Having had oily skin for the first 20 years of my adult life, I always steered away from skin care products containing oil. Every time I went to my local drugstore, I scrupulously read all product labels to make sure they said, "Oil Free." I educated myself about many skin care ingredients just to make sure the products I considered did not contain any hidden oils. I never even entertained the thought of using a moisturizer, not even an oil-free one.
When I later decided to shop for department store brands, every sales person I encountered told me I needed to use a moisturizer even though my skin was very oily. Was this just a ploy to get me to buy more products or did my oily skin truly need a moisturizer?
If you ask almost any esthetician or skin care expert, they will tell you that oily skin needs a moisturizer. In many cases, they will recommend an oil-free one. Their rationale is that even oily skin needs hydration and that moisturizers help prevent moisture (or water) from evaporating from the skin.
So, in answering the question, "Do I need to moisturize oily skin,?" I believe the answer is not as black and white as some would believe. It really depends on your skin. Not everyone with oily skin has the same issues. For example, some people can have oily skin with dry patches right over oily areas. This can be caused by any number of reasons, including eczema. In this case, a light weight moisturizer can be helpful. Many have combination skin, so moisturizing dry areas, including the eye area can be beneficial.
Additionally, those with oily skin may find they have dry patches during the harsh winter months. Using a non-greasy moisturizer would be recommended in this instance. Also, if you are using products such as benzoyl peroxide or Retin-A for acne, then using a moisturizer can help since these ingredients can be drying. Retin -A or Renova is also commonly used as an anti-aging ingredient, so moisturizing would be advised when using this product if you find it dries you out.
Using an all natural face cream with anti-aging ingredients can be beneficial for those with oily skin, particularly as we become older. As we mature, our oil glands may not produce as much oil, so our skin may still be oily, but not as much as when we were younger. Additionally, our skin can benefit from anti-aging treatments which utilize powerful antioxidants such as R-Lipoic Acid, Green Tea, White Tea, Pomegranate, etc. If you find your skin is still extremely oily in your forties and fifties, you can benefit from a natural skin cream which uses light oils such as jojoba oil, sesame seed oil, and apricot kernel oil. These oils penetrate immediately and do not leave an oily residue.
If you are still uncomfortable with creams, you can opt for an oil free serum with antioxidants. Finding one in an aloe vera base can provide oil free moisture. Additionally, Hyaluronic acid, a powerful humectant, can help give the skin a plumper, more youthful look.
It is very important to use a sun block on a daily basis to prevent UV damage. Look for a light weight cream or gel for this purpose. However, stay away from products that utilize alcohol which can be drying, even for oily skin. For example, avoid products containing "SD Alcohol 40," or any alcohol followed by a number. You will typically see these in gel or spray on sunscreens.
Also, avoid creamy cleansers since they will leave an emollient film behind. While great for dry skin, they can make oily skin oilier. Instead, use an all natural cleanser which does not contain oil, fragrance, detergent or soap. Try to avoid foaming or sudsing cleansers as they may contain toxic chemicals. They can also interfere with your skin's acid mantle. Listen to your skin. Experiment with different products to see how they work with your oily skin. If you still feel uncomfortable with even the "lightest" moisturizers, then don't feel pressured to use one, particularly if you are in your teens or your twenties.