A dermatologist with oily skin said that balance is key to keeping her skin smooth and acne-free.
She uses lightweight, gentle products to avoid clogging her pores or irritating her skin.
On occasion, she'll use at-home chemical peels and sulfur cleanser to clear up her complexion.
Dr. Divya Shokeen doesn't just treat oily skin in her dermatology clients — she also deals with it herself. Using her expertise, she has developed a skincare routine using a number of products to keep her complexion clear.
"The point is to find a good balance," Shokeen, who is based in California, told Insider.
She said one of the most common mistakes people with oily skin make is going overboard with skincare products and cosmetics, especially if they're trying to reduce shininess.
"If you use too many products on your face — specifically serums or layering thick moisturizers or makeup — this will not improve skin tone or texture but could clog pores or increase the risk of mites on your face," she said.
Shokeen shared the products she uses in the morning and night, in the order she uses them.
Step 1: Gentle cleanser
Shokeen always starts the morning with a gentle cleanser. While there are many cleansers marketed for oily skin, she said using them exclusively "can cause more irritation and inflammation, which can lead to purging and breakouts."
"Simple is key," she said. She prefers a gentle Vanicream cleanser.
Step 2: Vitamin C serum
After cleansing, Shokeen applies a vitamin C serum. She said she uses vitamin C because it helps "regulate the skin's sebum production, which is beneficial for individuals with oily skin."
She also loves its antioxidant benefits, which help protect the skin from free radicals, which are unstable atoms that can damage the skin from exposure to the sun or pollution.
She said vitamin C also reduces redness and boosts collagen, all contributing to a more even skin tone.
Step 3: A lightweight moisturizer
Shokeen layers on a lightweight moisturizer over her vitamin C, and likes niacinamide-based formulas like Neutrogena's Ultra Gentle Face Gel Hydrator.
"Niacinamide is excellent to help with minimizing oil production and inflammation," she said.
Step 4: A zinc-based sunscreen
Next, Shokeen uses a zinc-based sunscreen to further help minimize oil production.
She especially relies on it in the summer, when the humidity can make her oily skin worse.
Step 1: Micellar water or cleansing balm
Shokeen starts off her nighttime routine by double-cleansing to make sure her sunscreen is fully removed.
She'll use micellar water or a cleansing balm to get the first layer of makeup off.
Step 2: A medicated sulfur cleanser
Next, she'll usually follow up with the same cleanser that she used in the morning. But if her skin feels particularly oily or congested, she'll use a medicated sulfur cleanser.
While you can buy sulfur cleansers over the counter, she gets a custom-made one from a compounding pharmacy, which includes ingredients like Manuka honey and green tea polyphenols to reduce the harshness of the sulfur.
"Sulfur penetrates the skin and helps to unclog pores by removing excess oil and dead skin cells," Shokeen said.
Step 3: Tretinoin
The rest of the time, she uses a less intense, over-the-counter retinol to "help counteract the oil production" without damaging her skin.
She finishes with a moisturizer.
Optional step: Chemical peels
On top of her normal routine, Shokeen said she will go through periods of using an alpha hydroxy acid twice a week as an at-home chemical peel. This helps give her complexion additional smoothness.
Read the original article on Insider