I Have Oily Skin. Can I Skip Moisturiser?

Oily-looking skin is deceptive: it can actually be dehydrated and deficient in oil. Huh? We're here to help you understand this contradiction.

Oily skin already makes a lot of its own natural oils. This leads most people to conclude that an oil-based moisturiser would be harmful to their complexion. In fact, the right oil-based moisturisers will tame your oily skin, mattify it, and even fight associated pimples.

If you're wondering if this is too good to be true, you should know that it's scientifically proven. Moisturisers are great for oily skin types for three reasons:

  1. Oily skin types are commonly deficient in a type of omega-6 fatty acid called 'linoleic acid', which is found in high concentrations in certain natural oils.
  2. Moisturisers help skin absorb its own natural oils.
  3. Certain oils are proven to reduce the incidence of acne pimples.

I have oily skin. Can I skip moisturiser?


Just as there's a perfect coat to suit any body shape, there's also a perfect moisturiser to suit anyone’s skin type. We'll show you how to choose a moisturising product that's perfect for your oily skin.

1. Moisturisers high in omega-6 fatty acids replenish and balance depleted oily skin.

Some oils are great for lubricating dry skin. Others oils calm reactivity quite well. Believe it or not, there are also 'drying' oils.

Oils high in omega-3 and -6 fatty acids tend to be described as 'drying'. Such oils are thinner, absorbed well, and good at balancing the skin.

Studies show that skin types prone to oiliness and acne are often deficient in linoleic acid. This deficiency promotes a condition called 'hyperkeratosis', an abnormal thickening of the skin that in turn creates a vulnerability to spots and acne. We'll touch more upon this later.

To help balance your oily skin, use a moisturiser with oils high in linoleic acid. Avoid products higher in oleic acid. The following table shows you which oils to look for in your moisturising cream or lotion.


Oil typeLinoleic acid contentOleic acid content
Rosehip oil 46% 16%
Evening primrose oil 77% 11%
Hemp seed oil 62% 9%
Borage oil 39% 17%
Grapeseed oil 72% 16%


Although you can use this list to choose your next moisturiser on your own, you can also choose from one of our pre-selected moisturisers below, all of which are high in linoleic acid.


I have oily skin. Can I skip moisturiser?


2. Moisturisers help skin absorb its own natural oils.

Moisturisers contain oils, waters, and emulsifiers, the last of which are ingredients that mix the first two together. Emulsifiers are great at helping other ingredients sink into your skin. So the chemistry of a moisturiser that's high in linoleic acid actually helps to balance an oily complexion.

3. Certain oils help reduce the incidence of acne and pimples.

Everyone’s skin produces sebum, but oily and combination skin types make a little extra. This excess sebum promotes the accumulation of dead skin cells, which are 'dinner' to spot-causing bacteria.

As mentioned before, oily, acne-prone skin is often deficient in linoleic acid. We promised we'd return to this subject, and this is why: Treatment of acne microcomedones with linoleic fatty acids showed a 25% reduction in the size and severity of blemishes over just a four-week period

You read that right! By moisturising skin with specific oils, you can reduce acne.

Now you know how a moisturiser can improve your oily complexion. Explore our other Ultimate Guide articles to find out how to incorporate moisturiser into a routine for oily skin and more.


I have oily skin. Can I skip moisturiser?