A skincare routine is a must for every skin type. However, if you have oily acne-prone skin, it may become even more challenging. All-day, you might be worried about the oily sheen that comes to your face or breakouts you get every other day, right? The good news is with a good daily skincare morning and night routine and products; you can balance your oily skin perfectly. However, before we dive into the details of a daily skincare routine for oily acne prone skin, let’s learn what causes clogged pores or breakouts in the skin.

What Makes Skin Oily and Acne-Prone?

People who have acne-prone skin type have a problem of overactive sebaceous glands that causes their pores to clog. As a result, dirt, oil, germs get accumulated on the skin, causing a severe breakout.

Oily skin feels greasy and has large visible pores, even in winters. The truth is, you can’t change your skin type you are blessed with; instead, you’ll need to come up with the best solution. It’s something that needs proper care daily. Skincare will help you to prevent breakouts, reduce oiliness, fade scars, and brighten the face.

Before learning oily skin care routine, learn fast forward about some must-have skincare products for oily, acne-prone skin.

  • non-comedogenic products
  • fragrance and alcohol-free products
  • products that have BHA and AHA (Salicylic Acid and Glycolic Acid), Hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C

Below you’ll learn in detail more about these products. Now, lets come back to the topic

Step by Step Skin Care Routine for Oily Skin

Now that we know which ingredients we should look into the product, it’s time to dive into the step-by-step oily acne-prone skincare routine.

But before that, the order in which you are using your products is critical. Otherwise, they will not work effectively.



Morning skincare routine is as essential as night care routine. You need only a handful of products but avoid using products that will make your skin sensitive to sunlight.

Step-1: Cleansing

Cleansing is the first and most understated step in a skincare routine that most of us ignore. The reason for neglecting this step is there’s a myth that cleansers stripe off natural oil from the skin; thus, disturbing your skin PH balance, which is 4.5 to 6.5.

The truth is good quality gentle foaming cleansers will never do that – especially made for oily acne-prone. They help to remove dirt and excessive oil from your skin without ripping off the skin barrier.

Best cleansers for oily acne-prone skin

  • The INKEY List Salicyclic Acid Cleanser
  • Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel
  • CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser
  • La Roche-Posay Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cleanser for Oily Skin

Step-2: Toner

The second-most-important step is ‘toning.’ A well-formulated and alcohol-free toner helps to remove any residual dirt and oil from your pores. Moreover, it helps improve your skin texture by reducing large pores.

For oily acne-prone skin, use toners that contain salicylic acid, glycolic, or lactic acid in a lower concentration. Look for other ingredients like aloevera and niacinamide to ensure your skin does not dry out.

Best toner for oily acne-prone skin

  • Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution The Ordinary
  • Glow Tonic Pixie By Petra
  • Pore Refining Toner Neutrogena

Step-3: Serum

Serums are used to target specific issues like acne scars. However, high-concentrated serums result in ineffective treatment.

Key here; do not use serums that make your skin sensitive to sunlight. Also, you should use serums before moisturizing your face so that it absorbs well in the skin.

Best serums for oily acne-prone skin

To improve the texture and glow of your skin, use vitamin C and E serum. Likewise, you can use green tea, resveratrol too.

  • Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Serum
  • Mario Badescu Anti-Acne Serum
  • Hydro Boost Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum Neutrogena
  • Effaclar Duo Acne Treatment With Benzoyl Peroxide La Roche-Posay

Step-4: Moisturizer

Hydration, hydration, and hydration – the most important step of all.

You have oily skin that doesn’t mean you don’t need to moisturize – look for hyaluronic acid, glycerine in “gel” based moisturizers. Other ingredients you can go for are ceramides and linoleic acid.

Best Moisturizers for oily acne-prone skin

  • Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel
  • Cerave Hydrating hyaluronic acid serum or lotion
  • The Body Shop Vitamin E moisturizing cream
  • Cetaphil Pro Oil Absorbing Moisturizer
  • Deciem the ordinary naturally moisturizing factor + HA

Step-5: Sunscreen

Sunscreen is a must for acne-prone oily skin. Why? If you don’t wear sunscreen outdoor, sebum gets oxidized by UV rays, which will again start the breakouts cycle.

Here you can learn the guide to pick the best sunscreen.

  • Find zinc oxide in the ingredients
  • Find a sunscreen with less and clean ingredients
  • Physical sunscreens containing mineral-based ingredients are better for acne-prone skin as they do not absorb UV rays. Chemical does absorb heat and aggravate breakouts.

