10 Best Moisturizers for Oily Skin 2020 - The Dermatology Review

10 Best Moisturizers for Oily Skin 2020



If you have oily skin, you’re probably always on the lookout for mattifying products that promise to zap the grease or hide your pores. But while oily skin may have its struggles (acne, huge pores and a greasy forehead, to name a pesky few), you still need to moisturize it. Here, we talk about why and what ingredients you should look for, plus the ten best moisturizers for you.

Why You Need to Moisturize—Even If You Have Oily Skin

Many people believe there’s no need to moisturize oily skin because it seemingly provides its own hydration. Why slather cream on a greasy face, right? Wrong! The truth is every skin type can benefit from a good moisturizer.

Best Moisturizers for Oily Skin

What moisturizers essentially do is help replenish the water and lipids lost through the natural process of aging as well as environmental factors (e.g. harsh winds that chap your skin). And since we’re all aging no matter how old we are, it’s a good idea to start protecting our skin from this loss of moisture early on. After all, you don’t want to be deal with pimples and wrinkles, right?

Popular Ingredients in Moisturizers for Oily Skin

Some of the best moisturizing ingredients for oily skin include sodium hyaluronate, aloe vera and antioxidants. Sodium hyaluronate is found in a lot of moisturizers in general because of its ability to retain high amounts of water. It is a derivative of hyaluronic acid, a substance that can hold up to six liters of water. Impressive, to say the least. When it comes to skin, this just means that it helps profoundly hydrate and gives skin a plumped-up appearance. Aloe vera is another highly moisturizing substance that’s also shown promise in wound healing in clinical studies. Finally, antioxidant vitamins (B, C and E) help scavenge the free radicals that destroy skin cells and result in aging concerns.

The Skin Benefits of Moisturizing Oily Skin

For those with oily skin, moisturizing regularly will help improve overall skin texture, making it appear more even-toned. Certain moisturizers can even help control sebum production. Perhaps more importantly, a proper moisturizer for oily skin can neutralize the dehydration and sensitivity from various acne ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, which, while they do often treat breakouts, can lead to overdrying. Overly dry skin triggers the skin into producing even more oil, which ultimately results in even more pimples. It’s one of those vicious cycles.

So, yes, you do want a moisturizer if you have oily skin — you just need to know which ones will work best. We’ve compiled a list of the 10 best moisturizers for oily skin to save you the headache of weeding through the thousands of moisturizers out there.

10 Best Moisturizers for Oily Skin

The Best Moisturizers for Oily Skin

Clinique Moisture Surge 72 Hour
Clinique’s Moisture Surge is a gel-cream that’s ideally suited for oily skin, as gel-textured formulas are gentle and lightweight. They won’t clog pores, leaving skin refreshed and hydrated.

This formulation contains a special “auto-replenishing technology” with caffeine to activate the skin’s natural ability to rehydrate, providing moisture for up to 72 hours, even after you’ve cleansed your face. Sodium hyaluronate and aloe barbadensis leaf water pump the skin with moisture, and regular use can help soften the appearances of these lines. (Remember: sodium hyaluronate is the salt of hyaluronic acid, a molecule naturally occurring in the skin that can retain 1,000 times its weight in water. This ability is what makes it such a powerful hydrator that can moisturize without clogging pores or causing breakouts.)

Aloe vera is absolutely stocked with goodies, including powerful vitamins, that help with hydration—and a lot more. The plant’s juices boast vitamins A, C and E, which are all antioxidants that help curb the aging process by fighting off free radicals, unstable atoms that attack skin at the cellular level, causing damage that can lead to early aging. Furthermore, the mucopolysaccharides present in aloe vera lock in moisture, effectively attaching it to the skin, which is where its moisturizing properties come into effect. Aloe vera is very gentle, non-oily, non-greasy, non-comedogenic and good for all skin types, including sensitive skin.

