Managing oily and acne-prone skin often means opting for aggressive, exfoliating ingredients. While these actives can be helpful in balancing oil production, overdoing it can cause damage to your skin barrier, which can lead to dryness, flaking, and sensitivities. Identifying and managing these symptoms can be tricky when you have oily skin, explains Marisa Garshick, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, so it's important to know what to look out for.
"Even though you have oily skin and it can compensate for some of that dry and tight feeling that some people may experience when they have a damaged barrier, you can still have irritation," says Dr. Garshick "You can still see flaking on the skin. You may still experience some sensitivity of the skin when you put certain products on."
While derms often recommend thicker creams to repair barrier damage, these products tend to be too heavy (and greasy) for those prone to excess oil production. With the right ingredients, though, it is possible to strengthen your barrier with lightweight formulas.
"Things like ceramides, certain types of added fatty acids—these are all part of the skin's natural moisture barrier. And when you apply them to the surface of the skin, you help to support that," says Dr. Garshick. "Niacinamide is another great ingredient for those with oily skin that also helps to support that skin barrier function while also helping to balance sebum production."
Shop 4 great oily skin barrier repair products below
“La Roche Posay just came out with their Toleriane Double Repair Matte Moisturizer,” says Dr. Garshick. “And so that has niacinamide in it as well as ceramides it has all the benefits of a barrier-supporting moisturizer, but because it leaves behind this matte finish, especially for somebody with oily skin, it helps to reduce the shiny, oily appearance of the skin.”
“What I like about this one for those with oily skin is sometimes those with oily skin do feel the need to do a double cleanse, to get rid of that excess oil,” says Dr. Garshick. “And so in this context, this is a deeper cleansing balm. It’s going to help to get rid of the excess oil and makeup buildup, but it’s still going to be gentle on the skin barrier. It does contain ceramides as well that helps to strengthen the skin barrier. And then it also uses this prebiotic and postbiotic blend, which we know supports the microbiome. And given the relationship between the skin microbiome and the skin barrier and also is going to help to support that barrier function as well.”
This lightweight gel-cream moisturizer combines niacinamide (to visibly even skin tone and absorb excess oil) with saccharide isomerate (which soothes, hydrates, and supports the skin barrier) and a hepta peptide blend (to help nourish the skin microbiome). It improves skin barrier function in one hour and locked in hydration for 72 hours.
“The CeraVe PM facial lotion is a great option for somebody with oily skin because it’s lightweight, it goes on easy, but it is rich in ceramides and hyaluronic acid,” says Dr. Garshick, “so it is going to help to boost moisture and support the skin barrier, but without leaving the skin feeling greasy.”
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