Back To Basics: The Skincare Routine For Oily & Acne Prone Skin

A simple and effective way to care for oily and acne prone skin types.

In our last Back to Basic Skincare Series we looked at how to implement a minimalistic skincare routine for dry and dehydrated skin with the right products. In this blog, we are reviewing a minimalistic skincare routine for oily and acne prone skin types and sharing with you the best products and formulations to keep your skin healthy and looking its best!

We know how difficult it can be to care for and balance out an oily skin type. The challenge is even greater for those suffering from regular acne breakouts. Although we can’t make them disappear overnight, there are ways to diminish their appearance and get your skin to be less reactive with a concise and effective regime. In order to achieve those results, we need to clear up some popular myths surrounding excess oil production and breakouts.

Oily or combination skin types are genetically predisposed. This is the type of skin that you were born with and not a condition you can treat and cure. Oily skin types exist when there is an overproduction of sebum from the sebaceous glands of the dermis which gives a shine and greasy look to the skin. This hyperactivity produces excess oils that overfill the pores and enlarge them. The sebum in the pores mixes with dirt and bacteria. Dead skin cells get trapped and form blackheads and whiteheads under the surface of the skin.  Blackheads and whiteheads are a different type of skin condition collectively known as acne. 

The best way to address oily skin types and reduce acne is to follow a routine that helps balance out the oil production on the skin while keeping it well hydrated and avoid any disruption on the dermis barrier. Avoid the use of any harsh or drying products such as alcohol and other astringents, or irritating ingredients like menthol, lemon, eucalyptus as well as, aromatic oils and solid rich formulations such as bar soaps that clog the pores, making matters worse by exacerbating the oil secretion on the skin.

For a simple and effective skincare regime we recommend the following steps:

Mini Skincare Routine - Combination Oily Acne skin

STEP 1: Cleanser

Cleanse your skin twice daily, in the morning and night, using a mild water-soluble facial cleanser to remove excess oils and avoid buildup in the pores. The urge to cleanse oily skin more frequently is very common but do resist. There is no need to wash oily skin more than twice a day; in fact, if you do you may dry out your skin which then can trigger your skin’s sebum production to go into over-drive. If your skin produces too much sebum you may risk an acne breakout. As mentioned above, avoid any aggravating ingredients and/or harsh scrubs and cleansing tools. Remember, the tingling sensation does not equal cleaner skin, it’s a sign of irritation that is not good for any skin type.

Our picks:

  • Clean & Clear daily pore cleanser oil free
  • Garnier skinactive micellar foaming gel cleanser combination to oily skin, even sensitive
  • Cerave renewing SA cleanser
  • Kiehls ultra facial cleanser for all skin types

Oil-Free Daily Pore Cleanser

aed 59.00 Clean & Clear

Micellar Gel Face Wash Sensitive Skin

aed 18.00 Garnier

Foaming Cleanser Normal To Oily Skin

aed 53.00 CeraVe

Ultra Facial Cleanser

aed 90.00 Other

STEP 2: Toner

This is one of the most important steps of this routine, a well formulated, alcohol-free exfoliating toner will replenish your skin with antioxidants and calming ingredients, minimize the appearance of enlarged pores and remove any residues of makeup or dirt that could possibly clog the pores. An exfoliating toner that contains BHA’s such as salicylic acid is a fantastic fit for oily skin types as it is oil soluble and can get deep down in the pores unclogging them from the roots and keeping those black and white heads at bay.

Our picks:

  • COSRX BHA blackhead power liquid
  • Bioderma sebium pore refiner
  • The Inkey List PHa toner
  • Derma e soothing toner with anti-aging

Bha Blackhead Power Liquid ON SALE

aed 120.15 Cosrx
aed121.47 1

Sebium Pore Refiner

aed 80.00 Bioderma

Pha Toner

aed 45.00 The Inkey List

Anti-Wrinkle Toner

aed 119.00 Derma E

STEP 3: Moisturiser

Contrary to common belief, oily skin types need to stay well hydrated to keep the dermis acting and looking healthy. Proper levels of hydration on the skin are fundamental to keep it functioning and regenerating at is best. To learn more about the differences between dehydrated and dry skin check our first Back to Basics skincare instalment. When choosing a moisturiser focus on an oil-free, lightweight water-based formulation, that will effectively hydrate your skin without clogging your pores or leaving a heavy and greasy feeling to it.