Skinmedica Ultra Sheer Moisturizer
An oil-free, light moisturizer packed with tried-and-true ingredients, the Skinmedica Ultra Sheer Moisturizer is a lifeline for your oily skin. This is especially great for those with mature skin who are looking for a moisturizer that does it all. Key ingredients in this formulation include, tocopherol, tocopherol acetate, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate and sodium hyaluronate.

Tocopherol and tocopherol acetate are both types of vitamin E that are very effective free radical scavengers. These are two of the ingredients that will help fight the signs of aging like wrinkles and sagging. Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is a highly stable form of vitamin C that also scavenges free radicals. In studies, it has shown to stimulate new collagen production and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Sodium hyaluronate, as mentioned previously, retains significant amounts of water in the skin. As moisture loss is an inevitable part of aging, sodium hyaluronate can help prevent this. It has a lower molecular weight than hyaluronic acid, which makes it dive even deeper into the dermis. In studies, it has shown to improve hydration and elasticity, thus its ability to help sagging skin on the face and neck firm up as well. These are all ingredients with studies to back them up, so you know they can be trusted.

Tatcha Water Cream
Oil-free lotions are often ideal for oily skin, and Tatcha Water Cream leaves skin flawlessly hydrated without making it feel or look greasy or shiny. It features a unique “water burst” technology that delivers active ingredients to the skin with efficiency.

Among its key ingredients are Japanese wild rose and Japanese leopard lily. The Japanese wild rose reduces the appearance of large pores by tightening them up, while also providing an overall smoother skin texture. The Japanese leopard lily helps control excess sebum production to keep breakouts at a minimum, and further boosts cell turnover to bring newer skin cells to the surface.

This formulation also contains a trio of powerful Japanese ingredients that treat aging skin. Uji green tea is a potent antioxidant that visibly reduces signs of aging. It is considered the “purest” type of green tea. Okinawa mozuku algae is the second ingredient in this trio, and is full of polysaccharides. Polysaccharides are molecules that help with water retention in the skin. Finally, akita rice is added to moisturize and soothe. Powerful and rich with a variety of active ingredients, this moisturizer conquers aging skin and quenches a parched complexion.

Amorepacific Moisture Bound Hydra Gel Oil Free
When it comes to moisturizing oily skin, the main objective is to improve appearance and texture, with a few anti-aging benefits thrown in for good measure. The Amorepacific Moisture Bound Hydra Gel helps combat aging skin while providing all day moisture. The ginger root extract in this formulation is well-known as a very strong antioxidant that targets free radicals. As free radicals can degrade protein fibers (collagen and elastin) crucial to skin laxity, this antioxidant effect from ginger root can help counteract that. Meanwhile, the ginseng root extract in this formula conditions skin to make it softer and smoother. In clinical studies, it has also shown antioxidant activity with the ability to promote collagen synthesis. Skin roughness and photodamage (damage from UV exposure) were found to have improved.

Glutamic acid, meanwhile, is an amino acid prized for its water-retaining abilities that give skin a luminous, glowing quality and improve texture as well. It also improves skin barrier function. The skin barrier is often compared to a brick wall, with the skin cells acting as the “bricks” and protective lipids as the “mortar” holding those bricks together. The skin barrier protects against all outside pollutants that can be potentially harmful, but it can still be damaged. If your skin barrier is damaged, you may experience flakiness, redness, dehydration, wrinkles and pimples. With this moisturizer, you can potentially avoid all of those problems.

La Roche Posay Effaclar Mat
A boon for those with large pores and excess oil, this oil-free lotion “mattifies” skin for a non-shiny appearance. And those with oily skin are probably very familiar with that unattractive shine that gives you the kind of glow you definitely do not want. La Roche Posay’s Effaclar Mat employs Sebulyse Technology in combination with absorbing powders to reduce sebum that has run wild. LHA, or beta-lipohydroxy acid, is a derivative of salicylic acid, and the main ingredient accounting for smaller pores in this moisturizer. It essentially helps unclog pores by dissolving dead skin cells. Pores clog and expand in size when they are filled with dead skin cells and excess oil, and when they become infected with bacteria and inflamed, you guessed it, they turn into pimples. This oil-free lotion can thus even combat breakouts if you happen to suffer from them, all while keeping skin moisturized thanks to glycerin and butylene glycol. Both of these are humectants, which help bind water to skin. This is a company that often backs up its ingredients with actual science, so don’t be afraid to give them a try.

