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8 Best Ingredients for Oily Skin for Mopping Up Excess Sebum

8 Best Ingredients for Oily Skin for Mopping Up Excess Sebum

Featured Image by Angela Zhong

Oily skin isn’t an enemy; it’s misunderstood! Anyone with oily skin knows the struggles of a shiny face, a sheen of oil, stuffed and enlarged pores, and even acne breakouts. But instead of drying or scrubbing our faces clean, why not take the opportunity to use products containing the right ingredients for oily skin? 

Why is My Face Oily Every Day?

Usually, our faces (regardless of skin type) produce sebum to keep our skin moisturized and protected against exposure to the outside world. But for oily skin types, you’ll find that sebum production is ramped up to the maximum. 

But if you’re wondering why your face gets super oily, there some many reasons and factors that cause excess oiliness. Here’s a small breakdown below:


Some of the best ingredients for oily skin is just as simple as maintaining hydration internally and externally.

Hydration levels and sebum production go hand in hand, so it’s important to note that whenever we’re experiencing dehydration, our skin will try to make up for it by producing more sebum to lubricate the skin. The only issue is that excessive sebum can flood our pores and make an excellent environment for acne-causing bacteria to thrive.


If any of your parents have a history of oily skin and acne, chances are you’ll also inherit their genes for oily skin. This might sound terrible, but oily skin also has benefits – it can make you look younger than your non-oily skin peers because the sebum can nourish your skin. As a result, you’ll have fewer fine lines and wrinkles as you age later in life.


Hormonal fluctuations can also be a factor for oily skin. What’s the culprit? Spikes in testosterone (for men) or androgen (for women) hormones can disrupt our internal hormonal balance and trigger our sebaceous glands to produce more oil. 

This is also why men typically start producing more oil and acne when their testosterone levels peak during their teen years. 

As for women, oily skin and acne are more prevalent in adulthood, when androgen hormones fluctuate before and during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, postnatal, and menopause. 


Lifestyle habits can also contribute to sebum production. Make sure to nourish your body with nutritious foods to help go along with skincare ingredienrs for oily skin

Diet, sleep, and stress are all factors that can contribute to your skin’s health. Eating processed, fried, or fatty foods can increase inflammation in your body, which can eventually trigger excess sebum production. 

As for sleep and stress, the stress hormone cortisol can play a role in triggering the production of sebum and oils, which can make oily skin oilier and pores congested. 


In warm and humid weather, you’ll typically find yourself much shinier and oilier due to the increased sweating. This, in turn, triggers the sebaceous glands to produce more oil and increases the likelihood of clogged pores and acne. 

Best Ingredients for Oily Skin

Since so many factors contribute to oily skin, you can consider incorporating a few ingredients to help soak up excess sebum and rebalance your skin. Here’s a breakdown below:

Salicylic Acid

There’s a good reason why salicylic acid is one of the best ingredients for acne-prone and oily skin. This oil-soluble ingredient works by mopping up excess sebum and directly penetrating pores to unclog congested skin.

Products containing Salicylic Acid

Azelaic Acid

Besides toning down redness and inflammation, azelaic acid is an excellent ingredient for acne and regulating sebum production. Since azelaic acid contains exfoliative properties, it can also smooth skin texture and unclog congested pores, which makes it a good option for oily skin.

Products containing Azelaic Acid

Mandelic Acid

This chemical exfoliant may not be as popular as glycolic or lactic acids, but it can be a skin-saver for oily-prone skin. Mandelic acid is more oil-soluble, which can play a part in absorbing excess oils while regulating current sebum levels in the skin.

Products containing mandelic acid


If your skin is incredibly congested and nothing prevents it from getting overly oily, try a clay mask! You can opt for clay masks containing bentonite clay for extra sebum-absorbing action, but kaolin and sea clays can also do wonders for retaining some moisture in your skin.

Products containing clay


Rice extract and rice water are great for hydrating and brightening the skin, but they can also benefit oily skin! Rice water is rich in starch, which can act as an astringent to tighten pores and remove excess oil from the skin.

Products containing rice

Green Tea

Not only does green tea help supply the skin with essential nutrients like antioxidants for calming and soothing inflammation, but its high tannin content can benefit oily skin as well. That’s because the tannins act as natural astringents to soak up excess sebum and reduce the appearance of enlarged pores. 

Products containing green tea


Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) is notorious for visibly reducing the appearance of enlarged pores, so it’s a no-brainer for this ingredient to appear on the list. For oily skin types, niacinamide is perfect for regulating sebum production and also plays a role in improving the skin barrier, clearing blemishes, and maintaining skin hydration.

Products containing niacinamide

Zinc PCA

This anti-inflammatory ingredient is another ingredient to keep your eyes out for! Besides benefitting acne-prone skin due to its antimicrobial and calming properties, Zinc PCA can regulate sebum, prevent clogged pores, and support the skin barrier.

Products containing Zinc PCA


Do facial oils clog my oily skin?

We’d assume that oily skin wouldn’t need additional oils, but facial oils can benefit oily skin! By supplementing our skin with suitable facial oils (like rosehip or jojoba), we can let our skin know that our face is adequately hydrated and prevent it from producing more sebum.

What else can I do to help the shine throughout the day?

If you still find yourself extra shiny and greasy throughout the day, apply blotting paper or powder to your face to help cut back on the excess oil production. These products contain silica, rice, and other ingredients that help soak up extra oil and visibly reduce shine.

Need more information & tips about the best ingredients for oily skin? Check out our video here:

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