Ever since I started writing about beauty almost a year ago, I've come to realize that choosing beauty and skincare products based on your skin type is so important. You'll want to make sure you're using products that won't mess with your skin or screw up your skin's needs. Most of us know how annoying it is to put on a cream, serum, oil, etc. that's supposed to make your face looking glowy, hydrated, and brand-new but that has the completely opposite effect.
The fact is that some products are better suited for certain skin types than others. If you have dry skin, you're probably going to look for different ingredients or formulations than people with oily or acne-prone skin because you need a bit more moisturization than them. Sensitive skin types might have to stay away from ingredients that can be harsh or irritating. So yeah, knowing your skin type and its needs is important.
When it comes to something as common as a moisturizer, it's important to know that not all are created equally. We probably all have a moisturizer (or two… or 10) in our skincare haul, but what works for you might not work for me. Some moisturizers are better for dry skin because they contain ingredients that work to heal the skin barrier and are creamier. Others are better for combination skin, containing just the right amount of hydration without being too heavy. And yes, there are ideal moisturizers for oily skin that won't clog pores or make the skin, well, more oily.
For my friends with oily skin out there, I asked board-certified dermatologist and founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology Corey Hartman, MD, FAAD, for his tips on how to choose a moisturizer and how to apply it.
1. You do need a moisturizer: Let's set the record straight here. "People with oily skin falsely think that, because their skin is rich in oil glands and produces excessive oil, they don't need to moisturize," Hartman says. "In fact, it's the fact that the skin is so dehydrated that causes it to respond by producing even more oil."
2. Balance is key: "It can be difficult to select the correct moisturizer if the skin is already oily and balance is the goal. Just because oily skin requires the least moisture, it still requires some moisture," Hartman says. The most important thing is to make sure that your moisturizer is oil-free and noncomedogenic (meaning it won't clog pores).
3. Look for these ingredients: "Seek moisturizers that are serum based and that contain dimethicone, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or squalene," he adds.
4. Avoid these ingredients: "Avoid mineral oil, lanolin, paraffin, castor oil, petroleum jelly, and siloxane," Hartman says. "All of these are emollients and can be occlusive, which will clog pores, cause acne to flare, and exacerbate the oiliness."
5. Add some retinol into your routine: As for application, Hartman recommends applying moisturizer in conjunction with retinol and after thoroughly cleansing your face. "Pat the moisturizer on with several fingers to distribute it evenly and thinly throughout the entire surface of the skin and gently rub it in diffusely," he adds.
Ready to update your moisturizer? See our favorite affordable picks below:
One of Hartman's recommendations, this daily moisturizer controls shine. Key ingredients include salicylic acid, vitamin E, zinc oxide, dimethicone, antioxidants, and vitamin C.
Vichy's serum-moisturizer is another pick from Hartman. Its main ingredient is hyaluronic acid, which will lock in moisture and plump the skin. It's also free of parabens, oil, alcohol, and fragrances.
Cetaphil's lotion is a four-in-one product, meaning it hydrates, controls oil, reduces shine, and provides UVA and UVB protection. It absorbs quickly and leaves a matte finish.
If you have oily skin that's also a bit sensitive, you're going to want to try this option from Neutrogena. The water-based formula is super lightweight, so it won't leave a heavy, greasy feeling.
With broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection, you've got your sunscreen needs covered with this daily moisturizer. The oil-free and noncomedogenic product contains hydrating and nourishing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and ceramides.
A sheer finish is what most people with oily skin are looking for—EltaMD's facial moisturizer checks that box. The noncomedogenic formula contains hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, niacinamide, dimethicone, and willow bark (for cell turnover).
This facial moisturizer is made especially for oily, acne-prone skin. It contains salicylic acid to treat breakouts and pimples, but it won't leave your skin dried out.
For those who struggle with shine control, Bioderma's moisturizer is one to try. It contains a special shine-control powder that leaves a matte finish for up to eight hours.
Specially formulated for combination and oily skin, Olay's moisturizer contains nourishing antioxidants, including vitamins E, B3, and C, and broad-spectrum SPF 15 protection. It's lightweight, nongreasy, and noncomedogenic.
Differin's moisturizer not only hydrates the skin, but it also does a good job of absorbing excess oil, leaving a matte finish. The nongreasy product also has sunscreen protection.
This cooling cream product feels just so refreshing on the skin. The oil-free formula promotes firmer and smoother skin and reduces the appearance of fine lines.
For those who prefer a lightweight, gel-like consistency, Neutrogena's Hydro Boost moisturizer is so hydrating. It's water based, so it's calming and absorbs in a flash.