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The 5 Best Affordable Serums for Oily Skin: Advice from a Dermatologist

CEO Tinh Phung
If you have oily skin, you know the struggle of constantly battling shine and keeping your complexion matte. The last thing you want to do is apply a serum that will make your skin look...

If you have oily skin, you know the struggle of constantly battling shine and keeping your complexion matte. The last thing you want to do is apply a serum that will make your skin look even oilier or clog your pores. But fear not! We consulted with board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Corey L. Hartman, to get the lowdown on how serums can actually benefit oily skin and which ones are the best for this skin type.

How can you tell if you have oily skin?

Before we dive into serums, let's first identify if you have oily skin and what causes it. According to Dr. Hartman, the production of sebum, an oily substance produced by your sebaceous glands, is what leads to shiny and greasy skin. Some telltale signs of oily skin include makeup that doesn't stay put, larger pores, and a tendency to break out. If you experience these issues, then you likely have oily skin.

Should you use a serum if you have oily skin?

Contrary to popular belief, serums are not off-limits for oily skin. The key is to choose the right one. Dr. Hartman assures us that the right serum will not make your skin worse or oilier.

How do serums work?

Serums are designed to deliver active ingredients deep into your skin, making them more effective than other products. They target specific skin concerns such as brightening skin, smoothing fine lines, evening out skin tone, improving texture, and preventing DNA damage.

Which ingredients should you look for if you have oily skin?

When it comes to serums for oily skin, opt for water- or gel-based formulas rather than oil-based ones. Start with a serum that is suited for sensitive skin as it is less likely to exacerbate acne. Dr. Hartman recommends serums containing salicylic acid, which reduces inflammation and removes dead skin cells. Niacinamide is another great choice as it regulates oil production. Additionally, retinol serums can help slough off dead skin cells and decrease acne and oil production. Hyaluronic acid is a versatile ingredient suitable for oily skin as well.

Which ingredients should you avoid if you have oily skin?

Avoid serums with high concentrations of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) as they can aggravate your skin.

How often should you apply serum if you have oily skin?

To incorporate serum into your skincare routine, follow the general rule of applying products from thinnest to thickest consistency. Start with a cleanser, then a toner/essence (if using one), followed by the serum, moisturizer, and sunscreen.

Product Recommendations:

Now, let's move on to the fun part: product recommendations. Dr. Hartman suggests the following serums for oily skin:

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Serum Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Serum This serum is lightweight, absorbs easily, and is well-tolerated by oily skin. It provides much-needed moisture while regulating sebum production.

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Serum The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Serum This serum is not only affordable but also reduces oil production and smooths the skin. The combination of niacinamide and zinc balances sebum activity.

Cocokind Vitamin C Serum Cocokind Vitamin C Serum This serum combines vitamin C and hyaluronic acid to add moisture to the skin and minimize the appearance of pores. It also evens out skin tone, fades dark spots, and protects against environmental aggressors.

The Inkey List Niacinamide Oil Control Serum The Inkey List Niacinamide Oil Control Serum Similar to The Ordinary's serum, this one is an affordable option that effectively regulates oil production with niacinamide.

Urban Skin Rx Clear Complexion Acne Serum + Spot Treatment Urban Skin Rx Clear Complexion Acne Serum + Spot Treatment This serum combines salicylic acid and glycolic acid to reduce inflammation, exfoliate the skin, and remove dead skin cells and oils. It can be used as an all-over treatment or as a spot treatment.

Remember, each person's skin is unique, so it's important to do a patch test when introducing a new serum into your routine. Start by using the serum every two to three days and gradually increase the frequency if your skin tolerates it well.

Now armed with the knowledge of the best serums for oily skin, you can confidently address your skincare concerns and achieve a balanced, healthy complexion. Say goodbye to the shine and hello to beautiful, radiant skin!

Note: All products and services featured in this article are independently chosen by our editors. StyleCaster may receive a commission on orders placed through its retail links.

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