How To Reduce Oil Production in Your Skin


When this sort of topic is addressed or any problems towards skin care, it’s amazing how many times I see advice saying: cleanse frequently, wash your face twice a day, exfoliate and moisturise. As if it is that simple. It leads me to believe those who are giving such “advice” are telling people how to overcome a problem they’ve never had themselves.

When it comes to specifically reducing oil production, it’s not as simple as just cleansing, toning and moisturising (or eating less greasy food); it’s about the products you use and the ingredients in the products you use.


#1) Your skin needs hydration

If you have oily skin, you don’t need to add more oil to stop your skin from producing its own oil. Your skin needs other means of moisture: hydration by water. Skin cells need water in order to live and work well. This is a very important point that your face needs moisture! What it lacks in hydration and moisture, it makes up for in oil, tenfold.

I don’t know why because I don’t see the necessity in it, but a lot of skin care companies like to produce products that use harsh and drying chemicals to dry out the skin rather than deal with the problem of excessive oil production. This then makes the skin produce even more oil causing a bigger problem than when you first bought the product.

2) Beware of irritants

Excessive oil production also ensues when your skin is exposed to irritants that are very prevalent in a lot of skin care. You may unknowingly be exposing irritants to your skin on the regular. Irritation stimulates excess oil production deep in your pores. Sometimes there is the reaction of inflammation as irritation from ingredients in skin care products damages the barrier of the skin. When this happens this triggers neuropeptides in your brain that are linked to peptide hormones and this activation of inflammatory chemicals in the oil gland. These chemicals bring about a boost in oil production in the glands which increases the pores and of course can trigger off a breakout/acne. The more inflammation, the worse the oil is. So, bottom line: stay away from irritants. Here are a few. I will go deeper into irritants in the next section.

3) Ingredients

Here’s a few of ingredients that you should look out for when it comes to reducing oil production in your skin:

  • If you know how sulfate shampoos (shampoos with a sulfate – often sodium laureth sulfate – as an active ingredient can dry out one’s hair then you’ll understand what I mean when I say, to get moisture, you should never put any facial cleanser containing any kind of sulfate on your skin. It will dry it out and make your skin overproduce oil hours later.
  • Steer clear of alcohol as an ingredient in your skin care products as it will strip your skin of moisture leading to excessive oil production.
  • Also stay away from pore-clogging ingredients, such as mineral oil. Mineral oil can appear on that ingredients list in all sorts of aliases, some of which: paraffin oil, petroleum/petrolatum (mineral oil is derived from petroleum). Avoid makeup and skin care with oil in it like the plague. Everything you apply to your face needs to be oil-free! Sometimes products have ingredients that are promoted to do your skin some good but actually won’t, i.e. peppermint oil.
  • Look out for extracts of mint, lemon, eucalyptus to name a few leave a tingly feeling that some people like cuz it feels like the product is effective but this tingly feeling means your skin is being irritated and as I mentioned before irritation means oily skin.
  • If using mineral makeup, make sure it doesn’t have an ingredient called bismuth oxychloride as it irritates sensitive skin and causes breakouts. Another mineral makeup ingredient that might also pop up in liquid makeup is Mica. Those with sensitive and/or acne-prone skin should steer clear from Mica to be on the safe side as it can cause an allergic reaction. Also, make sure your mineral makeup is talc-free.
  • Salicylic acid is a good ingredient for your cleansing products in particular as it helps to minimise excess oil production; penetrates into pores and helps them not get clogged; breaks down and exfoliates skin cells; it’s anti-inflammatory and helps reduce acne causing bacteria on skin. Sometimes, it can be a little irritating so make sure it’s not too high on that ingredients list.

foaming cleanser photo

Extra tips

  • Stay away from foam cleansers. Personally, foam cleansers have always made me break out like crazy so now I practically run from them. If your skin needs moisture (which, I remind you it does if you have oily skin), foam cleansers are immensely drying. Remember how I mentioned sulfates? Well, a sulfate is the ingredient used in shampoos to create foam; it is often the same in facial foaming cleansers. They are often marketed to those with oily skin and claim to do a real good job of cleaning but they strip away so much oil that it created an even worse problem.
  • Wash your face with warm water, not hot. Hot water can irritate the skin and even harm the capillaries in your skin.
  • When you’re done with washing your face and you’re about to moisturise, don’t leave your skin without any product for more than 60 seconds. No matter what your skin type. Your skin will dehydrate the longer you leave your face without product. So don’t try and air dry your skin like you would with hair. Gently pat your face dry and immediately apply moisturiser.


Don’t go out and buy a product or two just because it looks good by the claims the company makes on the front (or back) of the product. Spend some extra time to look at the ingredient list, like you would in the grocery store if you had a potentially fatal food allergy. Certainly don’t let assistants working at makeup counters coax you into buying products that you have no idea what’s in them. I was as Estée Lauder today to buy something specific and the assistant recommended me like four other products and I took a picture of the products so I could look them up before I decided if I wanted to buy them. I suggest you do that, if you’re in that situation.


So there you have it! Honestly, skin care is not just about cleansing, moisturising, drinking water and green tea. If it was, none of us would have problems haha. But I hope you found this post useful and you have learned at least one thing from it.

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