Best Physical Sunscreens

  • Australian gold Botanical SPF 50 tinted face screen
  • Supergoop matte or zinc lotion sunscreen spf 40
  • Dermae natural mineral sunscreen
  • Colorscience sunforgettable spf 30
  • Eltamdskincare UV clear broad spectrum , SPF 46


Your skin has a good time to absorb all the ingredients during the night and get itself rejuvenate.

Use cleansers, face masks, serums, exfoliations, spot treatment for daily night skincare routine.

Step-1: Cleanser

After the whole long day of wearing makeup, it’s time to take it off. You can use a gentle cleanser, but for removing makeup, double cleansing is required.

Start by using an oil-based cleanser to get the makeup off. Then use a foaming cleanser to wash your face. This makes sure no makeup residue remains on your face.

Avoid using makeup wipes to remove makeup as it is harsh to the skin. It may lead to stripping off, thus damaging the skin barrier.

Step-2: Chemical exfoliation (twice or thrice a week)

Chemical exfoliation helps in removing dead skin cells. Your skin feels fresher, younger with reduced pores, and free of blackheads /whiteheads.

Use AHA or BHA (with the required concentration) both for chemical exfoliation. Remember, do a patch test before using any product, mostly required for oily acne-prone skin.

Do not exfoliate it more than thrice or twice a week. However, for more guidance, consult your dermatologist.

Step-3: Hydration

Hydrate your face immediately after using chemical exfoliators because exfoliation may dry out your skin.

Use hyaluronic acid for hydration, so that your skin feels super fresh and smooth after exfoliation.

Step-4: Serums/ Actives (Daily)

After applying exfoliation and hydration, please wait for some time to get it absorbed. You can use potent active serums at night.

Use serums that contain benzoyl peroxides and retinoid.

Start from lighter to heavier serums. So in this order, you can first use benzoyl peroxide and then retinoid.

Step-5: Moisturizer

If your skin feels dry, use a heavy moisturizer, but make sure it’s non-comedogenic. If you don’t need any extra pinch of hydration, use any light moisturizer – face sheets are also in demand.

Now, when our readers get enough knowledge of skincare routine for oily acne-prone skin, we want them to learn about the following essentials.

  • How to identify your skin type and acne
  • Best skincare products for oily, acne-prone skin
  • Ingredients to look in products for oily acne-prone skin
  • How can I control my oily face throughout the day?


To identify your skin type, wash your face with a gentle cleanser and leave it for an hour. Observe how your skin reacts. If it gets oily, then you have oily skin. Dry skin tends to get rough red flakes on the skin immediately after a wash. Normal skin will glow. Whereas, combination skin T-zone area (nose, chin, and forehead) becomes oily.

If you are getting acne, that does not mean you have oily acne-prone skin. Dry skin does get breakouts too.

Poor hygiene, eating fatty foods, and lack of sleep are the main contributing factors.

Identify your acne

Acne can be inflammatory or non-inflammatory. Inflammatory acne refers to an oil, dirt that clogs your pores resulting in a breakout. Sometimes these red swollen pimples become painful that you will need to treat it with the right products so that it does not leave scars. Likewise, avoid popping it out or touching it as it will worsen your skin.

The second type of acne is blackheads and whiteheads you see on your skin. Blackheads are open skin pores with dirt inside. In contrast, whiteheads are closed pores containing dirt. Seek professional help to remove them.


For choosing the best skincare products for oily skin, first, you’ll need to identify your skin type. After all, certain ingredients suit dry skin but not oily skin and vice-versa.

In the market, you might have stumbled across various products so far, but they might not be showing great results, right?

Even famous brands out there use marketing tactics to lure consumers. Tag lines like “Acne Free” and “Oil-free” are used to sell the products.

Sometimes products like these wipe off the natural essential oils from your skin, so make sure you read each ingredient’s desired concentration in the product.

For instance, salicylic acid works best for acne, but it should be present in the required concentration. In case it’s present in less or more amount, skip using it.

You should be considering following points when buying prodcuts for your oily acne prone skin.


Non-Comedogenic Products

You should use non-comedogenic products if you have oily acne-prone skin. Non-comedogenic means oil-free.

To get the best results, read all the ingredients present in non-comedogenic products.


Skincare specialists are emphasizing more on fragrance and alcohol-free products. Your skin may react to scent; therefore, it’s better to avoid it.


1. BHA (Salicylic Acid)

Like salicylic acid, BHA is oil-soluble that goes deep into the skin – cleaning your clogged pores by removing extra oil. Moreover, it works great for blackheads and whiteheads.


  • Control sebum
  • Remove dirt and excessive oil
  • Tighten pores

2. Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is an excellent ingredient for skin hydration. It makes your skin super hydrated by taking moisture from the air and from within the skin.


