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If you lack a ton of knowledge about skincare and have oily skin, you might be a little nervous about adding a hydrating serum into your routine. Some of them can seem quite daunting to use, but when you find a formula that contains the right ingredients for your specific skin type, the positive changes just keep coming.
We previously interviewed board-certified dermatologist and the founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology, Dr. Corey L. Hartman, about the best face serums you can use on oily skin. To start, he suggests you opt for a water or gel-based formula instead of an oil-based one.
He additionally recommends you find a serum that’s compatible with sensitive skin, since those with oily skin typically also have acne-prone skin. Look for serums with salicylic acid; this ingredient helps with reducing inflammation and removing dead skin cells, according to Dr. Hartman. Niacinamide is another keeper, since it’s super effective at balancing oil production, and when paired with hyaluronic acid, helps to plump the skin.
On the flip side, you’ll want to stay away from ones with high concentrations of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), as they can sometimes be too potent and irritate your skin rather than improve it.
While the following serums should fit right into your skincare routine, no problem, it’s always good to do a patch test on the underside of your wrist before applying it to your face.
Ahead, find 10 serums for oily skin that’ll have your face glowing in no time—sans that greasy look.
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Serum
We have to start with the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Serum from everyone’s fave skincare brand, The Ordinary. “It’s a fantastic price point and uses niacinamide to help reduce oil production and smooth the skin,” Dr. Hartman previously noted. In addition to niacinamide, zinc does a great job at balancing sebum activity.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Serum
“Oily skin still needs moisture; actually adding moisture to the skin can help regulate sebum production,” Dr. Hartman previously told StyleCaster. “This serum is nice and light and absorbs easily, and oily skin tolerates hyaluronic acid quite well.” Hyaluronic acid does wonders for retaining moisture, which, as Dr. Hartman explained, is a great way to keep oil production in check.
The INKEY List Niacinamide Oil Control Serum
Just like The Ordinary’s serum, this one from The INKEY List contains oil-regulating niacinamide. It also has a price tag that won’t break the bank.
Peace Out Acne Treatment Serum
Oily skin can often times be prone to acne, therefore salicylic acid is an ideal ingredient to look for. Peace Out’s Acne Treatment Serum contains this acid, alongside niacinamide, vitamin C, zinc and triluronic acid. Apply them all together regularly and you get clearer skin. Just ask StyleCaster’s Commerce Manager, Summer Cartwright. She wrote a glowing (pun intended) review of the serum.
Glow Recipe Watermelon Niacinamide Dew Drops
Apply this juicy Glow Recipe serum all over your face for the dewiest complexion—all without the use of mica, glitter or pearls. Watermelon is packed with amino acids and vitamin C, which help smooth skin texture and fade hyperpigmentation, while hyaluronic acid and moringa seed oil moisturize and soothe.
Caudalie Vinopure Skin Perfecting Serum
Caudalie’s Vinopure Skin Perfecting Serum blends two powerhouse ingredients for oily skin: salicylic acid and niacinamide. Blackheads, breakouts and excess oil don’t stand a chance with this formula.
Cocokind Vitamin C Serum With Sea Grape Caviar
“This serum has a mix of vitamin C and hyaluronic acid to add moisture to the skin and reduce the appearance of pores,” Dr. Hartman explained in our round-up of face serums for oily skin. Cocokind is known for creating simple, plant-powered, earth-friendly formulas, like this one. It evens skin tone, minimizes the appearance of dark spots and protects the skin.
Naturium Niacinamide Face Serum 12% Plus Zinc 2%
This Naturium serum has a similar ingredient list to The Ordinary’s, except you also get hyaluronic acid in this one. Not only will you notice smaller-looking pores, but your skin will receive plenty of hydration.
Youth to the People Triple Peptide + Cactus Oasis Serum
For another formula that’s chock-full of our fave ingredient, try out the Triple Peptide + Catcus Oasis Serum. It hydrates, plumps and firms with the help of four different kinds of hyaluronic acid, three peptides, super cactus stem and malachite minerals.
Farmacy 10% Waterless Vitamin C Serum
Summer has another incredible serum recommendation that has helped get her combination skin back on track and glowing like a glazed donut. Farmacy’s vitamin C serum uses L-ascorbic acid, alpha-arbutin, upcycled tangerine peel and upcycled sugar beet to brighten, smooth skin texture and fade dark spots.