How Do I Choose the Best Lotion for Oily Skin?

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  • Written By: Allison Boelcke
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2018
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Oily skin is a skin type that is generally characterized by excessive oil production within the skin’s glands. Oil production tends to be the result of hormone levels in the body. Excess amounts of oil can result in a shiny appearance and a slick feeling on the skin. Although some people with oily skin may think they don’t require a lotion to add moisture, choosing the right lotion for oily skin may give skin a better appearance and a smoother and less greasy texture.

The moisturizing products that typically suit oily skin the best are those that are marked as oil-free and non-comedogenic, which means the product won’t clog skin pores. Certain ingredients found in moisturizing lotions may be effective at reducing the amount of oil that is produced within the skin’s glands. When selecting a lotion for oily skin, dermatologists may often recommend a person look for products that contain oil-absorbing ingredients, such as tea tree oil, witch hazel, or aluminum silicate. Since these ingredients absorb oil, they may end up being overly drying and cause irritation in some individuals with oily skin.


Excess oil production can often end up clogging pores and also resulting in acne. If a person is also in need of treating acne, he or she may need to look for a lotion for oily skin that also contains acne-fighting ingredients. The most common ingredients in lotions that also treat acne are salicylic acid and benozyl peroxide. Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide may be effective at destroying bacteria and unclogging pores, two things that can cause acne.

If a person is also looking for a product that has anti-aging properties, such as softening fine lines or wrinkles, he or she may be recommended to look for an oil-free lotion that contains alpha hydroxy acid (AHAs). AHAs may make the skin produce more collagen, a natural tissue in skin that gives it elasticity, and may also help reduce oil production. Lotions that contain retinol may also help smooth out fine lines and help absorb excess oil.

People with oily skin will generally be advised to avoid moisturizing products that have a thick or creamy texture, which may be more likely to clog pores and make the skin look even shinier. Prior to using a lotion for oily skin, washing the skin with a non-soap cleanser may help remove excess oil from the skin’s surface and make the lotion more effective and less likely to worsen symptoms. The skin often increases oil production as a defense mechanism when the skin is aggravated, so dermatologists usually recommend applying products gently to oily skin and not scrubbing or over washing.



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