Every skin type has its benefits and its drawbacks, and oily skin is no exception. On the one hand, oily skin may protect against some of the early signs of aging and keep your skin looking youthful for longer. On the other hand, oiliness can give the skin a shiny or greasy appearance and is often accompanied by enlarged pores and breakouts. Like we said: Pros and cons.
Adding a face serum for oily skin into your daily skincare routine can help hydrate your skin and address some of the concerns commonly associated with oiliness, including clogged pores and unevenness. Of course, it’s critical to find a formula that suits your skin’s unique needs. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry—that’s what we’re here for. Ahead, we’ll introduce you to seven of our best serums for oily skin and explain how to use them in your oily skin routine. Read on for your Kiehl’s guide to face serums for oily skin.
For All Oily Skin Types: Powerful-Strength Vitamin C Serum
The benefits of adding antioxidants into your skincare routine are numerous. (Antioxidants neutralize free radicals generated by exposure to environmental stressors like ultraviolet radiation and air pollution.) In doing so, antioxidants help protect the skin against damage, strengthen the skin’s natural moisture barrier, and help promote a healthier appearance.
If you have oily skin, we recommend incorporating a lightweight, antioxidant-rich serum into your skincare routine, like Powerful-Strength Vitamin C Serum. This hydrating formula, which stars hyaluronic acid and 12.5% vitamin C, instantly boosts radiance while helping improve skin texture over time. With consistent use, it helps minimize the appearance of enlarged pores (a common skin concern for those with oily skin), visibly reduce fine lines, and help smooth the skin. Apply this water-free serum to cleansed, toned skin morning and night to promote firmer, glowing skin.
For Dehydrated Oily Skin: Hydro-Plumping Hydrating Serum
It may seem counterintuitive, but oily skin can be dehydrated, especially if you avoid using moisturizer out of fear that doing so will worsen your skin’s oily appearance. Your skin needs hydration, no matter how oily it is—in fact, keeping your skin well-hydrated may actually help balance your oil production.
In addition to moisturizer, we recommend hydrating your skin with a non-greasy serum, like Hydro-Plumping Hydrating Serum. It’s made with our unique epidermal hydration filler and helps encourage the skin’s natural production of hyaluronic acid, a molecule closely involved in maintaining skin hydration. When used regularly, this lightweight hydrating serum helps improve the appearance of dehydrated skin while boosting elasticity for visibly plumper, smoother-looking skin. It’s suitable for all skin types and can be used on the entire face—even around the eyes.
For Dark Spots & Discolorations: Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solutions
Skin discolorations, like sun spots, are caused by a disruption in your skin’s melanin production and storage. As such, those with dark skin tones are most prone to hyperpigmentation (though it can affect anyone). If you have oily, acne-prone skin, breakouts can cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or post-acne marks. While these dark spots can’t always be prevented, they can be managed at home with proper skincare.
To address discolorations on oily skin, try adding Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution to your daily skincare routine. This powerful brightening serum, which contains activated vitamin C and buffered salicylic acid, is clinically-proven to reduce hyperpigmentation by 49%.* The paraben-free formula is suitable for all skin types and has been tested on a wide range of skin tones. Use it morning and night to help brighten your skin and promote a more even appearance.
*Based on a 12-week clinical study of 17 women with all skin types presented with mild to moderate severity of attributes, including post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
For Mature Oily Skin: Vital Skin-Strengthening Hyaluronic Acid Super Serum
While oily skin can be frustrating, it has its upsides. Namely, it can help keep your skin looking youthful. Research shows that people with oily skin tend to have fewer lines and shallower wrinkles than those with drier skin types.I Similarly, oily regions of the face (like the T-zone) tend to wrinkle less than drier parts of the face. With that said, we all age eventually. Using a multipurpose anti-aging serum for oily skin can help ward off the early signs of skin aging and keep your skin looking its best.
If your skin falls on the oilier side of the spectrum, try Vital Skin-Strengthening Hyaluronic Acid Super Serum. This powerful yet lightweight serum contains 11kDa hyaluronic acid, an engineered form of hyaluronic acid capable of penetrating down to the skin’s deeper layers. It also contains a blend of adaptogenic herbs, including red ginseng root. The potent formula is clinically-demonstrated to double skin’s strength and helps defend against aging stressors, such as sleep deprivation and air pollution. When used regularly, it helps diminish the appearance of fine lines and smoothes skin’s texture to reveal a more youthful appearance. This unique serum is suitable for all skin types and can be used daily for glowing, healthy-looking skin.
For Men’s Oily Skin: Age Defender Power Serum
Sebum production is directly influenced by male sex hormones, specifically testosterone. This essential hormone is present in all humans, but exists in far greater quantities in men than in women. Though testosterone is best known for influencing male-dominant characteristics (like facial hair), it also stimulates sebum production—which is why men’s skin tends to be oilier than women’s. Other skin concerns common in men include enlarged pores and blackheads.
Adding a face serum for oily skin to your daily skincare routine can help ensure your skin stays hydrated and looking its best. We recommend Age Defender Power Serum, which is uniquely formulated for men’s skin. This effective formula with adenosine and cypress extract has a lightweight texture and absorbs quickly without a sticky or tacky feel. It helps address the visible signs of aging, such as wrinkles, and visibly firms sagging skin for a more resilient, youthful appearance. It’s suitable for all men’s skin types and can be used morning and night as part of your men’s skincare routine.
For Uneven Oily Skin: Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate
Clogged pores are a common complaint amongst those with oilier skin types. While clogged pores can result in acne breakouts, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes, they just make the skin look congested and uneven. Exfoliating regularly can help clear excess oil and dead skin cells from your skin’s surface to keep your skin looking smooth and even.
Try a gentle chemical exfoliator, like Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate. This gentle overnight peel contains phytic acid and quinoa husk extract, and helps exfoliate while you sleep to reveal visibly fresher skin by morning. The powerful nighttime serum is clinically-demonstrated to accelerate skin cell turnover, helping to refine both the skin’s tone and texture over time.* Its ultra-mild formula is suitable for all skin types and can be used nightly for radiant-looking skin.
*Based upon an instrumental test within surface layers. Results based upon expert grading in a dermatologist-controlled clinical study.
For The Eye Area: Powerful-Strength Dark Circle Reducing Vitamin C Eye Serum
Most of us typically associate oiliness with the T-zone region and forget that the eyelids can be oily, too. Additionally, the skin around your eyes is thin (the thinnest, in fact, on your entire body) and highly delicate. It needs to be cared for properly with gentle products designed to address eye area concerns without adding weight or irritating the fragile skin.
To care for your eye area, we recommend Powerful-Strength Dark Circle-Reducing Vitamin C Eye Serum. This ultra-lightweight eye serum with vitamin C and hyaluronic acid absorbs quickly, immediately smoothing and hydrating the delicate under-eye skin. With consistent use, it helps diminish the appearance of eye-area concerns, like crow’s feet and under-eye wrinkles, and helps reduce the severity of dark under-eye circles. You can use this eye serum daily alone or layered under a richer eye cream for visibly fresher, brighter-looking eyes.
Next: Your Ultimate Skincare Routine for Oily Skin
I. Tamatsu, Yuichi et al. “New finding that might explain why skin wrinkles more on various parts of the face.” Clinical Anatomy vol. 28,6 (2015): 745-752. doi:10.1002/ca.22571