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Oily skin is a common cosmetic concern due to extra sebum production from the oil glands.
Oily skin has a natural glow and shine, and the ‘extra oil’ keeps the skin looking smoother and delays the appearance of the fine lines. But at the same time, people with oily skin suffer from more frequent breakouts, open pores, and a cosmetically unpleasant greasiness.
Did you know:
If you search for ‘night creams for oily acne prone skin’ products on Amazon, you will end up with suggestions for more than 1000 products!
How is one supposed to make a choice?
We will give you some tips to help you make the right choice, and then drop some of our top picks to narrow it down even further for you.
Most skincare products for oily skin end up heavily drying out the face leading to dehydrated and eventually damaged and irritated skin.
In this article, I will review the 5 best night creams for your oily, acne-prone skin. I will pick out their best features, and share with you their individual strengths and weaknesses. I will also highlight who each product is most suitable for and the main ingredients.
Our goal is to help you make the right choice on your next night cream. Let us begin by discussing what to keep in mind while making your selection.
|ZELEN Life Night Cream (Anti-Aging)||Check It Out|
|Cane and Austin Facial Moisture Cream||Check on Amazon|
|Bioderma Sebium Pore Refiner Cream||Check on Amazon|
|Menscience Androceuticals Advanced Face Lotion||Check on Amazon|
|Elemis Superfood Night Cream||Check on Amazon|
Before you buy: 10 Things to consider when purchasing a night cream for oily, acne-prone skin
1. Night is the best time to apply actives
You could use ingredients that mattify the oily skin or the potentially aggressive anti-acne treatment without worrying about your skin being extra sensitive to the sun.
You can also apply hydrating oils, overnight masks without the risk of looking extra shiny within a few hours of hitting the road. Hydroxy acids, retinoids, rosehip oil- all these favorites should find a place only in the night routine.
2. Look for these ingredients if you have oily acne-prone skin
Look for exfoliators like salicylic or glycolic acid, sebum regulators like saw palmetto or jojoba oil, light moisturizers containing glycerin or hyaluronic acid- for a glowy but not greasy and bumpy skin.
3. Don’t use too many products with strong, active ingredients
Suppose you are using a salicylic acid cleanser, glycolic acid toner, vitamin C serum, and retinoid night cream all in one day. In that case, the chances are that you will end up with irritated and inflamed skin.
Potent active ingredients, with a potential to irritate the skin, should be limited to one, or a maximum two, products in one routine.
4. Comedogenic ingredients are a tale of past
Given that many websites rate ingredients on a comedogenicity scale, we end up excluding a lot of products that show up high on comedogenicity ratings. It is not the products, but the strategy that needs to be discarded.
There is no certain ingredient that will block pores in everyone. It is sometimes the vehicle, sometimes the combination of ingredients that break you out.
Instead of going by stringent comedogenicity ratings, check out the feedback of people with similar skin types for a more accurate guess of whether a product will break you out or not. And share your experience.
5. You could rotate the night creams
Someone with an acne-prone skin has more problems than just a zit. There are scars, pigmentation, or redness to fight against too. Don’t try to find answers to all your problems in one night cream.
Do not hesitate to use two-night creams in rotation targeted to different skin concerns. Sure, it would be heavy on the pocket, but it will also last you twice as long.
6. Do not forget the moisturizing ingredients
If you are using an anti-acne cleanser or a cleanser designed especially for oily skin, most probably you will end up feeling a little dry after washing your face. This is because the sebum, the skin’s natural oil, is washed away from the skin and perhaps some of the skin’s natural fat too.
This oil and fat bind the water in the skin, which keeps it hydrated. When that is gone, the skin becomes more prone to environmental damaging factors and starts getting dry.
As a feedback, the oil glands in the skin start pumping out more oil at once to compensate for the loss. When this happens overnight, you end up waking up with a minor oil field of your own on the face.
That is why it is necessary to use a night cream with moisturizing ingredients to prevent the skin from drying up and waking up with a glowy, not greasy, skin,
7. Do not combine a night cream with a prescription treatment without consulting a dermatologist
Combining a night cream with active ingredients with a prescription cream could be very aggressive for the skin. It could, possibly, change the properties of the prescription treatment by interacting with it.
It is therefore advised to use only bland moisturizers with topical prescription products.
8. Change your night creams according to the current skin behavior
Seasonal variation in oiliness has been proved in studies. Your skin doesn’t look greasier just because you sweat more in summer. It actually produces more sebum.
You may need a more potent mattifying cream in summer than winter when the skin naturally behaves better and does not oil up so often. Similarly, stress and hormonal changes also affect sebum production.
In stressful phases, your glands produce more oil than usual and may need a stronger sebum regulator.(9)
Change your night cream according to how your skin is behaving currently. Have a couple of your favorites always stocked up for moody skin.
