If you have oily skin, the thought of smearing on more moisture sounds like an unpleasant, and even counterintuitive idea. “I have combination oily skin, and I never really thought I needed a moisturizer,” says New York-based stylist Christine Cameron of My Style Pill.
In fact, many people with oily skin don't think they need a daily moisturizer, but here's why that's a misconception: Oily skin can still be dehydrated. “This is what we refer to as the ‘oil-well in the desert’ syndrome,” says Clinique guiding dermatologist Dr. David Orentreich. “Though sebum—the oil produced from oil glands—may be plentiful, the surrounding skin may be dry. Sebum plays a role in retaining moisture in the surface skin cells; but by itself, it may not be adequate without a humectant, which helps keep water from evaporating.” Basically, oil and water are two different things, and our skin needs both to be healthy.
Here, Dr. Orentreich dives in deeper to explain why oily skin needs a moisturizer—and what kind of moisturizer will keep you feeling fresh and balanced (not unattractively unctuous).
How do you know if you have oily skin?
“A certain amount of oil is naturally produced by the skin, but oily skin is usually also accompanied by increased pore size, a shiny complexion and a tendency toward blackheads, whiteheads and pimples,” explains Dr. Orentreich. Some of us experience these symptoms more during warm months and in humid locations. That’s because sebum becomes more fluid and flows more easily out of pores when it’s hot outside. We also experience an increase in sweat, which acts as an emulsifier, allowing oil to spread more easily over the skin.
What kind of moisturizer does oily skin need?
“Oily skin's moisturizing needs can be a bit tricky to get right. Too little water and it becomes dehydrated. Add oil, and it can become extra greasy and blemish-prone,” says Dr. Orentreich. That’s why Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel was specially formulated to absorb excess oil and provide the right amount of hydration. (Plus, it’s clinically tested to be non-acnegenic, which means that it will not clog pores or cause acne.)
It’s also ideal to look for a gel formula, because it’ll feel very light and refreshing while still helping to replenish your skin’s natural moisture balance. “I’m addicted to the texture,” says Christine. “It’s lightweight, absorbs instantly, and doesn’t leave behind any greasy residue.” Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel also primes skin for any treatment or makeup to follow—thanks to its smooth, easy-gliding texture—and controls excess oil throughout the day using the oil-absorbing power of Silica. “Two pumps is all I need for my entire face and neck,” says Christine. Made with sunflower seed, cucumber and barley extract, it strengthens skin against dirt, pollution and sweat, which are the main culprits for causing breakouts.
For oily skin types, Dr. Orentreich recommends using Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel twice a day after cleansing with Liquid Facial Soap Oily Skin Formula and exfoliating with Clarifying Lotion 3 or 4.
Video: Christian Witkin | Words: Mari Tzikas Suarez