Skincare for Beginners – Oily


Oily skin is generally caused by lack of moisture and hormones. It’s most common in adolescence when your hormones are fluctuating massively or when you’re stressed, and often results in blemishes and blackheads. You’ll find you have enlarged pores, particularly on your T-Zone and your skin will look shiny.

Oily skin is the bane of anyone’s life. It is the skin producing excessive levels of sebum, and causes blemishes, makes skin look incredibly shiny or dull and make up slides right off. Knowing the root cause of oily skin can do a lot to help you pick a regime that will work.

Unfortunately, if you’re hormonal – i.e. an adolescent – you will find it difficult to completely eradicate oily skin, however you can use the recommended products below to help keep it manageable and as blemish free as possible.

While discussing blemishes, oily skin is one of the main causes of three different types:

  • Papules
  • Pustules
  • Comedones

Papules are the painful, red and sore bumps you get that feel like they’re “under” your skin. Very common with acne, these spots have no visible pore or blackhead, and are surrounded by inflamed skin. Do not squeeze these spots. While nothing would ever come out of them anyway, squeezing papules usually forces a wound in the skin from your nails and bacteria from your hands can enter the wound and infect it, which can result in scarring.

Pustules are pretty self explanatory. They are the spots that have an obvious pore, usually filled with fluid or pus. While it is not recommended by any dermatologist that you should ever pop a pustule, I myself frequently squeeze mine, if not just for the satisfaction.
However, if you do insist on squeezing your spots, please do so in the most hygienic way possible. I strongly recommend you invest in a comedone extractor (see my kit here) which creates a small ring of pressure around the pustule, gently forcing out the fluid. You should sterilise the extractor with rubbing alcohol/boiling water and use an antiseptic wipe on the remaining spot. Remember, it’s still a wound, no matter how small, and can easily be reinfected.

Comedone is just a fancy word for blackheads/whiteheads! A blackhead is the build up of oil, dirt and bacteria in a pore that is open and has been allowed to oxidise, giving it it’s black colour. A whitehead is the same oil, dirt and bacteria, but closed and covered by skin. Both can be removed with pore strips or a comedone extractor, however use both sparingly and only if entirely necessary. Regular cleansing and exfoliating should remove the majority of comedones.

Severe papules and pustules are classed as the chronic inflammation condition, acne. If you think you suffer from acne, please visit your doctor who can prescribe medication to relieve the symptoms and reduce inflammation.

Cleansing oily skin is something I know all too well. When I was a teenager, I experienced a very oily t-zone and invested in various products that claimed to resolve the oily problem once and for all. Unfortunately, none of them worked. Then one day, I wandered into a LUSH store and came across the most wonderful product I have ever used:


This, ladies and gents, is Coalface.
A wonderful product specifically designed for oily skin. Coal is actually now a frequent ingredient in many beauty products, often used for it’s antibacterial and absorbent properties. But LUSH worked that out first.

Coalface was an absolute miracle in a bar. My skin was not only less oily, it didn’t experience the tight, astringent feeling that most products I’d used had caused.
The LUSH USA site describes the product how I remember it, whereas the UK site describes it as more of an all-over body soap. However, both refer to the exact same product and I promise you it works wonders.

How to use:
If you choose to use Coalface, simply lather up the bar as you would a normal soap and gently rub into your face using small circles and avoiding the eye area. Rinse with warm water, splash your now clean face with cool water to close the pores and pat dry.

Then it’s time to moisturise!

While most people would assume that you get dry skin from a lack of moisture, it’s actually pretty common that the root cause of oily skin is lack of moisture.

Crazy, right?

It also seems incredibly odd for someone with oily skin to need to apply moisturiser, but I promise you this is not a step you should skip.

When selecting a moisturiser, opt for a light, hydrating moisturiser that is not greasy and, if possible, water based.

I recommend the Simple Clear Skin Oil Balancing Moisturiser (Boots – £4.29)


Having used many different moisturisers over the years, the ones I often come back to are those by Simple. This moisturiser is non-greasy and absorbed easily, helping to mattify and reduce the appearance of oily skin.

I also highly recommend Simple Anti-Blemish Moisturiser (Tesco – £2.33) which I have used a number of times while experiencing oily skin or an increase in blemishes.

How to use:
Whichever moisturiser you choose, apply a small amount to your face by rubbing in small circles upwards. This ensures the moisturiser is fully absorbed by your skin and also helps stimulate blood flow.

Applying make-up to oily skin
While you have very oily skin, you can use three things to help keep your makeup in tact:

  1. Oil-free/water based foundation
  2. Non-silicone primers
  3. Oil absorbing face powder

I’ve also seen it recommended that using eyeshadow primer on your nose can also help stop make up sliding during the day.
My tips, however, are to avoid any cream based blushers or eyeshadows and use plenty of powder. Keep a compact in your bag for touch ups during the day, and you can also invest in little strips of blotting paper for your nose – though a gentle dab with a tissue will also do the trick!

While maintaining a nourishing, moisturising skincare routine, make sure that you are eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and drinking enough water. While skincare products can help relieve symptoms of oily skin, a healthy diet can actually improve oily skin from the source – you!

Eating healthily not only improves your overall health and clarity of your complexion, but can help to balance out hormones and drinking plenty of water helps your liver flush out toxins.

If you live in the north or experience cold, dark winters like we do here in Britain, I also recommend you take a Vitamin D supplement, as we usually absorb this from the sun’s radiation and it can affect our skin if we don’t get enough.
Please consult a doctor before taking Vitamin D supplements. 

When it comes to any particular skin type, it is important to remember that there is no quick fix. You may have to trial several products before you find the one that’s right for you, and this can be a long and disheartening process. But you must stick to it, because it is so worth it once you finally find the regime and products that work for you.

I have chosen to suggest drugstore brands as I feel they will be more readily available and affordable for my readers. If you have used a more high end product that has worked really well, please recommend it in the comments!

You can find out more about other skin types by visiting the Directory. The directory will be complete by the 28/01/2018.


Coalface – Image: 
Simple Oil balancing Moisturiser – Image:

All prices correct at time of publishing.

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