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The Oil Control Skincare Ingredients You Need

Between our EVOO and the waft of an artisanal beard oil on the breeze, we’re fond of an oil but if our skin is pumping too much, we reach for oil control skincare ingredients. Don’t be sceptical – for the most part, reducing how much oil you produce is super difficult and requires a multi-faceted approach but it can be done. With party season coming up, we want to help you stay matte in those all important Instagram pictures. Don’t worry, we also think it’s bad to portray our lives as more fun on social media… Doesn’t mean we don’t go ahead and do it anyway.  

What are oil control skincare ingredients?

Let’s do a quick nerdie rundown on what we mean when we say ‘oil’. The skin makes it’s own protective shield and hydrator in an oily substance called sebum. It’s pumped up towards the surface of the skin by sebaceous glands which are controlled by androgens, aka sex hormones, of which you will know testosterone the best. 

There are a few reasons that you may be oilier than some of the people you see on the bus every day: genetics, hormone imbalances and stress. Did that last one get you there? Do you notice that when you’re already stressed you become more stressed due to how quickly your makeup is melting off? It’s not in your head – stress increases the production of stress hormones which are believed to have a knock-on effect on sebum production

Now, we can’t iradicate what makes us us, and sometimes lowering stress simply isn’t an option, but there are some specific skincare ingredients known for being great for reducing the amount of oil being produced or mattifying the skin so that it appears less shiny. 

Salicylic acid 

You’d swear that we only liked salicylic acid but it’s just too talented. It embarrasses some of the other ingredients. Salicylic acid, found in Sally Cleanse, is not only an exfoliating acid that dissolves debris in the pore, it’s also literally attracted to oil. Salicylic sees the goodness is something that many don’t, god bless it, and genuinely draws oil towards it. 

oil control skincare

Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate)

Topical vitamin A regulates and balances the skin throughout it processes, including the process of lipid synthesis – another nerdie way of saying oil production. Introducing vitamin A to the skin will help your skin to keep itself in check. Vitamin A tends to more of a long-term solution that will continuously help the skin to stay in its best shape. Get yours in through Skin Protein.

Niacinamide (vitamin B3)  

Niacinamide, or vitamin B3, is known to help the skin to control oil whilst simultaneously acting as an antioxidant, skin-smoother, brightener and hydrating ingredient. Basically, if you are oily and congested, get niacinamide into your life. Find it in Skin Shield SPF 50 PA+++


Like Britney Spears or her 2019 equivalent, Alessandra Ocasio Cortez, we’re not afraid of a bit of controversy. Dimethicone is an incredibly controversial ingredient in that it’s a silicone, something that plenty of people try to avoid in their skincare routine. We will admit – we hummed and hawed about including it in the Skingredients range but we feel the benefits of it outweigh its bad rap. 

oil control skincare

Dimethicone is not actually comedogenic and like with anything thought to clog pores, it’s the dose that makes the poison. It’s incredibly sensitive skin friendly, forms a protective film across the skin and helps to mattify the skin and make it appear super even. Ps. It’s in Skin Shield SPF 50 PA+++ to keep you dewy yet not oily. 

What else helps to oil control?

Outside of specifically oil-controlling ingredients, there are other techniques you can use to keep that sebum from ruling your life. 

Sometimes skin may overproduce oil if it is dehydrated, especially in the Winter, for example, so keeping it well hydrated is key even if it feels counterproductive. The humectant (water-binding) hyaluronic acid in Skin Veg will help you to keep skin plump and filled with water and less likely to panic and make too much oil. 

Cleansing properly won’t help you to produce less oil but it will help to remove oils from your face after a long day. Double-cleanse to get all that makeup and debris off – we always recommend beginning with your Cleanse Off Mitt and following with the cleanser of your choice

In terms of makeup, opt for oil-free, mattifying makeup – no duh – but we have another tip from our resident nerdie makeup artist, Ben. Ben doesn’t believe so much in traditional primers for oily skin but adores Wayne Goss’s Powder Under where you apply a mattifying loose powder prior to applying your foundation. If you haven’t tried this, do – and we solemnly promise if you follow the technique correctly, you won’t be cakey. 

The nerdie conclusion on oil control skincare

Oily skin may in some ways be a life sentence but so can skin that doesn’t produce enough oil. If you want to direct your misplaced anger anywhere, it should be towards hoomans with normal oil levels – boooooo. We’re only joking – give these ingredients and tips a try and report back to us. We’d love to hear it!

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