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My Go-To Skin Care Routine - Oily Skin Edition

Updated: Mar 12, 2023

I have struggled with acne-prone skin throughout my adolescent years. Throughout most of that phase, I just felt helpless and finally reached a point where I gave up and just decided to live with the fact that my skin would always remain an insecurity.

It is not easy to deal with acne when you do not know how to treat it. The world of skincare always seemed so intimidating that I did not even try to venture into it. I had learned to accept my acne as a part of who I was - and that was alright.

Acne must be normalized.

But at the same time, it should not be neglected. Sometimes acne can be the cause of an underlying health issue and this would require you to visit a dermatologist to be able to rectify this.

If you're someone who faces acne issues because of your oily skin type and not hormones, there is a lot that you can do to tackle this issue and achieve healthier skin.

There is no such thing as perfect skin. Normal skin has acne, blackheads, pores, pigmentation, marks, facial hair and so much more - your only aim should be to have healthy skin.

Following a dedicated routine based on your skin type can help you get there.

All you have to do is listen to the needs of your skin and follow it up with good products and routines. As someone who began creating content for skincare, I have tried plenty of products from local and global markets. Some have worked really well for me and others have not. Skincare is highly subjective. What might work for one, might not for the other but having a general guideline can always help in getting started.

Here is a list of products and steps that helped me throughout my journey.

Note - The 3 basic steps of Cleanse, Treat, and Moisturize (CTM) remain the same for both the morning and night routines. Personally, I prefer using stronger treatments and products for the nighttime routine but the products used can be customized based on your preferences.


Step One - Cleansers

For the longest time, I believed that a cleanser that made my skin feel squeaky clean and dry is what would work best for my oily skin type - but I was just being delusional.

In fact, cleansers that have a pH of above 7 are extremely drying on your skin and cause more harm than good. Having dry skin will force your natural oil skin to produce more sebum to combat the dryness and this will only elevate your acne issues.

This is why it is very important to pick a gentle and mildly foaming facewash.

Many products that are targeted toward oily skin are foam-based and here is where you need to be careful. You need to choose a product that is mildly foaming as these products might be fun to use and give you an illusion of having cleaner skin but often contain surfactants that dry your skin out and cause more issues. To be on the safer side, it is always better to choose a gel-based cleanser.

This product has a beautiful formulation along with Salicylic acid, Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs), and Tea Tree. It helps soothe your skin and cleanse it without stripping your skin of its natural oils.

Another perk of using this product is that you can skip the toning step of your routine as this face wash is a pH-balanced product.

Other Cleansers - Neutrogena Oil-Free Cleanser, CeraVe Foaming cleanser, Youth To The People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser

Double Cleanse

If you are someone who wears makeup it would be ideal to go ahead with an additional step and add double cleansing to your nighttime routine. This step will help you purify your skin and make sure you don't leave behind any SPF or makeup on your skin, giving you a clean and fresh base to start with.

For those who have oily skin, this step is essential to ensure you have a deep cleanse and do not have any clogged pores.

To know more about double cleansing, click to read - Do I Need To Double Cleanse? Let's find out

Other Cleansing Oils - Laneige Cream Skin Milk Oil Cleanser, Innisfree Green tea Cleansing Oil, Neutrogena Ultra Light Face Cleansing Oil, Plum E-Luminence Cleansing Balm


Step Two - Tone

This is an optional step in your routine. If you are using a pH-balanced cleanser, you will not need this step as your skin will already be prepped for the following steps.

One of the good things about using a toner or facial mist after cleansing is that it helps set the stage for the following treatment products and also allows better absorption and penetration.

When it comes to mists, I never really stick to one product but my favorite one will always be using pure rose water.

I prefer avoiding toning products with synthetic fragrances, alcohol, and witch hazel. Apart from this, there really is no other specification that I look for.

Common trouble faced by those with oily or acne-prone skin is the appearance of blackheads and pores on your skin. This product works its magic on these issues. It contains Niacinamide and does a great job at unclogging pores which automatically helps soothe your skin and deal with congestion. It also helps in exfoliating and brightening which is ideal for those with acne.

Other Toners - SNP Peptaronic Toner, The Face Shop Dr. Belmeur Clarifying Toner, Te Wai Face Mist


Step Three - Treatment

When it comes to treatments my go-to product for the longest time was a Niacinamide serum before I started experimenting with other actives and ingredients.

