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Here's Everything You Need To Know About Exfoliating Oily Skin


Anyone with oily skin knows how confusing the maintenance of it can be. There seems to be a very fine line of skincare habits before you’ve tipped too far in one direction and unleashed a flurry of shiny forehead and zits. In this article we’ll discuss why exfoliating oily skin is necessary, the proper exfoliation regimen, and the products that hyper-enthusiastic reviewer with oily skin swear by like these Tingl exfoliator pads, available on Amazon.

Why Exfoliating Oily Skin Is Necessary

Exfoliation Is Crucial For Oily Skin

Exfoliation is a particularly interesting part of skincare regimen for oily skin because people think the last thing they need is an exfoliant. Exfoliation is often thought of as only necessary for dry skin types, blackheads, or blemishes. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Oily Skin Sheds More Slowly

In fact, oily skin is more susceptible to blemishes and spots because the oil causes your skin to shed more slowly than other skin types. The “trapped” dead skin exacerbates the oiliness as it absorbs sebum which is the oily secretion of sebaceous glands. Voila! You’ve got gnarly skin problem on your hands. This is where salicylic exfoliators come in to save the day. Oily skin just needs a little extra oomph by way of exfoliations to shed old-dead skin and reveal the new skin beneath.

The Best Exfoliants For Oily Skin

Salicylic acid is the best option for exfoliating oily skin for its ability to penetrate your pores, prevent acne, and reduce overall blemishes in a mild but extremely affective manner. Dermatologist Dr. Annie Chiu even says that salicylic acid can reduce oil production. Dr. Sue Ann Wee also says that salicylic acid can reduce sebum production. So, if you have oily skin, an exfoliant with salicylic acid, like this one, is the way to go.

6 Benefits of Exfoliating Oily Skin With Salicylic Exfoliators

Here’s a more in-depth explanation of the benefits of using salicylic acid as an exfoliator if you have oily skin. have a lot of great benefits especially if you have oily skin.

Chemical exfoliators are mainly categorized into 2 types; AHA’s (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) and BHA’s (Beta Hydroxy Acid). Salicylic exfoliators fall under the latter category. A BHA like salicylic acid is highly tolerable in lower concentrations. Scientifically speaking, they weaken the cellular bonds that cause dead skin to stick together which encourages that exfoliation.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids are water soluble while salicylic acid, type of beta hydroxy acid is lipid or oil-soluble which is why salicylic acid is more effective for oily skin. We’ve summarized this list of salicylic exfoliator benefits, check it out:

  1. Salicylic acid is a gentler method of exfoliation than physical exfoliators like brushes.

  2. The effects last longer than physical exfoliation.

  3. Physical exfoliation only works on the outermost surface of the skin; salicylic acid can penetrate into the pores of your skin.

  4. Salicylic acid is a very strong anti-bacterial agent that prevents and eliminates bacterial growth on the skin. It stimulates the skin collagen which in turn prevents acne growth.

  5. Since salicylic acid is soluble in the natural skin oil, it can reach the pores of skin cells very easily. This allows it to easily remove dirt and residual makeup easily along with its primary function of removing dead skin cells.

  6. It has anti-inflammatory properties, which means it can help visibly reduce visible acne.

How To Exfoliate Oily Skin

Now that we’ve explained why you should be exfoliating your oily skin, why you should exfoliate oily skin with salicylic acid, and the benefits of the chemical exfoliator, let’s discuss how to exfoliate your oily skin.

First things first, don’t let the term “acid” intimidate you. Many everyday skincare products already include salicylic acid as an ingredient. In fact, if you check the ingredient’s list of face washes that tout “acne fighting” that’s usually due to the salicylic acid.

Second, you need to have the right products. For exfoliating your oily skin properly it’s a three step process which requires (1) the exfoliant, (2) a moisturizer, and (3) a good sunscreen.

Based on rave reviews we recommend NeedCrystal’s Face Scrub With Salicylic Acid for just, $30 on Amazon (at the time of publication). Then follow-up your skincare treatment with a Gel Moisturizer like H20’s for just, $25 on Amazon (at the time of publishing). Lastly, protect your skin with EltaMD’s facial sunscreen. Your skin will be more sensitive to sun damage after an exfoliation but truly sunscreen is THE most important skincare product hands-down. So, you should be using it daily anyways.

How Often Should You Exfoliate Oily Skin?

We wrote another article about how to get rid of dry skin on your face and it’s no surprise that the answer was, exfoliate. Still, we went into more detail about the appropriate frequency of exfoliating.

