A Gentle Skincare Routine for Oily Skin | CeraVe
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Skincare Routine for Oily Skin

Keeping oily skin looking and feeling healthy requires a daily skincare regimen. CeraVe has created a gentle, yet effective skincare routine for oily skin using a non-comedogenic cleanser, eye cream, serum, and moisturizers. Plus, every product is formulated with ingredients like ceramides that help maintain and restore the skin's barrier and help your skin hold on to hydration. 

Key Ingredients in This Routine

This gentle skincare routine for oily skin features lightweight, fragrance-free products that are developed with dermatologists. Our products for oily skin are formulated with beneficial ingredients that, when used consistently, can help promote a fresh, healthy-looking complexion. Here are some of the key ingredients to look out for when creating your oily skin routine.

  • Hyaluronic acid helps retain the skin’s natural moisture.

  • Niacinamide helps calm the skin.

  • Ceramides are key components of your skin’s natural moisture barrier.

  • Retinol helps refine and resurface skin while improving the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, rough texture, and radiance.


The Oily Skin Type, Explained

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), oily skin is one of the five main skin types (with the others being drycombinationsensitive, and normal skin).1 This skin type produces an excess of sebum (oil) that can leave skin looking greasy and shiny. Oily skin types may also be more prone to experiencing comedonal acne (blackheads and whiteheads) and other types of acne blemishes. On the other hand, because the increased oils can help keep skin properly lubricated, this skin type may have fewer visible fine lines and wrinkles.


Do You Have Oily Skin?

You can usually identify whether or not you have oily skin through simple observation. The oily skin type will generally have a slick, shiny appearance—especially around the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin). Oily skin can sometimes be mistaken for combination skin, which tends to be oily in some areas and dry in others (such as the cheeks).


To help find your skin type, you can try observing how your skin behaves approximately 30 minutes after cleansing. If your skin looks and feels oily all over, you likely have oily skin. When in doubt, a board-certified dermatologist can also assess your skin and help you accurately identify your skin type.


What Does CeraVe Recommend for Oily Skin?

Although everyone’s skin is unique, there are a number of general guidelines that can help when caring for oily skin. The ideal routine for oily skin is one that helps support hydrated, comfortable, and balanced skin that’s neither too oily nor too dry. It should help hydrate your skin and minimize unwanted shine, without clogging your pores or disrupting your skin’s protective barrier. Here are a few core steps that we recommend including in your skincare routine for oily skin.



Cleansing is the first step in any good oily skin routine. Look for gentle, non-drying cleansers that are formulated specifically for oily skin. Foaming cleansers are often the preferred choice for oily skin, since these formulas can thoroughly remove excess oil from the skin’s surface. One great option to consider for oily skin is CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser. Featuring niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and three essential ceramides, this gel-based cleanser is formulated to deeply cleanse and remove oil without disrupting the skin’s protective barrier (which can leave skin feeling tight or dry).


Individuals with oily skin should cleanse twice daily (morning and night), as well as after sweating (unless directed otherwise by a dermatologist). Oily skin can also benefit from using an alcohol-free toner (like CeraVe Hydrating Toner) post-cleanse to help remove any leftover residue on the skin.



Target Concerns

Targeted skincare treatments can help minimize common oily skin concerns, such as visible pores, acne blemishes, or post-acne marks. For this step, oily skin can incorporate a lightweight, oil-free facial serum with ingredients such as retinol. For oily, acne-prone skin, acne treatments with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can help keep breakouts under control. An eye cream can also be applied as an optional step after serum or treatment gels to help reduce the appearance of dark circles or puffiness under the eyes.



After cleansing, toning, and applying targeted treatments, we recommend applying a non-comedogenic, oil-free moisturizer. The term “non-comedogenic” means that the moisturizer is formulated not to clog your pores, which is especially important for oily skin. And contrary to popular belief, people with oily skin should not skip this important skincare step. Oily skin requires plenty of hydration. In fact, over-drying your skin may cause it to produce even more oil in response. Ideal options for oily skin can include lightweight, non-greasy face moisturizers with helpful ingredients like ceramides, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid.


Help Protect From UV Rays

The last step in an effective skincare routine for oily skin is sun protection. All skin types should wear sunscreen every morning, even when it’s cloudy or when staying indoors. Research shows that sun exposure can dry out your skin, which may cause it to produce more sebum.2 The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recommends using a sunscreen with broad-spectrum SPF 15 or higher daily.  

