Balanced Basics: Oily Skin Care Tips For Winter

Key Points

  • Winter skin care products for oily skin decrease oil production while balancing skin.

  • Oily skin needs moisturizer in the winter to protect it from the elements.

  • Find winter skin care products for oily skin that soothe and comfort while keeping skin matte and shine-free.

It's winter again. The season that those with oily skin probably dread the most. Staying hydrated and soothed is a primary concern while decreasing oil production. A daily regimen including protection and lightweight prevention is essential in extremely cold climates. What winter skin care products for oily skin are best to treat and hydrate? Is it possible to prep oily skin for bitter conditions with a skin care regimen that works?

Using winter skin care products for oily skin is the best way to achieve comfortable and healthy skin during the cold weather season. In winter, oily skin suffers more from inflammation due to acne breakouts. Flaking and dry patches are normal for oily skin types that often use stronger treatments for acne breakouts and pore shrinking. Winter weather only adds to the potential for irritation and dryness, leading to painful peeling and redness.

Calming the skin and reducing breakouts and irritation while inhibiting oil production is a delicate balancing act. Using the right moisturizer makes the difference between an oil slick and a lightly hydrated appearance. Using effective products specially created for oily skin will make your skin the best these winter and spring seasons.

First, What Is Oily Skin?

It's necessary to know your skin type. If you are oily, you produce excess amounts of oil on your face, also known as sebum. Oily skin usually appears to be shiny or greasy. Oil buildup happens most in the T-Zone, including the forehead, nose, and chin.

If it becomes necessary to wipe or blot your face at least once a day, you have either combination or oily skin. This skin needs a regimen that inhibits excessive oil production while delivering the required hydration.

Oily skin has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage? Oily skin types don't wrinkle as much as dry or normal skin. Woo hoo! The negatives? Oily skin suffers most from breakouts, clogged pores, blackheads, and acne.

What Is the Best Oily Skin Care Regimen?

A good regimen for oily skin during colder weather incorporates moisture and exfoliation. Oily skin requires special treatment to feel its best and reduce acne breakouts. Your routine for summer may be too stripping for the skin because the amount of oil secreted changes from season to season.

Skin-loving ingredients are key in winter, so purchase products that include oily skin-friendly ingredients. Selections for oily skin are plentiful in every skin care product category you could need. There are cleansers, toners, exfoliants, serums, and moisturizers specifically formulated with your skin care needs in mind.

Skin care for heavy sebum-producing skin is available in drugstores, big box stores like Target and Walmart, and specialty beauty retail stores like Ulta and Sephora. Of course, if you prefer shopping online, there are plenty of selections from retailers like Amazon and skin care brand websites.

Does Oil Skin Need Facial Oils or Moisturizers?

The answer is yes, yes, and yes. For years, oily skin types have missed opportunities to replenish winter skin by not using facial oils. Oily skin rumors are commonly misleading.

Some think oily skin types should not use oil because it makes your skin oilier. Not so. Facial oils developed for oily skin types control sebum production. Achieving balanced skin is a plus for this skin type.

Don't skip moisturizers because of oily skin. Use them to provide a lightweight layer of moisture that calms and replenishes stripped and tight skin. Using intense treatments for breakouts leaves the skin angrier than before.

Oily skin is sensitive too. Protecting your skin during winter's chill is essential to a robust and healthy complexion. Your skin's moisture barrier needs extra moisture to stay intact, protect, and heal sensitized or blemished skin.

Make it a Double Cleanser

Hydrated, comfortable skin is what winter skin should be. The double cleansing technique, popularized in Korea, benefits oily skin. This is when an oil-based or balm cleanser is applied first and wiped away. Then, a liquid cleanser follows, is worked into a lather, and then rinsed away.

Why should oily skin double cleanse? The reason is simple. Sebum production is so frequent for oily skin, happening at an astonishing rate per hour. This sebum has nowhere to go except to enter larger pores and clog up the skin. Cleansing your skin thoroughly removes the dirt and grime of excessive oil production.

Rinse pore-clogged skin before treatments and serums to address oily skin issues. Active ingredients better penetrate the skin's epidermis and move deep down to prevent breakouts and blackheads. Also, double cleansing is a great way to remove every trace of makeup, from long-wear lipstick or mascara formulas to matte foundations (an oily skin favorite).

Comfortable, nourished-looking skin is what you see after a double cleanse routine. It is not a depleted or squeaky clean feeling but soothed and refreshed.

Do You Need More Oil In Your Cleanser?

Yes, you need more oil in your cleanser, but choose it in winter when the harsh environmental factors contribute to flaking and patches. Oily skin has winter skin problems like other skin types and needs moisture to thrive. Introducing oils in your cleanser offers hydration and cleansing all in one.

When skin is dry and stripped of necessary moisture, it makes more oil to compensate for the lack of hydration. Using an oil-based cleanser leaves skin refreshed, not tight or dry.

A nourishing, oil-based cleanser is your first step in a complete skin care routine. Look for oils with antioxidant properties that heal while delivering essential hydration. Ingredients like squalane oil soften and soothe without causing pore-blocking blackheads and blemishes.

One oil-based cleanser to try is the Bioessence Squalane + Antioxidant Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil.

This lightweight oil cleanser is perfect for any skin type. The product addresses the issues of dryness, dullness, and uneven skin texture. It contains eight plant-based oils and is a clean skin care item.

