How to Get Rid of Oily Skin: 15 Expert-Approved Methods

Oily skin can sometimes feel like an unwinnable battle, but with the right approach, you can achieve that matte and fresh complexion you’ve been dreaming of. Let’s dive even deeper into the 15 ways to get rid of oily skin, with additional insights and practical tips.

Understanding Oily Skin: The What and Why

Oily skin isn’t just about shine; it’s a complex condition influenced by various internal and external factors. Sebum, which is the oily substance produced by sebaceous glands, plays a crucial role in skin health, but too much of it leads to that greasy look and feel. Factors such as genetics, hormonal imbalances during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause, use of certain medications, and even your choice of skin care products can contribute to oiliness.

When it comes to managing oily skin, it’s important to strike a balance. While it might be tempting to strip away all the oil, this can lead to increased oil production as your skin tries to compensate for the loss. On the other hand, not addressing the excess oil can result in clogged pores, acne breakouts, and a perpetually shiny complexion.

To effectively combat oily skin, it’s essential to adopt a skincare routine and make certain lifestyle adjustments that address the underlying causes. Let’s explore the 16 expert-approved methods in more detail.

get rid of oily skin
How to get rid of oily skin at Home

How to Get Rid of Oily Skin: 15 Expert-Approved Methods

1. Cleanse Properly

Start and end your day with a cleansing ritual suited for oily skin. Cleansing helps remove excess oil, dirt, and impurities, allowing your skin to breathe and preventing clogged pores. However, it’s important to strike a balance and avoid over-cleansing, as this can lead to skin irritation and increased oil production.

In the morning, use a gentle foaming cleanser to remove any excess oils accumulated overnight. Look for a cleanser specifically formulated for oily skin that contains ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. These ingredients help to dissolve excess oil and reduce the appearance of blemishes.

In the evening, double-cleanse to ensure thorough removal of makeup, sunscreen, and pollutants. Start with an oil-based cleanser to dissolve oil-based impurities, such as makeup and sunscreen. Follow up with a water-based cleanser to remove any remaining residue and provide a deeper cleanse to the skin.

Product Picks:

  • Cetaphil Pro Oil Removing Foam Wash: This gentle foaming cleanser effectively removes excess oil without drying out the skin.
  • La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel: Formulated with zinc picolinate, this foaming gel cleanser helps purify the skin and eliminate excess oil.

2. Exfoliate Regularly

Exfoliating your skin is an important step in any skincare routine, especially for those with oily skin. Exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells, unclog pores, and promote a smoother, more even complexion. However, it’s crucial to exfoliate gently and not to overdo it, as excessive exfoliation can irritate the skin and disrupt its natural barrier function.

There are two main types of exfoliants: physical exfoliants and chemical exfoliants. Physical exfoliants contain granules or particles that physically remove dead skin cells when massaged onto the skin. Examples include scrubs with ingredients like jojoba beads, rice bran, or sugar. When using physical exfoliants, be sure to choose products with smooth, round beads to avoid microtears in the skin.

Chemical exfoliants, on the other hand, use acids or enzymes to gently dissolve the bonds between dead skin cells, allowing them to be easily shed.

Beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) like salicylic acid are particularly effective for oily skin, as they can penetrate the pores and help remove excess oil and unclog them. Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid or lactic acid can also be beneficial in promoting a smoother, more radiant complexion.

It’s important to note that when incorporating exfoliation into your routine, start with a lower frequency and gradually increase if your skin tolerates it well. For most individuals with oily skin, exfoliating two to three times per week is sufficient.

Product Picks:

  • Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit Foaming Scrub: This scrub contains salicylic acid to help unclog pores and prevent breakouts.
  • Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant: This leave-on exfoliant with salicylic acid gently exfoliates and unclogs pores for smoother, clearer skin.

3. Use Oil-Free and Non-Comedogenic Products

Choosing the right skincare products is crucial for managing oily skin. Look for products that are specifically formulated to be oil-free and non-comedogenic, meaning they won’t clog your pores. These products are designed to provide the hydration and nourishment your skin needs without adding extra oil or potential irritants.

When selecting a moisturizer, opt for lightweight, oil-free formulations that are easily absorbed by the skin. Gel-based moisturizers or lotions are often a good choice for oily skin, as they provide hydration without leaving a greasy residue. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, which can help attract and retain moisture in the skin.

Similarly, when it comes to sunscreen, choose oil-free or mattifying formulas that offer broad-spectrum protection. Sunscreens with a gel or lotion texture are generally better suited for oily skin, as they are less likely to leave a heavy, greasy feeling. Look for products labeled “non-comedogenic” and with a matte finish to avoid exacerbating oiliness.

Product Picks:

  • Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel: This lightweight, oil-free gel moisturizer provides long-lasting hydration without clogging pores.
  • Olay Regenerist Whip Face Moisturizer: This whipped moisturizer feels light on the skin and provides hydration without greasiness.
  • EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46: This oil-free sunscreen is dermatologist-recommended and provides broad-spectrum protection without clogging pores.

