Contrary to popular belief, an oily skin type doesn’t mean your skin needs less hydration—it’s often the opposite. See, when our skin is void of moisture, it overcompensates by creating more oils to remedy the situation. NYC dermatologist, Dr. Joshua Zeichner explains, “It’s a myth that oily skin does not need a moisturizer. In fact, I have many patients who are oily or even acne-prone but complain that their skin is dry.” But not every single moisturizer will benefit an oily complexion. He adds that it’s important to find a lightweight formula that won’t block your pores. I.e. let your skin breatheee.
Lisa Guidi, esthetician, founder and owner of Erase Spa in NYC also recommends staying away from alcohol-based products (like those tear-causing, skin-stinging toners of our teens). “They tend to strip the skin of it’s natural PH and that creates more oil—believe it or not,” she says.
To find the best moisturizer for oily skin, we went right to the experts: Dr. Zeichner, Guidi and three other skin pros for their go-to picks. Here are 16 products you can buy from the comfort of your own home.
1. Olay CC Cream Tone Correcting Moisturizer
Best Tinted Moisturizer for Oily Skin
This super affordable pick comes to us from Dr. Orit Markowitz, Associate Professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. She loves the tinted moisturizer for daytime use—especially if you have rosacea and acne. “It contains niacinamide, an ingredient known to constrict blood vessels and minimizes daily redness, and its lightweight formula helps moisturize even the oiliest skin types.” Plus, it includes a dermatologist’s favorite ingredient: SPF, as well as iron oxide, which Dr. Markowitz says helps to prevent skin damage from blue light exposure.
2. Eucerine Redness Relief Night Cream
Best Anti-Inflammatory Moisturizer for Oily Skin
“This is one of my favorite moisturizers for sensitive, oily skin types,” says Dr. Markowitz. “It contains licorice root extract, a known anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and overall soothing ingredient.” Plus, it’s even ideal for sensitive skin types, due to its lack of irritating fragrances and dyes.
3. L'Occitane Aqua Réotier Ultra Thirst-Quenching Gel
Best Gel Moisturizer for Oily Skin
Dr. Orit Markowitz also recommends this lightweight gel moisturizer for its non-greasy feel. “This product has multiple humectants (a natural skin protein that draws moisture to the skin’s surface). It also contains a high calcium content, which helps retain moisture without clogging pores,” she explains.
4. Cetaphil PRO Oil Absorbing Moisturizer
Best Oil-Absorbing Moisturizer for Oily Skin
Cetaphil isn’t just dermatologist recommended, it’s also dermatologist developed and tested. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Shari Sperling of Sperling Dermatology loves this acne-banishing moisturizer for four reasons: “cheap, over-the-counter, has SPF and helps control oils!”
5. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Mattifying Moisturizer
Best Matte Moisturizer for Oily Skin
Another one of Sperling’s picks? This mattifying moisturizer, which helps to eliminate shine and reduce the appearance of enlarged pores (often the result of too much sebum pooling in naturally oily areas like the T-zone). It’s formulated with micro-exfoliating lipo-hydroxy acid, which helps to absorb shine before it starts while smoothing the skin’s texture, making it an ideal base for makeup. It’s even suitable for sensitive skin.
6. CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion
Best Nighttime Moisturizer for Oily Skin
“This is also great for sensitive skin and contains ceramides which help maintain the [health of the] natural skin barrier,” says Sperling. There’s a daytime version that includes SPF too.
7. HERLA Kakadu Plum Hydrating Antioxidant Multivitamin Cream
Best Antioxidant Moisturizer for Oily Skin
NYC dermatologist Dr. Hadley King recommends this multivitamin moisturizer to her patients with oily skin. “Vitamins B3, B5 and B6 strengthen the skin barrier and increase the skin's water content, while avocado butter and argan oil nourish and moisturize the skin while maintaining a lightweight, non-comedogenic formulation,” she says. “And it’s rich in Kakadu plum, as well as other botanicals that have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that hydrate, nourish and protect the skin without being too heavy.”
8. Carter+Jane's The Everything Oil
Best Moisturizing Face Oil for Oily Skin
This face oil has a long list of beneficial ingredients including cold pressed, organic prickly pear seed oil, organic avocado oil, organic sweet almond oil and organic aloe vera. Dr. King notes, “These ingredients both hydrate and moisturize in addition to having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.” Plus, it's vegan, organic and cruelty-free and formulated without water, alcohol or silicone, which are often irritating to sensitive skin types. “A face oil may sound counterintuitive for oily skin, but this formulation absorbs extremely quickly, does not leave an oily residue and is non-comedogenic,” explains Dr. King. “And prickly pear seed oil has one of the highest concentrations of unsaturated fatty acids of any plant oil, which may help moderate oil production.”
