A person’s sebaceous glands produce sebum, an oily substance important for hydrating skin. Mixed with fat molecules, sebum forms a coating on the skin’s surface, protecting it against bacteria and fungi.

Too much sebum, however, can clog a person’s pores, causing the skin to become oily. The condition may also cause acne.

To reduce the appearance of oily skin, a person can use home remedies or over-the-counter (OTC) products. This article discusses various home remedies for oily skin.

Learn more about sebum here.

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Several home remedies may help a person reduce the appearance of oily skin.


Honey has antibacterial and antiseptic qualities. It is also a natural humectant, which means that it helps preserve moisture in the skin.

A natural honey face mask may reduce the appearance of oily skin. To make one:

  • spread a layer of honey on the face
  • leave for 10 minutes
  • wash away the honey with warm water


Oatmeal may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, according to a review of various trials. It may also be effective in treating skin complaints such as viral infections, atopic dermatitis, pruritus, and acneiform eruptions.

An oatmeal face mask may reduce the appearance of oily skin. To make one with ground oatmeal and water:

  • combine ½ a cup of ground oats with hot water to form a paste
  • cool paste to body temperature
  • massage the paste into the face for around 3 minutes.
  • rinse the face with warm water, and pat dry.

Combining oatmeal with honey or mashed fruit can also create an effective face mask.

Aloe vera

According to a review of clinical trials, aloe vera has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and wound healing properties.

Here’s how to harvest a mature aloe vera plant for use as a home remedy for oily skin:

  • cut a few leaves close to the stem
  • trim the prickly edges with a knife
  • wash and dry the leaves

After cleaning the leaves, a person can extract the gel by using a sharp knife to slice the upper layer of the leaf, revealing the gel inside. After the gel is scraped out with a spoon or a knife, it can be cut into pieces or blended.

To use the gel, a person can apply a thin layer to the face. It can be left on overnight.

Aloe vera gel may not be suitable for people with infected skin and may cause an allergic reaction. A person may wish to test the aloe vera gel on their forearm before applying it to their face. If the person does not experience a reaction within 24 to 48 hours, then the aloe vera should be safe to use.

Jojoba oil

Jojoba is a plant oil widely used in sunscreens and moisturizers. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is effective in treating several skin conditions.

One pilot study concluded that jojoba oil combined with clay in a face mask may effectively treat skin lesions and mild acne.

A person can apply jojoba oil directly to clean skin, or mix it with cream or another oil.

Clay masks

Clay masks offer an effective treatment for oily skin.

Minerals such as bentonite or smectite can absorb skin oils and may be useful in lessening the appearance of oily skin. Bentonite may be beneficial in healing skin lesions and ulcers, according to an article in the Iranian Journal of Public Health.


Ground almonds, used in a face scrub, are effective in treating oily skin. Almond oil may have anti-hepatotoxicity and anti-inflammatory properties, and aid in rejuvenating skin and improving complexion and skin tone. However, people with nut allergies should avoid using almonds.

To make an almond face scrub take the following steps:

  • grind raw almonds to a powder
  • mix three tablespoons of the powder with two tablespoons of raw honey
  • apply the scrub to the face with gentle, circular motions
  • wash off scrub with warm water
  • pat skin dry

Egg whites

There is no evidence that egg whites tighten pores, although people sometimes use an egg white face mask to combat oily skin.

The white from one egg is usually enough for a face mask. To make one:

  • mix the white from one egg with the juice of half a lemon
  • whisk the mixture until it thickens
  • apply the mixture to the face for 10 minutes
  • clean face with warm water to remove the mask
  • pat face dry

In addition to home remedies, basic skin care routines may improve oily skin:

  • washing with warm water, using a gentle soap
  • avoiding soaps with added fragrances, moisturizers, or harsh chemicals
  • stopping the use of rough washcloths or loofahs, to minimize friction that can stimulate skin and lead to more oil

A person may also wish to use blotting paper, which absorbs oil from the skin and makes it appear less greasy. Blotting papers do not treat sebum production.

Cloth pads medicated with cleansing ingredients, such as salicylic acid or glycolic acid, may remove oil from the skin while also cleansing the pores.

In addition to home remedies, a person can follow daily routines that can help reduce oily skin, including:

  • washing the face twice a day with warm water
  • using water-based products
  • making dietary changes such as avoiding greasy foods and trans fats
  • eating a well-rounded diet full of whole foods
  • remaining hydrated
  • avoiding touching the face throughout the day
  • applying moisturizer daily
  • avoiding sleeping in makeup

A person may wish to contact a doctor or dermatologist if they have tried home remedies or OTC products without seeing any improvement in the appearance of oily skin.

A person should contact a doctor if their symptoms worsen, or they feel pain or discomfort. A person with acne should consult a doctor, as these symptoms can cause infections or scarring.

Oily skin is a relatively common condition, and a person can use various home remedies to treat it. These include honey, jojoba oil, egg white, and clay.

A person should speak to a doctor or dermatologist if OTC treatments and home remedies do not improve the appearance of oily skin, or there is pain or discomfort.