The 9 Best Serums For Oily Skin

Ashley Batz / Bustle

When we think of serums, many of us picture magical elixirs that transform dry, dull skin and unearth a more radiant complexion. Only one part of that definition is accurate. Serums are magic, but the best serums for oily skin are targeted, concentrated treatments aimed at unclogging and minimizing pores and keeping skin balanced and clear. The key to unlocking a brand new skincare regimen complete with incredible serums that are going to make your oily skin look better than ever? As always: ingredients, ingredients, ingredients!

So, let's start there: when choosing a serum for oily skin, you aren't going to benefit from a formula that is extremely drying or one that contains alcohol — stripping your skin of moisture will only encourage pores to increase their production of sebum, which leads to more pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. Instead, be on the look-out for hydrating ingredients that are light — green tea and hyaluronic acid are perfect examples. Used at night, glycolic acid and retinol help unclog pores, exfoliate dead skin cells, and brighten skin by increasing cell turnover.

No matter which serum you choose, make sure it's non-comedogenic — and it helps if it has actually been tested on oily skin. Mattifying formulas work wonders to reduce shine and minimize pore size. You won't regret incorporating one of these serums for oily skin into your skin care routine.

1. An Oil-Controlling Serum With Botanicals & Sea Plants


Be The Skin Botanical Pore Serum, $38, Amazon

Formulated for normal to oily skin, this Korean serum is rich in natural botanical herbs, sea plants, and Alaskan glacial water that control oil production, eliminate excess sebum, and minimize the appearance of large pores.

2. A Natural Serum With Quinoa Extract & Tea Tree Oil To Treat Acne


Kypris Clearing Serum, $67, Amazon

Whether you have hormonal acne or are concerned about the effect of pollution and environmental toxins on your oily skin, this is a natural solution that addresses it all. This serum contains ingredients like quinoa extract with eight essential amino acids and Vitamin E, green tea, zinc, and tea tree oil to heal blemishes, and lilac leaf stem cells to help control sebum production and lighten dark spots.

3. The Perfect 'Beginner' Retinol For Sensitive, Oily Skin Types


First Aid Beauty Skin Lab Retinol Serum, $58, Amazon

When you love how retinol serums transform your skin into a smoother, glowier version of itself, but can't get on board with how most retinol formulas leave sensitive, oily skin types unbalanced and irritated, this is the serum for you. With 0.25 percent pure retinol concentrate, vitamin C, and soothing ingredients like colloidal oatmeal, aloe vera, and ceramides, this is the ideal "beginner" retinol for all skin types — one that will take it easy on your skin while addressing your concerns.

4. A Glycolic Alpha Hydroxy Acid Serum For Ultra-Lightweight Hydration


Alpha Skincare Intensive Renewal Serum, $18, Amazon

With 14 percent glycolic alpha hydroxy acid and a formula that's entirely free of fragrances and parabens, this lightweight and non-sensitizing serum evens out your skin tone and boosts your collagen production to keep skin supple and healthy. Although it's ideal for all skin types, it truly excels at supporting oily skin needs thanks to its water-like consistency that absorbs right away and doesn't feel the least bit sticky or greasy.

In addition to exfoliating alpha hydroxy acids that gently remove dead skin cells, this serum is infused with hydrating hyaluronic acid, green tea extract to combat free radical cell damage, and aloe vera to curb inflammation.

5. A Light Serum With 50 Percent Hyaluronic Acid That Leaves Skin Plump, But Never Greasy


Mizon Original Skin Energy Hyaluronic Acid, $11, Amazon

A blend of 50 percent hydrating and cell repairing hyaluronic acid and botanical extracts in this serum helps improve skin elasticity and texture, while minimizing the appearance of pores and balancing your skin's natural oils. This Korean beauty cult favorite delivers a grease-free finish and tons of hydration for smoother skin.

6. An Antioxidant Serum With A Water-Light Texture


Paula's Choice RESIST Ultra-Light Antioxidant Serum, $36, Amazon

Packed with antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, resveratrol, and niacinamide (all of which work together to balance oils, add hydration, improve skin texture, and reduce the appearance of pores), this made-for-oily-skin serum is free of fragrances and harsh chemicals and has not been tested on animals. It won't feel like a weight on oily and combination skin and can be used at night and during the day under your makeup.

7. A Serum Packed With Antioxidants And Salicylic Acid


Boots No7 Protect & Perfect Advanced Serum, $25, Amazon

Reviewers say that after using this serum for a few weeks, their skin appears clearer, softer, and is more hydrated. It contains a patented antioxidant ingredients, aloe and ginseng extracts, and — the kicker for oily and acne-prone skin — salicylic acid to prevent blemishes.

8. A Lightweight And Cooling Green Tea Serum For Acne-Prone Skin


Innisfree The Green Tea Seed Serum, $20, Amazon

Relying on 100 percent organic green tea water and oil, this serum creates a moisture barrier that locks in hydration without leaving a greasy film on your skin. It provides a cooling effect, is lightweight, and has been hailed by reviewers with oily skin as the perfect serum that absorbs quickly and provides enough moisture (with no heavy added oils) to combat the drying effects of acne medications. And, this one comes with a free sheet mask!

9. An Acne Healing Vitamin C Serum That Is Gentle Enough For Sensitive Skin


Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop, $28, Amazon

If you want to reap the many skin benefits of using a topical vitamin C treatment, but find 20 percent formulas too irritating for your sensitive skin, this is the daily vitamin C serum that's going to make a big difference in your complexion. The gentle serum has just 5 percent concentrated vitamin C, so you can use it every day without worrying about reactions. If you have acne, acne scars, or are trying to find a way to reduce the appearance of your pores, vitamin C can help — it's also your number one free radical-fighting ingredient that will protect skin against pollution and environmental and UV damage.

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