Cover A dermatologists breaks down the bad habits to avoid when caring for oily skin. (Photo: Getty Images)

Tackle any oily skin concerns by adding these dermatologists-approved products to your skincare routine, along with learning which common mistakes to avoid

Finding the right skincare routine for you can be a minefield. With so many new products released seemingly every week, it's easy to get caught up in fads and over-hyped products, rather than finding what's really best for your skin. While all skin types come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages, those with oily skin often find more pros than cons, especially in hot and humid environments like Hong Kong. But with all things, the secret lies in understanding––so while problems such as maskne, breakouts and unwanted shine may be nothing new, there are easy ways of dealing with oil-prone skin, along with several mistakes to avoid.

To find out more, we spoke with Clinical Dermatologist Dr. Harshal Ranglani, who helps to break down a few common oily skin mistakes, along with the ingredients to look out for and the products to try.

See also: How To Treat Dark Circles, According To Skincare Scientist Dr. Barbara Sturm

Common mistakes

Not moisturising

“The most common mistake individuals with oily skin make is thinking that they don't need to apply a moisturiser because their skin is oily." states Dr. Ranglani.

Continuing, she explains "That is completely incorrect. In fact, moisturising is essential to keep the skin barrier intact and healthy. Lack of moisture can make the skin dry and dehydrated, making it paradoxically produce more oil!”

Over-stripping your skin

“Another frequent mistake is over-cleansing and over-exfoliating. People with oily skin will often cleanse the skin with harsh cleansers, trying to strip away all the natural oil (sebum) and making the skin squeaky clean. This damages the skin barrier further.” 

Using the wrong kind of cleanser

Along with avoiding over-cleaning, it's important to choose the right kind of cleanser to help tackle excess oil, with Dr. Ranglani advising to “always opt for a gel-based cleanser if you have oily skin.”

Forgetting to use sunscreen

Much like not moisturising, many with oily skin can skip sun protection, worrying that the heavy products will sit on skin and clog pores.

To tackle this, Dr. Ranglani suggests those with oilier skin to “pick a sunscreen which is either water or gel based, or one which contains silicones as these are mattifying.”

Not appreciating the good things

With all things, it's important to focus on the good and not get too wrapped up in the negatives. While oily skin comes with its own struggles, Dr. Ranglani does add that "although oily skin can be a bit much to take care of, people with oily skin typically age slower than those with dry skin!”

See also: How To Treat Maskne: Dermatologist-Approved Products For Face Mask Acne

Ingredients to look out for


“I think everyone with oily skin can benefit from niacinamide. Niacinamide is a star ingredient that seems to do it all––it decreases oil production, making the skin less shiny and greasy. It also makes the pores look smaller, which is often a problem with oily skin, along with decreasing post-acne redness and blemishes.”

Salicylic Acid

“Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) like salicylic acid are another great addition to a routine for oily skin. They are 'lipophilic' which means that they love all things oil! They penetrate deep into the pores and unclog them, getting rid of sebum and dead skin debris. This decreases whiteheads, blackheads, thus preventing acne breakouts.”

Gluconolactone or Lactobionic Acid

“Newer chemical exfoliants which I like (that don't make the skin dry) are poly-hydroxy acids gluconolactone and lactobionic acid. These are excellent for someone with oily yet sensitive skin––for example, someone on strong anti-acne prescription products or someone with rosacea.”


“Retinols and retinoids can also help make pores look smaller.”

See also: Retinol: The Collagen-Boosting Ingredient For Youthful Skin