Our picks:

  • Clinique moisture surge hydrating lotion
  • Glow Recipe watermelon glow pink juice moisturizer
  • Elf oil control liquid lotion
  • Drunk Elephant f-balm electrolyte waterfacial

Moisture Surge Eye™ 96-Hour Hydro-Filler Concentrate

aed 189.00 Clinique

Watermelon Glow Pink Juice Moisturizer

aed 89.00 Glow Recipe

Oil Control Liquid Lotion

aed 76.00 Elf

F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial

aed 199.00 Drunk Elephant


Nowadays they are so many elegant and sophisticated sun block formulations that are oil free and non-comedogenic. The Gaggler prefers products in a lotion form that contain the active ingredients zinc oxide and or titanium dioxide which have been proven to prevent acne breakouts. In addition, proper sun protection helps you prevent any pigmentation scaring.

Our picks:

  • Shiseido ultimate sun protection SPF 50 sunscreen + wetforce for sensitive skin + children
  • Peter Thomas Roth Mineral Naked Broad Spectrum SPF 45
  • Neutrogena ultra sheer face sunscreen SPF45
  • La Roche Posay anthelious 50 mineral ultra light sunscreen fluid SPF50 face

Expert Sun Protection Lotion Wetforce SPF50+ Face And Body

aed 160.00 Shiseido

Max Mineral Naked Broad Spectrum SPF 45

aed 139.58 Peter Thomas Roth

Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF45

aed 114.00 Neutrogena

Anthelios Spf50+ Shaka Fluid

aed 110.00 La Roche-Posay

STEP 5: Specific treatments and serums

If you suffer from acne prone skin and regular breakouts you would want to introduce a treatment serum on your regime that contains benzyl peroxide to help regulate oil production during the day while reducing redness and inflammation; and a retinol serum to keep skin clear and rejuvenated at night time. Other great ingredient you can include in your regiment is the powerful antioxidant niacinamide that helps out with the appearance of enlarged pores, while also soothing and calming the skin and providing anti-aging benefits.

Our picks:

  • Drunk Elephant framboise glycolic night serum
  • The Ordinary Niacinamide 2%
  • Proactiv emergency blemish relief
  • La Roche Posay effaclar duo corrective unclogging care

Framboos Glycolic Night Serum

aed 390.00 Drunk Elephant

Niacinamide Plus Zinc Serum

aed 99.00 The Ordinary

Emergency Blemish Relief ON SALE

aed 212.00 Proactiv
aed619.00 66

Effaclar Duo[+] Corrective Unclogging Care

aed 81.00 La Roche-Posay

Oily Skin And Weather Change:

Seasonal changes do have an impact on your skin and therefore your skincare routine. Winter weather is drying on all skin types. The issue for oily skin types is twofold – first, how do you keep your skin hydrated, and second, how do you keep the T-zone shine at bay?

To combat winter weather and its drying effect on your skin, the key comes down to your toner, serum, and moisturiser. The toner helps refresh and clarify pores to give oily skin types a shine-free finish without further dehydrating skin that is already fighting dryness from the colder weather. Staying disciplined by continuing to include serum in your skincare regime will provide the hydration and extra protection your skin needs during winter. Let’s not forget the all-important moisturiser to complete your winter care for oily skin.

In the hot and humid months, you want to pay close attention to your cleanser. An oil-removing cleanser to help control the extra sebum production that occurs during warmer weather is essential. If you feel you need a deeper clean look for products that contain salicylic acid. And, of course, don’t forget the sunscreen.

Debora Sulca

Debora Sulca

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