  • Helps in moisturizing
  • Makes skin feels plump

3. Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

Vitamin C helps to boost skin collagen. It also helps in hyperpigmentation, removing acne scars, and provides enough hydration to the skin.

Vitamin C and its derivatives, such as sodium ascorbyl phosphate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, and ascorbyl glucoside, work best for acne-prone skin.


  • Antioxidant
  • Reduce acne scars
  • Helps in improving hyperpigmentation
  • Boosts collagen production


Avoid using it with other product containing niacinamide

4. Niacinamide

Niacinamide is an excellent ingredient that you will see in moisturizers and serums. It helps in oil and sebum control, thus avoiding future breakouts.


  1. Oil and sebum control
  2. Tighten pores by reducing their size


It may harm your skin if used in conflict with vitamin C.

5. AHA ( Glycolic Acid)

Glycolic acid is the most common type of AHA- a great ingredient for removing dead skin cells. Moreover, it decreases inflammation and unclogs pores that help to improve the texture of the skin. Unlike BHA, they are water-soluble.

Mandelic, malic, citric, tartaric, lactic are some other types of AHA.


  • Unclogs Pores
  • Removes Dead Skin cells
  • Reduces Inflammation
  • Reduces Dark Spots

6. Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide help kills the bacteria that cause acne.

Bacteria causing acne works in fewer oxygen conditions, so this magic ingredient works by providing oxygen to the skin; thus, reducing breakouts.

Benzoyl peroxide used in a 2 percent concentration can be used daily on the face. However, if used in higher concentration like in ointments, it could weaken your skin barrier. Use it just as a spot treatment.


  • Kills acne-causing bacteria
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Clears skin

Other Suggested Products

La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Duo acne treatment and Paula’s Choice Clear daily treatment

  • Retinoids

Retinoids are a big family of vitamins A. It contains four types retinol; retinaldehyde, retinyl ester, and retinoic acid. If you have never used any retinoids before, regardless of your age, start with “Retinoic Acid.”

Retinoids increase skin cell turnover rate and unclogs pores.


  1. For anti-skin aging
  2. Improves skin texture
  3. Removes dead cell


Avoid using it with other retinol products

  • Azelaic Acid

Azelaic acid has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that help in reducing blemishes and fighting acne.

It is much milder than benzoyl peroxide and retinoids; hence, it can be used as an alternative to these two.


  1. Anti- Inflammatory and anti-bacterial
  2. Fights acne
  3. Increases skin cell turn over
  4. Lightens the pigmentation


Dermatologists recommend it to use alone rather than combining with other products.

  • Panthenol ( Vitamin B5)

Panthenol, commonly has known as vitamin B5, helps to repair/strengthening the skin. It works both as humectant and emollient. As a humectant, it adds moisture to the topmost layer of the skin. Whereas, as emollient, it retains the moisture of your skin. So it is a great hydrating skin agent that works best for your dehydrated skin.


  1. Hydrates skin
  2. Locks the moisture
  3. Acts to improve skin barriers
  • It can be used with any other product


Apart from skincare routine for oily acne prone skin here are some easy tips that can help you to control oil on your face

  • Blotting Papers can absorb excess oil throughout the day. Pat it on your skin and hold on for a few seconds.
  • Use translucent powders or face powder to keep oil in control.
  • Clean your makeup brushes, phone covers, or anything that makes direct contact with your face. It may be one of the underlying reasons for your acne.
  • Have a check at your hair care routine. Sometimes the pimple or bumps on your forehead are due to formulas in hair care you are using. Try to keep your hair off your face.
  • Do not touch your face with your hands. Bacteria present at the tips of your finger may transfer to the face causing pores to clog, hence increasing oil production.
  • To control oil on your face, keep an eye on what food you are consuming. Your face reflects what you put in your body. Drink 8-12 glasses of water, eat clean food. Take good hours of sleep. After all, your lifestyle plays a vital role in your skin routine.


  • Consistency is the key to skincare routine for acne-prone skin
  • Identify your skin type and acne you have and treat it according to that
  • Do consult a dermatologist if your skin condition has gotten worse than before
  • Choose the right products with the right ingredients in the required concentration
  • Make sure to read each ingredient in the list
  • Follow morning and night skincare routine daily

Bottom Line

We have discussed each aspect of the skincare routine for oily acne-prone skin. Nothing is going to do wonders and magic overnight. To make it work, you need to follow this guide religiously, and with time, you will be able to see the difference in your skin.

Please follow the above guide to embark yourself on a journey of clear, smooth, and glowing skin. Comment below if you have any queries.




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