Easy 7-Step Skin Care Routine For Oily And Combination Acne Prone Skin

Easy 5-Step Skin Care Routine For Oily And Combination Acne-Prone Skin

Khushboo is a self-care enthusiast who loves taking care of the overall health of her skin & hair with well-researched and scientifically formulated topical solutions.

What to do when you are dealing with more than one problem at a time and are frustrated with the countless different solutions that all seem to contradict each other? 

With oily and combination acne-prone skin, one has to deal with a broad spectrum of associated problems, such as acne breakouts, excess sebum, and a greasy appearance. When you try to deal with one, you are likely to unbalance the other. Hence, you are always confused about which products to pick off the shelf and whether or not to apply a moisturizer. 

Don't worry, as we have just customized a skincare routine specifically for those dealing with oily and combination acne-prone skin. But first, understand the basics of oily acne-prone skin and combination acne-prone skin.

Oily acne-prone skin type 

Oily acne-prone skin is characterized by the overproduction of sebum and natural oils, resulting in a shiny, greasy appearance. The leading cause of this skin type is an overproduction of oil by the sebaceous glands. This excess oil can clog pores and trap bacteria, which leads to breakouts. Additionally, the increased oil production can create an environment where bacteria and other impurities thrive, making the skin even more vulnerable to sun damage. If you have this type of skin, it is essential to use products that won't further aggravate it and help keep it clean and free from oil buildup.

Combination acne-prone skin type  

Combination acne-prone skin type is a common skin type that occurs when there is an imbalance of oil production across the face. It is characterized by an oily T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) area and dry/normal cheeks. The excess sebum production in the T zone clogs pores, leading to breakouts and enlarged pores. It's essential to use a gentle cleanser, exfoliate regularly to clear out dead skin cells, and use spot treatments for breakouts to treat combination acne-prone skin.

Hormonal changes, stress, diet, lifestyle, and genetics may be some of the causes behind this type of skin type.

Common concerns relating to oily/combination acne-prone skin type

Oily and combination acne-prone skin comes with its own set of unique challenges, especially when it comes to finding the right skincare routine. Common concerns for people with this skin type include large pores, excess oil production that can lead to breakouts, and uneven skin tone. They may even experience shine, greasiness, and enlarged pores with blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples.

The most common mistake people make with both skin types is using harsh skin care products that strip away the natural oil from the face, ultimately complicating the skin's needs.

5 Step skincare routine for oily/combination acne-prone skin

1. Choose an anti-acne cleanser that has a gentle cleansing action

As explained above, acne-prone and combination skin types tend to produce excess oil due to the highly active sebaceous glands. Therefore, your skin requires a cleanser that can remove dirt and extra oil from your face without leaving your skin dry and irritated. For people with oily and combination skin types, it is advised to look for an anti-acne cleanser that has antibacterial properties, is sulfate and paraben-free, and has non-comedogenic and hydrating properties. A cleanser that can help towards regulating excessive oil.

Research has proven that Zinc PCA is highly effective in regulating sebum production. A cleanser boosted with Zinc PCA can be a great choice for managing this skin type. It is a powerful combination of zinc and pyrrolidone carboxylic acid (PCA) that supports skin health, making it an effective ingredient for oily or combination acne-prone skin. Additionally, zinc PCA has anti-inflammatory properties that work to soothe inflammation caused by acne. 

2. Include toner to refine enlarged pores 

A toner is a fast-penetrating liquid that can benefit your skin in numerous ways.

  • It helps to remove any residues, such as makeup, oil, etc., left behind on your skin after cleansing.
  • It provides a quick hit of hydration. 
  • It helps in clarifying enlarged pores by minimizing their appearance.
  • It also preps your skin for the following product to get absorbed quickly into your skin.

Toners with alcohol as an ingredient tend to dry out the skin. Therefore, it is always advised to opt for an alcohol-free toner that contains antibacterial ingredients such as Witch Hazel, Willow Bark, Nasturtium officinale Extract, and Aloe Vera that soothe your skin while demolishing the acne-causing bacteria.

3. Include anti-acne face serum 

A serum is a thin viscosity product with concentrated active ingredients. A few potent active ingredients for this skin type are - Salicylic Acid, Niacinamide, and Peptides. When incorporated in a serum formulation, these ingredients seep into the deeper layers of the skin and deliver relief from acne-causing bacteria. Additionally, serums are also formulated to help heal existing pimples and prevent future breakouts. 

  • Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid has been a blessing for oily and combination skin as it is soluble in oil which later activates the skin's natural exfoliation. This ingredient in OTC products gives visible results in your acne healing journey because of its exceptional properties, like exfoliating skin by reducing acne, keeping pores clear, and dissolving dead skin cells from the pores to prevent acne and breakouts.

  • Niacinamide

This ingredient has antibacterial properties that help in treating acne, supports in controlling sebum production, aids in calming redness with its anti-inflammatory properties, and diminishes the appearance of breakouts. Research says it is a highly compatible ingredient with skin when treating hyperpigmentation and maintaining barrier functions. 

  • Peptides

The peptide is one of the tremendous acne-treating ingredients with remarkable antimicrobial properties to fight against propionibacterium (acne-causing bacteria). Peptides help relieve inflammation, balance sebum oil production, repair skin damage, and clear breakouts. This also exhibits skin-hydrating properties. It also helps maintain the moisture content in your skin.

Opt for any of these serums based on your skin concerns. These are not just the most hyped but effective ingredients when treating concerns relating to oily skin and acne-prone skin.

4. Moisturize skin to control excessive oil production

People with oily and combination skin often sidestep moisturizer in their skincare routine due to greasy skin texture.

However, numerous skin specialists have explained that neglecting moisturizing can cause a lack of nourishment and hydration for any skin type. Finally, it leads to excessive sebum production that can clog pores and cause acne.

As an outcome, it is crucial to include an oil-free mattifying moisturizer that is non-comedogenic. Ingredients in your moisturizer for oily skin are - Saccharide Isomerate, Glycerin, hyaluronic acid, etc. These help boost hydration without giving that shiny and greasy texture to your face all day long. Saccharide isomerate is an excellent hydrator that won't leave your skin greasy or shiny. Glycerin is another hydrator that helps to draw water into the skin and keep it there. Lastly, Hyaluronic acid is worth considering for its ability to hold onto moisture. All these ingredients can help boost hydration without making your skin feel oilier and the mattifying look and feel can be a game-changer for people with an oily skin type. 

5. Incorporate sunscreen to avoid the exacerbation of acne and post-acne scars  

Avoiding sunscreen can be a big mistake for acne-prone skin, be it oily or combination. It can cause sunburn, breakouts, and even premature aging with inflammation that can further worsen acne. Ensure that you add a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50 to your skincare regime. Alongside sun shield filters, a few ingredients worth considering for your sunscreen are - Eurol Bt and Aloe vera Extract. Derived from Olea Europaea (olive) leaf extract, Eurol Bt is an excellent free radical quencher with great sun protection, anti-acne, and anti-aging properties. Do not miss out on the PA rating. Opt for the one that has PA+++ or more. 

Quick Enlightenment - Always pick a non-comedogenic sunscreen. Non-comedogenic sunscreens are designed not to block pores, so they won't contribute to the buildup of oil or sebum, which can lead to breakouts. 


According to dermatologists, numerous skincare products tend to contain harsh and harmful ingredients such as parabens, sulfate, phthalates, etc., which can cause severe damage to your skin. Avoiding such harsh ingredients from your skincare routine is the easiest and most effective way of keeping your skin healthy and safe.