People with oily skin tend to do overdo things, using products that are far too aggressive in the hope of getting rid of that shiny, oily film that’s really ruining their life. Not a good idea! Even though oily skin is more resistant than most, it still needs to be treated gently.

Remember, it's not untreatable: excess sebum can be controlled and the less pleasant aspects of oily skin can be corrected, as can the imbalances found in combination skin.

Remember that excess sebum is partly responsible for skin blemishes, spots and blackheads. To avoid acne lesions, combination and oily skin should be cleaned properly twice a day, morning and evening. Choose gentle, soap-free products that do not contain aggressive detergents.

If you have combination skin, try not to use tap water, as it contains high levels of calcium and is too aggressive for dry areas. Micellar water is perfect for getting rid of sebum residue, dead skin, sweat and any traces of pollution that have settled on the epidermis.

A micellar water specially for oily skin will respect the skin’s natural hydrolipidic film, cleansing it without stripping it.

Bioderma - woman cleansing her face

How to remove make-up

Just like people with acne-prone skin, people with combination to oily skin like to try and hide their problems... Girls with oily skin sometimes use far too much foundation - and powder in particular - to hide the shine, touching up their make-up numerous times as the day goes on. If you wear make-up, it is absolutely essential you carefully remove your make-up every night. Acne cosmetica, or acne caused by make-up, is something that particularly affects people with oily skin, who use too much unsuitable make-up and, above all, who fail to remove it properly. Here too, a micellar water for combination or oily skin will ensure your skin is perfectly clean every night.

Don’t use oily cleansers as they might make the problem of excess lipids on the skin worse.

Scrubs & masks

As oily skin produces too much sebum, scrubs and other exfoliating products can be useful in preventing blocked pores, which could lead to problems with spots. Because they deep-clean the pores, they also offer the advantage of refining skin texture and brightening the complexion - often dull in people with oily or combination skin. Always rinse with cold water, as it tightens the pores.

Recipes for clay and charcoal masks, which are known to absorb excess sebum, can be found on the internet. Be careful, however - some people's skin is sensitive to these ingredients and reacts badly to them, as the quantities indicated can be somewhat random. You also see a lot of traditional recipes to combat shiny skin, based on plants with astringent properties like hamamelis and lemon. Once again, be careful - their effect on oily skin is not clear and there is a chance of sensitisation. 

Similarly, the jury is still out on whether it’s a good idea to use cleansing brushes on oily skin. Many dermatologists feel that they strip the skin too much and alter the hydrolipidic film. For combination skin, you can use two kinds of mask alternately, one to purify and one to moisturise, applying them to the oily or dry areas respectively.

Combination skin, oily skin, shiny patches, dilated pores... The problems vary, but both combination skin and oily skin needs to be hydrated - i.e., moisturised with water, not oil. Ideally, a product for oily skin should moisturise whilst leaving a matt finish, and smooth the skin texture too, as this is frequently uneven in oily, often dull, skin. Looking beyond the short-term goal of improving the appearance of the skin, the main aim is to achieve lasting control of the quantity of sebum. Ingredients that will do the job for oily skins include:


  • Zinc and vitamin B6, which have sebo-regulating properties
  • Salicylic acid, whose keratolytic action refines and smooths the skin
  • Astringent agaric acid, which tightens dilated pores


These ingredients are also to be found in products specifically targeting blackheads, something that primarily affects oily skin.

Woman applying cream on her face in a bathroom

And what about combination skin?

For combination skin, the skincare routine is a little more complicated. Start by trying products for combination or oily skin and see how your skin reacts. If your skin begins to feel tight, it might be better to alternate two different creams so as to meet the specific needs of oily areas and drier areas. Think about changing how often you use facial scrubs too, and only applying them to oily areas.