Naturally Beautiful Skin: Best Face Scrubs for Oily Skin, Acne Prone Skin & Blackheads

Exfoliation is an essential part of keeping oily skin clear, clean & rid of breakouts. Finding the right products for your oily skin is essential! If skin oils are allowed to build up on the epidermis, they mingle with left-over dead skin cells to clog pores. This mixture becomes lodged into pores, trapping acne bacteria far below the surface. The result? Acne blemishes, whiteheads, blackheads & cystic acne breakouts.

Get naturally glowing skin from exfoliation!
Get naturally glowing skin from exfoliation!

Women who have oily, acne prone skin typically must use makeup to cover existing blemishes. This only exacerbates the problem of clogged pores, as sticky facial oil combines with foundation. While exfoliation can help remove deeply imbedded makeup, it's best to prevent the problem in the first place.

Look for water based or mineral based foundations to reduce the likelihood of skin problems. Two of the best oil-free foundations are Dinair and Glam Air Matte Makeup for Oily Skin. They feel incredibly light weight, are water resistant, and are thoroughly pigmented to cover acne blemishes.

The Best Option: Water Based Foundation for Oily Skin and Acne Prone Skin
The Best Option: Water Based Foundation for Oily Skin and Acne Prone Skin

You’ve probably seen many online articles geared toward oily, acne prone skin that tell you to “avoid washing your face often, or too vigorously”. It's discouraging to see advice like this, because it makes people think that thorough exfoliation is a bad thing.

While washing your face more than twice a day is probably unnecessary, you absolutely must give it a good scrub at least once daily, in order to remove pore congestion. This is especially true if you wear makeup. People are sometimes afraid that scrubbing will cause damage to pores, or strip skin of all moisture. This is only true if you use excessively harsh scrubs which contain sulfates or alcohol as primary ingredients, and then do not moisturizer afterwards.

What is Exfoliator?

An exfoliating scrub is composed of tiny granules. It has a gritty texture that that sloughs away old, dead skin cells. They typically contain ingredients such as ground shell hulls, coarse sugars or salts, ground rice, or aluminum oxide crystals. All of these ingredients create friction against the skin & will provide good exfoliation.

Done right, exfoliation will improve facial circulation, stimulate collagen production, remove flaky skin cells, unclog pores, and leave you with a youthful glow. It also paves the way for proper absorption of complimentary products, such as toner, acne medications, and moisturizer. When you skin is covered in a layer of dead cells, the effectiveness of such products is minimized by at least 60 percent.

How Do I Use Exfoliator to Scrub my Face?

Exfoliator should be applied with a tiny amount of warm water to a damp face, in circular motions. Concentrate on problem areas (clogged pores on/around nose, flaky skin on forehead etc) for 20 seconds each. Take care to avoid the eye area. Then, give your entire face a once-over scrub for a few more seconds, still using circular motions. Rinse thoroughly. Pores will look cleaner, and you may be able to press on your nose, chin and cheeks to remove loosened pore plugs.

Next, wash face with your regular cleanser. People with acne prone & oily skin normally react well to gel cleansers (rather than cream cleansers, which are too greasy). Try Philosophy’s Clear Days Ahead Face Wash. This will help remove any remaining exfoliator granules and also provides a good dose of acne bacteria killing Salicylic Acid.

How Will my Face Feel After Exfoliation?

At this point, your face should feel energized, fresh and extra clean. Now that pores have been flushed, they are receiving much needed oxygen (which helps kill existing acne bacteria). Proceed to application of toner, anti-acne loion, and moisturizer. Those with problem skin should opt for a light weight gel moisturizer. Try Philosophy’s Take a Deep Breath Moisturizer, or Mattify Cosmetic’s Incredi-Gel. Both feel feather light on the skin, absorb quickly, and moisturize without any oily residue. “Deep Breath” hydrates while encouraging even more oxygen flow to the pores. “Incredi-Gel” hydrates with aloe vera, and its herbal blend doubles as an acne treatment.