Vichy Normaderm
Oily skin can be seen as a gift and a curse because it forms wrinkles less rapidly than dry skin (a gift), but tends to break out (a curse). A moisturizer with built-in acne-fighting ingredients can help combat this curse while giving skin the hydration it needs to refine texture on the face.

Salicylic acid is one of the featured ingredients in this lotion. It is an exfoliator often found in acne medications that helps to slough off dead skin cells, reducing build-up in pores that can often lead to breakouts. Another key ingredient is the Vichy mineralizing water. Containing 15 minerals, this ingredient purports to strengthen the skin barrier function, which, as previously discussed, keeps the skin healthy and safe.

Another trademarked ingredient, Airlicium, is a mattifier that reduces the appearance of pores. Humectants including glycerin, glyceryl stearate and butylene glycol all bind water to the skin to provide adequate hydration without leaving skin feeling oily or greasy. Definitely give this a try if your acne products have left your skin too dry or caused flakiness. This is just the one-two punch you might need to keep skin smooth and moisturized.

Avene Mattifying Fluid
Cheers for mattifying moisturizers! Seriously. As we’ve already established, a moisturizer that mattifies is always great for oily skin in order to get rid of that dreaded shine. This Avene Mattifying Fluid takes patented glutamic acid and absorbent microcapsules to achieve a nicely matte look without any heaviness. It even makes an ideal primer under makeup. Pores are noticeably smaller and shine is completely gone, as glutamic acid helps control excess oil production. Glutamic acid also serves as a humectant to lock in moisture, alongside glycerin and butylene glycol — both powerful humectants seen in many moisturizers. Finally, Avene thermal spring water rounds out the list of ingredients and provides soothing relief to skin that may be dehydrated. The result is a fully hydrated, shine-free, matte look.

L’Oreal Hydra Genius
Specifically designed for normal to oily skin, L’Oreal’s Hydra Genius offers up to 72 hours of constant hydration. It’s also lightweight and absorbs easily into the skin without any heavy after effects. Similar to Clinique’s Moisture Surge 72 Hour, this moisturizer is also equipped with hyaluronic acid and aloe barbadensis leaf water. It takes it a step further and adds sodium hyaluronate as well. Quenching thirsty skin is a full-time job and these ingredients take it seriously. They are well-armed to do the work as several clinical studies can attest.

Hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate are two of the most heavy-duty ingredients for dehydrated skin. Nothing else quite locks in moisture like these two molecules. In this case, it is significant that L’Oreal’s Hydra Genius contains both, as sodium hyaluronate has a lower molecular weight than hyaluronic acid. This makes it easier to absorb deep into the skin’s bottom layers. But that doesn’t mean a higher molecular weight is useless. In fact, while higher molecular weight hyaluronic acid doesn’t quite penetrate into the skin, it does remain on the skin’s surface where it binds water by drawing it in from the air. This allows for a softer, smoother complexion overall. Meanwhile, aloe vera has been shown in studies to aid in both acute and chronic wound healing, suggesting it has the ability to accelerate skin healing by stimulating collagen production. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, keeping skin firm and tight while we’re younger. It does degrade with age, which is why it’s important to stimulate it via various skincare products.

Olay Whips
The Olay Whips line of moisturizers boast a “light as air” feel. This formulation is unique as it immediately transforms from a cream to a liquid upon application, showing heaviness the door. You won’t feel weighed down when you put this on, that’s for sure.

