Derms Say These 6 Ingredients Are the Best for Fighting Oily Skin and Blemishes

As New York dermatologist Patricia Wexler, MD, explains, oily skin is not all bad news. “Oil helps to moisturize the skin, making it less dry in the winter, and also protecting it from symptoms of aging.” But, those of us with oily skin probably think it’s more of a curse than a blessing. To keep excess shine at bay, try incorporating these ingredients into your skin care routine for skin you’re proud to show off.

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The natural solution
“Sulfur smells awful, but the skin loves it,” says Houston dermatologist Jennifer M. Segal, MD, adding that the natural ingredient works wonder for acne and rosacea. “There are even some great topical ‘concealers’ that contain sulfur, which lets you spot treat blemishes and cover them up at the same time.”

The gentle exfoliant
Dr. Segal says lactic acid is great for all skin types, not just if you have blemishes or oily skin. “It hydrates, treats blemishes and delivers a light ‘peel’ effect to correct any skin imperfections with minimal irritation, if any.”

The acne-avenger
Greenwich, CT, dermatologist Lynne Haven, MD, says oily skin can benefit greatly from salicylic acid which can reduce sebum, gently exfoliate and improve acne. “The acid can be used in several forms such as a cleanser, topical, spot treatment or in-office salicylic peel.” New York dermatologist Heidi Waldorf, MD, adds that the ingredient is “lipophilic” which means it’s attracted to the oil in the sebaceous follicles.

The oil-eliminator
Dr. Wexler says kaolin is naturally occurring in white clay, and helps absorb oil and leave behind matte skin. “A clay mask is a great solution for excessive sebum,” she says. Dr. Waldorf agrees, and suggests using a clay mask once or twice a week to absorb any excess oil.

The skin-perfector
According to McLean, VA, dermatologist Lily Talakoub, MD, retinol (aka the gold standard of skin care) is especially beneficial for those with oily skin. “It helps to shrink oil glands and resurface dead skin cells.” Translation: you’ll have skin that glows minus any shine.

The blemish-buster
“Glycolic acid is beneficial in lotions, peels, and creams to reduce excess oil production and prevent the clogging of pores that lead to breakouts,” says Dr. Wexler. “Glycolic acid peels are great exfoliators as well.”

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