Caring for Oily Skin: 5 Things to Treat Excess Oil Production

Have you ever heard someone say, “you shouldn’t moisturize oily skin” or “you shouldn’t put oil on oily skin?” Perhaps you’ve even heard someone say, “you should scrub your face if you a lot of oil on it or acne.” First of all, there’s nothing inherently wrong with oily skin, and secondly, the “advice” previously mentioned is not going to help care for it. Here are a few tips and ingredients to consider when caring for oily skin.


Vitamin A (Retinoic Acid)

Vitamin A goes deep into the layers of skin, coats the sebaceous unit, and stops the overproduction of oil. Retinoids, a derivative of Vitamin A, also regulate your cell turnover rate. More simply, they help skin cells produce and die at a rate that prevents pores from clogging. So, you are not physically required to scrub your skin in order to exfoliate and to remove oil! Doing so with intensity can lead to a lot of irritation, and anytime you irritate your skin, you actually heighten your risk for breakouts.
The following ingredients are derivatives of Vitamin A, and they have been listed below from strongest to weakest.


Retinoic acid
Retinoic acid is the most potent, so it is prescription only. It is the active ingredient in tretinoin.


Retinaldehyde, a precursor to retinol, is converted into retinoic acid with just one step.



Retinol is oxidized into retinaldehyde, and then, retinaldehyde is then converted to retinoic acid.

Our skin cells contain receptors for retinoic acid, and these receptors allow for faster skin cell turnover, reduction in the appearance of hyperpigmentation, and support of collagen production to be achieved.

Because of the two-step conversion that retinol must undergo before the skin can use it, retinol is naturally gentle. So, while the results are slower than both retinol and retinaldehyde, it has fewer side effects.


Adapalene Gel
Adapalene gel, a synthetically made retinol can also be used to treat oily skin when used sparingly. Differin Gel is a brand of Adapalene gel.
Here are some options for vitamin A.


The Ordinary Retinol 2%


Mychelle Remarkable Retinal Serum (Retinaldehyde) - $36.83

Retinoic Acid (RX only)


Adapalene Gel (Synthetic Retinoid)


#2 Mistakes to Avoid. Avoiding Dairy and Sugary food.

High glycemic (high sugar) foods, processed sugars, and processed grains are foods that raise your blood sugar very quickly.

High glycemic foods and compounds in milk can cause oil production because they increase IGF-1 levels and growth. IGF-1(Insulin-like growth factor-1) is a hormone that helps promote normal bone and tissue growth and development.

Both sugary and dairy foods lead to an increase in IGF-1. So, it is possible for sugary foods, especially ones that contain milk, to imbalance your hormones and therefore, increase your skin’s oil production.


#3 Keep Your Skin Hydrated, don’t dry it out.
Because oil and sebum are very helpful barriers, the skin responds with sebum production when the skin is dry. This helps the skin avoid infection. However, when the skin produces more oil, bacteria feeds on it, and then, a breakout can form. Likewise, did you know that oily skin or acne might be an indicator of dry skin type that’s dehydrated? Keeping hydrated and moisturized (locking that hydration in) is the key to balancing sebum production. Jojoba oilis a great moisturizer because it also mimics the oil in our skin and helps prevent the skin from overcompensating through sebum production. Along with a moisturizer, hyaluronic acid is also a great humectant because it helps the skin stay moist.


Trader Joes Jojoba oil (It’s online, on amazon but FIY it is cheaper if you can get it in-store!)


The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA



Tarte Mermaid Skin Serum With Hyaluronic Acid
#4 Salicylic Acid
Salicylic acid is a fat-soluble acid, which is good because oil is a fat. This means it can more easily loosen up the oil on your skin so it can be thoroughly removed.


Murad Acne Clarifying Treatment
AcneFree Sallicylic 3 Step
Yes To Tomatoes Acne Repair Treatment
#5 Cleansing with Liquid Castile Soap

Liquid Castille Soap breaks down makeup, oil, and dirt extremely well by fully surrounding oil molecules so they can be rinsed off with water. Dr. Bronner’s is a great castile soap to try. Dr. Bronner’s is saponified oil which means it has oils in it that have been converted to soap. This was particularly monumental in controlling Cassandra’s oil production.


Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap Hemp & Tea Tree