Ingredients include niacinamide (vitamin B3), panthenol (a provitamin of vitamin B5), palmitoyl pentapeptide-4, and sodium hyaluronate. Niacinamide is proven to improve redness, elasticity, overall blotchiness and uneven tone (it reduces pigmentation), fine lines and wrinkles and even skin sallowness (yellowing). That’s quite a lot for one little vitamin. You definitely want it in your arsenal.

Panthenol has been shown to improve transepidermal water loss (TEWL) in studies. This essentially means it reduces loss of moisture, which can lead to skin dehydration if left untreated. TEWL can occur in all skin types, which is yet another reason it’s important for those with oily skin to moisturize daily. Palmitoyl pentapeptide-4 is an amino peptide. It stimulates the production of fibroblasts, fibers that synthesize collagen. As previously touched upon, collagen keeps skin firm and helps prevent sagging. Sodium hyaluronate, meanwhile, effectively helps retain water in the skin and penetrates quite profoundly where it can be of utmost benefit in the dermis. There’s simply no denying that this moisturizer is a superhero for aging and oily skin.

Shiseido Ibuki Refining Moisturizer
Shiseido’s Ibuki Refining Moisturizer strengthens, refines and evens out the appearance of oily skin to give you a selfie-ready complexion. It beautifully and flawlessly smooths with a PhytoResist Complex that targets problem areas and nips them immediately.

Glycerin, butylene glycol and dipropylene glycol are among the top ingredients. All three are effective humectants that bind water to skin to fill in little lines and cracks for a noticeably smoother, more refined face. Dipropylene glycol also helps for other ingredients to penetrate more efficiently into the skin. Another top ingredient, hydrogenated polydecene, emphasizes a smooth, non-sticky feel on the skin. Meanwhile, witch hazel leaf extract reduces oil to help provide a more matte appearance and lamium album flower extract has both astringent and antioxidant properties, while also acting as a conditioning agent. All told, this ingredients list certainly lives up to the product’s reputation as a refiner that will leave oily skin looking and feeling its best.

Related: Best Face Moisturizers

  • TDR Original review: Jul 30, 2020. Reply

    The skin contains tiny little holes called pores all over its surface. The pores are a wonderful mechanism for removing toxins and dirt from your body by excreting a sticky substance called sebum, which works its way up to the skin surface, carrying away dirt and dead skin cells in the process. Not only does sebum cleanse the skin from old, dead skin cells, but it also covers the skin with oil that acts as a barrier between your skin and the environment. This oil is a natural way to moisturize your face, and people with oily skin on face may even feel like they’re wasting their time looking for the best facial moisturizer. But in today’s day and age, the natural oil in your skin is no longer as helpful as it used to be, because we wash our faces on a daily basis, stripping away most of the oil in, thus leaving it exposed to negative environmental factors.

    Of course, you could always just stop washing your face and let all the oil stay on your skin, but then you’d be prone to breakouts and other skin problems. On top of that, it’s important to understand that the moisture that comes from the naturally occurring oil in your skin is filled with all kinds of contaminants like dead skin cells and environmental pollutants that should be removed from your body as quickly as possible, with no chance for re-entering your system. Therefore, it is important to develop a sound skin care regimen with a good face moisturizer for oily skin, because that is the only way to achieve younger looking skin.

  • TDR Original review: Jul 29, 2020. Reply

    When looking for the best way to moisturize the skin, many consumers can benefit from using a non comedogenic moisturizer for oily skin. There are lots of moisturizers out there, but many can clog pores, leading to acne breakouts and other skin conditions. Using a non comedogenic moisturizer can be especially beneficial to those with only skin, as it may indirectly reduce breakouts by blocking pores and preventing sebaceous glands from expelling oil. But which moisturizer ingredients are best for oily skin?

