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Beauty Myth Busters: 5 Myths About Oily Skin to Stop Believing Right Now

We asked an expert to help us determine what’s fact and what’s fiction about oily skin.
November 28, 2022

If you have oily skin, you are no stranger to the phrases, “oily skin doesn’t need moisturizer” or, “oily skin ages better.” These blanket statements are thrown around but hardly fact-checked and it’s natural to wonder if there is any truth to them. 

We turned to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, NYC-based board-certified dermatologist (and director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Hospital) and L’Oréal Paris consultant, to get real info about oily skin and many of the common misconceptions surrounding it. Read on as we break down five of the most common oily skin myths to finally put to rest. 

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What to Look for if You Think You Have Oily Skin

There are a few common telltale signs if you may have oily skin. “Oily skin tends to look shiny when you look at yourself in the mirror,” says Zeichner. “Pores are often more prominent and in some cases, people with oily skin may deal with more breakouts.” 

To further complicate the matter, some parts of your face may be shiny or oily but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have oily skin. “People may have oily skin on [their] entire face or just in the T-zone, around the nose or the chin,” he further explains. “If your face feels greasy at the end of the day, you likely have oily skin.” If your skin often looks shiny and feels like it's begging for a good cleanse by the end of the day, you probably have oily skin, or combination skin, which means you have some oily spots and some dry spots. 

If you’re still unsure, try this easy hack that Zeichner offers up to determine your skin type. “Wash your face and look at what the skin looks like right after cleansing,” he says. “Then, wait between one to three hours and try to reevaluate yourself in the same light conditions. If there are areas of the face that look shiny after washing, then you likely have oily skin.” Overall, skin that looks shiny is a pretty good indicator that you have an oily skin type. 

5 Oily Skin Myths to Finally Put to Rest

Oily skin is not the curse that it’s sometimes made out to be. Some people just have naturally oily skin in the same way that some people have naturally dry skin. With that said, it’s time to set the record straight and debunk five of the most common oily skin myths that need not take up real estate in your brain another day. 

1. Oily Skin Does Not Need Moisturizer

Oily skin can still be dry and there is a very good reason for this. “Skin oil and skin hydration are separate issues,” says Zeichner. “There are plenty of people who have oily skin but are still dry and can benefit from a moisturizer.” In fact, skipping on moisturizer can make your oily skin even oilier because your skin barrier has to overcompensate for the fact that it has no moisture to draw in. 

People with oily skin may benefit from a lightweight moisturizer that is designed to provide hydration without feeling heavy or greasy. We love the L’Orèal Paris RevitaLift Triple Power Anti-Aging Moisturizer for its non-greasy, mattifying finish that helps to lock in hydration.

2. Oily Skin Ages Better Than Other Skin Types

Skin that is well-moisturized looks and ages better, which explains why moisturizer is such an essential skin care step for all skin types. As for oily skin aging better than other skin types, there’s not a definitive yes or no answer. “While oil does help to keep the skin hydrated, we really don’t have data showing that people with oily skin develop fewer wrinkles with age,” says Zeichner.

Editor’s tip:Regardless of skin type, two products that can help your skin with noticeable signs of aging are diligently wearing SPF and adding a hydrating serum like the L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Derm Intensives 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum to your skincare routine. Hyaluronic acid is known to deliver intense moisture, helping the skin appear plumper, firmer and youthful looking.

3. You Can’t Use Facial Oil if You Have Oily Skin

Facial oils are great hydrators, but many assume that if you have oily skin you should avoid using them because they contribute to oiliness. “Skin oils offer hydrating and soothing benefits,” Zeichner advises. “It is a myth that you cannot use face oil if you have oily skin. It’s just important to choose the right oil for your skin type.” 

Oily skin types may also reap the benefits of facial oil by adding one to their nighttime routine. When choosing one, we recommend opting for lighter oils that quickly absorb without feeling heavy or greasy on the skin.

4. Eating Oily Foods Makes Your Skin Oily

While there may be a correlation between the foods you eat and your complexion, this statement is a bit of a stretch. “There’s no data showing that eating oily food will make your skin any more oily,” says Zeichner. “Just be careful not to touch your face with oily fingers, because this can potentially block the pores and contribute to acne breakouts.”

5. Oily Skin Types Should Cleanse Frequently 

Cleansing oily skin multiple times throughout the day may seem like a good idea for eliminating excess oil and preventing breakouts but it actually has the opposite effect. According to Zeichner, over-washing or scrubbing oily skin can lead to skin barrier dysfunction and potential inflammation. It can also lead to your skin producing more oil, which could result to breakouts. 

Because of this, cleansing should be kept to twice a day, specifically in the morning and at night. Only after a heavy sweat session is it a good idea to rinse your face and cleanse excess oil, sweat and bacteria that can lead to breakouts. Additionally, double-cleansing is effective for addressing excess oils and serves as a great add-on to any oily skin nighttime routine. 

Along with cleansing twice a day, choosing the right cleanser can have a big impact on oily skin. “Generally speaking, foaming cleansers tend to be a great option for people with oily skin because they effectively cleanse excess oil,” says Zeichner. 

For a  foaming cleanser that won’t dry out your complexion, reach for the L’Oréal Paris Ideal All Skin Types Foaming Gel Cleanser. Its gel formula also helps to purify the skin and minimize the appearance of pores.

Next: Is It Okay to Remove Blackheads at Home?

Written by: Reece Andavolgyi, Photo Design: Crystal Simone

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