8 Effective Ingredients for Oily Skin

8 Effective Ingredients for Oily SkinEach skin type has its pros and cons. The main task of skincare is to support the pros and counteract the cons. For example, if you have oily skin, you should choose skincare products that regulate sebum secretion and prevent breakouts. Here are 8 effective ingredients for oily skin.

Oily skin is characterized by increased sebum (skin oil) secretion. Due to excess sebum, it is heavy and thick in texture. The positive thing about oily skin is that the oil keeps moisture locked into the epidermis. Besides, this skin type is less prone to wrinkling, or other signs of aging. On the other hand, oily skin is prone to shininess, blemishes, clogged pored, blackheads, pimples, and buildup of dead skin cells. To control and treat oily skin without stripping it of moisture, you need to look for skincare products with certain ingredients.


Kaolin, also known as white clay, absorbs excess oil and helps mattify skin. Kaolin masks also unclog the pores, produce a detoxifying effect, exfoliate dead skin cells, soothe sensitive skin, treat acne and prevent new breakouts.


Rhassoul (ghassoul) is another type of cosmetic clay. While kaolin is a commonly occurring clay, rhassoul is significantly rarer. It is mined from the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. North African women have used it for centuries to care for their hair and skin. Rhassoul reduces sebum secretion, removes dead cells, tightens the pores, and softens the skin.

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid belongs to the so-called alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). Due to its excellent penetrating properties, it is widely used in skincare products as a chemical exfoliant. Glycolic acid breaks down the bonds that hold dead skin cells together, exposing live skin cells and making the skin softer and smoother. Unlike alcohol-based cleansers, glycolic acid doesn’t strip the skin of water, which is definitely a benefit.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA). It can be found on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines as it is used to treat a wide range of skin conditions. Like glycolic acid, it helps remove the outer layer of the skin consisting of dead cells and oil buildup. Salicylic acid penetrates deep into the pores and breaks down the oil, unclogging the pores and making them appear smaller. Note that salicylic acid is a strong ingredient, so it’s safer to opt for products with low concentrations (no more than 2%).

Hyaluronic Acid

Oily skin needs moisturizing because dehydrated oily skin tries to produce even more sebum to compensate for the lack of moisture. However, some moisturizers are too heavy for this skin type. If you have oily skin, look for moisturizers with hyaluronic acid. This is a natural hydrating agent that intensively moisturizes the skin and stimulates its regeneration. Moisturizers with hyaluronic acid are lightweight, they help the skin retain its natural hydration, prevent oily shine, and have a soothing effect.


Retinol (vitamin A) is commonly added to anti-aging skincare products due to its ability to combat hyper-pigmentation and premature wrinkles. However, it can also be found in formulations for oily skin because it helps tighten the pores and control oil production.


Sulfur is another natural oil absorbent that helps unclog pores and treat acne. It acts as a keratolytic agent (i.e. removes the outer layer of the skin consisting mainly of dead cells) and also kills bacteria that cause skin inflammation. If you suffer from frequent breakouts, try washing your face with sulfur soap (and don’t forget to moisturize afterwards).


Zinc and its derivatives (for example, zinc pyrithione) have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It is widely used for treating eczema, psoriasis, ringworm, atopic dermatitis, fungal infections, and some other skin conditions. Skincare products with zinc effectively combat acne and prevent acne scars.





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