Here’s where the magic happens. While you won’t want to use retinol and exfoliants on the same evening, they will both come in handy for those with oily skin when used in a cyclical routine (yes, we’re talking about skin cycling).
On the evenings you choose to exfoliate, pick your acids wisely. “Glycolic and salicylic acid are great exfoliants for oily skin,” Fenton explains. Salicylic acid in particular may be a better choice for those with oily and acne-prone skin. “This beta-hydroxy acid is oil-soluble, allowing it to penetrate deep into pores, unclogging them,” board-certified dermatologist Ramya Garlapati, M.D., explains.
One perk of having oily skin is that you may tolerate retinol products better than those with dry skin. Not only will you reap the benefits of retinol for healthy skin aging, but you’ll also get the added bonus of reducing excess oil production, Fenton says.
If you have oily and acne-prone skin, you may want to go for something a bit stronger—like retinaldehyde or prescription-grade retinoids like tretinoin or Tazorac. Be sure to consult your dermatologist if your breakouts aren’t easing up with your over-the-counter skin care products.