Stop Believing These Oily Skin Myths ASAP (Trust Us)


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Sometimes it feels as if everyone has a “game-changing trick for oily skin.” And as beauty editors (and fellow oily-skinned hunnies), it’s our duty to spotlight the truth so you don’t fall victim to inaccurate or unsolicited skin advice. From moisturizer myths to sunscreen scares, here’s the truth behind the skincare rules you may have heard.

Myth #1: Oily Skin is Caused By An Unhealthy Diet

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If someone blames pizza for your oily skin, show them this. Several studies try to pinpoint the relationship between greasy foods and oily skin types, but there just aren’t the receipts to back ‘em up. The truth is, your genetics and hormones – not just the food you eat – dictate your skin type and how your sebaceous glands function when it comes to oil production.

The solution: Although an unhealthy diet isn’t always the cause, your diet can still impact how your skin looks and feels. While there’s nothing wrong with the occasional indulgence, Nutritionist Dr. Oz Garcia suggests, “Avoid[ing] dairy as it’s an inflammatory, which can trigger acne because it promotes redness and swelling,” and vouches for almond or coconut milk instead. You can also incorporate omega 3, which has anti-inflammatory benefits, to help balance oil production.

Myth #2: Wearing Sunscreen Every Day Makes Oily Skin Oilier

If you have oily skin, you might have found that some sunscreens can send your oil glands into overdrive. And honestly, we’ve been there. Through our own experiences, we found that some chemical sunscreens tend to exacerbate oily complexions. While it can be tempting to scrap sunscreen entirely (please don’t), try hunting for a formula that’s better suited for your skin type and lifestyle instead.

The solution: Look for non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores) options made with zinc oxide, which is a mineral-based blocker that actually helps to balance oil production. We love Biossance’s vegan Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 PA +++, $34, that uses zinc oxide to block UV rays, and water lily to hydrate and protect your skin without a greasy feel.

Myth #3: Oily Skin Doesn’t Need A Moisturizer

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You gotta be moisturizing, babe. Many people with oily skin assume that moisturizing will make their skin even oilier, but this is not the case. Facial plastic surgeon Dr. Dara Liotta confirms moisturizers “not only discourage the build-up of dead skin cells by keeping the skin cells healthier, but if you toss your moisturizer altogether, your skin can get dry and dehydrated, and actually increase oil production in response.” Translation: moisturizers help keep oil production in check.

The solution: Look for lightweight gel moisturizers that have a water-like texture, like the Tarte Drink of H20 Hydrating Boost Moisturizer, $25, which is infused with marine extracts to hydrate and nourish the skin. This will provide enough moisture for the skin without feeling heavy or greasy.

Myth #4: Exfoliating Every Day Clears’ Your Skin

Exfoliation is a fundamental skincare ritual, especially for our oily-skinned besties, as it helps remove dirt, debris, and dead skin, which can lead to blocked pores. However, over-exfoliation strips the skin of its natural oils and sends it into crisis mode. Dermatologist and brand Founder Dr. Dennis Gross explains that “over-drying skin will result in your skin increasing its own natural production of oil to compensate for the dryness caused by products, further exasperating the problem.”

The solution: Choose a gentle chemical exfoliator, like our WISHFUL Yo Glow AHA & BHA Facial Enzyme Scrub, $39, which gently removes dead cells and keeps pores clear without causing dryness.

Myth #5: You Should Wash Oily Skin More Often

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It’s easy to assume that the more you wash your face, the cleaner it will be. But Dr. Humes says, “Overwashing the skin can strip the skin of moisture. Your skin then responds by producing excess sebum to lubricate and protect the skin.” In fact, the more you wash and dry your skin, the more you strip your skin of it’s natural oils, which means your skin produces more oil in response.

The solution: Dr. Friedmann from the Harley Street Dermatology Clinic recommends kicking off your skincare routine with “gentle cleansing, both in the morning and evening, as it’ll relieve oiliness.” Use gel or foam cleansers like Mario Badescu’s Enzyme Cleansing Gel, $14, to decongest clogged pores and remove excess oil without stripping the skin. Bonus points if it contains natural exfoliants (this one has papaya and grapefruit) to help prevent blackhead or pimple-causing build-up.

BTW, have you checked out our derm-approved routine for oily skin? 

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