Are you frustrated by constant breakouts and oily appearance? Do you ever wish you could "get rid" of your oily skin? You're far from alone. Having oily skin can be trying at times, as it takes a consistent, well-regimented routine to keep it shine-free.

Still, it's not a lost cause. With the right products, healthy habits, and regular skincare routine, you'll be able to keep the excessive oiliness at bay. Read these tips on how to get rid of oily skin—or at the very least, keep it under control.

Wash Your Face, But Don't Overwash

There's a great urge to wash your face whenever it gets too shiny. But overwashing your face can do more harm than good. "[It] is counterproductive," New York City-based Dermatologist Dr. Rachel Maiman says. "Cleansers, especially those containing acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, often also contain harsh detergents called sulfates that compromise the skin barrier, induce inflammation, and strip the skin of its natural and protective oils. To compensate, the skin increases oil production, leading to worse breakouts."

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends washing your face in the morning, evening, and after you work out. It also emphasizes that you must always wash off your makeup before you go to bed as the makeup and debris will clog pores causing breakouts.

Use the Right Products for Your Skin Type

When you have oily skin, you have to look for the right ingredients in your skin care products to help control excess oil production. The AAD recommends looking for products labeled oil-free and non-comedogenic. These products won't clog up your pores and cause breakouts. You'll also want to steer clear of anything that's alcohol-based; the AAD says that is particularly irritating to those who have oily skin.

They also recommend that you stick to a gentle foaming cleanser and warn against a harsh or abrasive facial wash intended to dry out the skin, writing that "using a face wash that is too harsh can irritate your skin and trigger increased oil production." A product like EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser is perfect for oily skin as it will help keep skin clean and hydrated all in a single step.

You'll also want to look for acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid, which will provide skin a gentle exfoliation and help to break down oil in pores, as well as benzoyl peroxide, which will help fight acne-causing bacteria.

Remember to Keep Skin Moisturized

Don't skip your moisturizer! Although it may seem like using a cream would make your oily skin worse, it actually helps prevent acne. Studies give some evidence that dehydrated skin can actually lead to more breakouts. When the skin is lacking in moisture, it overcompensates by producing more oil, which can lead to pores getting clogged—again, why you should avoid harsh washes and scrubs that strip your skin of its oils. It's important to keep skin hydrated, so opt for a lightweight oil-free moisturizer.

Choose Skin-Friendly Foods

According to MindBodyGreen, what you eat can contribute to excess oil production in your skin. Foods like vegetable oils and sugar can cause inflammation and increase sebum production. You'll want to stick to foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, as well as pro- and prebiotic foods to help balance your skin microbiome and keep your gut healthy.

Use Sunscreen Every Day

Every day, regardless of skin type or tone, you should be using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. You may be reluctant to add another product if you struggle with oily skin, but this step is key to your long-term health and may help your complexion in the short term. Scientists have reason to believe that ultraviolet radiation activates oil glands and actually increases the amount of sebum the skin produces. By using sunscreen, you protect your skin to make sure it continues to function as it's supposed to and possibly even regulate its oil levels. One to try is EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46. It is oil-free, won't clog pores, and contains niacinamide which is known to help reduce oil production, as well as calm and protect the skin.

It may seem like a lot, but these changes to your skin care, diet, and lifestyle are just slight tweaks to your routine. And once you get the hang of it, you may notice a world of difference in your skin.


  • Audrey Noble

    Audrey Noble is a New York City-based reporter specializing in features, celebrity profiles, and beauty topics. Her work has appeared in Vogue, Harper's BAZAAR, Allure, Vanity Fair, Refinery29, and more. She is a University of Southern California alumna with bachelor's degrees in print journalism and creative writing.

    View all posts