Does Oily Skin Need Moisturizer? Yes, and Here’s Why

Does Oily Skin Need Moisturizer? Yes, and Here’s Why

When you have oily skin, your first instinct would be to get rid of all the oil on your face as much as possible to achieve squeaky clean skin. Naturally, you don’t have the urge to apply moisturizer because doing so on an already greasy skin would be excessive, right? 

Not exactly. 

The well-established scientific fact is that oily skin does need moisturizing. If you struggle with excessive oiliness, this article will help you understand how a moisturizer can help you achieve healthy and well-balanced skin. 

Does Oily Skin Need Moisturizer?

Yes, oily skin still needs moisturizer because it helps regulate oil production. Not moisturizing can cause your skin to produce more oil to hydrate itself.

Did you know that oil is one of your skin’s most valuable assets? With the right amount, your skin can ward off wrinkles and keep it smooth and moist. Your skin’s natural oils are also necessary to maintain a healthy skin barrier, protecting against acne-causing environmental irritants. 

The key to managing oily skin is to make sure you’re hydrating it without applying additional oil from other products. Skipping moisturizer altogether but loading up on oil-fighting skincare ingredients leaves your skin with no moisture, which can lead to it being dehydrated. 

When this happens, the sebaceous glands in your skin will overcompensate by producing more oil to support the skin’s barrier function and unbreak the oily skin cycle. This overproduction ends up clogging your pores, which can eventually result in acne and comedones (blackheads and whiteheads).

What Causes Oily Skin?

According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Claire Chang, “Oily skin occurs due to overproduction of sebum by the skin’s oil glands [sebaceous glands]. Sebum is important in keeping the skin barrier hydrated and protected, but when sebum is overproduced, the skin can appear oily, shiny, and greasy.”

You get excess sebum from different factors such as improper skin care, stress, pollution, poor diet, and hormonal shifts. These disrupt the integrity of your skin and make it lose its moisture. That said, you need the right moisturizer to restore the balance of your sebum levels and keep oiliness at bay. 

Moisturizers for Oily Skin

The moisturizing needs of oily skin are a bit complicated because you need to find just the right amount of hydration to keep your skin well-balanced. Too little water in your moisturizer can leave you dehydrated, while too much oil can make you greasy and blemish-prone. Thus, you need to be careful when choosing moisturizers for oily skin. Here’s a quick guide on what kind of moisturizers to avoid and go for.


  • Oil-based moisturizers, including products that contain petrolatum, mineral oil, or petroleum: These ingredients can suffocate your oily skin.
  • Heavy creams and lotions: These products are too heavy. Rather than getting absorbed, they’ll just sit on top of your skin and cause oiliness and clogged pores.


  • Non-comedogenic moisturizers: “Non-comedogenic” means the product won’t clog your pores, which means there’s less chance of developing comedones or blackheads and whiteheads.
  • Moisturizers with a water-based gel formula: They are less rich than oil-based products and help replenish your skin’s natural moisture balance. Plus, they feel light and refreshing. 

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream is an example of a perfect moisturizer for oily skin. It intensely moisturizes your skin with its Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract and Antarcticine formula. Upon application, you’ll feel an instant cooling effect as it gets quickly absorbed by your skin. This formula is also non-greasy, oil-free, and non-comedogenic—all the things you want in an oily-skin-friendly moisturizer.

If you have dry skin, Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream can help you moisturize your skin for that healthy glow. You can also check out the ultra-light Kiehl’s Oil Eliminator 24-hour Anti-Shine Moisturizer for Men that can absorb sweat and surface oil or Kiehl’s Calendula Serum-Infused Water Cream that helps even out skin tone and reduce redness.

How to Moisturize Oily Skin

Oily skin can be challenging to take care of, but there are tricks and best practices to moisturize properly and get balanced, acne-free skin.

  1. Use a gentle cleanser so you won’t strip your skin of natural oils

The first step of your skincare routine should be washing off makeup residue and excess oil and dirt from your face. It’s best to do this with a gentle cleanser to avoid over-cleansing. Even with a mild cleanser, over-cleansing can disturb the pH balance of your skin and strip it of its natural oils. 

  1. Use a natural hydrating gel mask once a week for an extra hydration boost

You can apply a hydrating gel face mask once or twice a week, preferably at night. Leave it on for 20 minutes, then work it into your skin using your fingertips. 

  1. Clean makeup brushes and sponges regularly

These makeup tools accumulate pore-clogging dirt, so you must clean them regularly. Run your brushes and sponges over lukewarm water. Then, using a natural cleanser or shampoo, gently massage them clean and rinse the dirt off. Make sure you do this until no makeup residue comes off from your brushes and sponges.

  1. Drink plenty of water and maintain a well-balanced diet

A poor diet can cause toxins to accumulate in your body. Add dehydration to the mix, and you’ll end up having bad skin as these factors are the perfect environment for acne to flourish. Water keeps you hydrated and helps flush out toxins. So, remember to drink plenty of water and eat nutritiously to help your body sustain healthy skin. 

Take Time to Choose the Right Moisturizer

Maintaining your oily skin well-hydrated is a bit tricky, but by paying special attention to the skincare products you’re using, you can achieve healthy skin.

Not all moisturizers are the same, as some work best for certain skin types. If you believe oiliness is your main skin issue, you need to add the right moisturizer to your routine. A non-comedogenic and lightweight product is the best moisturizer for oily skin types. Apart from moisturizers, make sure to get products formulated for oily skin.

For an oil-free moisturizer that provides 24-hour hydration, check out Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream. Keep your skin hydrated and your sebum at bay with the right practices and a well-formulated moisturizer.