9. Don’t use a lot of astringents
For a very long time, high alcohol concentration or a witch hazel containing toner or cream which dried the skin was considered an ideal treatment for oily skin. Don’t do that. You do not want overdried skin to control the oiliness.
It will just lead to more sensitivity, irritation, dehydration, and skin barrier damage. Any product which gives a very tight, dry feeling is probably doing more harm than good.
The presence of alcohol or witch hazel in a product should always be compensated by good moisturizing ingredients and shouldn’t make your skin feel like parchment paper.
10. You night cream can be more than only anti-acne/anti-oil cream
Your night cream could serve more function than just prevent your skin from being oily or breaking out. Look for some extra boost of goodness with some antioxidants, anti-aging, depigmenting, or anti-redness ingredients according to your skin’s requirements.
Now that we have spoken about how to choose a night cream for oily, acne-prone skin–let us go on and review a few great choices for you:
The 5 best night creams for oily acne-prone skin
- Contains beneficial natural plant oils
- Lightweight and non-greasy
- Effective for post-acne sequelae like redness and scarring
The best night cream for:
Natural beauty enthusiasts.
ZELEN Life’s Anti-Aging Night Cream’s ingredients could at first seem to be counterintuitive for oily skin since it is loaded with plant oils.
But plant oils do not always mean oilier skin. Jojoba oil has a unique composition that mimics our own sebum. Thus it does not block the pores.
Also, rosehip oil balances the fatty acids of the skin, linoleic and oleic acid, of acne-prone skin, which reduces the tendency to get breakouts,(11) and also improves the scarring and redness of the skin.
The plant oils also neutralize free radicals, which age the skin faster by damaging the collagen under the skin. It also has sunflower oil, which strengthens the skin barrier to help it retain moisture better and heal sooner after inflammatory acne.(10)
In addition, even though it is loaded with plant oils, it is lightweight and non-greasy and gets rapidly absorbed in the skin.
Sunflower oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, rosehip oil
- Rich in plant oils – moisturizing and antiinflammatory
- The plant oils improve the skin barrier and accelerate the healing of the skin
- Antioxidants to reduce the environmental damage on the skin and antiaging
- Jojoba oil and rosehip oil reduce the oiliness, onset of new zits, and post-acne inflammation and scarring
Things to think about:
- The product contains no artificial perfume, but there are natural fragrances from essential oils that could sensitize the skin of those prone to it
If you are a clean natural beauty lover, it may usually be hard to find a product for your acne-prone skin. This balanced mix of plant oils in ZELEN Life’s Night Cream would hydrate and balance your skin oils overnight without being heavy. At the same time, fight multiple concerns that come with acne-like scarring and redness.
- Strong exfoliating, moisturizing, and antioxidant ingredients in one night cream
- Glycolic acid is effective against acne as well as post-acne pigmentation
The best night cream for:
People battling post-inflammatory pigmentation, mature aging skin.
Cane and Austin facial moisture cream go all guns out as a multitasking night cream. It contains 10% glycolic acid, which not only exfoliates the skin but also improves acne and hyperpigmentation associated with it.
It also stimulates collagen production to minimize fine wrinkles and open pores.(13)
Green tea extracts, Vitamin E and CoQ are few of the most potent antioxidants known to us(14) to scavenge the free radicals responsible for disbalance of skin health and faster aging. The presence of squalane and glycolic acid in this product improves the skin’s hydration and strengthens the skin barrier.
Glycolic acid, Vitamin E, Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate), Green tea extract, CoQ10, Squalane
- Potent anti-aging ingredients – antioxidants and collagen stimulation
- Exfoliation to improve texture and prevent pores from clogging
- Can be used for oily as well as combination skin. It will also improve the dry, itchy patches
Things to think about:
- Should not be used daily, especially by a skincare beginner- 10% glycolic acid could irritate the skin
- No ingredients to control the oiliness
Cane and Austin facial moisture cream is a powerful night cream with a plethora of proven beneficial ingredients. It could be a great choice as an anti-aging night cream for mature acne-prone skin.
- Very lightweight moisturizer
- Mattifying and pore refining ingredients
The best night cream for:
Extremely oily skin, those on a budget.
Bioderma Sebium Pore Refining cream is an extremely lightweight mattifying moisturizer that can be used any time in the day. Owing to its silicone content, it would also be good under foundation as a primer for oily skin.
Salicylic acid is a fat-soluble hydroxy acid that exfoliates and also cleans the gunk out of the pores. Through that, the pores appear smaller, and the skin texture feels and looks smoother.
