The Best Ways to Combat Oily Skin

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Like the color of your eyes and the texture of your hair, the oily nature of your skin is a genetic trait. If yours produces more oil than the next guy’s, this is just a reality with which you have to live.

Oily skin doesn’t have to haunt you, though: It’s easy to minimize the shiny side effects of oily skin, and to keep that oil production in check on a daily basis.

All you need is the right products—and these six are a good place to start.

1. Try a serum

If you have oily skin, you may want to ditch a moisturizer for two reasons. The first is logical: Moisturizer can make you sweat, which only aggravates your shiny situation. You need to apply something lighter to the skin, and a serum is the perfect candidate since it packs even more nourishing ingredients than a moisturizer and can permeate all three layers of the skin. (Try Lab Series Future Rescue Serum.)

2. Consider a face oil (seriously)

Second, you may want to ditch the dense moisturizer because it isn’t doing anything to balance your skin’s oil levels. The skin will produce oil until it reaches its natural equilibrium. (Which, in your case, is excess oil.) Oddly enough, the solution for this is often applying more oil. By putting a face oil on in place of a moisturizer you’re getting all the same hydration benefits: Face oils absorb quickly and can even help balance your oil production. The skin registers that there is already oil present, thus it produces less oil. How novel! (Try the Universal Oil from Blackbird Ballard.) Best of all, oils give you the same protective benefit as moisturizer, so you aren’t sacrificing service by applying one.

3. Try zinc-packed SPF moisturizer

If you’d rather not substitute your moisturizer, then at least buy one with SPF and zinc oxide. (Like Harry’s Face Lotion with SPF 15.) It’s easy to find a product with SPF, but when you do, double-check for the zinc oxide: It’s a broad-spectrum shield against UVA and UVB rays, and it actually mattifies the skin in the process. Thus, you get sun protection and eliminate excess shine.

Best of all, zinc oxide can minimize the agony of a sunburn, can help disinfect cuts, and is FDA-approved for infants since it’s a natural mineral. Suddenly, “reducing shine” feels like a backseat benefit—even if it’s still a major win for you.

4. Switch cleansers

It’s possible that your garden-variety cleanser is doing the bare minimum to rid pores of excess grime and buildup—that is to say, it’s too gentle—or that it’s dehydrating the skin and creating an entirely new problem, it’s too potent. So, you should get a cleanser that deep cleans pores without overdrying, with the added benefit of dissolving dead cells. These toning benefits are all obtainable with a salicylic acid-packed cleanser: You get smoother complexion minus the shine. (We like Murad’s AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser.)

5. Get toned

The oiliest amongst us should consider adding one step to their skincare regimen: toning. A good toner is a hydrator, exfoliator, and cleanser all in one. It deep-cleans then tightens the pores while regulating oil production in each. So, when applied after a cleanser and before a moisturizer, toner ensures that you get less oily throughout the day.

It’s imperative that you use a toner and not an astringent, however: The latter contains alcohol and can severely dry out and damage the skin. Instead, get a toner packed with nourishing ingredients, like Ursa Major 4-in-1 Essential Face Tonic, which uses aloe, birch sap, willow bark, and green tea to soothe and smooth the skin.

6. Carry face wipes

You’ll still get oily from time to time, even if you employ all these strategies. (You’re genetically designed to shine, and its going to happen on hot days or before big meetings.) As such, it’s wise to tote a few skin-toning face wipes in your pocket or bag for instant mattification. Fulton & Roark’s After Shave Cloths are perfect on the go, and are equally helpful for cleansing and soothing the skin after a shave.