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Diet & Skin Care Tips For Oily Skin Types


Got oily skin? So do I!

Does your oily skin go from bad to worse by the end of the day (or even mid-day)?

Got excess shine that’s in no way “luminous,” – it just a thick layer of oil?

No matter what you do it just doesn’t go away, or get any better?

I know how frustrating having oily skin is, but there is one great advantage of having oily skin – it does keep your skin young, and for some of you, having oily skin can delay the signs of aging, and even prevent fine lines and wrinkles.

And ya, that’s all great, but you still have the oily skin, and you need to manage it. I know.

My Oily Skin Experiments

Over the past two decades I’ve done a lot of experiments trying to manage my oily skin. I’ve swung in two extreme directions of using a crazy amount of skincare products and makeup to manage it, and I’ve gone the opposite direction of using nothing on my skin except for washing it.

Doing all these experiments, I find the less you put on your skin, the better off it is.

I can definitely say there’s certain things in your diet and skin care routine that triggers the oiliness and guarantees a thick layer of shiny oil building up soon after washing it.

You can’t completely get rid of oily skin (nor do you want to because oily skin is your most powerful anti-aging asset), but there’s definitely things you can do in your diet and skincare routine to reduce the oil and make it a lot more manageable and bearable (even transforming it from looking oily to looking radiant!).

Tips for how to balance oily skin with diet and skin care.

Tips for Oily Skin Types & Mistakes To Avoid

Stop using the wrong skin care products that are irritating and drying out your skin

I will tell you now, any skin care product formulated to get rid of oily skin is probably going to make your skin more oily!

The worst thing for oily skin is washing your face with harsh cleansers and using strong skin care products formulated for oily and acne prone skin. I’m not only talking about avoiding soaps, lathering/foaming cleansers, but also medicated cleansers, acne treatment products, drying lotions, and for some of you, even avoiding chemical exfoliants like glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and other AHAs.

Harsh skin care products can be too stripping and can alter the PH of your skin which can trigger over production of oil and sebum. If you take too much oil off your skin (which is there to protect your skin, seal in moisture, and maintain elasticity), your body will just produce more to compensate (and then you’ll start having real problems with over-production of oil).

How I see it, you need to re-calibrate your skin to stop producing so much oil, and the only way of doing that is not taking so much oil off in the first place.

When cleansing and exfoliating your skin, you need to be as gentle as possible. Your skin should never feel irritated, dry, tight, or red after cleansing or exfoliating. You should NEVER have a squeaky clean feeling after washing your face (instead your skin should feel nourished, supple, and clean after cleansing).

The best cleanser for your skin would be one that doesn’t require you to moisturize afterwards. If you desperately feel you need a moisturizer or lotion after washing your oily skin, there’s a problem! Your cleanser is probably too strong and drying (and obviously there’s exceptions to this rule, for example if you live is a super dry climate, or use indoor heating, air conditioning, etc. – but even so, oily skin is resilient to most elements, so if your oily skin feels dry or tight, something is definitely not right with your cleanser or something you’re exposing your skin to).

Oily skin isn’t only the result of using harsh and stripping cleansers, but I believe oily skin can actually be a symptom of skin sensitivity. If your skin is really oily, that’s to me is a red flag that something in your skin care routine is irritating your skin, and your body is over producing oil to shield and protect it. This could be coming from your cleanser, medicated acne products, drying lotions, exfoliants, makeup, or even chemically treated water your bathing in.

Fix your skin care routine:

  • Use a super gentle facial cleanser that is so gentle and non-stripping you don’t even need a moisturizer or lotion afterwards (I’ve listed some recommendations for oily skin below).
  • When you wash your face it should never feel dry, red, or tight afterwards. If it is, time to find a much gentler or more nourishing cleanser.
  • Never wash your face more than twice a day.
  • If you exfoliate your skin – be careful with what you’re using and the frequency. Make sure if you exfoliate your skin, you’re not irritating your skin in any way. Physical exfoliants (like scrubs) can sometimes be too abrasive, and chemical exfoliants (like AHAs) can adversely affect some people’s skin PH. If your skin is getting irritated in any way, this can cause you to over produce oil – so beware!
  • Stop using anything you suspect could be irritating or drying your skin (because it probably is and it won’t get better).
  • Avoid all skincare products that contain SLSs (Sodium Lauryl Sulfates) and Ethanol (also known as Alcohol, SD Alcohols, and Alcohol Denat) – Please note that there are fatty/moisturizing alcohols like Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Benenyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Alcohol, Myristyl Alcohol, that won’t dry out your skin or exasperate oiliness, so do take note of the difference when looking at your skincare products’ ingredients.
  • The less you put on your skin, the less chance of your skin getting irritated and oily.
Recommended skincare products for oily skin types.

