13 Best Face Moisturizers for Oily Skin in 2022, According to Experts

Frequently Asked Questions

best moisturizer ingredients

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What causes oily skin? 

While oily skin can be genetic, both dermatologists tell Insider that things like diet, stress, hormones, and the wrong products can also impact your sebum levels. “We know that foods high in sugar as well as cow’s milk, particularly skim milk, stimulate oil gland activity,” Dr. Zeichner says. Teenagers are also prone to oiliness, thanks to fluctuating hormones during puberty. Over-exfoliating or using the wrong product for your skin can also cause oily skin.

Dr. Zeichner clarifies that those with oily skin are typically shiny all over the face, whereas combination skin types commonly have oily T-zones and dry cheeks. The center of your face (the forehead, nose, and chin) — also known as the T-zone — is where you’ll find the most oil glands. 

How do I know if I have oily skin?

“As a test, wash your face and then wait three hours,” Dr. Zeichner says. “Then, look back in the mirror, and if you look shiny, you likely have oily skin.” If you suspect your skin is oily, it’s a good idea to chat with your dermatologist before making any major changes to your skin-care routine. They’ll be able to give you pointers on how to manage your oily skin, as well as what types of products to look for (and steer clear of!). 

Is oily skin also acne-prone?

While the overproduction of oil can lead to acne, the two terms are not synonymous. “Having oily skin does not necessarily mean that you are acne-prone,” says Dr. Zeichner. He continues, telling Insider: “Acne is determined by your genetics, and it’s caused by a variety of factors, including acne-causing bacteria, as well as skin cells that stick together and block the pores.” So, it’s certainly possible to have oily skin without experiencing breakouts.

Should I use acne-fighting ingredients in my moisturizer if I have oily skin?

According to Dr. Wesley, it’s important not to over-dry your skin. Instead, find moisturizers with beta hydroxy acids like salicylic acid and alpha-hydroxy acids like glycolic acid. These types of acids can take care of all the extra oil and assist in unblocking pores. “Topical vitamin A derivatives, such as retinol and retinoids, help decrease oil gland production with continued use,” she says. Just know that visible changes take time to appear and won’t emerge overnight.

Which ingredients won’t/will make my skin oilier?

You should steer clear of oils that are comedogenic, as they clog pores and can potentially lead to even more acne. One oil that doesn’t tend to clog pores is jojoba. “Some oils that have a good balance of linoleic acid over oleic acids help to match or balance our skin’s natural fatty acid composition and can be helpful for oily skin on a case by case basis,” Dr. Wesley adds.

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