Oily Skin? Here’s Why You Need Oil-Free Moisturizers

by Gio

oil-free moisturizers

Oily skin, meet your new BFF: oil-free moisturizers.

Don’t get scared. I know the last thing you want is to add more to oil to your face. It pumps out way too much on its own, doesn’t it?

But oil-free moisturisers aren’t like other moisturisers. There’s one key difference that makes them perfect for your skin type. Here’s what I mean:

Why Traditional Moisturizers Contain Oils

The job of a moisturizer is to prevent dryness.

Your skin gets dry when your skin’s protective barrier is damaged. Moisture evaporates through the holes, making it all dry and flaky.

Most moisturizers fix this by creating a barrier on the skin that patches up the holes in your own barrier and traps moisture in. That’s a job for oils.

Oils like mineral oil, coconut oil, and olive oil (to name a few!) seal everything in, including moisture.

If you have oily skin, that’s the last thing you need. Your protective barrier is perfectly intact. Heck, your skin pumps out so much oil, that barrier keeps getting stronger and stronger.

That’s when oil-free moisturisers come in.

Related: Is Mineral Oil Bad For Skin?

How Do Oil-Free Moisturizers Work?

Oil-free moisturizers help skin retain moisture, too. But in a slightly different way. They use emollients and humectants to do the job.

Emollients, like silicones and hydrogenated polyisobutene, work similarly to oils. They create a barrier on the skin that holds moisture in. But they’re much lighter than oils so don’t clog your pores or turn your face into a greasy mess.

Humectants, like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, are moisture magnets. They attract moisture from the air into skin and bind it. They’re the best way to hydrate skin without adding more oil to it.

Related: What The Heck Are Humectants And Why Are They In My Skincare Products?

Need help choosing the best moisturizer for your skin type? Click on the image below to subscribe to my newsletter and receive “The Smart’s Girl Guide To Moisturisers” short ebook (it’s free!):

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Need help picking the perfect moisturizer for your skin type? Download my short ebook "The Smart Girl's Guide To Moisturizers" for my best picks and recommendations.

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What Are The Best Oil-Free Moisturizers?


The Bottom Line

If you have oily skin, oil-free moisturisers are the way to go. They keep your skin hydrating without adding more oil it. Win win.

What are your fave oil-free moisturisers? Share your picks in the comments below.

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Dao July 28, 2009 - 3:36 pm

Hyaluronic acid also works well as a moisturizer. To me, I prefer oil-free moisturizer as it does not aggravate my skin condition. For those whose skin can tolerate oil, I say go for it.
.-= Dao´s last blog ..HiP Eyes FOTD =-.

Vonvon July 29, 2009 - 1:33 am

This is a very informative post. I have to admit that as much as I use skincare and makeup, I don’t really go deeper into its ‘pharmacology’, as in how a particular product really works on the skin and for the skin. *sheepish smile*
.-= Vonvon´s last blog ..Invitation To Kiehl’s Party =-.

prettybeautiful July 29, 2009 - 2:13 am

now i am using mattifying moisturizer too 😀 if it contains essential oils or mineral oils, it gives me tonnes of small tiny bumps!
.-= prettybeautiful´s last blog ..NOTD: Simple Gradient Glittery Nail Art =-.

beautifulwithbrains July 29, 2009 - 1:25 pm

Dao: you’re right, Hyaluronic Acid works rally well because it has good water-binding properties. I think if your skin is oily, then you’re better off using an oil-free moisturizer. After all, that type of skin already produces too much oil, so you don’t want to add more. But otherwise, there is no need to avoid oils, as they aren’t all bad.

Vonvon: thanks. I used to be like that too. I’ve started to take an interest in these things a couple of years ago and I found it really helps me choose the best products that work for my skin.

Prettybeautiful: that’s too bad! That’s the downside of oils, they have nice properties but can also cause awful breakouts for some people 🙁

Geo May 12, 2019 - 12:00 am

Thanks for this list Gio. I’d like to add a product that has revolutionized my oily, acne prone skin. Almost all moisturizers cause me to get clogged pores, tiny whiteheads, and or breakouts– even the Paula’s Choice ones designed for my skin type. I started using a Korean product called “Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel” made by Benton. My skin is loving this stuff. My face has not been this smooth and hydrated since I was like, 10 years old! I highly recommend it, especially if you use strong actives or if your skin barrier gets compromised. This product is really healing.

Gio May 31, 2019 - 12:44 pm

Geo, thanks for sharing. Sounds like holy grail material. 🙂 So glad you’ve found it!


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