Exfoliating too much is just as harmful as not exfoliating at all or going too long in between exfoliating. Oil is not the enemy of your skin; its presence in the excessive amounts is.

To understand just how often you need to exfoliate your skin, you need to understand your skin type. For example, sensitive skin should only be exfoliated once per week. While, normal, combination, and oily skin can be exfoliated 2-3 times per week.

When you exfoliate too much you strip away the natural glow of your skin which is maintained by the natural presence of oil. This is why skin experts and medical professional suggest exfoliating oily skin twice a week; ideally once during the weekend and once during the middle of the week.

Exfoliants & Skincare Products For Oily Skin

This is a list of products that enthusiastic reviewers recommend for exfoliating oily skin. If you’ve had a hard time finding some dependable and quality chemical exfoliators for maintaining oily skin and preventing acne but find yourself confused s to which ones to choose, here are some of our preferred selections of salicylic exfoliators for total skin care of your oily skin!

NeedCrystals Face Scrub with Salicylic Acid



NeedCrystal’s Skincare Booster combines microdermabrasion crystals with salicylic acid for a highly effective skin clearing solution for oily skin. The way to use this powder-like product is by combining it with your daily face wash 2-3 times a week for a simple exfoliating with great results. Here’s what one person with oily skin had to say:

I've been using this product for five months now. I use it once a day in my face wash. I'm 36 and have combo/aging skin. Usually very oily with dry patches. Normally I don't write reviews but I really like this product. I've noticed that if I use too much face wash then the Crystals don't seem to exfoliate, hence some of the negative reviews I've read. I do feel like it helps exfoliate. I haven't seen a difference in my fine lines, but for someone with oily skin, it feels good to have a gentle exfoliation every night.

The NeedCrystal’s Skincare Booster is currently available on Amazon

Garnier SkinActive Oily Skin Kit



This Garnier SkinActive Oily Kit is really helpful because it combines multiple helpful products together for you. Seriously, there’s not a lot of thought necessary.

This is also an excellent way to get started if you’re a bit of a novice with skincare. The Garnier SkinActive Oily Skin Kit includes a Micellar Cleansing Water and makeup remover, Moisture Bomb, Gel-cream face moisturizer and Mattfiying Sheet Mask. As one satisfied user noted in her review:

“I have more oily skin, and can breakout easily. I switched to using this stuff at night instead of a night cream, and so far I've had no issues. My skin is hydrated, and my pores aren't clogged.”

The Garnier SkinActive Oily Kit is currently available on Amazon.

Water Gel Hydrating Treatment by H2O+ Beauty



As mentioned earlier, a good exfoliating regimen also includes a high quality moisturizer. When you have oily skin a gel moisturizer is often better than an oil based or cream moisturizer which is why we recommend H2O Plus hydrating treatment.

This moisturizer is light and non-oily, but highly moisturizing. Further, according to H2O, it’s clinically proven and tested to provide twice the moisturizing effect that doubles the skin's hydration ratio for up to 24 hours, the water-gel based formula is suitable for all skin types. A happy customer left the following review:

“This treatment was what my skin routine needed! I am 31, and I have combination skin. I use this in the morning after my serum, the Infinity+ anti-aging serum, and it leaves my skin feeling light, moisturized, smooth and refreshed. I’ve used it for about a week, and I think it has made my skin feel overall more hydrated and supple. Great product!”

The H2O Hydrating Treatment is available on Amazon.

Tingl Acne Treatment and Anti-Aging Face Exfoliator

photo: courtesy DRMTLGY via AMAZON

photo: courtesy DRMTLGY via AMAZON

I’m a personal fan of cleansing pads because of how easy they are and I love using them to remove makeup. Once you’re done using one you just toss it in the trash and move on with you life, lovely.

The best thing about Tingl pads is that they’re not only an exfoliating texture but they also combine the power of salicylic acid as a double whammy. Listen, I’m an adult but I’m having a lot of fun saying “tingl pads.” Imagine saying to someone “be right back, I need to go in the bathroom and use a tingl pad,” I find that scenario amazing.

Besides salicylic acid, it contains Glycolic and Lactic acid which brings additional healing and rejuvenation properties to the skin combined with natural ingredients. It has some rave reviews online such as the one below:

“Great facial product! I use it morning and night religiously. One pad does the trick but I love how fresh and clean it leaves my face sometimes I will use two. They’re a must in my skincare routine.”

The Tingl Exfoliating Pads are currently available on Amazon.

Every editorial product is independently selected. If you purchase something through our linked recommendations, our partner(s) may provide a portion of the revenue toI AM Media.