Mushroom extract acts like an astringent and makes the skin appear less oily. It also has some depigmenting properties and is a natural antioxidant.(12)
Cyclopentasiloxane, Mushroom extract, Salicylic acid, Ginkgo biloba extract
- Pore cleansing, sebum regulating ingredients
- Can be used both for day and night
- Can be used under the makeup because of its light texture and silicone content
Things to think about:
- Not sufficiently moisturizing for people with dehydrated skin or oily T zone and dry U zone as it could cling to the dry patches
An excellent choice for those looking for a product for day and night to be worn under sunscreen and/or makeup. It keeps the oil at bay, makes skin looks smoother, and cleanses the pores to avoid breakouts.
- Ultralight moisturizing lotion (designed for men)
- Both chemical and enzyme exfoliators
The best night cream for:
Men who don’t like the heaviness of a cream.
I don’t like categorizing the products ‘for men only’ but since Menscience androceuticals markets their products just for men, I would cave here.
This is a very light, matte lotion for men containing Alpha and Beta hydroxy acids, albeit in low concentrations, to exfoliate the skin and deep clean the pores.
Also, it binds to moisture due to presence of two powerful humectants – glycerin and hyaluronic acid, thus hydrating the skin, making it look smooth and nourished.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids, Beta Hydroxy Acids, Hyaluronic Acid, Hydro-Silicones, Glycerin, Green Tea, Avocado Extract, Vitamin A, C, E
- Gets absorbed in the skin very quickly- leaves significantly less visible shine
- Has exfoliating and moisturizing ingredients- Can be used for dry patches due to shaving too
- BHA keeps the pores clean and helps to prevent acne
Things to think about:
- Only mild exfoliation- For someone suffering from acne, an extra exfoliating product will be needed
- Although it doesn’t make the skin greasy, there are no sebum regulators present for long term oil control
It is a light exfoliating and moisturizing alternative to a night cream for men, which sinks into the skin immediately and keeps the skin looking healthy and hydrated without any greasiness.
- Uses the prebiotic concept to rebalance and revitalize the skin
- Prebiotics improve the skin’s ecosystem and microflora
The best night cream for:
Oily dehydrated skin.
Pre and probiotics are the new buzzwords in skincare based on the concept of promoting healthy bacterial growth on the skin to improve the skin’s immunity and defense.(15)
Black seed oil, rice bran oil, and quinoa are rich with antioxidants, amino acids, omega 6 fatty acids, and vitamins to boost skin health.
It is creamy and hydrating but also does not exacerbate the oiliness.
Flaxseed oil, Quinoa extract, rice bran oil, black seed oil.
- Oils to hydrate the skin but no heavy ones to make it greasy
- Omega 6 fatty acids support the skin’s natural barrier
Things to think about:
- Not meant for sensitive skin
- Would not recommend it for someone with inflammatory acne
Supporting the skin’s natural flora would end up giving you a healthier skin not just for the next morning but for a way longer time. This antioxidant laden cream could be a superfood if you don’t have very sensitive skin.
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How we chose these products
To choose the best products for oily acne-prone night cream, we first kept in mind what one would need from a night cream. Since oily-skinned people avoid moisturizers during the daytime, we ensured that the night cream contained some moisturizing elements.
We wanted to give hydrating options that don’t worsen the skin’s oiliness or clog the pores. We also understand that not every oily skinned person is going through an acne outbreak- so we focussed on products for different needs- acne, post-acne sequelae, or just excessive oiliness.
Since our skin goes through environmental wear and tear by the day, we tried to include some products with antioxidants to fight that.
For those who went through a bad acne phase or used the wrong products in the past that strip the skin of moisture (don’t worry, we have all been there), we saw that we include some products with healing and barrier strengthening properties.
Furthermore, we wanted to have an option for everyone, irrespective of age, budget, gender, or preferences in textures. So we tried to be a little versatile there.
Last but not least, we went through reviews. We sorted the best five products according to volume and reliability of the reviews across various platforms.
Frequently asked questions
Why do I have oily skin? Do I need the oil?
Oily skin is because of natural oil called ‘sebum’ secreted by the sebaceous glands attached to our hair follicles. Sebum is composed of natural fats like triglyceride, squalene, cholesterol, etc.(1)
You absolutely need the sebum because it has antioxidant and antimicrobial functions. It gives a natural immunity barrier against various kinds of bacteria like staphylococcus.(2)
It also, to a large extent, hinders various oxidative insults from the environment, which causes aging and increases the delivery of antioxidants like Vitamin E and CoQ10 to the skin surface.(3)
I have had an oily skin type all my life, and suddenly I have dry, flaky patches on the skin. Why did this happen?
Products for oily skin, especially the cleansers, are often meant to strip off the oil from the skin with astringent action to give an instant drying feeling.