The main ingredient is sugarcane-derived squalane. Bioessence's version of squalane is vegan, a huge plus for clean skin and organic skin care fans. This product penetrates the skin's layers up to 20 times deeper than most other moisturizing oils on the market.

This product pairs well with oily skin as squalane is both weightless and non-comedogenic.


Use a gentle but effective exfoliator to remove dead surface skin cells from abrasive wintry weather. This is a crucial step for oily skin to inhibit sebum production and slough away much of the clumped skin cells that, if left untreated, lead to breakouts and cystic acne. Removing the bonds that keep those clumps together is what exfoliation does.

Exfoliating daily reduces oil production and the clumping of dead skin cells, preventing breakouts. Well-known dermatologist Neda Mehr from Newport Beach, California reiterates the importance of exfoliation for oily skin, “The issue with excess oil is that it causes the top layer of the skin cells to stick together." Mehr adds that oil clogs pores and leads to cystic acne and scarring.

Try using an exfoliator often in colder weather to prevent acne. This also aids in removing the top layer of your skin over time, which speeds up fading of acne scars.

Chemical Exfoliation

Chemical exfoliators with lower levels of alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids are a good idea for winter skin. Mechanical exfoliants with grains and beads are sometimes too hard, leaving behind soreness, irritation, or burning.

Those with oily skin should exfoliate two to three times a week. When sebum production ramps in the winter, removing the surface cells brings back the health and vitality of your skin.

Choose Soothing Toners

Adding a hydrating toner to your oily skin regimen is beneficial if the toner is for oily skin. Toners can balance the skin's pH, remove any remaining traces of makeup or dirt, and hydrate the skin without feeling greasy.

Look for a toner that contains ingredients such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid, or aloe vera, which draw moisture into the skin and leave it feeling hydrated and refreshed. Avoid toners that contain alcohol, as they dry and strip the skin of its natural oils, causing it to produce even more oil in response.

When applying toner, use a cotton pad to swipe it over your face gently after cleansing. Alternatively, misting it directly onto your face is a refreshing daily pick-me-up.

Incorporating a hydrating toner into your oily skin regimen keeps your skin hydrated and refreshed while also controlling oil production. Just be sure to choose a toner formulated for oily skin, and avoid any that contain alcohol.

Try this Balancing Toner by Dr. Barbara Sturm designed with oilier and more sensitive complexions in mind. The combination of hyaluronic acid, beta-glucans, panthenol, and sugar biovectors is an effective pre-serum treatment that hydrates, soothes, and removes impurities.

Serums That Balance

Oily skin needs serums that speak its language. Serums are an essential part of any skin care routine, especially for those with oily skin. These lightweight formulas deliver powerful, concentrated ingredients that control oil production, minimize the appearance of pores, and keep your skin looking healthy and radiant.

Choosing a specifically formulated serum to target your skin type and concerns is important for those with oily skin. Look for ingredients that assist oily skin with its unique concerns.


This Vitamin B3 derivative helps to regulate sebum production and reduce the appearance of redness and discoloration. Serum with niacinamide is easy to locate since this ingredient is fast becoming one of the hottest treatments.

One great serum to try is The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% +Zinc 1% Oil Control Serum.

Not only is this serum a super buy at $6. The effectiveness of controlling oil production while offering light hydration is remarkable.

More Ingredients For Oily Skin

Other beneficial skin care ingredients to look for in serums for oily skin types include Vitamin C, salicylic acid, witch hazel, and tea tree oil.

A powerful antioxidant, Vitamin C brightens the skin and reduces the appearance of dark spots and sun damage. A dose of C benefits all skin types and is especially useful for those with marks from acne scars and hyperpigmentation.

Salicylic acid is a type of beta-hydroxy acid; salicylic acid exfoliates the skin and unclogs pores, making it an excellent ingredient to add to your daily serum routine.

Witch hazel is a natural astringent that helps to control oil production and reduces the appearance of inflammation. Tea tree oil is an essential oil known for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, perfect for those with oily skin and frequent breakouts.

Moisturizers For Oily Skin

Oily skin still needs hydration, even in the winter. While it may seem counterintuitive, moisturizer helps control oil production and keep your skin looking healthy and balanced.

There are many reasons why it's essential to use a moisturizer to keep your skin as clear and comfortable as possible this winter.

Dry Air

During the winter, the air is often drier, which strips the skin of its natural oils and leaves it feeling tight and dehydrated. A moisturizer replenishes the skin's natural hydration levels and keeps it looking healthy and radiant.

Central heating systems further dry out the air, exacerbating the effects of dry winter air and leaving your skin feeling dry and uncomfortable. A good moisturizer combats these effects and keeps your skin hydrated.

Oil Production

When the skin becomes dehydrated, it overcompensates by producing even more oil, leading to a greasy, shiny appearance. A lightweight, oil-free moisturizer keeps your skin hydrated without exacerbating oil production.

Balanced Basics

Overall, using a moisturizer in the winter is crucial in maintaining healthy, balanced skin, even if you have excess sebum.

Just be sure to choose a lightweight, oil-free formula to keep your skin hydrated without adding additional oil.

One good moisturizer to try is Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel. This popular mass-market buy for oily skin does what it promises. Hyaluronic acid gives skin a hydration boost while quickly absorbing into the skin. It is non-comedogenic and oil-free, yet nourishing enough for the winter.

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