Cleansers I Recommend For Oily Skin:

Pore-refining and mattifying skincare and beauty products containing silicone can make your skin oilier

Any skincare product or makeup containing silicones is not doing your oily skin favours and could be exasperating the problem – making your skin produce more oil  and cause acne breakouts.

Silicone is a sealant. When a skincare or beauty product containing silicone is applied to your skin, it sits on the surface of your skin and seals in moisture.

Unfortunately your skin isn’t sterile, so the product isn’t only acting as a barrier and sealing in moisture, it’s also sealing in bacteria, dirt and debris (which becomes a breading ground for acne and skin irritation).

Ever notice that certain pore perfecting, mattifying products makes your skin look great for an hour or two, and then afterwards your skin is covered with a strong sticky layer of oil, far worse than if you had anything on your skin?

That’s because silicone is a sealant and it’s kind of like wearing plastic wrap on your skin. Eventually everything gets warm, moist, and oily under that layer of makeup or product, and starts coming through. An environment like that isn’t conducive to healthy skin (it’s kind of like wearing polyester on your face, it’s not very breathable is it?).

Some people too have an allergy or sensitivity to silicones, so that too could be causing your irritated oily skin as well (as I said before, I believe excess oil/sebum production could very well be a result of skin sensitivity or allergy).

I suggest avoid silicones in your skincare products (moisturizers and serums), makeup (primers, foundations, concealers, waterproof makeup), and haircare products (shampoos, conditioners, styling products).

Eliminate skincare products containing:

  • Silicone
  • Dimethicone
  • Methicone
  • any ingredient ending with “cone.”

A much better alternative is products using silica for a breathable mattifying finish.

Recommended shine control and mattifying products for oily skin

Matte & Shine Control Products I Recommend:

  • RMS BEAUTY “Un” Powder

Too much sugar in your diet causes your body to produce more oil and sebum

Did you know that spikes in your blood sugar actually triggers your body to produce excess oil and sebum? Yes it does.

Your body’s sebum production is connected to elevated insulin levels and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) in your blood. If you eat a high carb diet, have insulin resistance, or diabetes – this is connected to excesses sebum/oil production.

If you’ve got oily skin, and you want to naturally lower your body’s oil production, all you need to do is work on decreasing the refined sugars and carbs in your diet.

And for some of you this just means cutting processed sugars out of your diet like sodas, candy bars, and fast food. For others it might mean decreasing pastas, breads, and other starches.

It doesn’t mean you need to go on a low carb diet – you just need to cut down on the quantities of carbs you’re eating, and start adding in more healthy proteins and fats.

I know some of you might be confused, you might have though the fats in your diet could be contributing to oily skin. I don’t think it’s the healthy fats found in your food (like avocado, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, etc.), but I do see a connection between eating too much oil and having oily skin. So for best results, work on lowering the carbs in your diet and cut down on cooking oils.

About the Author
Hi, I’m Natasha St. Michael, Founder of Inspire Beauty. I’m also a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Natural Health Educator accredited by the Institute For Integrative Nutrition. I’m obsessed with skin care and self-care. I’m 47 years old, struggled with adult acne until I was 30, and now I’m all about preserving the youthfulness of my skin (and sharing all my tips and tricks). If you have a question about a product or need a recommendation, feel free to contact me anytime.


This blog is for information purposes only. The content is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Should you have a medical or dermatological problem, please consult with your physician. None of the information or recommendations on this website should be interpreted as medical advice.

All product reviews, recommendations, and references are based on the author’s personal experience and impressions using the products. All views and opinions are the author’s own. 

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3 Responses

  1. What do I do when my skin is the happiest when there is nothing on it, but gets oily almost no matter what I put on top of it?

    1. If your skin is the best with nothing on it, I wouldn’t put anything on it. Have you ever gone an extended period of time using nothing on your skin? Sometimes after a few weeks or month, your skin can balance out on it’s own and become less oily.

    2. I would love to try that! Unfortunately, with my melasma that’s not an option. Something actually seems to be ever so slightly making it worse (purchased your acne regime protocol and following all 10 steps diligently). One thing that seems to help with my oil production was splashing my face with lukewarm water 20-30 times, followed by cold water 20-30 times (a face yoga technique). Makes a huge difference!

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