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The Ultimate Guide: 6 Skincare Mistakes To Avoid For Oily Skin

oily skin skincare mistakes to avoid

If your face appears shiny all through the day or even an hour after you’ve washed it, you probably have an oily skin. While oily skin may seem frustrating, it has pros, too, so consider yourself lucky. However, the downside to oily skin is that it can lead to various skin problems, such as clogged pores, enlarged pores, blackheads, whiteheads, and, at times, acne.

Oily skin is manageable; however, if you feel it keeps getting worse, no matter how persistently you follow a skincare routine, you may be doing something wrong. In today’s article, we’ll discuss common mistakes or habits you must avoid while catering to oily skin needs and how to combat them.

Skincare mistake #1: Washing Your Face More Than Twice A Day

A woman cleansing her face

Over-cleansing is a common mistake that people with oily skin tend to make. Understandably, the urge to wash away excess oil might be strong, but washing your face too frequently or using harsh cleansers can be harmful. When you over-cleanse, you strip out the natural oils your skin needs to stay balanced. This can lead to your skin producing even more oil, which is the opposite of what you want.

Instead, wash your face not more than twice a day and opt for gentle cleansers specifically formulated for oily skin. Look for cleansers that contain ingredients like salicylic acid or tea tree oil, which can help regulate oil production and keep your pores clear.

Skincare Mistake #2: Ditching Your Moisturizer

Throwing a moisturizer bottle in the bin

Another common mistake people with oily skin make is not to use a moisturizer. It is a common misconception that moisturizers make your skin oilier, but this is not the case. Truth be told, not using a moisturizer will only cause your skin to produce more oil. This is because when your skin is dehydrated, it sends a signal to your sebaceous glands (small oil glands inside your skin), indicating that the top layer of your skin is dry. As a result, it produces more oil to compensate for the lack of moisture. This can clog your pores and eventually cause acne and breakouts.

If you’re struggling to pick something that suits your skin type, we highly recommend a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer; these work great with oily skin. Simultaneously, look out for ingredients such as hyaluronic acid or glycerin; they provide hydration without adding that extra oil to your skin.

Skincare mistake #3: Over Exfoliating Your Skin

A woman applying a face scrub

Exfoliating your skin is an essential step in a skincare routine, regardless of skin type. It helps slough off dead skin cells, promoting cell turnover. However, it's crucial to find the right balance when it comes to oily skin. Overusing exfoliants can strip away too much oil, causing your skin to produce even more to compensate for what’s lost.

To avoid this mistake, limit exfoliation to once or twice a week. Look for gentle exfoliating scrubs or chemical exfoliants that contain ingredients like salicylic or glycolic acid. These ingredients help to gently exfoliate and unclog pores without drying out your skin. Remember, moderation is fundamental when it comes to exfoliation.

Skincare Mistake #4: Applying Oil-Based Creams

A woman applying thick moisturizer

Applying oil-based moisturizers on oily skin can be detrimental due to several factors. Firstly, oil-based moisturizers create a thicker layer on the skin, resulting in clogged pores. This can further exacerbate the existing oiliness of the skin, leading to breakouts and acne. Moreover, oily skin produces excess oil naturally, and adding more oil through oil-based moisturizers will only disrupt the balance and make the skin even oilier.

Therefore, it is recommended to opt for water-based or gel-based moisturizers specifically designed for oily skin, as they will provide hydration without clogging the pores or aggravating oiliness.

Skincare Mistake #5: Not Taking Care of Clogged Pores

Clogged pores containing dirt, grime, dead skin cells

Not looking after clogged pores can be bad for individuals with oily skin. Oily skin produces excess oil and sebum, which can easily clog pores and lead to various skin issues. When pores are clogged, bacteria and dirt get trapped inside, causing inflammation and breakouts such as pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. Moreover, the accumulation of residue in pores can also enlarge them, resulting in visibly enlarged pores that are challenging to minimize.

Therefore, regularly cleansing, exfoliating, and caring for clogged pores is crucial for maintaining a healthy and balanced complexion for those with oily skin. Also, always look for non-comedogenic skincare products.

Skincare Mistake #6: Not Wearing A Sunscreen

A woman sitting at the beach applying sunscreen

While it may seem unnecessary, neglecting sunscreen is a common mistake that people with oily skin often make. It is often believed that since people with oily skin don’t get wrinkles so quickly, it’s ok to go about without sunscreen, but that is a myth, and it's time we believe it. Applying a sun protection cream is essential regardless of your skin type.

Not wearing sunscreen can lead to various skin issues, including premature ageing, sunspots, and even skin cancer. To protect your oily skin from the harmful effects of the sun, choose a lightweight, oil-free sunscreen with a high SPF. Look for formulas designed for oily or acne-prone skin to avoid clogging your pores.


Taking care of oily skin requires some extra effort and attention. You can achieve healthier and more balanced skin by avoiding these common skincare mistakes and seeking professional advice.


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