a close up of an individual's oily cheeks

8 Ways To Get Rid of Oily Skin

An oily complexion can bring several concerns, such as frequent acne breakouts and constant makeup smudging. If you’ve been suffering from oily skin for a long time, you may think that there’s nothing you can do to change it. However, there’s much more than just your genetics that plays a role in oily skin.

This guide from Nourishing Biologicals explains what causes oily skin and provides eight ways to control it — for good.

What Causes Oily Skin?

Oily skin is primarily determined by genetics, which means that some people produce more sebum (another word for oil) than others. Sebum production increases rapidly during puberty – up to 500% – and decreases around the mid-to-late 30s.

Unfortunately, we can’t control our genes or age — however, we can do a lot to change many of the factors that lead to oily skin.

For instance, diets high in refined sugars, simple carbs, and dairy products can trigger the sebaceous glands in the skin and cause an excess of sebum. These diets lead to an imbalance in androgens, including hormones like testosterone, which can ramp up oil production.

Other lifestyle behaviors leading to a hormonal imbalance include sleep deprivation, emotional stress, and smoking cigarettes. Not surprisingly, they’re all associated with an increase in skin oiliness. Then, of course, there’s your skincare routine.

Many people with oily skin assume that they should cut down on moisturizers and wash their face as often as possible. However, such practices can make the skin excessively dry and produce even more oil, especially on the face.

8 Ways To Get Rid of Oily Skin

Genetics and age play a role in oily skin. However, your lifestyle factors play just as big of a role. For this reason, oily skin is not totally out of your control.

Let’s discuss eight proven strategies on how to get rid of oily skin.

1. Don’t Use Harsh Cleansers

Intuitively, it makes sense: The more oil on your skin, the stronger your cleanser should be.

However, your skin is super intelligent! When the skin senses that too much oil has been stripped away, it goes into overdrive mode and produces even more oil.

If you reach for a face wash that says it’s “for oily skin,” it’ll most likely contain harsh ingredients like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES). These lather very nicely and produce an incredibly “clean” feeling after washing your face. Nonetheless, they are too harsh for the skin — leading to excessive oil production shortly after washing your face.

As a rule for skincare, you may want to avoid cleansers that are marketed for oily skin types — or at the very least, don’t use anything with SLS or SLES. While it may seem counterintuitive, gentle cleansers, like our Miracular Hydrating Cleanser, are best for oily skin.

2. Moisturize Regularly

After cleansing, it’s essential to moisturize the skin. This helps preserve moisture and adds active ingredients to the skin to help improve its health and appearance.

While oil-based moisturizers can certainly make oily skin worse, options that are oil-free and non-comedogenic (those that won’t clog your pores) can add a light layer of moisture without making skin look and feel greasy.

Before bed, a nourishing night cream, like our Miracular Skin Essence, will do the job. In the morning, you can use a light serum, like our Miraculous Face Serum, followed by sunscreen. Instead of appearing oily, lightweight moisturizers can lead to fresh and dewy skin.

3. Eat a Healthy Diet

Diets high on the glycemic index (GI) — which means they quickly raise blood sugar — are linked to increased oil production.

We all know that processed foods like pastries, candy, chips, and ice cream aren’t good for us, but it turns out that many “healthy” foods can increase our blood sugar levels as well. Breakfast cereals, white potatoes, low-fat dairy products, and — yes — even whole-grain bread are high on the GI scale.

To help decrease oil production, it’s best to stick to foods that won’t spike blood sugar. This includes meat and seafood, full-fat low-sugar dairy, healthy fats, fresh produce, and nuts and seeds.

That said, dairy can trigger increased oil production through other pathways. Limiting your intake may be best if your skin is sensitive to dairy.

It is important to note that fermented dairy is not linked to skin problems and may even help improve skin health.

4. Reduce Emotional Stress

Did you know that emotional stress can aggravate underlying skin conditions? When you’re stressed, your body’s cortisol levels (a type of stress hormone) go up. This leads the oil glands on your skin to go into overdrive, ramping up oil production.

