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Oily Skin 101

Joanna Melville | 17.06.2021

Question: Do you have shiny skin, enlarged pores, and are prone to blackheads and breakouts but at times your skin feels tight? If you answered YES, it’s likely you fall into the skin type category of OILY. Our skin types are genetically determined and typically fall into oily, dry, combination and normal, from which we can base the products in our routine.


Oily skin produces excess sebum from the sebaceous glands under the skin causing a greasy or shiny appearance which can be particularly prominent on the t-zone - forehead, nose and chin. 

Sebum is necessary to keep the skin hydrated, protected and healthy but too much can lead to breakouts (caused when oil, dirt and bacteria which is the recipe for our old friend: acne), blocked pores and a greasy/shiny sheen to your skin.

Oil production can also be affected by a number of other factors.  High stress levels, environment, hormones, age all have an impact. If you live in a warmer, more humid climate or even just through the summer months, your skin will react to the temperature. Oily skin can also run in the family - so sending more gratitude to our genetics!  


We've mapped out the best skincare routine for oily skin, using some of The INKEY List's bestselling products. For a personalized skincare routine, discover our Recipe Builder today and create a routine tailored to more of your skin concerns. 


A water-based cleanser is best for oily skin and Salicylic Acid is a hero for cleansing pores and balancing oil.  

Image of Salicylic Acid bottle


This non-drying, lightly foaming cleanser removes makeup and dirt, while helping to reduce blackheads and breakouts. As well as effectively cleansing the skin, this 2% Salicylic Acid cleanser has an added zinc compound. Together they help with oil-control, reducing blackheads and breakouts and promoting a more even looking complexion.

HOW TO USE: Use AM and PM. Gently massage a small  amount  onto  dampened  face  and  neck.  Rinse  thoroughly  with  water. Follow with preferred serums and moisturizer. 


 Serums and exfoliating acids that can cleanse the pores and help balance oil production are your best friend if you have oily skin.

Image of Niacinamide bottle


A lightweight, power-packed serum containing 10% Niacinamide. This naturally occurring B3 vitamin helps to effectively reduce excess oil, blemishes and redness. Additionally formulated with 1% Hyaluronic Acid for added hydration and effective delivery.

HOW TO USE: AM and PM, after cleansing and hydrating with Hyaluronic Acid, gently pat a pea-sized amount into face and neck. If using alongside other serums, layer in any order or check out our tips on layering below.

Image of BHA bottle


BHA is an exfoliator that works beneath the surface of the skin to help unclog pores, target blackheads and reduce excess oil. Oil soluble, this BHA serum contains 2% Salicylic Acid. This means it can penetrate deeper into your skin, helping to unclog pores, fight blackheads and breakouts and reduce pore appearance. BHA is great choice for oilier skin as its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties can help calm breakout prone skin. Thanks to added 1% Hyaluronic Acid it is non-drying to skin.

HOW TO USE: BHA can be used in the AM or PM as preferred. Gently pat 1-2 drops into the face and neck after cleansing and Hyaluronic Acid if using. It can also be used as a more targeted treatment for blemish prone areas. Follow with preferred serums and moisturizer.

Find out more about chemical exfoliants in our recent blog.



This 10% Glycolic Acid exfoliating toner helps to reduce the appearance of pores and fine lines, as well as support smoother and brighter skin. Derived from sugar cane, Glycolic Acid unsticks dead skin on the surface to help improve the overall appearance of skin texture and brightness. Formulated with 10% Glycolic Acid for maximum effect, and 5% Witch Hazel to help reduce excess oil and soothe skin. Recommended for those with oily or congested skin.

HOW TO USE: Gentle enough to be used in the AM and PM. After cleansing and Hyaluronic Acid if using, saturate a cotton pad and sweep across the face and neck. It does not need to be rinsed off. Follow with preferred serums and moisturizer.

OR for sensitive skin - try our PHA TONER for a more gentle exfoliation. 


As with moisturizers, oily skin doesn’t mean it’s hydrated. In fact, dehydration can create more oil production. 


This natural skin oil helps to hydrate and protect your skin.

