How can we keep our skin shine-free and oil-free all day?

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I have really oily skin and my T-zone often get really shiny and oily before mid-day. My shiny forehead makes me very self-conscious and embarrassed, thus i would like to know how I can stop being such an oil factory 🙁

Dr. Teo Wan Lin edited answer December 7, 2017

Hi Natasha,

Oily skin is often genetically determined, you may also be more acne prone. Do you have a family history of acne? One common mistake many people make is to keep cleansing their face several times a day or use harsher and stronger cleansers available. If you are doing that, stop because it will cause skin irritation and sensitivity over time (due to the chemical laureth sulfate) which may lead to a condition known as facial eczema. Also some people react by producing even more oil when their skin is stripped dry, a condition known as reactive seborrhea. This is why I do not recommend blotting one’s face constantly as well as this dehydrates the skin without actually changing the activity of oil glands.


Here are some DIY remedies which you can try on your own to help oily skin:

1. Proper Cleansing Regimen. Dermatologists generally do not recommend strong cleansers for oily skin, rather a gentle and effective cleanser that respects the skin moisture barrier, not stripping it dry leaving it dehydrated but at the same time, with an effective emulsifying function to remove excessive oil, bacteria and grime. Most foaming cleansers are made of sodium or ammonium laureth sulfate, which are actually harmful to skin as it dries it out in a harsh manner. Dr.TWL Dermaceuticals’ Miel Honey Cleanser is a good natural emulsifier derived from natural purified medical grade honey, that effectively cleanses oily skin without stripping it of moisture.

2. Apply moisturiser, NOT toner! This may come as a surprise to many but when naturally oily skin is subject to drying cleansers and toners (which are alcohol based, known as astringents), this may temporarily dry up the skin and make it look it look matte, but in reality the oil glands are still active and may in fact react by producing even more oil. There is a difference between dehydrated skin which can still be oily, and well moisturised skin that looks good! If you have oily skin, it is still important to apply a good moisturiser, which forms a barrier between your skin and makeup (if you do wear makeup), and may help it last longer and look better as well. My patients suffering from oily skin use the hyaluronic acid serum (in-house formula), which at 1 % is pharmaceutically compounded and delivers optimal “water” hydration to oily skin. I also formulated the Radiance Emulsion which is a oil in water moisturiser (as opposed to a cream or lotion moisturiser), an emulsion delivers both benefits of effective moisture delivery as well as a comfortable lightweight feel of a lotion. This is perfect for achieving a great no-makeup dewy look, or as a great makeup-base to prevent your natural skin oils from ruining your makeup in the day. This is in addition to brightening niacinamide, as well as anti-oxidants to lighten scars.

3. Use a mattifying sunblock, but NOT a water mist or gel as a sunscreen. The chemical sunscreen components of avobenzenes and cinnamates are the most active in an oil suspension which accounts for the fact that most effective medical-grade sunscreens (that are recommended for anti-ageing and skin cancer prevention) that dermatologists prescribe will feel greasy on skin. However, this should not cause breakouts. The issue with such sunscreens is that they are usually formulated for use in western countries which have a temperate climate, rather than our local Singapore humid tropical weather. The SunProtector is formulated to retain the effectiveness of a medical grade sunscreen, with broad spectrum UVA and UVB cover, SPF 50, and at the same time with a unique self-mattifying property within 60s of skin application. Portulaca Oleracea plant extract also helps to soothe inflamed acne-prone skin.

4. If you have acne, in the form of whiteheads, blackheads or inflammed red bumps and it is mild, meaning < 3-5 pimples per month, you may try an over the counter preparation such as benzoyl peroxide first, provided you do not have a history of skin sensitivity such as eczema, as benzoyl peroxide can trigger off and even worsen eczema.


You may wish to visit an accredited dermatologist if you find that:

  1. Your oily skin does not get much better with the above measures and is affecting your self-esteem or giving you anxiety
  2. You have acne breakouts associated with your oily skin problem

An accredited dermatologist will suggest prescription medications to treat oily skin and acne before it gets worse. Some treatments can also be performed, such as chemical peels or lasers that can shrink one’s oil glands.


Dr. Teo Wan Lin


TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre

Dr. Teo Wan Lin edited answer December 7, 2017
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