    Look for comedogenic moisturisers. A product is classified non comedogenic when it does not clog pores that could develop into comedones. Non comedogenic products are recommended if you have oily skin. Non comedogenic creams reduce the chances of developing blackheads. It is important to note that every skin care or make up product has a comedogenic effect. However, you can reduce this by avoiding ingredients like oils, silicone and preservatives.

  • TDR Original review: Jul 29, 2020. Reply

    Oily Skin
    This skin type often suffers from enlarged pores and often has blemishes and skin discolorations. The complexion of someone with oily skin becomes oily soon after washing the face, and the oil layer usually appears thick and shiny.

    If you have oily skin, it is important to use a good face moisturizer because when you wash your face and strip away the excess oil, the lack of moisture will actually cause the skin to produce even more oil, thus creating a vicious cycle with no end. If you have oily skin, you may also want to choose a non comedogenic moisturizer, because these are a lot less likely to clog pores and stimulate excess oil production.

  • User Original review: Jul 27, 2020. Reply

    Best Moisturizer for Oily Skin

    Oily skin can be very frustrating. Not only does it make your face shiny, it can also cause acne problems by clogging pores. Oily skin usually occurs when oil glands in the skin (located under the skin’s surface) overproduce sebum – this can be caused by genetic factors, hormonal changes or even stress. Though sebum can cause too much oiliness, it is also essential in protecting skin and keeping it hydrated. Still, excess oil on the skin’s surface can be a cause of annoyance.

    Thus, any cleanser or face wash you choose for oily skin has to be able to perform certain tasks, including removing excess oil, tackling acne and hydrating to prevent overdrying. Many face washes for oily skin can be too aggressive, removing excess oil but going too far and leaving skin dry. Once skin is dried out, your oil glands will go into overdrive to produce more sebum. This can then further exacerbate acne.

    But oily skin has benefits too. For one thing, it helps keep skin well hydrated without the use of outside moisturizers. This helps preserve skin overall. People with naturally oily skin also tend to have less wrinkles as they age, although they may also have to battle acne well into their adult years.

  • User Original review: Jul 27, 2020. Reply

    What Causes Oily Skin?
    Even people with dry skin produce oil – it’s just not a lot. But we all have sebaceous glands under our pores, which produce oil to help keep skin moisturized. Some people’s sebaceous glands, however, are a little too active.

    If you wake up every morning with shiny skin and find yourself entirely too reliant on blotting papers, you probably have oily skin. If you suffer from acne (blackheads, whiteheads and pimples) often, you probably have oily skin. When sebum mixes with bacteria and clogged pores, it can produce inflamed breakouts.

    Causes of oily skin include overactive hormones, genetics, hot climates and even stress. All of these factors can influence how much oil your sebaceous glands produce. Hormones can cause the sebaceous glands to produce too much oil, as can stress. Even overdoing your daily skin care routine can result in your sebaceous glands panicking and producing extra oil to replace what you have washed off.

    Some of the best ingredients for oily skin to look out for in a moisturizer for oily skin include salicylic acid and glycolic acid, both of which can help gently exfoliate to clear out clogged pores and control oil production overall. But taking care of oily skin doesn’t stop with finding the right face wash for it– although it’s a very important step. There are also some tips on how to treat oily skin that can help you be less frustrated with your skin type.

  • User Original review: Jul 27, 2020. Reply

    Here are some general dos and don’ts on how to control oily skin:
    Choose oil-free and non-comedogenic products. Non-comedogenic means it is non-pore clogging.
    Wash your face no more than twice a day, in the morning and before bed, to help keep oiliness at bay.
    Try blotting papers if your face is especially oily and gets very shiny throughout the day.
    Use a mild, gentle and foaming face wash that isn’t too abrasive.
    Avoid both oil-based and alcohol-based cleansers, which can be too harsh and irritating.
    Wear water-based, oil-free makeup.
    Avoid touching your face with your hands as this can cause the spreading of bacteria and can worsen acne.
    Exfoliate about once a week with a physical or chemical exfoliant to help control and prevent blackheads and other types of acne.

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