4. Incorporate Blotting Papers into Your Routine

Blotting papers are a quick and convenient solution for managing excess oil throughout the day. These thin sheets of specially designed paper or film are designed to absorb oil without smudging your makeup or stripping away moisture from your skin.

To use blotting papers, gently press them onto areas of your face where oil tends to accumulate, such as the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin). Hold the sheet against your skin for a few seconds to allow it to absorb the excess oil. Avoid rubbing or dragging the sheet across your face, as this can irritate the skin.

Blotting papers are especially useful when you’re on the go or don’t have access to other oil-control products. Keep a pack in your bag or desk drawer for quick touch-ups throughout the day to help keep shine at bay.

Product Picks:

  • Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets: These sheets effectively absorb excess oil without disturbing makeup.
  • NYX Professional Makeup Blotting Paper: These blotting papers come in a convenient pack that fits easily in your purse or pocket.
Foods For Great Skin
Foods For Great Skin

5. Adjust Your Diet

While skincare products play a significant role in managing oily skin, it’s essential to pay attention to your diet as well. Certain foods can contribute to increased oil production and skin inflammation, while others can help regulate sebum production and promote healthier skin.

To reduce oiliness, consider making the following dietary adjustments:

  • Avoid foods that are high in the glycemic index, such as sugary snacks, white bread, and processed carbohydrates. These foods can cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels, which can lead to increased oil production.
  • Include foods that are rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, as they can help reduce inflammation, regulate oil production, and promote healthier skin. Examples include leafy greens, fatty fish like salmon, nuts, and seeds.

Incorporating these dietary changes can take time to show noticeable effects on your skin. Be patient and consistent with your new eating habits, and monitor how your skin responds.

Diet Chart:

Foods to ReduceFoods to Increase
Sugary snacksLeafy greens
Fried foodsFatty fish like salmon
Dairy productsNuts and seeds

6. Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration is essential for maintaining healthy skin, regardless of your skin type. Drinking an adequate amount of water throughout the day helps flush out toxins, supports overall skin health, and can indirectly help control oil production.

While there is no set amount of water that suits everyone, a general guideline is to aim for at least 8-10 glasses (64-80 ounces) of water per day. However, individual needs may vary depending on factors such as activity level, climate, and overall health. Pay attention to your body’s signals and drink water when you feel thirsty.

If you find it challenging to drink enough water, try incorporating infused water or herbal teas into your daily routine. These can add flavor and make hydration more enjoyable.

7. Manage Stress Levels

Stress can have a significant impact on our overall health, including our skin. When you’re stressed, your body releases hormones like cortisol, which can trigger an increase in oil production. This can lead to breakouts and exacerbate oily skin.

To manage stress and promote healthier skin:

  • Engage in Regular Physical Activity: Exercise can help reduce stress levels and promote overall well-being. Find activities that you enjoy, whether it’s yoga, running, dancing, or any other form of exercise that gets your body moving and your mind focused.
  • Practice Mindfulness or Meditation: Taking a few moments each day to focus on your breath and be present can help reduce stress and promote a sense of calmness. Consider incorporating mindfulness or meditation practices into your daily routine.
  • Get Adequate Sleep: Prioritize getting enough quality sleep each night. Lack of sleep can contribute to increased stress levels and negatively affect your skin. Aim for 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.

Finding stress-reduction techniques that work for you is essential. Experiment with different activities and practices to discover what helps you unwind and manage stress effectively.

8. Consider Retinoids

Retinoids are a class of vitamin A derivatives that have been proven effective in managing various skin concerns, including oily skin. Retinoids regulate epidermal cell turnover, reduce oil production, and promote a smoother and more even complexion. Adapalene, a type of retinoid, is particularly beneficial for oily skin as it has potent anti-inflammatory properties and can help unclog pores.

Retinoids are available in both prescription-strength and over-the-counter formulations. If you’re considering using retinoids, it’s recommended to consult with a dermatologist who can assess your skin’s specific needs and prescribe the appropriate strength and formulation.

Product Picks:

  • Differin Gel (Adapalene 0.1%): This over-the-counter retinoid gel helps regulate oil production and improve the overall appearance of oily skin.
  • SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0: A high-potency retinol formulated to refine the skin’s texture, minimize oiliness, and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

9. Explore Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are professional treatments that involve the application of a chemical solution to the skin, which causes the top layers to peel off, revealing smoother and less oily skin beneath. Chemical peels can be particularly beneficial for oily skin as they help remove dead skin cells, unclog pores, and reduce oiliness.

There are different types of chemical peels, including superficial, medium, and deep peels. Superficial peels, such as those containing alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs), are typically recommended for oily skin. These peels have a milder exfoliating effect, promoting cell turnover and reducing excess oil.

It’s important to note that chemical peels should be performed by a licensed dermatologist or skincare professional to ensure safety and optimal results. They will evaluate your skin’s condition and recommend the most suitable type and strength of chemical peel for your specific needs.

10. Look into Light Therapy

Light therapy, also known as phototherapy, is a non-invasive treatment that uses specific wavelengths of light to target and address various skin concerns, including oily skin. Blue light therapy, in particular, has been found to be effective in reducing oil production by targeting and destroying the bacteria responsible for acne breakouts.