Buy It ($128)
9. GoodJanes H2O My God Water Cream
Best Water Cream for Oily Skin
This moisturizer is designed to help protect, soothe and brighten the skin thanks its use of peptides to stimulate collagen synthesis, vitamin C and apple stem cell extracts to protect from free radicals, daisy and rose extracts to even skin tone, and licorice extract to soothe sensitive, red skin. “The ‘water cream’ formulation means that it is lightweight and noncomedogenic, offering hydration without being oily or heavy,” notes Dr. King.
10. NakedPoppy Revitalize Organic Facial Oil
Best Retinol-Like Oil for Oily Skin
Rose oil is often used as a natural alternative to retinol thanks to its ability leave skin looking firmer, smoother and brighter (Kate Middleton is even a fan of this type of oil). NYC Dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner advises, “Not all rose oils are created equal. This one contains Rosa Rubiginosa, which is high in unsaturated fats like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which soothe the outer skin layer without causing breakouts.” We also love that this oil is sourced from a women-led sustainable farm in Patagonia.
11. INNBEAUTY PROJECT Next Level No BS Daily Moisturizer
Best Natural Moisturizer for Oily Skin
If this product isn’t Instagrammable, we don’t know what is. But it’s so much more than a pretty pink bottle. Dr. Zeichner loves it for its all-natural ingredients and light hydration. Among those are Niacinamide and botanical extracts, which he explains, “soothe the skin and encourage healthy barrier function.”
12. Schaf Skincare Moisturizer
Best Hemp Seed Moisturizer for Oily Skin
This moisturizer was picked by not one, but two dermatologists for its use of ultra-lightweight and hydrating hyaluronic acid, which, as Dr. Zeichner explains, “acts like a sponge to pull in hydration to the outer skin layer.” He also highlights two other ingredients: omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which help protect and soothe the outer layer of skin. Dr. King also recommends this pick, saying, “its blend of hemp seed, avocado, grapeseed and pumpkin seed oils support the skin barrier, provide anti-inflammatory properties and moisturize without clogging pores. She likes it for oily skin because it's lightweight and non-comedogenic, and “because hemp seed oil so closely matches our own skin lipids that it penetrates deeply and can help moderate oil production.”
13. Sken By Erase Spa Ice Me Down
Best Lightweight Moisturizer for Oily Skin
Lisa Guidi of Erase Spa loves her own moisturizer for its redness and anti-inflammatory ingredients. “It's a gel-cream that delivers a light veil of moisture (nothing too heavy), but also refreshes the skin instantly,” she says. We love it for its matte finish that still somehow leaves skin looking glowy and its added free-radical defending antioxidants.
14. Sken By Erase Spa Give Me a Boost
Best Hyaluronic Acid for Oily Skin
Though not a cream moisturizer, this product by Erase Spa is one of Guidi’s other favorites. She explains, “Hyaluronic acid will seal in the moisture as opposed to producing more—therefore reduces the oily appearance. With oily skin, it's best to work with your skin's natural oils and moisture, rather than forcing it to overproduce more.” Bonus: In addition to continuous hydration, HA also immediately (and noticeably) plumps skin’s appearance.
15. June Jacobs Ultra Light Citrus Moisturizer
Best Smelling Moisturizer for Oily Skin
If Guidi had to choose a product that she didn’t specifically create, she’d go with this lightweight citrus moisturizer from June Jacobs, because it protects and balances skins natural oils.
16. Arbonne SuperCalm Soothing Hydrator with Tiger Grass Blend
Best Soothing Moisturizer for Oily Skin
Last, but not least, “This moisturizer is lightweight and non-comedogenic, meaning it’s been tested to show that it won’t clog pores,” says Dr. Naissan O. Wesley, M.D., FACMS. “It’s particularly suitable for those with oily and sensitive skin, which can often break out after application of many other topical products,” Dr. Wesley continues. “The SuperCalm Soothing Hydrator contains sustainably sourced extracts as well as probiotics to reduce irritation, support the skin’s barrier and its natural renewal process.”
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