Sunscreen should be applied liberally 15 minutes before sun exposure and reapplied at least every two hours. It’s also essential to use additional sun protection measures, such as limiting time in the sun (especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.) and wearing wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, hats, and sunglasses. For oily skin, we recommend looking for oil-free, non-comedogenic, and non-greasy sunscreens or moisturizers with sunscreen that are developed with dermatologists and suitable for oily skin.

Products in This Routine

With CeraVe's easy-to-use products, you can create an oily skin routine that you and your skin will feel good about.

  • 1. Cleanse
  • 2. Target Concerns
  • 3. Moisturize & Help Protect
  • 1. Cleanse
    CeraVe Skincare Cleansers Foaming Facial Cleanser

    CeraVe Skincare Cleansers Foaming Facial Cleanser

    Foaming Facial Cleanser

    For Normal to Oily Skin

    A foaming gel face wash is ideal for removing excess oil, dirt, and makeup. When choosing a facial cleanser for normal to oily skin, it’s important to look for a formula that's gentle, won’t disrupt your skin’s natural protective barrier (which can leave skin feeling dry or tight), and contains ingredients that help maintain its moisture balance.


    CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser features ceramideshyaluronic acid, and niacinamide, and is formulated to lock in moisture and help avoid skin barrier disruption. Developed with dermatologists, this non-drying face wash for normal to oily skin deeply cleanses, removes excess oil, and refreshes your skin without disrupting the skin barrier. This gel-based facial cleanser is an effective, yet gentle way to cleanse and care for your normal to oily skin. 


    Tip: After cleansing, oily skin can also benefit from applying a gentle, non-drying toner—such as CeraVe Hydrating Toner—to help calm the skin and remove any leftover residue.


  • 2. Target Concerns


    Eye Repair Cream

    For All Skin Types

    The delicate skin around your eyes can be prone to puffiness, dark circles, and other visible signs of fatigue. Adding a moisturizing eye cream to your daily skincare routine can help hydrate, brighten, and smooth your under-eye area. When selecting a moisturizing eye cream for puffy, tired-looking eyes and dark circles, look for products formulated with beneficial ingredients—like ceramideshyaluronic acid, and niacinamide—to lock in moisture and help maintain your skin’s protective barrier.


    CeraVe Eye Repair Cream is ophthalmologist-tested and features a non-greasy, fast-absorbing, fragrance-free formula that works to minimize the appearance of dark circles and eye puffiness. It’s formulated with three essential ceramides, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and a Marine & Botanical Complex to help brighten your entire eye area. Plus, MVE technology continually releases moisturizing ingredients for all-day hydration.

  • 3. Moisturize & Help Protect


    Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion

    For Normal to Oily Skin

    A lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizer with sunscreen is an essential skincare product for anyone with oily skin. For daytime, we recommend an oil-free moisturizer that’s formulated with broad-spectrum sunscreen. A formula that contains ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides can also help the skin retain its natural moisture and help restore the skin’s barrier. We recommend a lightweight face sunscreen like CeraVe Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion.

    CeraVe Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion includes broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen to help protect skin from sun damage, which can lead to premature signs of aging and skin cancer (when used as directed with other sun protection measures). Plus, it features hyaluronic acid and three essential ceramides to hydrate and help restore the skin’s barrier. Additionally, our lightweight oil-free moisturizer provides a matte finish, won’t clog pores, and leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth, as well as protected from the sun. Remember to reapply as directed.

Skincare for Oily Skin: What To Avoid in Your Routine

When building a skincare routine for oily skin, it’s important to know what to look for in your skincare products. However, if you want to find skincare products that are suitable for your oily skin, there are also a few things you might want to avoid. 


Heavy, oil-based moisturizers

Moisturizers come in many different types of formulas, and some may be too heavy for oily skin. If your skin is oily, we recommend avoiding oil-based moisturizers that contain ingredients like cocoa butter, lanolin, and corn oil. These ingredients can sometimes be “comedogenic,” which means they have the potential to clog your pores (depending on the concentration of the ingredient and overall formulation).



Fragrance is often added to oily skin products to give them a pleasant scent. But fragrance chemicals can also be irritating and may cause allergic reactions in some people’s skin, especially for those with oily sensitive skin. Because of this, many dermatologists recommend using products that are fragrance-free. CeraVe products are formulated without fragrance for this reason.


Alcohol-based toners or astringents

Some skincare ingredients (such as drying alcohols) can have drying or irritating side effects. And, as mentioned above, over-drying your oily skin can trigger an increase in sebum production. This can potentially leave your skin feeling oilier than before. For this reason, we recommend avoiding alcohol-based products or harsh astringents. 


For help choosing the right products for your specific skin type and skin concerns, use our Find My Skincare Solution tool.


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