Blue light therapy works by penetrating the skin’s surface and reaching the sebaceous glands, where it helps to regulate oil production. It is often used in combination with other treatments, such as chemical peels or topical medications, for optimal results.

Light therapy treatments are typically performed in a dermatologist’s office or medical spa under the supervision of a trained professional. The number of sessions required may vary depending on the severity of your oily skin and the specific treatment protocol your dermatologist recommends.

11. Clay Masks

This is a popular choice for managing oily skin due to its ability to absorb excess oil and impurities from the skin. Clay, such as bentonite or kaolin clay, has natural absorbent properties that can help regulate sebum production and reduce shine.

To use a clay mask, apply a thin layer evenly to your cleansed face, avoiding the delicate eye and lip areas. Let the mask dry for about 10-15 minutes, or as directed on the product packaging. As the mask dries, you may feel a tightening sensation on your skin. Rinse off the mask thoroughly with lukewarm water, then pat dry with a clean towel. Follow up with a lightweight moisturizer to prevent over-drying.

Using a clay mask once or twice a week can help control excess oil and leave your skin feeling refreshed and balanced.

DIY Clay Mask Recipe:

  • Mix 1-2 tablespoons of bentonite or kaolin clay with enough apple cider vinegar or water to form a paste.
  • Apply the paste to your face, avoiding the eye and lip areas.
  • Let the mask sit for 10-15 minutes or until it starts to dry.
  • Rinse off the mask with lukewarm water and pat your face dry.
  • Follow up with a gentle moisturizer.

12. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a natural remedy that has gained popularity for its various health and beauty benefits. When it comes to oily skin, ACV’s natural astringent properties can help balance the skin’s pH, control excess oil, and reduce the appearance of pores.

To use ACV as a toner, dilute it with water in a 1:3 ratio (1 part ACV to 3 parts water). After cleansing your face, dip a cotton ball or pad into the diluted ACV solution and gently swipe it across your face, focusing on the oily T-zone or other areas of concern. Allow the solution to air dry, then follow up with a moisturizer.

It’s important to note that ACV is highly acidic and can cause skin irritation if used undiluted or in excessive amounts. Always perform a patch test before using ACV on your entire face, and if you experience any irritation, discontinue use.

13. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a versatile plant known for its soothing and healing properties. It can also be beneficial for managing oily skin. Aloe vera gel helps to moisturize the skin without adding excess oil, making it a suitable choice for oily skin types.

To use aloe vera gel, start by cleansing your face thoroughly. Then, apply a thin layer of pure aloe vera gel directly to your face, focusing on areas prone to oiliness. Allow the gel to absorb fully before applying any additional skincare products or makeup. Aloe vera gel can be used both in the morning and evening as part of your skincare routine.

You can also combine aloe vera gel with other natural ingredients to create DIY face masks or spot treatments for oily skin. For example, mixing aloe vera gel with a few drops of tea tree oil can create a potent acne-fighting treatment.

14. Mattifying Primers

A mattifying primer is a great addition to your makeup routine if you have oily skin. These primers help to control shine, minimize the appearance of pores, and create a smooth canvas for makeup application.

Look for mattifying primers that are specifically formulated for oily skin. These primers often contain ingredients like silica or dimethicone, which help to absorb excess oil and create a matte finish. Apply a small amount of primer after moisturizing and before applying foundation or other makeup products.

Product Picks:

  • Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Face Primer: This popular primer helps to minimize the appearance of pores and control shine, creating a smooth base for makeup.
  • Smashbox Photo Finish Oil & Shine Control Primer: Formulated with oil-absorbing powders, this primer helps to keep shine at bay throughout the day.

15. Oil-Control Moisturizers

While it may seem counterintuitive to moisturize oily skin, using a lightweight, oil-control moisturizer is essential for maintaining a healthy skin barrier and preventing excessive oil production.

Look for moisturizers specifically formulated for oily skin that are labeled as oil-free or non-comedogenic. These moisturizers are designed to provide hydration without adding extra oil to the skin. Gel-based moisturizers or lotions are often a good choice for oily skin, as they are lightweight and easily absorbed.

Product Picks:

  • Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel: This oil-free gel moisturizer provides intense hydration while leaving a weightless, non-greasy finish.
  • Olay Regenerist Whip Face Moisturizer: This lightweight moisturizer absorbs quickly into the skin, providing hydration without leaving a greasy residue.

Remember, even if you have oily skin, moisturizing is an essential step in your skincare routine. Skipping moisturizer can actually lead to increased oil production as the skin tries to compensate for the lack of hydration.


Managing oily skin requires a multifaceted approach that includes a consistent skincare routine, lifestyle adjustments, and, in some cases, professional treatments. By adopting the 15 expert-approved methods outlined in this article, you can take control of your oily skin and achieve a matte, balanced complexion.

Remember, each individual’s skin is unique, so it may take some trial and error to find the right combination of products and lifestyle changes that work best for you. Be patient, consistent, and gentle with your skin, and remember to consult with a dermatologist if you have any concerns or questions.

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