The 7 Best Moisturizers for Oily Skin

Though you can add a bunch of serums and skin treatments to address your skin’s specific concerns, the foundation of every skincare routine is quite basic: all you need on a daily basis is a good cleanser and a good moisturizer. 

However, finding the right skincare products for your skin type can be a lot easier said than done. 

Especially if you have oily skin, you know the struggle of finding a good lotion or moisturizer for your skin type. It needs to be hydrating but not too oily, silky without being greasy, nourishing but still lightweight… the list goes on. Sometimes, you might be tempted to skip this skincare step altogether. 

Don’t let the challenge scare you away. Everybody needs to moisturize their skin — even if you have oily skin. However, that doesn’t mean you need to settle for an oily skin feeling. With the right skincare, you can hydrate your oily skin without weighing it down. 

Today, we’ll set you down the path to nourishing your oily skin with the right moisturizer. You’ll learn what skin concerns to watch out for with your oily skin, how to combat them with the right skincare ingredients, and some recommendations to help you find the best moisturizer for oily skin. 

What Are the Signs of Oily Skin?

According to dermatologists, there are five primary skin types: 

  1. Normal skin, which is clear and not overly sensitive. 
  2. Sensitive skin, which is easily aggravated by non-gentle skincare products. 
  3. Dry skin, which struggles to retain moisture and is often flaky, itchy, or rough as a result. 
  4. Oily skin, which struggles with excess oil and is often greasy and shiny as a result. 
  5. Combination skin, which has qualities of both dry skin and oily skin. 

While there is no “best” or “better” skin type, people with oily skin often agree that it’s one of the more difficult skin types to manage. As many as 50 million people have oily skin — though some don’t even know it. 

Unlike a skin condition, you don’t need a dermatologist to identify your skin type for you. Instead, all you need to do is look in the mirror to know if you have oily skin. If you’re still unsure, we’ve compiled a few of the most common signs of oily skin to help you determine your skin type. 

Enlarged Pores

One of the first signs that you might have oily skin is if you also have large facial pores. 

Pores are tiny openings in your skin that funnel oil and sweat to the surface of your skin. These openings also house your hair follicles and sebaceous glands — the glands responsible for producing sebum, a healthy oil your skin relies on to protect itself and maintain the natural moisture barrier. 

Without sebum, your skin would quickly dry out. Small cracks would form in the skin barrier, letting in various bacteria, viruses, and other irritants that could harm your body. That’s why pores are so important for your skin — they ensure the surface of your skin is constantly moisturized, preventing this dryness and the skin concerns that could come with it. 

Oily skin takes this function a step too far. 

Depending on what area of the face you’re looking at, skin pore sizes can range from a diameter as small as 5-10 micrometers (μm) for hair follicles and 40-80 μm for sweat glands. Pores this small are invisible to the naked eye. 

These rules don’t apply to oily skin. Instead, skin pores are almost always visible on oily skin, in part because they are often clogged, but also because of their sheer size. Skin pores on oily skin can range from 250 μm in diameter up to 500 μm — a significant difference from non-oily skin types. 

Skin Congestion

The large pore size of oily skin is responsible for almost all of the side effects of oily skin — including its tendency to become congested. 

Remember that the purpose of skin pores is to facilitate a continuous flow of oil and new skin cells . It’s supposed to be a cycle — but when too much oil (or other dirt, debris, and dead skin cells) begins to build up on the skin, it can disrupt this natural flow. 

This build-up is what causes skin congestion. 

Congestion can prevent healthy skin cycling and cause several cosmetic problems on the surface of the skin. For oily or acne-prone skin, this often means an influx of breakouts. However, skin congestion is a lot more than just acne — it also impacts your overall skin tone. 

Congested skin often appears dull and tired, and it may be more rough or bumpy than normal. These changes to skin tone and texture are both signs of oily skin.

Shiny or Slick Skin

As oily skin funnels more and more sebum to the surface of the skin, this natural oil quickly becomes an excess. Though the right cleanser can clear this extra sebum away, you can’t wash your face around the clock (nor should you). This means that this excess oil is left to linger on the skin. 

When the surface of your skin contains more oil than it needs, it can create a shiny or slick appearance. This skin texture is more often referred to as greasy skin. 

While this grease can appear anywhere on the skin, it’s most likely in the areas where your pores are largest — the forehead and the nose. That’s why many skincare routines for oily skin often encourage exfoliating these sections of the space specifically. It can help manage a shiny skin look. 


Excess oil can do more to your skin than just leave behind a layer of shine. This shine can quickly turn into full-on acne flare-ups for people with oily skin. 

Acne occurs on the skin when your pores become clogged by excess oil, dead skin cells, or other types of debris that build up on the skin's surface. Because oily skin is especially vulnerable to this kind of build-up, breakouts and blemishes are common concerns for this skin type. 