Niacinamide serums are easy to use and beginner-friendly. They are also easy to find in the market. Another great product for this skin type is Vitamin C. It helps in rejuvenating your skin and also helps fade dark spots and acne scarring. However, Vitamin C needs to be combined with a strong sunscreen as it is sensitive to light.

I generally prefer using a Vitamin C serum in my morning routine and a targeted serum for the night.

A few other products that I look for within the treatment step are Centella Asiatica, Salicylic acid, Ceramides, and BHA. Getting a mix of targeted and soothing actives is the best for acne-prone skin as it helps in nourishing your skin after the treatment as well.

Other Treatments - Farmacy Honeymoon Glow Serum, The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA Serum, Minimalist 2% Salicylic Acid Serum, The INKEY List Niacinamide Oil Control Serum, Pulp Ex-acne Serum


Step Four - Moisturizer

I believe that this is one of the most important steps in your routine.

Morning Routine - Sunscreen is a must. All of the previous steps of your routine are pointless if you do not protect your skin from the harsh and damaging UVA and UVB radiations. Sun damage is also responsible for pigmentation and scarring which is the arch-nemesis of acne-prone skin types.

Night Routine - You need to be able to seal in all the goodness before you go to bed. Your skin loses a lot of moisture throughout the night and using a good moisturizer will help keep it nourished. I like to go in with a simple cream without too many ingredients are actives.

Keywords to look for - Oil-free, Non-comedogenic, Light-weight

Other Moisturizers - Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel, Olay Night Cream Regenerist Deep Hydration Light Cream, The Face Shop Rice & Ceramide Moisturizing Cream, The Body Shop Vitamin E Night Cream


Weekly treatments

There are also a few other treatments that you can do at home on a weekly basis. These are optional and I prefer using them as they help in compounding the effects of the normal routine that I follow throughout the rest of the week.

  • CLAY MASQUES - To unclog pores and detoxify your skin. You can use a masque once or twice a week to help purify your skin.

Other Masks - Youth To The People Super Clay Power Mask, Caudalie Instant Detox Mask

  • EXFOLIANTS - To remove dead skin cells and help reduce the appearance of acne scars and pigmentation of any kind. I do not recommend using harsh physical scrubs as these only cause irritation and micro-abrasions on your skin which can make your acne even worse. It is better to choose gentle exfoliators instead.

Other Exfoliators - Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant, The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution, The Faceshop Jeju Volcanic Lava Scrub Foam, Minimalist AHA 25% + PHA 5% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution


Things to keep in mind

  • Consistency is key here. This is the most important part of any skincare routine. No matter what you do, you can not expect results overnight. It took me months of trying different products, seeing what works best for me, and then following the routine for weeks before I got to a stage where I was able to understand the needs of my skin and it started reciprocating by staying healthy.

  • The best way to try products and curate a routine that works best for you and your skin type is to get product trials or minis to test and see if you like the product before you decide to purchase the full-size product.

  • It is also a good idea to look at the ingredient list and pick products that have ingredients like - Niacinamide, Salicylic acid, Glycolic acid, Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs), Vitamin C, Tea Tree Extracts, and Green Tea Extracts.

  • As I always say, when it comes to skincare - less is more. Following a simple routine with targeted products is all you need to combat acne-prone skin.

  • Another important tip to focus on would be to not experiment with too many products. Once your skin gets adjusted to a certain routine, it would be wise to continue with those products for a while before switching things out. The whole idea here is to make sure you are not overwhelming your skin with an overdose of complex ingredients.

  • However, many a time acne is a sign of an underlying cause that might be related to a certain health issue. It is a bad idea to neglect severe acne and try to work on it with remedies at home. It is always better to go and visit a dermatologist who can give you professional advice on how to deal with your skin concerns.


I have noted down certain product recommendations based on my personal experience. There are plenty of options out there in the market for you to choose from - the ones above are just a single combination routine.

There are many alternative products with varying price points to choose from. Just make sure you read up on the products that you choose to use and also focus on the ingredient lists and reviews.

The products mentioned are solely based on my list of favorites and my current routine - feel free to explore other products and create a routine that works best for your skin.

Remember, healthy skin is your goal.



* As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases through the product links mentioned above

Image credits - Yaroslav Shurev

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