While I’m hoping this shiny mug keeps the wrinkles at bay, I also don’t want to walk around like a bright beacon lighting the way with my forehead. So here are five beauty hacks to control oily skin. If you noticed, I didn’t say these will “get rid of” or eliminate; I said “control.” I have yet to come across the magic cure that leaves me with a matte finish all day long. Dermatologists say that genetics play a role, and that’s out of my hands.
So here are my five tips on how to treat oily skin!
YOU SHOULD ALSO READ: How I Cleared My Keratosis Pilaris Naturally
How To Treat Oily Skin
1. Wash your face no more than twice a day.
Over washing your face can lead to over producing oil. When you strip away all that oil, you tell your skin to produce more of it, which leads to that shiny skin you’re trying to avoid.
When I worked out in the morning, I would wash my face before and after going to the gym, and then again at night. (That’s three times a day, if you’re doing your math.)
But now in the morning before the gym, I simply rinse my face with water or wipe it with a warm, wet washcloth. Use a soft washcloth and gently wipe your face so you don’t irritate your skin. But always, always wash your face in the evening to get rid of makeup and dirt from the day. (See Tip #5 for how to wash your face at night.)
I found that a charcoal soap bar like this one works best on my oily skin.
2. Apply face oils and serums on damp skin.
Don’t be afraid of using oils on oily skin! You just need to know how to apply them properly.
Make sure your skin is DAMP before applying face oils or serums, either from a toner/hydrator or just plain old water. This will prevent the oil from making your skin greasy.
In the morning after cleansing, I spray my face with toner and then apply my face oil with wet hands. I do the same thing at night, only I use my beeswax facial lotion bar instead of the oil. (You must apply the beeswax lotion bar to damp skin, too.)
3. Set your foundation with a powder.
Many liquid foundations, even if they claim to be matte, usually still leave me shiny, which is why I always apply a finishing powder. Two powders I’ve used and recommend are Lily Lolo’s Finishing Powder Flawless Matte and RMS Beauty’s Translucent Un Powder.
The nontoxic matte foundation to try if you’re oily is NU EVOLUTION’s Complete Coverage Foundation. I am blown away by how good it looks and feels on my skin.
4. Use blotting papers during the day.
I remember when Johnson & Johnson came out with its Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets, and I was super excited to try them. But my face is so oily and those sheets are so small that I had to use about 10 sheets each time.
So instead, for the last 10 years or so, I used disposable toilet seat covers to blot my face. (Unused, of course.) They work amazingly well, but they’re also bleached using chlorine so I wanted an alternative. I found this tree-free bathroom tissue at Sprouts and it works pretty well to absorb oil, although not as well as the toilet seat covers. You can also buy it on Amazon.
5. Follow the double cleansing method at night.
Here’s how to double cleanse: Massage a cleansing oil like One Love Organics Botanical B Enzyme Cleansing Oil + Makeup Remover onto a dry face, then add water and massage your skin. Then gently wipe away with a wet, warm washcloth. Follow up with a second gentle cleaner, something detoxifying with ingredients like charcoal, clay, or dead sea mud like MIG Living’s Activated Charcoal Black Soap. I also love Aleavia’s Purifying Facial Cleanse.
BONUS Tip: Don’t use coconut oil on your face.
I bet you’ve heard coconut oil is the miracle oil, right? Well, it might not be all it’s cracked up to be. I was using Costco’s organic, cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil as a makeup remover, and it was great… until it wasn’t. I started to notice that I was breaking out again on my face, and the skin on my forehead and temples was dull, rough, and bumpy. Once I read that coconut oil can clog pores, especially if you’re prone to oily skin, I stopped right away.
Something else to try
Check your diet. I’ve had dermatologists tell me that my diet doesn’t cause acne or oily skin, but then I’ve read where others have said it does. So who’s to believe? In my completely non-expert opinion, I think you have to figure out which, if any, foods trigger your acne. Super helpful, right?
Dairy, sugar, salt, refined carbs, and fried foods cause acne, experts say. But we all have that one friend with perfect skin and a perfect body who eats perfectly unhealthy food. Amiright? Darn genetics. You might need to try an elimination diet like the Whole30. I haven’t yet figured out what foods cause my oily skin and acne, but I also haven’t tried all that hard, TBH.
Here’s what I tend to think when it comes to cleaning up your diet… It’s not going to hurt. Even if it doesn’t help your skin, it’s going to make you healthier overall. You still need to make sure that you still eat a balanced diet and get enough calcium if you cut out dairy.
One other thing: if you’re reading blogs or talking with friends and family about skincare products, you need to know their skin types. Is their skin normal? Dry? Combination? Or oily like yours? I follow quite a few beauty bloggers, and several of them deal with dry skin so the products they recommend aren’t necessarily going to work for me. When people suggest beauty products, you need to understand their skin types and needs so you know if their products will work for you. They may not actually know how to treat oily skin if it’s not their problem.
Have you tried any of these tips on how to treat oily skin? What’s worked for you? Let me know in the comments below!