Oily skin that's also sensitive is a frustrating, ongoing problem that can seem impossible to control. Plus, there is so much misinformation about how to care for oily, sensitive skin that it's hard to know where to begin. Most people mistakenly believe they must treat oily skin with strong products to reduce the flow of oil and achieve a matte appearance. The truth? The more harshly you treat oily skin, the more it will trigger oil production. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, gentle skin care is critical for calming down oily skin.
Unfortunately, it isn't easy to find gentle products formulated for oily skin, and it becomes even more difficult when you have extra-sensitive skin. Rest assured, though, there are truly effective solutions that can provide the desired results, or at least pretty darn close. Below are some guidelines for the best products for oily and extra-sensitive skin.
Stay away from overly thick, emollient cleansers (think Pond's Cold Cream) because they are too emollient for oily skin, and will just add to the problem. Instead, use a face wash that removes excess oil and makeup without stripping and irritating the skin. Cleansers with a gel or light lotion texture that contain only gentle cleansing agents are perfect.
Well-formulated toners are particularly beneficial for those with oily skin because they help restore and repair the skin after cleansing, and also will remove stubborn makeup you may have missed while cleansing. Best of all, those with oily skin can replace their moisturizer with a state-of-the-art toner that provides light hydration while loading up the skin with antioxidants and other skin-repairing ingredients. The problem? Most toners either contain irritating ingredients or lack beneficial ingredients. You can find the handful of great toner options that exist on Beautypedia.com.
A BHA (salicylic acid) exfoliant is one of the most impressive products for oily yet sensitive skin because it removes the outer, dead layer of built-up skin cells and penetrates through the oil directly into the pore. This reduces oil buildup and unclogs pores, leaving smoother, less oily skin. Also a plus for sensitive skin is that BHA's anti-inflammatory properties provide soothing benefits and relieve redness. Initially try a 1% concentration in a gel or liquid texture, and then step up to a 2% concentration if needed.
There are lots of products that claim to eliminate shine and reduce oil, but most of these products aren't effective beyond the first part of the day, some not even past the first hour after application. Even worse, many of these oil-absorbing products contain irritating ingredients, and so trigger the production of more oil.
Foundation and Powders
Choose a lightweight, liquid foundation that offers a matte finish with long-wearing power. Set it with a pressed powder and touch up throughout the day to reduce oily shine. Ideally, both your foundation and your powder should be fragrance-free and contain broad-spectrum sun protection so that it's not necessary to apply put a sunscreen underneath (which can make oily skin look and feel greasy). Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are reliable broad-spectrum sun-protection agents and these mineral actives are the least likely to aggravate sensitive skin.