7+ Products for Shine Control on Very Oily Skin

This post is about leave-on products for very oily skin – gels, creams and lotions to absorb / reduce excessive sebum secretion. The products mentioned can be used by both guys and girls.

Normally, choosing oil-free products will be enough to keep the face shine free. For very oily skin, you need something stronger than that. This post discusses some industrial-strength measures for reducing an excessively oily look.

Mattifying face powders and face washes have been covered previously. Supplements, clinical treatments and face masks for very oily skin will be covered in upcoming posts.


Recent research shows that Adapalene decreases sebum production in the skin. Adapalene is a synthetic retinoid especially designed for acne prone skin. Adapalene actually reduces the formation of excess sebum instead of just absorbing it from the surface.

Differin, Adaple, Adeferin, Deriva are all brand names for Adapalene. It is a prescription-only medication, so if you are considering it, meeting a dermatologist for a prescription will be necessary. Read more about using Adapalene here.


This study shows that Clindamycin reduces sebum secretion in very oily skin. It is a topical antibiotic that kills acne bacteria. Many people here have been prescribed Clindamycin gel by their doctors. It is a prescription-only medication, so if you are considering it, meeting a dermatologist for a prescription will be necessary.

Oil Blotting Sheets

Oil blotting sheets can be your best friend in dealing with a mid-day oily face. You could try The Body Tea Tree Oil Blotting Facial Tissues (Rs. 175 for 65 tissues) or Inglot Oil Blotting Sheets (upwards of Rs. 500 for 50 sheets). Clean & Clear also makes them (Rs. 120), but they are not easily available except at a few pharmacy and health stores.

Oil blotting sheets are not easily available throughout India yet. Watch this video to see how to make them inexpensively at home.

Milk of Magnesia

Milk of Magnesia (MoM) is one of the best kept secrets of the oily-skinned folk. It works very well to keep oil under control.

There is a catch. Sebum and sweat mix together on the skin’s surface to form what is called the skin’s acid mantle. This mantle is of acidic pH, between 4 and 5.5. Milk of Magnesia on the other hand is highly alkaline and if left on the skin for long periods can corrode skin’s acid mantle, leaving it prone to infection and degradation. Buffering Milk of Magnesia with Apple Cider Vinegar can be done to bring down the pH, although I have not tried it myself.

Milk of Magnesia remains an effective mattifier for occasional use where you cannot afford to look like a grease ball (interviews, parties, presentations etc.). Mik of Magnesia can be found at medical stores. A common way to use it is to dilute it with water and transfer it to a spray bottle. Keepcalm mentioned something about using MoM.

Vichy Normaderm Total Mat

Vichy Total Mat review for very oily skinVichy Normaderm Total Mat  Anti-Shine Anti-Humidity Fresh Hydrating Gel is a paraben-free, hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic and oil-free mattifying gel. Vichy Total Mat claims to have a “blotting-paper like” effect on the skin and comes highly recommended for very oily skin. The price is Rs. 790 for 30 ml and is available from Indian online shopping websites.

It is also available as Vichy Normaderm Total Matte Anti-Shine Mattifier in some countries.

Vichy Total Mat’s oil control and mattifying action is mainly due to its perlite ingredient. Perlite is a volcanic mineral which can absorb more than three times its weight in water and encourages the evaporation of perspiration.

It is an effective mattifier for guys and girls with very oily skin. It prevents a sweaty look as well by encouraging sweat evaporation. Vichy Normaderm Total Mat ingredients:

water, dimethicone, alcohol denat., glycerin, propylene glycol, lauryl methacrylate / glycol dimethacrylate crosspolymer, perlite, nylon-66, PEG-12 dimethicone, dimethicone / vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer, salicylic acid, sodium polyacrylate, sodium hydroxide, phenoxyethanol, ammonium polyacryldimethyltauramide, caprylyl glycol, biosaccharide GUM-1, parfum

Lotus UVScreen Matte Gel SPF 50 PA+++

This transulcent matte gel formula provides high sun protection against tanning, aging and sun burn. At the same time, it gives an oil-free look for 3-4 hours. This is a good choice for when you have to spend a lot of time outdoors because you’re getting sun protection plus an oil-free look.

The other mattifying product from Lotus Herbals is their 3-in-1 Matte Look Sunblock, but some people here have reported breakouts from using it. This UV Screen matte gel seems to be a safer formula for acne prone skin. Read about the price, availability, usage and ingredients of Lotus UVScreen Gel here.

Paula’s Choice Shine Stopper Instant Matte Finish

This is a  popular mattifying product in the U.S. – Shine Stopper Instant Matte Finish with Microsponge Technology.

Lalitha from the Acne Mantra community has purchased some Paula’s Choice products, so you could check with her about ordering and other information.

Topical Zinc

Research shows that zinc applied on the skin could reduce sebum secretion. Lacto Calamine lotion contains zinc oxide and kaolin clay. Both keep excessive oiliness under control. If Lacto Calamine is not enough or causes breakouts, try Calak Lotion by Invida / Shalaks Pharma.

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