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Routine Skincare For Oily Skin

Routine Skincare for Oily Skin

Battling oily skin can be a pain, but there is a solution and I am going to explain in as simple terms as I can without getting too scientific.  I will then lay out a routine with suggested products.


Everybody’s skin produces oil.   There are glands within your skin that produce sebum, which is an oily or waxy substance, that moisturises and protects the skin and hair.  Oily skin occurs when the glands produce too much of that sebum.  The result is a greasy surface, clogged pores and increased breakouts.

The overproduction of sebum can be all over the face or it can be limited to what is known as the T-zone (chin, nose and forehead).  This is sometimes also known as Combination Skin, where the T-Zone is oily and the cheeks are dry.


Oily skin can be caused by a number of factors including diet, hormones, medication, etc,  but in my experience in treating those with oily skin the most prominent one is where the skin’s barrier has been compromised due incorrect use of skincare products.

The skin has a PH value which has been recorded in healthy normal skin to be between 4.5 and 5.5. The PH scale ranges fro 0-14.  7 is considered Neutral, neither high or low.  Anything below 7 is considered acidic and anything above 7 is considered alkaline.

The skin’s barrier, also known as the acid mantle, is in the acidic range.  It protects the skin from bacteria, environmental aggressors and keeps the skin healthy.  This barrier can be broken which can lead to a multitude of problems such as over oily skin, dry skin, breakouts, etc.

One of the biggest culprits in breaking this barrier is the constant use of skincare products that are either too high or too low on the PH scale.

Soap for example is a product that some use to wash their face.  Soap has a naturally high PH, being more alkaline and can be anywhere from 9-11 on the PH scale.  This is is quite high for the skin considering its’ natural PH is between 4.5 and 5.5.   Constant use of soap to wash your face can lead to breaking the skins barrier.


Whether your skin’s barrier has been compromised or the skin has been affected in another way that has made it over oily there are simple steps you can follow to fix it.

Firstly lets talk about a Cleanser.   You want to choose a cleanser that is essentially a Gel Cleanser.  Gel Cleansers do not typically contain oils and work to remove excess oils, dirt and unclog pores.  The catch however is that there are many Gel Cleanses out there but they are not all equal.

A proper Gel Cleanser should be PH balanced for the skin.  It should be between the ranges of 4.5 – 5.5 to be compatible with the skin and not contribute to breaking of the skins natural barrier.  It should effectively cleanse the oils off of the skin without damaging it in any way.

There are many Gel Cleaners out there.  Check before you buy that they are PH balanced.  A good skincare company will do that and it will be mentioned or marked on the packaging.

Next is a Toner/Mist.  Some people believe that this step is unnecessary.  I however believe that it is.  This is a chance for the skin to receive a big dose of water actives that it may not be able to get otherwise.  It also prepares the skin and makes it easier for it absorb the products that follow.  It may be simple but can be very effective.

You need a mist/toner that contains ingredients specifically targeting oily skin.

Next is a serum or moisturiser.    Depending on what is going on with your skin and if the oily skin is leading to breakouts you may or may not want to apply a serum.  If your skin is prone to breakouts when it is over oily I suggest you use serum that targets the surface bacteria and clogged pores to keep breakouts at bay.

If you are just tackling oily skin then you need to be using a moisturiser but one that targets rebalancing you skin.  They should contain oils that specifically contain a high level of Omega 6, also known as Linoleic Acid.  These include oils such as Jojoba, Argan, Sunflower, Safflower and Grapeseed, to name a few.  It has scientifically been proven that skin that is over oily has a higher percentage of Oleic Acid (Omega 3) and not enough Linoleic Acid.

An ideal moisturiser would also contain Vitamin B3, also known as Niacinamide, that helps to rebalance the skin.

If you want to use a face oil instead of a moisturiser you can but I would not advise to use both combined together.  Again you would use one with oils such as the above.

Oils have a Comedogenic rating.  This refers to the oils ability to be absorbed and not left on the skin.  The ratings go from 0-5 with Argan Oil being at 0 for example and Coconut Oil being at 4.  You want to stay away from oils that are high on this rating as they will contribute to your oily skin.  They are generally higher in Oleic Acid whereas those that are lower on scale are higher in Linoleic Acid.

These are some of the oils that I would be avoiding if I had oily skin:

Coconut Oil – Rating of 4

Avocado Oil – Rating of 3

Flaxseed Oil – Rating of 4

Soybean Oil – Rating of 5

For a complete list of oils and their ratings click below:


Now I will lay out for you a simple routine for both morning and night and of course my recommended products.  You can see these products are formulated for oily skin.   Whether you choose these products or not it will give you an idea of the routine that you should be doing both morning and night, the sequence and the kind of products you should be using.

Following this routine will help repair a broken skin barrier, will reduce the amount of oil your skin is producing, help unclog pores and lead to healthier naturally balanced skin.   It must be followed exactly both morning and night to reap the results.


1. CLEANSE – A gel cleanser is the best.  You need to remove what your skin emptied out the night before.  The skin cleanses itself at night and what is left on the skin in the morning are the things that your skin doesn’t want.  It is therefore best to ensure you take this off.


2.    TONE – Boost your routine with a toner that delivers a boost of water actives and prepares your skin for the next step.  Leaving your skin slightly damp before applying your next product helps with absorption.


3.   SERUM (OPTIONAL).  For those that are prone to breakouts due to their oily skin I recommend using a serum to target the surface bacteria, generally known as a Blemish Gel.


4.   MOISTURISE.  Before your toner or serum completely dries add your moisturiser  The water content of the other products will help with its absorption.  Use a moisturiser that is lightweight, meaning it contains oils that are easily absorbed and work on rebalancing the skin.   You only need a little.

Some try to stay away from moisturisers that contain oils with the belief that when you have oily skin you don’t want to add ore oils.  This however is wrong.  What your skin needs is the right oils so that it doesn’t feel it has to overcompensate and try to create more oils.


If you prefer a Face Oil over a lotion you can also use a face oil instead.  Apply two to three drops of oil into the palm of your hand, rub together to warm and pat over all of your face.  Warming up the oils slightly can help them absorb faster and better.



  1. CLEANSE – as above

If you wear make up during the day this steps is extremely important. You don’t want to leave make up on your skin at night,  It stops the skin from breathing, can clog pores and encourage breakouts.  It also can prematurely age the skin!!

For those that wear heavy make up that they feel is hard to remove with just a cleaner, try the Double Cleansing method which includes using an Oil Cleanser first to remove make up.  Oil Cleansers are great in that they are oil based and oils attract oils.  Make up being oil based will easily attach to the cleanser to be removed.

Once done you should follow up with a Gel Cleanser to remove any excess oil left behind.


2. TONE – as above

3. SERUM – optional, as above

4. LAST STEP – For this step in the evening I am true believer in keeping your night routine light.  It allows your skin to breath and do its work to cleanse itself and repair.

For those with oily skin I would leave this step out and leave it at the serum. If you feel that your skin needs a bit of a boost then I would suggest only using a FACE OIL and applying one to two drops of oil on your face.

Hope that helps!

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