This quality of oily skin is why it’s also often called acne-prone skin. Breakouts and excess oil are common in teenagers who are experiencing extreme hormone fluctuations associated with puberty, but this skin type is not exclusive to adolescents. Acne and acne-prone skin can also affect adults throughout their lives. 

What Are the Best Moisturizers for Oily Skin?

If this sounds like your skin, then congratulations, and welcome to the oily skin club! While some people might curse their large pores and excess oil on their forehead, it’s not that bad here — or at least it doesn’t have to be. 

Like any other skin type, the best way to manage your oily skin is to learn how to take care of it correctly. There is a reason that skincare isn’t one-size-fits-all — it’s meant to be customized to your skin's specific needs and, you guessed it, your skin type. 

By choosing the right facial moisturizer for oily skin, you can restore balance to your complexion and achieve a healthy glow. 

However, it all depends on selecting the right skincare, which isn’t always easy. Especially when it comes to moisturizer, it can be tough to strike the right balance. So, to help you find the right skincare product for your skin, we’ve put together a list of the seven best moisturizers for oily skin to get you started. 

1. SkinCeuticals Daily Moisture

If you want to reduce the appearance of your pores , this lightweight moisturizer is the one for you. 

The SkinCeuticals Daily Moisture is designed to hydrate the skin without leaving your skin feeling heavy or oily afterward. Made with powerful botanicals and high levels of vitamin E, this product controls oils by targeting skin pores — and even works to shrink them. 

2. Tata Harper Clarifying Moisturizer

If you’re looking to calm and clear your acne-prone skin, then this clarifying gel moisturizer is for you. 

The Tata Harper Clarifying Moisturizer works to reduce the look of blemishes and counteract redness in congested skin. Powered by antioxidants and ceramides, this skincare product targets breakout-causing oils and keeps them in check, all while delivering the essential nutrients your skin needs to stay nourished. 

3. Augustinus Bader The Light Cream

If you’re looking for a mattifying moisturizer that can help prevent unwanted shine even in stubborn fine lines, try this face cream. 

The Augustinus Bader The Light Cream balances sebum levels on the surface of your skin, swapping shine for a smooth, matte look. This cream moisturizer is made with lemon myrtle extract, aloe vera, green tea, and more. 

4. SkinMedica Ultra Sheer Moisturizer

If you’re looking for a fragrance-free moisturizer that hydrates without weighing down your skin, this product is for you. 

The SkinMedica Ultra Sheer Moisturizer is designed for oil control: made with hyaluronic acid and antioxidants like vitamins C and E, this lightweight moisturizer can combat clogging in oily skin and transform your complexion. 

5. Jack Black Clean Break Oil Free Moisturizer

If you’re looking to fight fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots that develop over time, this anti-aging moisturizer is the one for you. 

The Jack Black Clean Break Oil-Free Moisturizer reveals clear, younger-looking skin by breaking through layers of dead skin cells to reach the healthy ones beneath. Made with niacinamide to improve skin tone and texture, this ultra-lightweight moisturizer targets signs of aging on oily skin. 

6. M-61 PowerSpot Moisturizer

If you’re looking for an oil-free moisturizer made with some of the most powerful acids in skincare, this cream moisturizer is the one for you. 

The M-61 PowerSpot Moisturizer is powered by two popular facial acids: glycolic acid to gently exfoliate skin and encourage collagen production, and salicylic acid to target breakouts and unclog pores. This face cream moisturizer clarifies and hydrates skin for a clear and blemish-free complexion.

7. Sisley-Paris Mattifying Moisturizing Skincare With Tropical Resins

If you’re looking for a mattifying moisturizer that is lightweight enough for daily use on even the most oily of skin types, then this product is the one for you. 

The Sisley-Paris Mattifying Moisturizing Skincare With Tropical Resins combines the power of glycerin and various non-comedogenic botanicals to moisturize skin and minimize oil. This formula is entirely oil-free, meaning its brightening effect on your skin won’t come at the cost of excess oil. 

Balance It Out

Your skin is only as good as your skincare routine , and your skincare routine is only as good as your moisturizer. As the final step in your morning and nighttime routine, it’s important to leave off on a good note — so finding the right face and night creams for your skin type is essential. 

Because oily skin is already prone to excess oil and shine, it’s important to choose lotions and moisturizers that won’t leave behind extra grease. Opt for a lightweight moisturizer in your oily skincare routine to keep your skin hydrated and clear. 


Ask a Dermatologist: How to Deal With Oily Skin | Columbia Skin Clinic

Sebaceous Glands: Function, Location & Secretion | Cleveland Clinic

Facial skin pores: a multiethnic study | National Library of Medicine

Cycling up the epidermis: reconciling 100 years of debate | National Library of Medicine

Adult Acne Versus Adolescent Acne | National Library of Medicine

Salicylic Acid Topical | Medline Plus