How to Treat Oily Skin: 10 Ways to Improve Your Skin Complexion

Whether it’s genetics or stress, don’t leave the house shining like a disco ball. Here's how to treat oily skin in a natural, effective way.

Is oily skin getting you down? You’re not alone. An oily complexion is a surprisingly common skin complaint – even among celebs like Katy Perry and Cameron Diaz. Fortunately, there are a lot of things we can do to beat the dreaded shine and get the matte complexion we’ve been lusting after since puberty! Let’s tackle the problem head on with these 10 easy skin complexion improvement tips.

#1 Back Away from the Sink


When you’re battling with oily skin, it can be hugely tempting to wash your face every chance you get. It might make you feel fresh in the short-term, but over-washing is arguably one of the worst ways to treat an oily complexion.

While a wash or two a day with an oil-free and gel-based cleanser can do wonders to combat dirt and oil build up, excessive washing can have the opposite effect! Why? We produce sebum to lubricate and protect our skin. Repeatedly stripping away those natural oils tricks the body into thinking it needs to produce even MORE oil.

#2 Keep Your Hands off

Whether we’re drifting off to sleep or listening to a dull lecture, we often instinctively rest our head in our hands. However, curbing this seemingly harmless habit will instantly help to banish breakouts and oily skin. How? Throughout the day, your hands are constantly coming into contact with dirt, oils and bacteria. When you touch your face, you’re giving all that grime a one-way trip right into your pores where it’ll cause acne and exacerbate breakouts. Yikes!

#3 Choose Your Cosmetics Carefully


When you have an oily complexion, it’s extra important to be aware of what you’re putting on your face. If you currently use an oil-rich foundation, try swapping it for a mineral-based product. Generally, the best face makeup for oily skin is oil-free, so scan the product ingredients for dimethicone, a non-oil based moisturiser, before adding it to your cosmetics stash. Also, keep an eye out for foundations that promise to be non-comedogenic (that’s just a fancy way of saying they won’t block your pores).

#4 Treat Yourself to a DIY Face Mask


Wondering how to improve the complexion of oily skin on a budget? We’ve got you covered. There are stacks of recipes for DIY face masks online, but our favorite easy face mask for oily skin is this banana, honey, and lemon mask. The vitamin C in the banana discourages oil production while the acidic lemon juice breaks down existing oils. The hint of honey? It offers anti-bacterial benefits and helps to bind the mask together.

You’ll need:

  • 1 overripe banana
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon juice

Just mix all your ingredients together until they form a semi-smooth paste, then apply it to your face and neck. Leave it on for approximately fifteen minutes or until dry, then wash it away. It should leave your skin feeling soft, smooth, and squeaky clean.

#5 Don’t Ditch Moisturiser

It’s a total myth that ditching your moisturiser will help to treat oily skin. If you frequently cleanse, tone, and wash your face to combat shine, you run the risk of stripping the sebum from your skin. Not only does this encourage your body to produce more oil (see tip 1), but it can also create dry and flaky areas outside your T-zone.

Avoid this by keeping your skin hydrated with a moisturiser specifically formulated for oily skin. Select a product that is lightweight, oil-free and non-comedogenic. If you’re worried about shine control, look for a moisturiser that contains talc to absorb excess oils from your skin.

#6 Remember to Exfoliate


Exfoliation is vital for improving the complexion of oily skin. Be sure to exfoliate once or twice a week to thoroughly cleanse your pores of dirt, dead skill cells and other impurities. This will help to discourage sebum build up and acne.

Choose an exfoliator that is designed for oily skin because they are generally formulated with a mild astringent, such as tea tree oil, which will have a beneficial tightening and antibacterial effect. Products containing salicylic acid (BHA) are also fabulous for exfoliation as salicylic acid boasts anti-inflammatory properties and encourages effective pore function.

#7 Examine Your Diet


You’re probably familiar with the phrase “you are what you eat.” It’s true – a few simple changes in your diet may be the key to beating oily skin once and for all!

Start by making sure that your diet is packed with antioxidants like spinach and blueberries, as antioxidants play a key role in protecting your skin from aging free-radicals and sun damage. Just as important are foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and almonds. These superfoods promote smooth, supple skin and combat inflammation for a more even complexion.

Try not to binge on fatty foods and simple carbohydrates, such as sugar and starch, as these foods cause the body’s insulin levels to spike. This then induces inflammation, which wreaks havoc on your poor acne-prone skin.

Finally, don’t forget to drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated!

#8 Relax!


When we’re looking for ways to improve oily skin, it’s important to take stock of our stress levels. Believe it or not, stress is a huge contributor to break outs and other nasty skin flare ups. Why? Because the body’s natural response to stress is to begin overproducing the stress hormone cortisol. In turn, cortisol promotes oily skin and inflammation.

If you’re going through a stressful period in your life, try to set aside time to do the things that make you feel happy and relaxed. In the meantime, you can treat your skin’s stress with products that contain anti-inflammatory ingredients like camomile and green tea.

#9 Prep with a Primer

While you’re waiting for our long-term tips for fixing oily skin to kick in, there are several things you can do to combat a horrifyingly shiny t-zone. An easy but super effective method is to apply a makeup primer before your oil-free foundation (see tip 3). A good primer for oily skin will keep your makeup in place all day long while simultaneously fighting off shine. Look for products that promise a matte finish and contain silica for oil control.

#10 Believe in Blotting Paper

Even armed with all our best tips for beating oily skin, we still consider blotting paper or oil-blotting sheets an absolute purse must-have. These genius little sheets are perfect for fixing the unpleasant effects of a humid climate or a lunch-break work out on your face. Just gently dab an oil-blotting sheet against your skin, concentrating on your T-zone. Voila, the oil-slick is gone and you should stay blissfully matte for a good few hours.

Now that you know how to treat oily skin, all that’s left is that you apply these 10 tricks and you’ll be well on your way to achieving a perfect complexion!

About the author

Bethany Tyndall

Bethany Tyndall is an enthusiastic, full-figured, Aussie beauty blogger with a passion for budget buys, DIY beauty, nail art & wild makeup ideas. Her biggest goal is to help ladies all over the world feel beautiful and confident at any size!

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