Skincare for oily skin – how I learnt to treat mine.

SO – opening with a disclaimer: I am not a dermatologist or qualified esthetician. I am a qualified makeup artist, and skincare nerd/enthusiast. I will absolutely spend hours reading about ingredients on SkinCarisma, reviews on acne.org, Beautypedia and Makeup Alley. Why? Because most of what people are trying to sell us is utter rubbish. The truth is on the back of the tub on the ingredients list.

Took me a decade to learn that.

I believe that Oily skin is one of the most mis-sold to skin types. We’re so susceptible to advertising because we’re constantly looking for help with the oil and spots. 

I have really oily skin and large pores (cheers dad) and I struggled with breakouts, until I found the right skincare routine for me. Now my skin is doing pretty well (for me), and I’d like to share how I do it. 

My rules for dealing with oily skin

  • Don’t use anything with comedogenic ingredients. Unsure? Look up the product on SkinCarisma and take a look at the Comedogenic Rating. If it’s highly comedogenic, it’ll cause spots.
  • Don’t use things with shea butter, dimethicone or silicone in. They can clog your pores. 
  • Drink more water. (I’m crap at this, I’m such a camel.) This is just a good rule for everyone, but for us; drinking more water can help clear your skin. 
  • Don’t use anything with alcohol high up on the ingredients list. The higher up it is on the list, the more of it is in there. Alcohol is ageing and it will strip your skin causing it to produce more oil. 
  • Don’t ever try to exfoliate your face with Apricot Kernels or scrubby gloves. Nobody should do that ever. If you do that, then stop it now. You are literally just cutting yourself; using crazily harsh physical ‘exfoliants’ creates micro-tears in the skin. 
  • Don’t do too much to your face. Bad skin and trying to fix it with a face mask every day and a million different products? Been there. Chill out with it and scale your routine right back. Throwing too much at the problem will make it worse. 
  • Moisturise. Your skin can, and will, produce more oil if you dehydrate it by skipping moisturiser. 
  • Accept your skin and learn to love it. There isn’t any kind of ‘cure’ that will stop your skin being oily, no skincare will prevent that entirely. You *might* grow out of it – I haven’t. You’ll be grateful for your oily skin when you get older because ,as long as you’ve looked after it, you’ll look younger than you are!

Now, here’s for the good stuff. A shopping list (Hooray!)

The condensed AM/PM Routine sheet.

The current routine that works for me: 

AM Routine

Cleanser – I cleanse using Super Facialist Hyaluronic Acid Firming Daily Brightening Cleanser. I use this to rehydrate my skin after using a retinol at night time. If I wasn’t using a retinol at night then I’d use the Super Facialist Salicylic Acid Purifying Cleansing Wash or the Alex Steinherr Pore Balance Low-pH Sulphate Free Cleanser. 

Toner/Exfoliator – Every morning I use an exfoliating toner like Pixi Glow Tonic or Superdrug Glycolic Toner – they both do the same thing. If an exfoliating toner turns out not to be for you then I would replace this step with a Simple Toner and use the Indeed Labs Powdered Facial Exfoliator a few times a week.  

Hydrate/moisturiser – Indeed Labs Hydraluron Jelly – this is a silicone, alcohol free gel moisturiser. Hit me up if you find anything better because I’ve looked and can’t find anything else that isn’t £120 and sold only in Korea. Let this sink in before putting makeup on top.

Eye Cream – La Prairie Caviar Eye Cream (££££) or Kiehls Midnight Recovery Eye Cream (£). I have really sensitive eyes so there are only a few I can use, otherwise I’d go with Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Eye Rescue for day and night. 

PM Routine

First Cleanse – Bodyshop Camomile Cleansing Butter. Most cleansing oils will do. It’s important to double cleanse because the first cleanse is only removing your makeup and not actually cleaning the skin. 

Second Cleanse – Super Facialist Hyaluronic Acid Firming Daily Brightening Cleanser. See above for other options if not using Differin Gel or a retinol at night.

Toner – Simple Soothing Toner – actually important. A toner removes the excess cleanser/crap left on the skin.

Eye Gel – Alex Steinherr for Primark Overnight Eye Mask or Bodyshop Elderflower Eye Gel. Always use an eye gel in the PM as gel de-puffs. Using too much eye cream overnight can puff up the eyes.

Overnight treatment – I alternate each night between Differin Gel or Korres Wild Rose Advanced Repair Sleeping Facial.

Differin Gel is sold over the counter in the States and in Australia but not in Britain. HOWEVER, go to the doctor and they’ll give it to you for free. Differin Gel is a retinoid and helps with ageing, acne and spots. It’s really strong so be careful with it, wait ten minutes after washing your face before applying as your skin needs to be completely dry. Use a pea sized amount over face and neck and follow up with a gel moisturiser afterwards. Be prepared for some possible redness, peeling and breakouts during your first few weeks of using Differin and build up usage slowly, i.e. a few times a week at first. It is worth it, I swear! Read more about it on the Goddess that is Caroline Hirons’ Blog here.

Korres Wild Rose Advanced Repair Sleeping Facial is the only thing I’ve ever used that when I wake up I don’t want to wash my face or put makeup on because it makes my skin look so good. I really love it! Possibly better for skin ages 25+ but I’d try and sample it whatever your age. 

Treatments, Masks and SPF

BodyShop Himalayan Charcoal Mask is the best charcoal mask in the world. Way better than overpriced GlamGlow. Yep, I said it. Don’t @ me. It’ll make your skin feel incredible. Use it once a week, not in conjunction with a retinol and put plenty of moisturiser on afterwards. 

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid – dot this on spots to murder them. I mean dot though. I once burnt my whole face off by sloshing half a bottle on. I’ll dot this on under makeup and at night. Go lightly with it and wait for it to dry before layering. 

Pure Organic Honey – Soz vegans. I’ve been doing this since I was 15 and it’s great. I put honey on my face for however long I’ve got (2mins to 20mins) and then wash it off. Sometimes I’ll double mask and do this after my charcoal mask because it’s nice and soothing. Honey is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and nourishing. It makes my skin feel like heaven. Try it and let me know.

SPF – SPF 50 Heliocare Gel. It’s the absolute best and it won’t clog your pores. I wore both the tinted and un-tinted versions in Bali and it was brill. Buy from authorised sellers such as Face the Future. If you don’t buy from authorised sellers then you might end up with a fake or gone off product that doesn’t work.

Note: What works for me, might not work for you and some trial and error may be required. Also, if you are really struggling with Acne then I would recommended ignoring me and paying to go to an actual dermatologist. Don’t waste your money in the beauty hall or Boots.

Comment below if you’d like a post on my makeup routine for oily skin and message with any questions. Thanks for reading! 

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