Now the cleansing product can not make out which oil is sebum and which oil is a part of the skin’s natural barrier and tries to wash it all off, leaving a damaged skin that cannot hold the water leading to flaky, dry patches.(4)
Do men have oilier skin as compared to women?
Sebum secretion, among other factors, is, to a great extent, controlled by hormones called androgens. Since males have higher androgen as compared to women, they also have higher secretion of sebum and hence an oilier face.(7)
I have oily skin, do I need moisturizers?
You absolutely do. Do not confuse moisture with oil. Your skin is producing excess oil, but that has nothing to do with the hydration of the skin. Sebum does form a natural film preventing water from evaporating from the skin, thus keeping it naturally moisturized.
But when you use products that mattify the skin or reduce the production of sebum, you lose that protective film and start losing moisture from the skin leading to dehydrated skin.
This moisture needs to be supplemented in the form of oils or moisturizers. Also, males have around 30-40% higher secretion of sebum, but they don’t always have more moisture in the skin than females.(8)
So males need moisturizers just as much as females, irrespective of the oil secretion.
Can I use products containing oils if I have oily skin?
The days when it was thought that oil should not be put on oily skin are gone. There are many natural oils that do not exacerbate the greasiness of the skin, regulate sebum production, and even reduce the acne breakouts.
Some examples of acne-safe natural oils are jojoba oil, tea tree oil,(6) and rosehip oil.
I have tried all methods of reducing oiliness with cleansers, exfoliators, serums, creams, etc., but I still have an excessively oily face. Are there other options?
There sure are. If you cannot control the greasiness of the face with skincare products, it is time to see a dermatologist. There are systemic treatments like low dose isotretinoin(5) and hormonal treatments like spironolactone to improve the oily and acne-prone skin.
A night cream for oily acne-prone skin should go above and beyond being an anti-acne agent and cater to other needs of your skin too.
We tried searching and shortlisting such power products for you.
Do you see any one of them fitting your needs? Or have you already found ‘the one’? Let us know in the comments.
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- Wille JJ, Kydonieus A: Palmitoleic acid isomer (C16:1delta6) in human skin sebum is effective against gram-positive bacteria. Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol 2003;16: 1
- Thiele JJ, Weber SU, Packer L: Sebaceous gland secretion is a major physiologic route of vitamin E delivery to skin. J Invest Dermatol 1999;113:1006–1010.
- Sakuma, T. H., & Maibach, H. I. (2012). Oily Skin: An Overview. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 25(5), 227–235. doi:10.1159/000338978
- Geissler SE, Michelsen S, Plewig G. Very low dose isotretinoin is effective in controlling seborrhea. J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2003;1(12):952-958. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2303.2003.00108.x-i1
- Carson CF, Hammer KA, Riley TV. Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) oil: a review of antimicrobial and other medicinal properties. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2006;19(1):50-62. doi:10.1128/CMR.19.1.50-62.2006
- Zouboulis CC, Xia L, Akamatsu H, Seltmann H, Fritsch M, Hornemann S, Rühl R, Chen W, Nau H, Orfanos CE: The human sebocyte culture model provides new insights into development and management of seborrhoea and acne. Dermatology 1998;196:21– 31.
- Choi EH, Man MQ, Wang F, et al. Is endogenous glycerol a determinant of stratum corneum hydration in humans? J Invest Dermatol. 2005;125:288.
- Kono M, Nagata H, Umemura S, et al In situ expression of corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) and proopiomelanocortin (POMC) genes in human skin. FASEB J. 2001;15:2297.
- Priyam Sinha, Shruti Srivastava, Nidhi Mishra, Narayan Prasad Yadav, “New Perspectives on Antiacne Plant Drugs: Contribution to Modern Therapeutics”, BioMed Research International, vol. 2014, Article ID 301304, 19 pages, 2014.
- Donald T. Downing, Mary Ellen Stewart, Philip W. Wertz, John S. Strauss, Essential fatty acids and acne, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Volume 14, Issue 2, Part 1, 1986, Pages 221-225
- Taofiq, Oludemi et al. “Development of Mushroom-Based Cosmeceutical Formulations with Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Tyrosinase, Antioxidant, and Antibacterial Properties.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 21,10 1372. 14 Oct. 2016, doi:10.3390/molecules21101372
- Tang, Sheau-Chung, and Jen-Hung Yang. “Dual Effects of Alpha-Hydroxy Acids on the Skin.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 23,4 863. 10 Apr. 2018, doi:10.3390/molecules23040863
- Addor FAS. Antioxidants in dermatology. An Bras Dermatol. 2017;92(3):356-362. doi:10.1590/abd1806-4841.20175697
- Rusu E, Enache G, Cursaru R, et al. Prebiotics and probiotics in atopic dermatitis. Exp Ther Med. 2019;18(2):926-931. doi:10.3892/etm.2019.7678