girl cleaning her face

Skin Care For Oily Skin

Everything you need to know about what causes oily skin, how to prevent it & our skin care routine for oily skin.

Skin Care For Oily Skin

Oily skin is usually characterised by its shine and is caused by the excessive production of sebum by the sebaceous glands - the glands in your skin that produce oil to give it that tell-tale gleam.  

Sebum keeps our skin moist and healthy but too much of it can make the skin overly greasy, clog pores and increase the likelihood of spots and breakouts. 

The right skincare routine will not only control oily skin but will highlight its positive characteristics.  Here we look at what causes oily skin and how you can manage it. 
woman applying serum on her face

What are the characteristics of oily skin?

There are a few notable signs that signal you have oily skin, including:

- Large visible pores 
- Shiny skin
- Frequent breakouts of black heads and white heads
- Acne 

What causes oily skin?

Oily skin is a result of the sebaceous glands that can produce too much oil, known as sebum. 

Sebum is actually a good thing; it serves to protect the epidermis and keeps it elastic and hydrated, ensuring the skin is supple and healthy looking. Oily skin often ages slower than dry skin as a result. But, as with everything, there can be too much of a good thing. 

Too much sebum can make the face appear shiny and gives bacteria a fertile ground to breed. The excess sebum mixes with dead skin cells and bacteria which gets clogged in your pores. As a result, blackheads, pimples and other skin inflammations are a common characteristic of oily skin.
Oily skin can be controlled with proper skincare designed to treat it. Gentle creams and treatments with the right active ingredients will bring out the best attributes of oily skin, while reducing congestion and inflammation. 
blonde girl with eyes closed

There are other factors that may cause oily skin, including:

- Genetics 
- Age 
- The time of year - you are more likely to have oily skin in the summer
- Using skincare products that are too harsh or too heavy
- Not moisturising 
- The climate you live in - again, the hotter it is, the more likely you are to have oily skin

How to prevent & reduce oily skin

You can’t get rid of oily skin but by nourishing it and giving it what it needs, you can control it. A good skincare routine for oily skin should be your first step. 

A good skin routine will also harness the upside of oily skin - its bounce and softness. 

The right beauty routine for oily skin is very important, which is why products for oily skin should always be selected with care. These will respect the normal pH of the face, won’t  cause excess hydration - because they have a light texture - and will keep the right balance between deep cleansing and hydration.
girl touching her face
How to prevent & reduce oily skin

STEP 1 - Face wash for oily skin

Let's start with the fundamental step of the beauty routine for oily skin: cleansing. Avoid oily or biphasic cleansers in favour of cleansing gels or delicate make-up remover wipes. 

Pick a gentle cleanser - it’s tempting to think that oily skin needs to be ‘scrubbed’ of its oil, but it is important to keep the pH balance to keep oily skin calm. Pick a face wash that deeply cleanses, refreshes the skin, removes all excess sebum and bacteria. The right face wash for oily skin should leave the skin squeaky clean and hydrated. Explore our range of NIVEA Face Cleansers, for an effective and gentle cleanse.

At night you might choose to double cleanse, perhaps using an oil-based cleanser, such as a cleansing oil or micellar water, followed by a water-based cleanser. Or remove make-up with gentle facial wipes before using your chosen cleaner. To get the most from oily skin, it is vital you wash off make-up, sebum, and any other impurities you might find on your skin at the end of the day, to avoid further breakouts. 
girl with yellow towel
How to prevent & reduce oily skin

STEP 2 - Gentle scrub

Scrub is one of the essential products for the face with oily skin, but we advise you not to exfoliate too much, otherwise the skin will react and increase the production of sebum. Use your scrub once or twice a week to refine skin and thoroughly clean pores.
girl holding a bottle of Nivea toner
How to prevent & reduce oily skin

STEP 3 - Toner

Toner is a fundamental step for oily and sensitive skins to remove the residue of grease and make-up.
girl with face mask on
How to prevent & reduce oily skin

STEP 4 - Face mask

A regular face mask can help purify and deeply cleanse congested skin and are well worth introducing into your skincare routine if they’re not already. 
girl smiling
How to prevent & reduce oily skin

STEP 5 - Moisturiser for oily skin

Oily skin still needs hydrating and moisturising, so don’t be tempted to skip this step - in fact dehydrated oily skin will actually overcompensate by producing more oil and will, in turn, become oilier and breakout-prone. 

Moisturisers made for oily skin should be gentle as well as hydrating and mattifying. For your dedicated skincare, choose light water-based creams, serums or gels that do not weigh down the face or leave it too slick, but at the same time ensure it gets all the hydration it needs. 

Explore our range of NIVEA oil-free moisturisers to nourish and comfort oily skin without leaving a greasy film. 

Night cream for oily skin

Those with oily-prone skin can tend to shy away from night creams, which are traditionally heavier and thicker than day creams. But oily skins should lap up the calming, restorative benefits of night creams that work while you sleep to reap the maximum rewards from your chosen product. In addition, if you are using active ingredients to treat breakouts or acne, adding a nourishing night cream will act like a comfort blanket on your skin. 
woman touching her face

Caring for oily skin as you age

Oily skin doesn’t just affect teenagers. It usually shows signs of ageing slower than dry skin but an imbalance of oil production can affect anyone of any age.


While even oily skin will become drier as we age, it still needs the right skincare at 40 as at 30 but its needs might change. 

Whatever your age, with oily skin, the goal is to rebalance the production of sebum for a visible and prolonged result over time. Young acne-prone skin should focus on specific products, as well as delicate and light cleansers.


On the other hand, those who are older should seek out gentle skincare that nurtures mature skin without overloading it. 

woman smiling