We Ask a Derm: What Ingredients Should You Avoid If You Have Oily Skin?

As any oily-skinned gal knows: There is a fine line between a little dewy goodness on your cheeks and having a blinding spotlight on your forehead. Enter our duo of derms: Tiffany J. Libby, a board-certified dermatologist and Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Brown University, and Morgan Rabach, a dermatologist at LM Medical, who will guide us through the best skin-care practices for finding balance in your skin-care routine.

For starters, you want to embrace some of your God-given glow. “A common misconception is that you have to completely get rid of the oil, but oil is actually good for your skin and helps maintain a healthy moisture barrier,” says Libby. Skip any products with alcohol or harsh cleansers and opt for gentle face wash instead. “And if you’re prone to acne, I suggest double-cleansing with a salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide face wash.”

Equally important? Steering clear of ingredients that are pore-clogging or exacerbate oil production. “Some of the top offenders I see are mineral oil, lanolin, paraffin and beeswax,” shares Rabach. “I would also recommend being careful when using any hair oils, sprays and other styling products too close to the face as they could clog your pores and cause acne.” 

Dr. Libby agrees and adds coconut oil to the list, explaining, “anything that is solid at room temperature is probably a bad idea.” (Fair point, Dr. L.)

A final note about oily skin: “It can work in your favor as you age. Think about how your skin looks when you apply moisturizer. It appears plumper, right? Your natural sebum has the same effect, so any fine lines or wrinkles look smoother, too,” says Libby.

6 Tips Women with Oily Skin Need to Know

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Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...