Growing up, it was all about "hypoallergenic" and "oil-free." I cleansed my face within an inch of its life and I continued to have break-outs well into adulthood. Within the past year, I have finally figured out the key to keeping my oily/combination skin clear: consistent and copious exfoliation and moisturizing.
I posted about my skin-care routine awhile back, but I have changed it a little bit and my skin is looking even better.
Cleanse Your Skin
You cannot have clear skin if you don't keep it clean. Do not use a cleanser that contains acne-fighting ingredients. Even if the label claims that the cleanser is "non-drying," it is lying! Use a super gentle cleanser.
Most of the time I use Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser For Normal to Oily Skin to cleanse my skin, morning and night.
About four times a week, I use BeautiControl Spa Warming Trend Green Tea Mask to cleanse my skin. It has an exfoliating effect and makes my skin feel so smooth. You rub it on like a cream cleanser and rinse it off a minute later.
I follow up cleansing with a liquid toner. I currently use BeautiControl Skinlogics Sensitive Rinse & Restore Tonic because my mom had a couple bottles left in her stash.
Exfoliate Your Skin
I use some form of exfoliation every day. You cannot have clear skin without consistent exfoliation. You need to exfoliate to keep stuff out of your pores.
I like Clinique 7 Day Scrub Cream for every day. It is cream-based, rinses off easily, and has a fine grit.
A couple times a week, I use Trader Joe's Lavendar Salt Scrub instead. I hate the scent of lavendar, but it contains all natural ingredients and it's super scrubby. Yes, you are putting oil on your face, but once you wipe it off, it doesn't leave an oily residue, just soft, smooth skin. If you have very sensitive skin, use with caution. I learned about this product from Hollywood Housewife, in her post about making her own salt scrub.
Photo courtesy of Hollywood Housewife
A couple times a week, I use BeautiControl Spa Resurface Microderm Abrasion scrub (like creamy sandpaper) and a brush to super exfoliate. Any similar product probably works just fine.
Moisturize Your Skin
Your oily skin can still be dry. Yes, you produce excess oil, but that doesn't mean that the skin under the oil slick is properly hydrated. Dry skin is cracked skin. You might not see the cracks, but they are there and they are letting in contaminants that will make you break out. Also, dry skin looks old and you want to look as dewy and fresh as you possibly can. I know you do because you are just as vain as I am or you wouldn't still be reading this this post.
I layer three moisturizers on my face every day, twice a day. Four, if you count my eye cream. Somtimes five, if you count the tinted moisturizer I use instead of foundation.
The first layer is serum, which provides intense hydration. I am currently using Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector. I have some spots from sun and old acne scars that I want to clear up.
The second layer is a standard moisturizer, with sunblock for daytime, without sunblock for nighttime. Use whatever you like here. For day, I use Clinique Superdefense SPF 25 Age Defense Moisturizer. I am almost out, though. I have a little sample of Clinique Even Better Skin Tone Correcting Moisturizer SPF 20 and I like it, so I will probably switch to that. For night, I use Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, only because that freaking bottle seems to replenish itself. It comes in a gel as well as a lotion, so I might switch to the gel if I ever run out that damn lotion.
The third layer seals it all in. I use Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief. This moisturizer is a gel/cream. It is so light. I love it. Get it. Use it. While I don't think it is THAT important which products you use for the serum and the regular moisturizer, there is no substitute for the Moisture Surge.
For eye cream, I have been using StriVectin-SD EYE Cream lately, and I really like it. I use it morning and night. For foundation, I still really like the Korres Watermelon Lightweight Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30. I only use that a couple times a week, though. I am finding that the more consistent I am with exfoliation and moisturizing, the less I need to wear face make-up.
These are the products I use, but the concepts are the important part. Gently cleanse. Consistently exfoliate. Moisturize well.
Why all the BeautiControl products? My mom sold the stuff. Since she died, my sister and I have been using up her inventory and giving it away as gifts.
Why all the Clinique products? I like them.