A natural, super-lightweight face oil that improves skin hydration and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines. 100% plant-derived, this Squalane oil is lightweight, non-greasy oil that's super hydrating for healthy, glowing skin. It can also help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and support oil control. So, it's a great choice for all skin types, from dry to oily skin.

HOW TO USE: Can be used AM and PM as preferred. Massage 1-2 drops into the skin after moisturizer or add 1-2 drops to your moisturizer. For more information on layering, watch the video in the layering section below. 


Just because the skin is oily doesn’t mean it doesn’t need a moisture fix - be conscious of your moisturizer choice opting for oil-free and balancing properties.  


Multi-Biotic combines pro-biotic, along with its nutrients (pre) and by-products (post), to help balance and promote healthy skin.

Lightweight and suitable for all skin types, this moisturizer helps to maintain your skin’s PH balance and help protect against pollution. An unbalanced skin PH level can show itself as accelerated signs of aging, irritation, and excessive oiliness. Balancing the bacteria of the skin can be beneficial to breakout-prone skin, as well as dry and sensitive skin. It can also help to brighten and even skin tone.

HOW TO USE: Use in both the AM and PM. After serums, apply a thin layer to the face and neck. Follow with oils, SPF during the day or treatments at night. If you've over exfoliated, Multi-biotic is great to help rebalance your skin. Head to the layering tab below for more information on how to layer. 


Our daily SPF 30 Sunscreen, containing 22% Non-nano Zinc Oxide, is a 100% Mineral formula suitable for all skin types including blemish-prone & oily skin. Even sensitive skin types can benefit from its non-comedogenic and non-irritating properties. Find out more about why SPF is so important in your skincare in our SPF 101 blog.


For deeper treatments a couple of times per week, the focus is on getting into the pores where excess sebum may be building up which can result in breakouts or acne. 


This overnight treatment targets breakouts. Its powerful combination of Vitamin C and Vitamin E helps reduce the bacteria count on your skin, helping prevent and reduce blemishes. Salicylic Acid also helps to exfoliate and unclog pores, while Lotus Extract helps to balance oil.

HOW TO USE: To be used in the PM as your last step before sleep. Follow your usual skincare recipe, but replace your moisturizer step with this night treatment to help reduce and prevent breakouts. Apply a thin layer to face and neck. It can also be used on other blemish-prone areas, including your back and chest. Once absorbed leave to work overnight and wash off the next morning.


A natural, deep-cleaning face mask using high-grade clay to help absorb excess oil. Great for oil/blemish-prone skin. This white clay helps to draw out impurities and improve oil control. It can be used regularly without drying the skin. Kaolin Clay is gentle, so it's perfect for all skin types as a deep clean once or twice a week.

HOW TO USE: Can be used in the AM or PM as preferred. 1-2 times a week apply a thin layer to dampened cleansed skin and leave on for 10 minutes before rinsing with warm water. Pat face dry and follow with your preferred serums and moisturizer. Not just for your face. You can use on other blemish-prone areas, including your back and chest.


  • Cleanse and wash your face regularly in the AM and PM to remove excess oil 
  • DON’T over cleanse or exfoliate. Especially with scrubs or harsh cloths as the friction on the skin can stimulate increased oil production. Also be conscious of when you’re touching the face. If the oil is removed too frequently, the skin thinks it needs replacing and creates more.  
  • Avoid oil-based products and makeup which may clog the pores and make skin appear oilier. Look out for products labelled as non-comedogenic which won’t block the pores. 
  • Be aware of the impact that your diet can have on the appearance of your skin.
  • Manage your stress levels - when you’re stressed we produce excess cortisol which can cause a hormonal imbalance and trigger reactions in the skin such as oil boosts and breakouts. 

Be aware your skin type can change over time based on certain environmental factors, age, hormones etc so be sure to adjust your routine if you notice changes in oil production, hydration or response to your current routine. It’s important to keep in tune and listen to what it needs. 

For further questions, support on skincare for oily skin or to create a tailored recipe for oily skin - contact the team at #askINKEY and sign up to our mailing list for the latest skincare updates. 


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