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The Best Types of Moisturizer for Oily, Acne Prone Skin

Updated on April 25, 2017

If you have oily skin, you’ve probably been told to Moisturize! Moisturize! Moisturize! Yet I’m betting nobody has informed you of the exact reasons moisturizer is so important. Is it a myth? Won’t moisturizing make me break out? Will moisturizer make my skin even oilier?

Read on to discover the benefits of moisturizing, ingredients to avoid, and the importance of finding products designed for your skin type.

Common sense dictates that if you don’t want oily skin, you should keep your face dry, and free of moisture. Unfortunately, common sense is wrong!

Oily skin and acne prone skin types DO need topical moisture. The important thing to consider is what type of moisture you’re using. A good moisturizer designed for oily skin should absorb almost immediately, and should not leave behind a slick, greasy residue. Oily skin types love light weight gel moisturizers. Acne prone skin can benefit from moisturizers that contain essential oils, which easily absorb into skin to target acne bacteria.

Why do you need to moisturize oily skin?

Providing sufficient moisture for actually helps balance your skin into a state of equilibrium...

1) To prevent MORE oil production

In attempt to combat acne breakouts and prevent oiliness, people tend to use products that cause excessive dryness. In a struggle to compensate, skin goes into panic mode and produces even more oil. Dry, dead skin cells combine with this excess oil – plugging pores and triggering additional breakouts.

2) To unclog pores & prevent breakouts

Consider trying to remove a sticker from glass. Doing so when the sticker is dry is often a losing battle. However, add a bit of oil, and the sticker rolls off with ease. The same goes for loosening and removing blackheads. When skin is moisturized properly, blackheads soften and can be purged from pores. When skin is dehydrated, old dead skin cells join with blackheads, and dry out inside of pores. This stagnant clog produces a massive pore plug, which traps bacteria - leading to inflammation and breakouts.

How to Find the Best Moisturizer for Oily Skin
How to Find the Best Moisturizer for Oily Skin

Which moisturizer ingredients are best for oily skin?

When selecting a moisturizer for oily skin & acne prone skin, it’s important to find hydrating ingredients that are light weight, and non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores):

Hemp Seed Oil - High in Omega 3 and 6 to help the epidermis retain lipids. Moisturizes without feeling heavy, and also has natural SPF of 6.

Apple Seed Oil – Rich in antioxidants, it encourages collagen production to plump skin, provides a natural glow, fades freckling, discoloration and acne scars.

Argan Oil – Regulates the skin’s oil production and contains anti-microbial properties to help prevent acne bacteria from forming.

Aloe Vera Gel – Absorbs quickly, balances pH level, dissolves old dead skin cells, provides faster healing of acne, and acts as an anti-inflammatory on breakouts.

Plant Essential Oils - Balance natural oil production, heals breakotus quickly, easily penetrates pores to destroy acne bacteria.

Hyaluronic Acid – Plumps skin to decrease the appearance of acne scars, helps prevent dehydration by allowing skin to retain its natural moisture.

*You may have noticed that jojoba, shea butter, rose hip oil, and coconut oil have recently become trendy moisturizers. It's possible that these can trigger acne breakouts, and should be avoided unless your skin has proven tolerance to them in the past.

What Time of Day is Best for Applying Moisturizer if I Have Oily Skin?
What Time of Day is Best for Applying Moisturizer if I Have Oily Skin?

Should I apply moisturizer at night AND in the morning if my skin is oily?

Yes! As long as you’ve selected the correct moisturizer for your skin type, it can be used twice daily and won’t interfere with makeup application when applied in the morning.

If you are resistant to using moisturizer during the day, apply it before bed. Since skin repairs itself during the sleep cycle, cells are allowed to fully benefit from the effects of moisturizer. You will wake up with noticeably softer skin, and blackheads will be easily removed during your morning cleansing routine. To help remove any blackheads or dead skin cells that may have been loosened, use an exfoliating wash cloth or facial scrub.

If my skin is oily, should I use thick moisturizer designed for dry skin types?

No! Luckily, skin care manufacturers now understand that oily skin types need special care, and cannot tolerate the same products designed for those with dry skin. Hydration comes in many forms – and since dry skin types typically have small pores, they have a higher tolerance for some ingredients. On dry skin types, pore-clogging ingredients glide right over the epidermis, rather than becoming lodged inside pores, as they do on oily skin types.

When shopping for moisturizer, be sure to select one whose packaging notes it is designed for combination, oily, or acne prone skin types. After that, check to make sure it does not contain any of these oils, which are notorious for clogging pores: Mineral Oil, Isopropyl Myristate, Castor Oil, Wheat Germ, Lanolin, Isopropyl Palmitate, and Petrolatum.

Which other ingredients should I avoid when selecting products for oily skin?

In addition to the oils mentioned above, these common ingredients should be avoided in all facial products including moisturizer, primer and foundation.

Bismuth Oxychloride – Commonly found in mineral makeup, liquid mineral foundation, and setting powder. Has tiny sharp edges that lodge into pores, causing inflammation, itching and breakouts.

Dimethicone (silicone) – Often used as a “band-aid” product to conceal and minimize the appearance of pores. Not only is this ingredient notorious for clogging pores, it also prevents environmental moisture from hydrating skin. This causes severe dehydration, which results in excess oil production.

Acrylic Crosspolymer / Sodium Polyacrylate – These synthetic polymers (derived from petroleum) are used in plastic manufacturing! Cosmetic companies use them to thicken moisturizer and liquid foundation. When applied to skin, these ingredients essentially smother pores, preventing oxygen transport. This causes bacteria buildup, which in turn leads to acne breakouts.

Alcohol – Alcohol is used is cosmetics to emulsify ingredients that are difficult to blend together – therefore, it is a very common additive. You want to avoid products that contain alcohol at the beginning of the ingredient list (as this means the concentration is higher). Large amounts of alcohol dehydrate skin and trigger additional oil production. Moisturizer normally contains a very small amount, which will not irritate skin. However, you need to watch out for an abnormally high level of alcohol in toners and acne treatments.

The Best Toner for Oily Skin?

Apple Cider Vinegar! It's 100% natural, balances oil production, reduces acne & does not dehydrate skin.

If you're having trouble finding toner that does not contain alcohol, check out my article on why Apple Cider Vinegar is the best toner for acne prone skin.

How to Moisturize Oily Skin - 1 More Tip!

While topical moisturizer is crucial, it's also important to stay hydrated from the inside! Ever notice that if you have several alcoholic drinks, you suffer from breakouts and extra oily skin the next few days afterwards? Alcohol not only dehydrates skin topically, but also internally. Regardless of alcohol consumption, remember to drink your minimum of 8 glass of water per day.

During exercise and time spent in the sun, you will probably require even more hydration to keep skin in good shape. Sports drinks and coconut water can also help hydrate, but be sure to watch that the sugar content doesn't go above 12-15 grams per serving. Excess sugar depletes the immune system and breaks down collagen, leading to sagging, wrinkled skin over time.

So now that you know which moisturizer ingredients are beneficial, and which ones to avoid, do you plan to use moisturizer on your oily, acne prone skin?

Take a moment to share your experiences with other readers! Vote in the poll below and feel free to comment on products you've either loved or hated!

Do you use moisturizer?

I have acne prone / oily skin and...

See results


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