Moisturizer for Oily Skin: The Ultimate Guide

Hot, sweaty and sticky? Do you really need a moisturizer in Singapore?

If you have oily skin, you might be thinking that moisturizer is the last thing you need. After all, isn’t oily skin already hydrated enough? But the truth is, moisturizer is still an essential part of any skincare routine, even if you have oily skin. In fact, using the right moisturizer can help balance your skin’s oil production and keep your skin looking healthy and radiant. In this episode, dermatologist Dr.TWL explores the benefits of moisturizer for oily skin and provide tips on how to choose the best one for your skin type.

Why do you need moisturizer for oily skin?

Contrary to popular belief, oily skin doesn’t always equate to well-hydrated skin. Oily skin occurs when your skin produces an excess amount of sebum. This can leave your skin feeling greasy and shiny. While this excess oil might make you think you don’t need moisturizer, the truth is that oily skin can still become dehydrated. Using a moisturizer can help balance your skin’s oil production, preventing it from overcompensating and producing even more oil. Additionally, a good moisturizer can help keep your skin’s barrier function intact. This is essential for preventing moisture loss and maintaining healthy skin.

Is there a need for a moisturiser in a country as humid as Singapore?

The same premise of what constitutes a moisturizer and its function- to repair and restore the skin barrier, applies to both cold, dry environments and in hot humid climates. For instance, in tropical climates we find that heat exacerbates transepidermal water loss despite higher humidity. This increase in sweating may worsen flare-ups of existing skin conditions such as eczema. Leading to the application of moisturizers more frequently—but won’t that make me hot, sweaty and sticky? The answer isn’t quite so straightforward. For instance, when it is too hot, individuals are in a flux between the hot humid outdoors and the cooler airconditioned indoors. For individuals with a compromised skin barrier, this wreaks havoc as their skin struggles to adjust.

 What to look for in a moisturizer for oily skin?

If you have combination or oily skin—opt for oil-in-water emulsions (different from lotions—which are water-based and evaporate quickly). These are lightweight and more comfortable in humid climates. The key is that such moisturizers though lightweight, oil component, manages to prevent TEWL and maintain effectiveness of the active ingredients. The Radiancé Fluide™ Hydrating Emulsion contains ceramide-type lipids and humectants like glycerin and HA that help to restore the skin’s protective barrier without aggravating the shine and oil. 

Moisturizer for oily skin - radiance fluide
The Radiance Fluide Emulsion contains skin brightening ingredients such as niacinamide, and anti-aging oligopeptides for a dewy glow. Specially formulated for a light-weight feel to impart a radiant glow.

On the other hand, hours spent in an air conditioned environment, such as offices and malls causes increased TEWL and dry skin. It is cosmetically not acceptable to apply thick moisturizer throughout the day, especially over makeup. Therefore, my answer to another common moisturizer question is simply to use a moisturising facial mist over makeup in the day.

Moisturizer for oily skin - Mineral booster moisturizing facial spray
This moisturizing spray mist is ideal for oily skin – containing a complex blend of micronutrients for skin, including essential amino acids for collagen regeneration such as methionine.

It’s not just about spraying purified water on one’s face because that simply cools skin and evaporates off after without moisturising, and can in fact make skin drier. An ideal facial mist which will help calm, soothe and moisturize irritated skin is infused with humectants like HA, glycerin and amino acids (which function as anti-oxidants for skin repair). The base of the mist should contain purified deep sea water instead of just distilled water, as the former has been proven to contain minerals that can stabilize sensitive, irritated skin. 

Overcompensation – that your skin produces more oil when you don’t use moisturiser. Is this true?

Overcompensation is true and associated with over-washing oily skin and skipping moisturiser. This causes the skin to react by producing even more oil when it is stripped of its natural moisture barrier. This condition is known as reactive seborrhea. This is quite commonly experienced by individuals who have oily skin types or hyperseborrhea. Additionally, it is common in those who try to improve their condition by using “deep cleansing” products and skip moisturisers, not realizing that even oily skin types do need moisture. 

Doing so not only results in overcompensation with the skin producing more oil, but may also result in facial eczema. I often see patients being perplexed with paradoxical “oily and dehydrated skin”  symptoms, which is a fine example of the above.

To regulate the moisture barrier of naturally oily skin, I use a pharmaceutically compounded 1% hyaluronic acid serum. The purpose is to regulate skin moisture without the oil you would find in a moisturising cream. Additionally, it is perfectly comfortable in our humid climate. The HA at a potent 1% intensively hydrates the skin without shine and occlusive effects. What happens over time is that the skin starts getting acclimatized to this healthier skin microclimate and begins to regulate oil production better.

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Tips for using moisturizer for oily skin

Here are some tips for using moisturizer for oily skin:

  1. Cleanse your skin thoroughly before applying moisturizer.
  2. Apply moisturizer to damp skin to help lock in moisture.
  3. Use a gentle exfoliating peel once or twice a week to help remove excess oil and dead skin cells.
  4. If you wear makeup, choose lightweight products that won’t clog your pores, or use a moisturizing facial spray.

Moisturizer is an essential part of any skincare routine, even if you have oily skin. Using the right moisturizer can help balance your skin’s oil production and keep your skin looking healthy and radiant. When shopping for a moisturizer, look for lightweight, oil-free formulas that contain hydrating ingredients. With the right moisturizer and skincare routine, you can keep your oily skin looking its best.


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