Best Exfoliating Face Scrubs for Oily Skin
Best Exfoliating Face Scrubs for Oily Skin

List: Best Face Scrubs for Oily & Acne Prone Skin

The exfoliators pictured above are some of the best products for problem skin. Here's a brief description of each, and what it can do for your complexion:

Philosophy carries several excellent products for oily skin. To exfoliate, try their Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash for Oily Skin. To cleanse and medicate newly purged pores after exfoliation, use Philosophy’s Clear Days Ahead Salicylic Acid Face Wash for Acne Prone Skin. These both make the skin feel completely uncongested and clean.

Mattify Cosmetics has a full range of natural products & makeup for oily skin. To scrub, use The Exfoliator, which contains Green Tea to tone skin, along with Apricot and Bamboo to exfoliate. The caffeine in the Green Tea causes skin to look taught and lifted, so you will notice immediate smoothness and reduction in puffiness after use. To moisturize afterwards try their light weight Incredi-Gel Moisturizer for Oily Skin, which includes an herbal blend to fight acne.

Proactiv, who has long been known as a leader in the war against acne, has recently come out with a Skin Smoothing Exfoliator. This one is Benzoyl Peroxide based and contains glycolic acid to further assist in removing dead skin cells. This one is not very gritty to the touch, and it takes about 1 week of use to really feel a difference in skin smoothness. The Benzoyl Peroxide also helps kill acne bacteria.

St. Ives Apricot Scrub is probably the most popular drugstore brand of exfoliator. You will notice smooth, soft skin immediately after use. It has gotten mixed reviews online (some people find the granules to be too large and abrasive). However, I've used this product on and off for the past 10 years and absolutely love it. Those who find this to be too abrasive probably have extremely sensitive skin and may be better off using one of the other options above. Recently, I've switched to using the Mattify Cosmetics brand because the green tea in it provides exceptional toning - it's almost like getting a mini face-lift. But since it's a bit pricier than the St. Ives exfoliator, I switch off between using the two, in order to save a few bucks.

Do You Think Exfoliation Would Benefit Your Skin?

Do You Plan to Purchase an Exfoliating Product?

  • Yes! My skin is oily, acne prone & congested
  • No, I'm afraid to apply grainy products to my face
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Alternatives to Exfoliating at Home

Don’t feel like at-home exfoliation is doing the trick? If your pores still feel congested even after a few weeks of exfoliating, you can visit an aesthetician for microdermabrasion treatments. They usually allow for 2 treatments per month, and this is a great way to remove deeply imbedded impurities before establishing your own at-home regemin of exfoliation.

Diamond Microdermabrasion
Diamond Microdermabrasion
Dermabrasion with Micro-scrub
Dermabrasion with Micro-scrub

You can request either Crystal or Diamond Microdermabrasion. During the Crystal Microderm procedure, a small wand sprays tiny aluminum oxide crystals onto sections of the skin. Old dead cells & pore plugs are removed and vacuumed up into the wand.

In another type of Crystal Microderm, the aesthetician may apply an exfoliating micro-scrub that feels like finely ground sand. The scrub is worked onto the skin using a flat-tipped wand, until old cells are removed. With Diamond Microderm, a small wand that contains diamond chips is used to slough and exfoliate.

All of these procedures are very gentle and don’t hurt. They leave the skin feeling exceedingly clean & refreshed. Afterwards, the aesthetician will probably apply a nourishing gel moisturizer and instruct you to avoid makeup, harsh cleansers & excess sunlight for 12-24 hours.

If you would like to do the microderm process in the comfort of your own home, you can purchase a home kit like PMD’s Personal Microderm Set for around $160.

Best products for oily skin: exfoliate for a healthy glow!
Best products for oily skin: exfoliate for a healthy glow!

Whichever way you choose to exfoliate, you're sure to see amazing changes! Previously congested complexions will shed their dull exterior and be replaced with glowing, soft skin. If you've suffered from acne breakouts, you will begin to notice fewer as your skin's cell turnover process increases. Blackheads will also begin to loosen, and dead skin will disappear. Feel free to leave comments or questions below & enjoy your newly resurfaced beautiful skin!

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