A great way to reduce stress in your life is to focus on eliminating the underlying causes of stress. However, if making changes isn’t possible — for instance, not all of us can just pack up and leave our stressful jobs — you can turn to relaxation techniques.

Practices such as yoga, meditation, exercise, massage, and regular socialization can all help to reduce emotional stress. As a result, your skin can become less greasy and more dewy.

5. Get Plenty of Sleep

Sleep has restorative effects. While you get your ZZZs, your body goes through many repair processes, including your skin. However, not getting enough sleep can interfere with skin repair and exacerbate all sorts of skin conditions, worsening your skin’s health and appearance.

If you don’t sleep enough, you also increase your body’s stress hormone levels — this causes an increased secretion of sebum.

Getting enough high-quality sleep is incredibly important for optimal skin health. You might be sleep-deprived if you feel fatigued, groggy, or irritated. Getting more shut-eye can help improve oily skin and various other skin health factors.

6. Use Blotting Papers

It’s important to get to the underlying causes of oily skin. By eating healthy, reducing emotional stress, and getting plenty of sleep, you may notice an improvement in your skin.

However, sometimes life may catch you off-guard. In this case, it’s essential to carry quick solutions everywhere you go, especially when you have oily skin. Physically removing oil from your skin — without removing your skincare ingredients or makeup— is your best bet when you’re on the go.

Blotting papers are made from super-absorbent materials such as rice, flaxseed, and cotton. Since they’re lightweight, you can quickly use them when you need to remove excess oil from your face.

7. Use Mineral Makeup

While liquid foundation can make your skin greasy, especially at the end of the day, mineral makeup can help keep your complexion looking fresh for hours. Minerals can absorb excess oil on your face and keep your skin matte.

As an added bonus, mineral makeup generally won’t clog your pores. Due to its lightweight formulation, mineral makeup can be reapplied throughout the day. So, look for mineral makeup with added SPF to help keep your skin protected all day long.

8. Try Natural Remedies

Home remedies for oily skin can give your skin the extra nourishment it needs — while keeping excess oil at bay. Because these ingredients aren’t harsh, they can be safely used on all skin types, including sensitive skin.

The following ingredients are incredibly effective for oily skin:

  • Honey has been a skincare favorite across the world for thousands of years. Due to its antibacterial and antiseptic properties, honey can help reduce redness and swelling when used as a mask. Honey can also increase skin hydration, leading to reduced oil production.
  • Clay works by drawing excess sebum out of the pores. Regularly applying a clay mask can help your skin look and feel fresh, dewy, and matte.
  • Aloe vera can help speed up sunburn healing. It can also be used to reduce redness and swelling in the skin. Applying aloe vera can help provide natural relief for those with frequent acne breakouts — which goes hand-in-hand with oily skin.


Oily skin can increase your chances of developing conditions like acne. In addition, oily skin can make it difficult for your skincare and makeup products to stay on throughout the day.

Fortunately, there are many ways you can get rid of oily skin. Eating a healthy diet, reducing emotional stress, and using mattifying products are all great ways to reduce oiliness.

While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s important to use gentle skincare products if you have oily skin. Nourishing Biologicals has a selection of cleansers, serums, and creams to provide your skin with much-needed nourishment without irritating it.


Temporal changes in sebum excretion and propionibacterium colonization in preadolescent children with and without acne

Effect of the Glycemic Index of Carbohydrates on Acne vulgaris | PMC

Effects of Fermented Dairy Products on Skin: A Systematic Review | NCBI

A Honey Trap for the Treatment of Acne: Manipulating the Follicular Microenvironment to Control Propionibacterium acnes | PMC

Efficacy of a New Non-drug Acne Therapy: Aloe Vera Gel Combined With Ultrasound and Soft Mask for the Treatment of Mild to Severe Facial Acne | PMC

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