Five oil-controlling skincare ingredients to look for

As anyone who has oily skin knows, it isn’t just about the inconvenience of having a shiny face sooner rather than later in the day. Excess sebum tends to feel sticky in our humid weather, and stewing in those “juices” can lead to blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples. There are a lot of skincare products that claim to be best for oily skin, but does the ingredients list support this claim? Just what should you look for on the label? Below is a list of popular anti-oil ingredients that beauty experts typically recommend for kicking sebum’s butt.



We are taught in school that clay holds water well, but did you know that certain types of clay do an amazing job of sopping up oil from the skin? Some of the tried and tested ones are kaolin, bentonite, and rhassoul/ghassoul. They’re often added to face washes and masks because of their deep-cleansing qualities. Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleanser is a fave, or try Etude House's Wonder Pore Clay Clear Mask if you're a K-beauty fan.

Witch Hazel

Strip oil without the sting! Witch hazel, despite its funny smell, does the job without causing skin to dry out. You’ll find that this is a common ingredient in all-natural toners, but be sure to pick one that’s known for being mild like the Manuka Health Manuka Honey Balancing and Hydrating Gentle Facial Toner. Some formulations may include other ingredients that can cause a burning sensation.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil isn’t new to the beauty world. Its antibacterial properties have kept it an everlasting blemish treatment ingredient. This plant that originated from Australia is so widely known that plenty of products in the market ranging from cleansers to creams to body washes are formulated with it. Body Shop even has a BB cream that provides medium to heavy coverage with a demi-matte finish, for a look that's shine-free but healthy and slightly dewy.

Salicylic Acid

One of the most common ingredients used in treating oily or acne-prone skin is salicylic acid. It is a dermatological go-to, because it can give skin a deep clean right into the pores. It also acts as a great exfoliator. The bonus? Salicylic acid, otherwise known as, beta hydroxy acid, can reduce redness due to its anti-inflammatory feature. Bioderma's Sebium Global Intensive Purifying Care is awesome for lessening oil production even on the T-zone, but like most products with salicylic acid, it's best used infrequently as it can feel too drying when skin has reached a normal state.

Hyaluronic Acid

Both oily and non-oily skin types could stand to benefit from hyaluronic acid. This power player in the hydration department keeps water in the skin, so that your mug stays moist enough to counter some of the skin-drying effects of your other oil-reducing skincare products. Sheet masks are a current fave at Project Vanity. The Kracie Hadabisei All in One Mask can boast of a hyaluronic acid essence and the cheapest per-piece price we've seen so far.

Do remember that it's important to keep your skin thoroughly moisturized - yes, even if you're oily. If your skin is too dry from using too many drying ingredients or failing to have a good hydration routine, it will produce more oil! Balance is truly key.

Which ingredients mentioned above have worked well for you in the past?